Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has been gearing up for an antitrust lawsuit aimed at bringing down the Bowl Championship Series for quite some time now, and this week he made his pitch to what could prove to be a very powerful friend in his fight against the BCS: the U.S. Justice Department. The administration of president Barack Obama --- who of course famously stated that he would support a playoff in college football -- has already been mulling over an investigation into the fairness of the BCS system. If Shurtleff has his way, that mulling over will become action and the BCS could be facing federal antitrust violations.
But as this report from the Salt Lake Tribune helps illustrate, if Shurtleff doesn't get federal help, the lawsuit will likely never get off the ground. Finding the funding to bring such a high-profile suit is proving to be difficult:
Further, the climate for pursuing such a case is growing harsher by the day. Shurtleff first began his crusade in the wake of his home-state Utah program getting shut out of title consideration after their undefeated 2008 run, but since then the Utes have become part of the BCS's landed gentry themselves by accepting a Pac-12 invitation; his constituency may not support his cause with the fervor they once did, another reason he may need the support of the Justic Department.
Shurtleff said Utah couldn’t cover the costs of the litigation on its own, which is why he has repeatedly reached out to attorneys general from other states and sent a detailed legal brief to the Justice Department six months ago.
He believes the Justice Department would be in a better position to push the issues because AGs from around the nation often represent the major universities in their states and it is the college presidents who make up the BCS.
“Potentially the defendants are your own clients,” Shurtleff said.
Beyond that, with both Boise State and the winner of Saturday's mega-clash between Utah and TCU highly likely to play in BCS bowls (and reap BCS cash) this season, non-AQ access to the BCS has never been greater. Shurtleff claims of a potential non-AQ team playing in the national game that ...
“There is no scenario whatsoever where it can happen under the current regime,” he said. “It can not happen.”But this is simply, patently false; a scenario in which Oregon loses or the SEC champion has two losses could do the trick before the year is out.
Should the Ducks win out and either undefeated Auburn or a one-loss Alabama squeeze the unblemished Broncos, Frogs, or Utes out of the title game, Shurtleff will have a point. It will not be fair to continue to reward perfect seasons by established non-AQ powers with seats at the metaphorical kiddie table. But fair or not, neither the political climate nor the climate surrounding college football seems conducive right now to forcing BCS change at the point of a knife.
HT: GTP .