College football: BCS system blatantly unfair, attorney says

Published: Monday, Oct. 5 2015 4:13 a.m. MDT

WASHINGTON — The Bowl Championship Series folks opened the organization's books a little and it revealed much of what is already alleged by critics: The system is blatantly unfair, according to Washington attorney Alan Fishel, who represents several parties impacted by the BCS.

"The BCS has recently revealed certain information regarding how the system operates, which I believe highlights just a few of the many significant concerns with the current scheme.

"But there is far more that needs to be publicly understood about the BCS, both with respect to revenue and access. A (See revenue discrimination chart) is meant to begin the process of shining light on what is occurring, and will continue to occur, under the BCS unless there are significant changes."

This past week, BCS executive director Bill Hancock, in an open letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, justified revenue discrimination in college football because of inherent equity and tradition earned by the six automatic qualifying BCS conferences.

"But the facts tell a far different story," said Fishel.

The chart shows that in the past four years the major bowl games involving the Mountain West and WAC teams on average have had higher television ratings and larger game attendance than the major bowl games involving two of the automatic qualifying conferences, the ACC and the Big East.

Additionally, the Mountain West and WAC teams playing in such games were on average higher ranked than the teams from the ACC and Big East playing in such games. Yet the Mountain West and WAC have received for their participation in such games only about half of the revenue received by the ACC and Big East for their participation.

"Also, contrary to the BCS's recent claims regarding the Mountain West, the Mountain West did not voluntarily forgo retaining revenue that it received under this system. In the coming weeks, we will be providing further details regarding why my colleagues and I believe the BCS scheme violates U.S. law and harms universities, student-athletes and the public," said Fishel.

e-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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