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BcS to senators: Mind your own business

Roughly two and a half months ago, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, sent a letter to BcS executive director Bill Hancock seeking clarification as to, among other things, how the cartel organization distributes revenue derived from their non-playoff system of determining a national champion.

Thursday, Hancock and the BcS responded to the March letter, and let’s just say that their response likely won’t have Hatch/Baucus calling for the Justice Department dogs to be called off anytime in the near future.

In the first paragraph of Hancock’s letter, the director, basically, tells the senators that they should mind their own business when it comes to college football.  And, if they really wanted the information sought in the initial letter, all they had to do was Google “Bowl” “Championship” “Series” “official” “website”.

I am writing in response to your March 9 letter about the Bowl Championship Series (“BCS”) arrangement. While I appreciate your interest, I believe that decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress. Of course, as you can imagine, we are always happy to talk about the benefits that the BCS has brought to this vibrant game, and we welcome this opportunity to provide additional information to you. Please note that much of the information that you have requested is available at and was provided to members of Congress during hearings last spring and summer.

(You can almost smell the smarm seeping through your screen at this very moment, can’t you?)

Hancock then went on to address the senators’ main point of contention, the distribution of revenues derived from the BcS.

On more than one occasion, Hancock noted that the non-automatic qualifying conferences — Mountain West, WAC, MAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA — had decided to pool all of the money so graciously given to them by the benevolent BcS and divide it amongst the five non-AQs.

The Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain WestConference and Western Athletic Conference (the “non-AQ conferences”) have elected to pool their revenue and distribute it under a formula that they have developed. That is solely their decision. The non-AQ conferences have the details of this arrangement. …

Your made reference to discrepancies in news accounts; those probably are related to the revenue-distribution plan that the five non-automatic qualifying conferences have adopted. …

If it qualifies automatically for a BCS game, a team from a conference without annual automatic-qualifying status will bring approximately $24.7 million (18% of net revenue) to its conference next season. A team from an automatic-qualifying conference will bring approximately $21.2 million net to its conference. The funds are distributed to the conferences, which then allocate their shares of the revenue according to their own revenue-sharing agreements.

Of course, that $24.7 million is divided amongst five leagues and nearly sixty schools, while each automatic qualifying conference receives $17.7 million — $22.2 million if two schools receive BcS bids — to split up amongst anywhere from eight to 12 schools, which I believe is the point of contention for Hatch and his supporters.  And I don’t believe the Utah senator will care that it was the five non-AQ conferences that decided to divvy up the BcS money this way; his point is the inequity in how the funds are initially disbursed.

Hancock also decided to use Hatch’s own Utes as a way to drive home the BcS’ message, that it’s the five non-AQs that are screwing themselves, not the BcS.  And that, without the the utter grace the BcS bestowed upon their lowly institution, Utah would’ve been playing in a lower tier — re: lower-paying — bowl game during their undefeated run in 2008.

For example, if the University of Utah qualifies for a BCS game in the 2010-11 season, it will earn for its conference approximately $24.7 million which, under the agreement among the Mountain West and the other four non-AQ conferences, would then be divided among the five conferences. The Mountain West certainly could keep all $24.7 million within the conference, or Utah could keep it all. The decision to share the revenue–and how to allocate it–was made, not by the full group of 11 BCS conferences, or by the six conferences that have earned annual automatic qualification, but by the five non-AQ conferences.

An example worth noting is that, if the BCS had not existed, Utah probably would have played in the Las Vegas Bowl in the 2008-09 season. Because of the BCS, the Utes played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl instead. The payment from the Las Vegas Bowl was approximately $900,000; for participating in the Sugar Bowl, the Mountain West’s share–after the five conferences divided the revenue–was $9 million. Obviously, the difference is significant.

The letter went on to say blah blah blahblah blah blah…

If you so desire, you can read the letter in its entirety right HERE.  As for myself, I feel the need to kneel before some porcelain.  Pardon me…

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8 Responses to “BcS to senators: Mind your own business”
  1. BigD88 says: May 20, 2010 7:20 PM

    It is my sincere desire that Mr. Bill Hancock walks down a sidewalk tomorrow, trips, falls, and breaks his nose.
    The BS is a joke and I can’t wait until we can finally have a legitimate playoff system determine a true national champion.

