Friday, January 14, 2011

Even More on Antitrust Law and the BCS

While Monday evening's BCS National Championship Game commanded much of the college football world's attention this week, the antitrust implications of the Bowl Championship Series continued to make news as well. Specifically, as reported by several media outlets, the law firm of Arent Fox -- legal counsel to Boise State University and the Mountain West Conference on matters relating to antitrust law and the BCS -- recently submitted a report to the United States Department of Justice arguing that the BCS violates federal antitrust law. The Justice Department is presently deciding whether to launch a formal antitrust investigation of the BCS.

The Arent Fox report sets out to debunk 22 common arguments advanced in support of the BCS, ranging from the assertion that a playoff would damage college football's regular season, to the issue of whether consumer welfare is sufficiently implicated by the BCS to warrant an antitrust lawsuit. The report concludes that the BCS does in fact violate antitrust law, and urges the Justice Department to launch a formal investigation.

To read the Arent Fox report click here. For other takes on the legality of the BCS under antitrust law, please see my article "Antitrust & The Bowl Championship Series," as well as Michael McCann's "Antitrust, Governance, and Postseason College Football."