Sen. Hatch Talks BcS With CFT

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In what is either a signal that CFT’s move to NBC Sports has brought about some credibility to this website or one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse — there’s a definite lean toward the latter — we were able, via e-mail, to do a Q & A with Senator Orrin Hatch, the congressman from Utah who will head today’s Senate hearing regarding the Bowl Championship Series.

Sen. Hatch has been up-front and very public in questioning the fairness and, yes, legality, of the current system that crowns a national champion.  Ahead of a hearing entitled “”The Bowl Championship Series: Is it Fair and in Compliance with Antitrust Law?”, the senator was gracious enough to answer a few questions regarding the BcS, his reasoning behind the call for a hearing, and what may or may not come out of yet another face-to-face with those responsible for the current system.

CFT: What led you to call for these hearings and what do you hope to accomplish on July 7? 

Sen. Hatch: I called for the hearings because I believe there are a lot of legal and fairness issues surrounding the BCS. Most significantly, it creates inherent disadvantages for those conferences that don’t receive automatic bids. Nearly half of the all the teams in college football are left to share relatively small amounts of BCS revenue, while the teams from the six automatic-bid conferences each have a share in a much larger pot – even if they don’t win a single game. The BCS is currently attempting to extend the status quo – the same status quo that Members of Congress, the President, and millions of fans throughout the country have complained about – for an additional four years. All the Division I conferences have been told they have to sign the contract by July 9. I hope the hearing will shed some light on the legal issues surrounding the BCS, specifically, whether it violates Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. 

CFT: Could what transpires during that hearing potentially lead you further down the road toward a line of thinking that legislation might be the only way of fixing the inequities of the current system? 

Sen. Hatch: I hope we don’t have to get to that point, but I am considering legislation. I haven’t introduced it yet, but I hope to be able to work with my colleagues to examine this issue thoroughly to make sure we can come up with an appropriate approach if it is called for. This hearing may be helpful toward that end. 

CFT: In a recent newspaper interview, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor and chairman of the BcS Presidential Oversight Committee Harvey Perlman warned that the demise of the current system would lead to a return to the old bowl system, not a playoff. I would just like your thoughts on what comes very close to being a “threat” by one of the most powerful men in the organization.

Sen. Hatch: I don’t know if that’s a threat from Mr. Perlman or if that’s just his opinion. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that the schools involved in the BCS would forego the increased revenues they’ve received under the BCS by reverting back to the old system. I think there’s an alternative out there that will address the revenue and market issues raised by the BCS’s proponents that’s also fair and legal. I’m not interested in getting Congress involved in the minute details of a new system. One thing’s for certain, the current BCS system is fundamentally unfair; I don’t think there’s any real fan of college football who disputes this. Something needs to be done as the status quo isn’t working and there are plenty of other options that are successful elsewhere but have not been tried before in college football. 

CFT: Also in a recent interview, current BcS coordinator Jim Swofford was quoted as saying the following:”The BCS is voluntary. If a conference decided it did not want to be a part of the BCS there is certainly no requirement that it do so. Obviously if certain conferences said they were not going to be a part of it, that could be a factor in its continuation–depending on which conferences, that is.”Isn’t that an express admission that the BcS is all about a handful of conferences, and thus a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act? That while technically included, unless a conference is part of the Big Six — or, more likely, Big Four — their presence is merely an act of appeasement and they do not want those “lesser” conferences to realize the full benefits of BcS membership? 

Sen. Hatch: There are most definitely antitrust issues involved here. I’ve argued from the beginning that the system is specifically designed to favor some conferences and disfavor others. I think that the antitrust laws are designed to prevent such arrangements among what are supposed to be competitors. These are the issues we’ll be addressing in today’s hearing.  

CFT: Do you have a specific playoff plan that you would like to see instituted?

Sen. Hatch: I, like most college football fans, would like to see a playoff system, but it is my hope that the people with the power to reform the BCS system will do so without government involvement. Almost anything would be better than the current system. However, I don’t think it’s Congress’s place to devise its own playoff format. 

CFT: What will be your next step following this hearing? Is it entirely dependent on what you hear from all the parties involved? 

Sen. Hatch: First, I expect that we’ll get a clearer picture of the BCS problem from the hearings and, as a result, I think there’s a decent chance the Justice Department will look into the system. We may also see private litigation at some point down the line, and, as I said, I’m considering legislation to address this problem too. However, it’s not my desire to have the Senate regulating college football nor have the matter taken to the courts, so hopefully it will not have to get to that point.

CFT: How do you answer the criticism from some in the media that “Congress has better things to do” than meddle in college football? 

