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Third and Extremely Long: Why the Elimination of the BCS Seems All But Impossible | Author: Brad Taconi

Third and Extremely Long: Why the Elimination of the BCS Seems All But Impossible | Author: Brad Taconi

On January 8, 2009, the University of Florida Gators defeated the University of Oklahoma Sooners in Miami, Florida to win the Bowl Championship Series (“BCS”) Championship Game. As a result of their victory, the Gators were named the Associated Press National Champions after capturing forty eight out of a possible sixty five first place votes. The win on the football field gave the Gators their second national championship in three seasons, but it also reignited a debate about the inherent fairness of the BCS system: whether the BCS violates antitrust law, and whether the federal government should interject and force the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) to create a system in which a national champion is determined in a different manner. In the months leading up to the 2009 BCS Championship Game, college football pundits, internet bloggers, sports reporters, politicians, and President Barack Obama all extolled the virtues and the follies of implementing a playoff system in college football and eliminating the BCS. Arising out of these discussions and the incongruent results on the football field, three separate bills have been introduced into the House of Representatives with the goal of each bill being to help bring an end to the BCS and to implement a playoff system for Division IA college football. This paper will seek to identify and discuss two primary issues as well as answer follow up questions that arise throughout. The first issue to be discussed is whether the BCS and the NCAA have violated any antitrust laws and, if they have, whether or not it is beneficial to put these anticompetitive practices to rest as a practical matter. The second issue revolves around whether Congressional mandates would solve the perceived problems and force major college football to determine its national champion through a playoff.

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