Mountain West Conference Concedes to BCS, For Now

July 10, 2009

This week’s hearing about the Bowl Championship Series on Capitol Hill may have been much ado about nothing. After its officials argued before Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Republican from Utah, that the method by which the college football national champion is determined violates federal antitrust law, the Mountain West Conference has agreed to sign a contract extension to keep the system in place for another five years. Conference officials argued that the BCS unfairly limits the access of teams from lower-profile conferences to the national title game and pushed replacing the current system with an eight-team playoff. ESPN reports that the Mountain West Conference was the last of the 11 conferences in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association to sign a deal that gives ESPN the right to televise BCS games until 2014. Michael K. Young, president of the University of Utah and chair of the Mountain West Conference Board of Directors, conceded in a statement that the conference had “no choice at this time but to sign the agreement” because its “good faith initiatives to generate reform have thus far not been accepted.” He maintained, however, that the conference would continue to push for BCS reform and the creation of what he called “an equitable system.”

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