The Quest for Number One in College Football: The Revised Bowl Championship Series, Antitrust, and the Winner Take All Syndrome
24 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2015 Last revised: 11 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2008
Beyond the varying opinions and critiques of the BCS, a more fundamental issue regarding the system is whether it is legal. Specifically, does it violate the antitrust laws? This is not a specious question. The Senate Judiciary Committee conducted hearings on the legality of the BCS in October 2003, and the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection conducted similar hearings in December 2005. Another important aspect of the BCS is its prominent place as a visual symptom of America's "winner-take-all" society. Is extreme competition, where everyone strives to be the best but very few actually achieve that goal, a good thing for our society? Is our cultural predilection for excessive competition helpful or harmful to individual initiative, achievement, and satisfaction? These two fundamental issues, the legality of the BCS and the larger cultural issue regarding the "winner-take-all" society are symmetrical in a way. The initial question is whether the BCS stands as an abuse of accepted methods of economic competition as regulated by the antitrust laws, while the second issue focuses more broadly on whether the BCS is symptomatic of the excesses of competition in our society at large.
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