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Branding the World of Sports

Memo to Orrin Hatch regarding BCS

Posted by ZA on July 8, 2009

The distinguished Senator from Utah (Orrin Hatch) took his case against the BCS to Washington DC this week.  Hatch and his supporters from Utah are claiming the BCS is an unfair monopoly that discriminates against the non-BCS conference schools.  Hatch wants the BCS system struck down and replaced with a playoff that evens the playing field for all college football schools.

It is obvious that Hatch is pursuing this matter because a large number of his constituents are upset that the University of Utah was left out of the BCS National Championship Game even though they were undefeated.  Their rage was furthered when the Utes steamrolled the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl, capping an undefeated season for Utah.  Hatch has said this matter is worthy of the U.S. Senates time because sports are a big business, and the Sherman Antitrust Law is in-place to protect all businesses.

While I share Hatch’s preference for a college football playoff and admire his desire to even the playing field in NCAA sports.  I don’t think he’s got a snowballs chance in hell of making real changes to the BCS.  Perhaps he can be credited with lending a big voice to the playoff movement, but neither his objections nor the entire state of Utah’s are enough to change the BCS.  The BCS is not a system that was created to be equally fair to ever Division I university.  The BCS was created to make money for the power conferences that are the majority money makers in college football.  The major television networks are not lining up to shell out millions of dollars to get games with Utah & New Mexico State.  ESPN, Fox, etc. all want to see the marquee college football schools like Texas, Florida, Ohio State and Alabama in the big games.  Those are the teams that the large corporate sponsors want as well.  And unfortunately for Utah, money is what makes the BCS go round.  So until the television networks & corporate sponsors prefer to see smaller schools in the biggest games, the current system is unlikely to change.

Plus Senator Hatch was making his argument in the wrong place; Washington DC wasn’t the right city for this pitch.  Everyone who knows college football knows that Birmingham, Alabama is the center of the college football world.  Birmingham is, of course, the home of the SEC Conference headquarters.  Everyone knows the SEC is the straw that stirs the drink in college football.  Head on down to Alabama, Senator Hatch, then you’ll be in the right place to try to bring about change.

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