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Orrin Hatch: BCS violates antitrust laws

Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah), appears on

Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah), appears on "This Week" at the ABC Studios in Washington, D.C.. Photo Credit: AP Photo

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) continued with his push to overhaul the BCS.

In an interview on the FOX Business Network on Thursday, Hatch said it was his understanding that the Justice Department was going to investigate whether the BCS is violating U.S. antitrust laws.

"Look, 87% of the BCS money goes to the privileged conferences. That amounts to billions of dollars," Hatch said during the interview. "Only about 12% goes to the non-privileged conferences. It is very unfair and violative of the anti-trust laws."

In a letter to the NCAA earlier this week, Justice Department antitrust chief Christine Varney asked the college governing body why there isn't a playoff in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) division and what steps they are taking to develop one.

The FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly I-AA), Divison II and Division III levels all have a national playoff.

Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, only four schools from non-BCS conferences, not including Notre Dame, have earned berths to the lucrative bowls. Utah, Boise State and TCU have each made two appearances, while Hawaii has made one. 

Those four schools have compiled a 5-2 record in BCS bowls, which includes wins over Alabama, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Utah and Boise State are both 2-0 in BCS bowl games.

Notre Dame, which gets an automatic bid if it meets certain criteria, has made three appearances.

"I think the Justice Department is totally responsible in going into this and looking at it, and I don’t see how they can’t conclude anything but that this is violative of the antitrust laws," Hatch told the Fox Business Network.

The Justice Department hasn't laucned a formal investigation and may not until the NCAA responds to Varney's letter. Hatch seems to be convinced the Justice Department will begin to get involved in the near future.

"We do need to go to a playoff system that really would work like all the other sports that we have, and frankly, by doing that, it would be more fair and more balanced," Hatch said. "The unprivileged conferences would be treated more fairly and in the end I think we would have a better system.”


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