  2. rolltide says: May 20, 2010 9:46 PM

    Playoffs in the current conferences would be a joke. A playoff requires parity. There is no parity of any kind between the non-AQ conferences and the big conferences. Arguments to the contrary are ridiculous. The solution is for teams like Boise and Utah to join real conferences.

  3. DCroz says: May 20, 2010 9:54 PM

    There will always be controversy surrounding how the BCS goes about crowning its national champion, but one thing is for certain: Congress (and especially “Borin’ Orrin” Hatch) needs to keep its nose out of it.
    Really, does anyone think that Hatch would give a tinker’s damn about this issue if it was someone else besides his beloved Utes who has had two perfect seasons in the last six years and not even an appearance in the BCS Championship Game to show for it, let alone a title? This seems to me much more like Hatch going for the cheap populist route to getting votes while Rome continues to burn with all the other more important issues confronting the country today. Yes, Congress did get it right when it came to shining a light on baseball’s dirty little secret with performance-enhancing drugs, but there’s nothing being hidden here–unless it may be some payoffs to members of Congress, or asking for some, anyway.
    Hatch and the rest of his cronies on Capitol Hill need to focus on the economic issues that are gripping the country right now, rather than fiddling with the economics of college football. Besides, as long as the fans continue to buy their tickets and tune in their TVs, then they at least tacitly support it. Stop watching, and then they’ll start listening.

  4. BigD88 says: May 20, 2010 10:13 PM

    rolltide, so Boise State can’t beat Oklahoma?
    Utah can’t beat your very own Crimson Tide?
    Last I checked both of those teams did just that.
    I don’t know the specifics of the money distribution etc. and quite frankly I don’t care.
    As a college football fan who loves the game I want teams like Utah, Boise State, and TCU to have a fair shot.
    Or even someone like Auburn who was left out of the Championship game a few years back.
    And get over the whole “Capitol Hill should focus on economics” argument. They deal with plenty of issues each day and not all of them deal with the economy. Most of them don’t.
    They can walk and chew gum.

  5. WingT says: May 21, 2010 12:21 AM

    The entire landscape is about to change once the Big 10 expands. Their will be a rippling effect throughout the other conferences and we could easily end up with 6 Super conferences representing 1/2 of all of the teams. Each of these conferences will have playoff / conference championship games and thus, the first round of playoffs/elimination.
    Its all gonna work out fine and we will need the BCS …just MHO

  6. Pier588 says: May 21, 2010 8:18 AM

    BigD88 – excellent points of view and well said, thank you.
    “Congress (and especially “Borin’ Orrin” Hatch) needs to keep its nose out of it.”
    I disagree – Hatch’s driving force may be the BcS dissing of “his beloved Utes”; at the same time, as an elected offical, he is supposed to be for the people – all the people collectively; not just the big money mongering big guys (BcS).
    The BcS is a legal farce put together by the “haves” in CFB (big 5 conferences) and specifically engineered so the “have nots (little guys lke Utah and Boise State)” are going to be shut out of the title game in all but the most unique set of circumstances lining up for one of them to make the big game.
    There is absolutely no sound reason to NOT have a playoff in Div I college football other than the BcS doesn’t want to because they have their milking machines firmly attached to the cash cow known as the Bowls.
    “Hatch and the rest of his cronies on Capitol Hill need to focus on the economic issues that are gripping the country right now, rather than fiddling with the economics of college football.”
    Blah, blah, blah – what a lame, cop out, opinion.
    This issue is about equality – a corner stone of foundation of our government. Your stance indicates to me you are NOT for equality in America and prefer instead, to continue keeping the little guy down and in his place.
    I find it refreshing that Washington politicians (including the top guy) are taking an interest in CFB playoffs and trying to “throw their weight around a little” when it comes to this issue.
    “Stop watching, and then they’ll start listening.”
    Not realistic – it may take an act of congress but the BcS needs to be forced into doing what’s right for all teams involved – not just half of them – or it will never happen.

  7. SoFlaTrojan says: May 21, 2010 8:28 AM

    Nice post!

  8. Brainiacs now calling for DOJ to probe BcS ‘cartel’ | CollegeFootballTalk says: Apr 13, 2011 1:03 PM

    […] In most cases, the BcS brushed off the calls for a change by suggesting that the government, in essence, minds its own business. […]

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