Utah sen. urges Obama to take action against BCS

Not long after the his inaugural address, President Barack Obama mentioned that he was planning to use some of his influence to get college football into a playoff system and eliminate the controversial BCS computer ranking system that is being used today to determine who plays for the National Championship.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, whose undefeated state home team was shunned from the national championship last season, is urging that Obama make a decision now rather than later in a 10-page letter where he is advocating an antitrust probe against the BCS rankings.

Hatch thinks that the BCS has a “strong case” of violating antitrust laws, stating that the system “has been designed to limit the number of teams from non-privileged conferences that will play in BCS games.”

Hatch quoted the Sherman Antitrust Act, saying the BCS constitutes a “contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce.”

Utah is not alone in the BCS controversy. USC was ranked No. 1 in the AP and USA Today polls in 2003, but was No. 3 in the BCS, so was not eligible to play in the national championship game.

In 2004, five teams ended the season undefeated — USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Utah, and Boise State. USC and Oklahoma were selected by the BCS to play in the national championship at the Orange Bowl.

This isn’t just about letting fair be fair, however; Hatch’s intentions also come down to the amount of revenue generated by bowl playing teams, and the things that that money can do to help out a school’s athletic prowess.

The hundreds of millions of dollars generated by college football “are hardly trivial sums,” according to Hatch, and that many schools use the money to fund other athletic programs.

The Justice Department said the letter would be reviewed and responded to as appropriate, and both the White House and BCS officials declined to comment.