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Sen. Orrin Hatch unsatisfied with the BCS response

Published: Saturday, May 22 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

Orrin Hatch

Stan Honda, Associated Press

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Suffice it to say that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, didn't appreciate the response he received Thursday from Bill Hancock, Bowl Championship Series executive director.

Hancock responded to an inquiry that Hatch and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., sent in March, asking for an explanation about how the BCS is run and the organization's lack of fairness when it comes to nonautomatic qualifying schools like Utah and BYU.

In part, Hancock wrote, "While I appreciate your interest, I believe that decisions about college football could be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress."

Hatch was frustrated by Hancock's unwillingness to address the issue in a straightforward fashion, calling some of his arguments "absurd."

Said Hatch: "Today, the BCS simply confirmed what most fans of college football have known for some time — that the BCS system is biased, secretive and harmful to schools and competitors. Our letter gave them an opportunity to reply with openness and transparency about how the BCS system actually works. In response, we got an arrogant rebuke and a series of incomplete and evasive answers to simple questions.

"I agree that university presidents and conference commissioners should be able to make the proper decisions regarding college football," Hatch continued. "The problem is that the small number of privileged schools that participate in the closed system have been unwilling to provide students, athletes and fans with what they deserve — a fair, unbiased system like the kind they have in literally every other NCAA sport. No one wants to see Congress get involved here, including me. But if this response is any indication, there may not be any other option."

Hatch said Hancock's response failed to answer simple questions about how the BCS works.

"Mr. Hancock simply glossed over the BCS's revenue disparities, implying that unprivileged conferences like the Mountain West Conference or the WAC have voluntarily chosen to accept less money than privileged conferences when they send a team to a BCS game. That's just absurd, and everyone knows it. It's the BCS system that says each of the six favored conferences receive a share of revenues while the disfavored conferences are forced to divide a single share among themselves, even when they send the exact same number of teams to BCS games. Compared to the tournament systems used to crown the champion of every other NCAA sport, the BCS system is woefully unfair, and his letter confirms the system is closed and secretive to boot."

One of the questions Hatch posed to Hancock regarded how the BCS determines its computer rankings. Hancock explained that the exact computer formulas could not be divulged.

Hatch said Hancock "all but admits in the letter that he doesn't know precisely what data is used to formulate the BCS' computer rankings. If the computer formulas are there to make sure the system is objective, why are they kept confidential and why does the BCS's own administrator refuse to provide fans with more detail?"

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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