• Hatch wants Justice. And Fairness. And Approval would be nice, too. Though he dropped the vaguely McCarthy-like rhetoric in his earlier broadsides against the BCS, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch still packed a wallop from the podium when the BCS came before an antitrust subcommittee on Wednesday, imploring the Justice Department to investigate the BCS for violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Essentially, the Sherman act prohibits agreements to restrain trade or commerce, and Hatch believes the BCS does just that:
"The purposeful disparities in funding created by the BCS ensures that schools in privileged conferences, even those whose football teams are not all that competitive, enjoy advantages in offering scholarships and providing staff and facilities for all their athletic programs," stated Hatch. "The increased visibility that accompanies automatic qualification into a BCS game guarantees that the teams from outside conferences face disadvantages with regard to recruiting players and hiring top coaches."
The long-term fallout depends on what the Justice Department considers the "appropriate" response -- an investigation and subsequent lawsuit, already being pushed by Utah attorney general (and senate hopeful) Mark Shurtleff, would presumably take years to wind its way through the system, in an environment where most people would clearly rather the federal government spend scarce money and manpower in pursuit of more obvious criminals and scapegoats. But more immediately, the short-term consequence (other than to remind everyone of why the BCS and Congress are hated in roughly even measures) could be the little guys taking their ball and going home when it comes to the new TV deal with ESPN:
Boise State would not be eligible for the lucrative Bowl Championship Series after the 2010 regular season if WAC and Mountain West presidents decide not to sign a new deal by Thursday afternoon.
The 18 presidents must decide whether to join all Division I-A football leagues in the powerful postseason bowl coalition, or risk millions and more in hopes of changing the system to improve access and payouts for their schools.
It probably goes without saying that withholding signatures is "considered a long shot," but presidents from both conferences are meeting in separate conference calls today to weigh the possibility of going off the grid, and Boise State president Bob Kustra, at least, said "it might be a risk worth taking" to prompt swifter reform. Just as likely, the bigger leagues will remain seated while wishing the poorly leveraged rebels good luck.
• South Carolina wants simulations. And per diems. And permission to have a snack would be nice, too. A recent open records request has revealed that South Carolina reported 14 secondary violations over the past six months, including three by the football team. Two of the three football violations were "Level 1" infractions, meaning that they were sent directly to the NCAA for review instead of to the SEC. The two Level 1s were for showing recruits a "display" that uses the epic theme music from 2001: A Space Odyssey and smoke machines to simulate the game-day entrance into Williams-Brice Stadium and a coach returning a text message from an unrecognized number that just happened to belong to a recruit.
The best part? One of the 14 violations was due to student athletes being provided "impermissible snacks." What were these athletes eating to incur the wrath of the NCAA? Fruit. Bagels. And in between meal times! The horror.
The rule is apparently that schools can choose to either (1) feed their athletes whatever they want when they travel and forgo a per diem, or (2) give them a per diem of $45 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and no extra food. These guys got the per diem and a bagel. And a banana! Shame on them. Shame!
Quickly ... Ole Miss has entered into an agreement with Union Square Sports and Entertainment, TruTV, and Granada Productions to develop a "made for television authentic show entitled Gridiron U" about the Ole Miss football team. ... Felony theft charges against Arkansas Razorback Lavunce Askew have been dropped, as the victim signed an affidavit saying the whole thing was just a misunderstanding. ... Washington running backs Brandon Johnson and David Freeman will miss the 2009 season after being ruled academically ineligible. ... Paul Finebaum is stirring up the stink. Again. ... The suspension of South Carolina Gamecock C.C. Whitlock, triggered by an arrest at a nightclub back in May, has been lifted, but Whitlock still must get back into Steve Spurrier's good graces before he can rejoin the football team. ... Rugters and UCLA will have a home-and-home series beginning in 2016. ... Riley Cooper, a wide receiver for Florida's football team and an outfielder for its baseball team, has until Aug. 17 to determine whether to drop one sport for the other. ... The Florida-Georgia game on Oct. 31 will kick off at 3:30 on CBS. ... Tommy Rees' commitment to Notre Dame gives the Irish their 11th commitment and second QB in the class of 2010. ... Tickets for the Sept. 5 game between Alabama and Virginia Tech will not be made available to the public at large because each school sold its entire allotment of 31,200 tickets. ... Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul will enter pretrial diversion and pay a $150 fine after pleading guilty to reckless driving. ... And black unis at Tennessee? Not bloody likely, says athletic director Mike Hamilton.