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SBD/Issue 201/Collegiate Sports
Hatch, BCS Officials Debate Playoff System At Senate Hearing
Published July 8, 2009
|Hatch Encourages Investigation To See
If BCS Violates Federal Antitrust Laws
Quick Hits: Top quotes, statements and exchanges from yesterday’s hearing.
Hatch: "There is an arrogance to the BCS that just drives me nuts. That comes with power; they have the power, and they are exercising it.”
Hatch: "Let's take last year's Utah team. What more could they have done to play their way into a national championship game?"
|Perlman Tries To Avoid
Being Disrespectful Of Utah
Hatch: "And you don't want to be, in this room."
Perlman: "They could've played the schedule Nebraska played last year."
Hatch: "Well, they played a lot of big-time teams."
Later Hatch said, "The team that finished at the bottom of the Pac-10, which didn't win a single game last year, was guaranteed, before the season even started, to receive more BCS revenues than the University of Utah, I think the one school which finished the season as the only undefeated team in college football. Now, tell me how that result can be justified?"
Perlman: "These relationships reflect not only the strength of the team, but the depth of strength in a conference."
Univ. of Utah President Michael Young: “The BCS is perpetuating an unfair system."
Young: "Without a doubt, the BCS embraces favoritism, rather than fairness."
Young: “The BCS system, with its stranglehold on college football, sends the message that economic power, rather than athletic ability, is key to success.”
Young said to Perlman at one time, "I do appreciate the tremendous football team that Nebraska fields, and wish that they were willing to play us."
Hatch: “There -- you have the challenge!"
Perlman: "I'll report to Athletic Director Osborne when I get back."
Hatch: "You tell Osborne I want a University of Utah game here."
MWC attorney Barry Brett: “The BCS is a naked restraint imposed by a self appointed cartel which has exercised its power to limit games and prevent a playoff in order to preserve for its members access to participation in the five BCS Bowl games and the related revenues."
Brett: "Public and private colleges and universities which desperately need equal access to the enormous revenues of post-season college football are suffering."
BCS attorney William Monts III: “Antitrust criticism of the BCS from those who supposedly favor the interests of the conferences without annual automatic berths, with all due respect, makes no athletic or economic sense."
Perlman: “Athletic departments are no different from any other university department. Some are simply better than others for historical reasons or natural advantages. I am not aware, however, of any legal means to change that reality.”
Perlman: “I appreciate that that may seem unfair and it may very well be unfair. That’s the way the world is, I’m afraid.”
WASTE OF TIME: ESPN.com's Heather Dinich noted the "point of this hearing was to help determine whether the BCS is really breaking any antitrust laws, and that question was debated and left unanswered" (ESPN.com, 7/7). In DC, Dana Milbank notes "few in the Senate shared Hatch's enthusiasm for taking on the BCS." Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) "took his seat 47 minutes into the hearing, then left three minutes later without saying a word," while the only other Congress member to participate, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), "left after the opening statements." Hatch, "enjoying the rare chance for a member of the minority party to lead" a Senate hearing, "portrayed the BCS spat as a civil rights issue" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/8). In L.A., Kristina Sherry notes yesterday marked Congress' "second look at the BCS this session, and the fourth hearings since the BCS' inception" (L.A. TIMES, 7/8). ESPN’s Colin Cowherd said, “Let sports take care of sports. This is a charade" (“SportsNation,” ESPN2, 7/7).