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Friday, January 14, 2011
Even More on Antitrust Law and the BCS

While Monday evening's BCS National Championship Game commanded much of the college football world's attention this week, the antitrust implications of the Bowl Championship Series continued to make news as well. Specifically, as reported by several media outlets, the law firm of Arent Fox -- legal counsel to Boise State University and the Mountain West Conference on matters relating to antitrust law and the BCS -- recently submitted a report to the United States Department of Justice arguing that the BCS violates federal antitrust law. The Justice Department is presently deciding whether to launch a formal antitrust investigation of the BCS.

The Arent Fox report sets out to debunk 22 common arguments advanced in support of the BCS, ranging from the assertion that a playoff would damage college football's regular season, to the issue of whether consumer welfare is sufficiently implicated by the BCS to warrant an antitrust lawsuit. The report concludes that the BCS does in fact violate antitrust law, and urges the Justice Department to launch a formal investigation.

To read the Arent Fox report click here. For other takes on the legality of the BCS under antitrust law, please see my article "Antitrust & The Bowl Championship Series," as well as Michael McCann's "Antitrust, Governance, and Postseason College Football."


That's a pretty good breakdown, though I would have focused more on the pure logic-avenue analysis of the computers' role in the rankings -- the report mentions that margin of victory is excluded, but the fact the formulas are a) secret and b) held to no quantitative scrutiny are the ones I focus on (and focused on in my "The way it is" video which was once and should soon again be on YouTube). The fact one of the computer algorithms used in the BCS utilizes last season's performance alone is a major problem against which even BCS supporters should rally.

Regardless, I applaud your attention to this topic!

Anonymous Tim Burke -- 1/14/2011 12:50 PM  

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