Sen. Hatch: Well, if there are antitrust violations going on here, and I think there very well may be, should we ignore them simply because they involve college football? If Congress were to ignore a similar unfair business arrangement in another industry, I think many of these same people would claim that we were shirking our responsibility. With the BCS, we’re dealing with colleges and universities. Should we be holding them to a lower standard than we would hold a purely commercial business? If anything, I think that standard should be higher.

Report: Jim Delany to retire as B1G commish in 2020

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  Commissioner of The Big Ten Conference Jim Delany speaks at The Big Ten Network Kick Off Party at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 26, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Wink Public Relations)
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One of the most powerful men in collegiate athletics is nearing the end of his reign.

During his time at the podium during Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, commissioner Jim Delany hinted very strongly that he would not be around when the conference’s new media rights deal expires in 2022.  In fact, the 68-year-old commish sounded fairly positive that he’ll be somewhere other than the league’s headquarters in Rosemont, Ill., when that deal comes up for negotiations.

“I have a lot of energy and a lot of interest in what’s going on in the college space today,” Delany said. “I will be around for a bit. Whether I’m around here for six years is probably a little bit beyond how I see it.”

A short time later, Nicole Auerbach of USA Today, citing a person with direct knowledge of the situation, reported that Delany will step down in 2020.  Jut when in 2020 Delany would ceded control after more than three decades on the job isn’t clear.

Delany took over as commissioner of the conference in 1989.  Arguably his greatest accomplishment in that role was helping the league to develop the Big Ten Network, an in-house ATM that has helped the conference stay in step with the SEC financially.

During his tenure, he also helped shepherd the Big ten through the maze of expansion, first with Penn State in the early nineties and then with Nebraska in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers three years later.

Marshall announces dismissal of LB Raheim Huskey

HUNTINGTON, WV - SEPTEMBER 6: Raheim Huskey #45 of the Marshall Thundering Herd celebrates in the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on September 6, 2015 in Huntington, West Virginia. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The up-and-down playing career of Raheim Huskey, at least in Huntington, has officially come to an end.

Marshall announced in a press release that Huskey has been dismissed from the Thundering Herd by head coach Doc Holliday. The only reason given was “a violation of team rules and policies.

The dismissal is the latest misstep/setback for the middle linebacker.

Projected as the starter heading into summer camp last year, Huskey was leapfrogged on the depth chart by Devontre’a Tyler. Then, in October, Huskey was indefinitely suspended for unspecified violations of team rules. He was reinstated and returned to the team in time to participate in spring practice earlier this year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman in 2013, Huskey played in 20 games the past two seasons. He played in seven last season prior to his suspension.

In the 2014 Conference USA championship game, Huskey, starting place of the injured Jermaine Holmes, was credited with eight tackles and 2.5 sacks in the win over Louisiana Tech.

Ole Miss’ Charles Wiley arrested on domestic violence charge

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels and team enter the field before playing against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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As if Ole Miss didn’t have enough off-field issues with which to deal, now this situation pops up.

According to online jail records first obtained by HottyToddy.com, Charles Wiley was arrested Monday evening and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence.  A female was arrested on the same charge as well.

No details of what led to the arrests have been divulged.  The defensive lineman posted bond and was released from the Lafayette County Jail late this morning.  According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Wiley is scheduled to appear in court next month.

In a statement sent to the media, head coach Hugh Freeze indicated that Wiley “is being withheld from all team activities” as the program gathers more information.

“We are aware of the situation and recognize the proper authorities responsible for the matter,” the statement began. “Charles is being withheld from all team activities while the process moves forward. We take incidents like this very seriously and will make decisions once the course of actions is complete.”

A four-star member of Ole Miss’ 2016 recruiting class, Wiley was rated as the No. 20 weakside defensive end in the country.  He was an early enrollee who participated in spring practice earlier this year, and had been expected to be a part of the line rotation this season.

Texas transfer Ryan Newsome to choose between Ariz. St., Mich. St.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  A Michigan State Spartans helmet on the bench during a college football game against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on November 15, 2014 in College Park, Maryland.  The Spartans won 37-15.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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And then there were two.

A week ago, Ryan Newsome took to Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Texas.  A couple of days later, the wide receiver revealed that he already has a Top Six list: Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and USC.

Over the weekend, Newsome revealed he had whittled that list down to the Spartans and Sun Devils.

In an interview with the Lansing State Journal late last week, Newsome stated that MSU was “the first school to reach out to me” after his transfer decision was announced. Newsome is expected to visit both campuses before making a final decision.

Regardless of where he lands, Newsome will be forced to sit out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He’d then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Newsome was a four-star member of the Longhorns’ 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country and the No. 32 player at any position in the talent-rich state of Texas. As a true freshman last season, Newsome caught four passes for 23 yards.