BCS responds to Hatch/Baucus letter

In a letter responding to U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Executive Director Bill Hancock today stated his strong belief that decisions about college football should be left to people in higher education. He also discussed how the BCS has created new revenues for all Football Bowl Subdivision colleges and universities, and specifically for schools in the conferences that do not have automatic qualification. This year, the non-AQ conferences received a record $24 million from the 2010 BCS games for their schools.

The five-page single-spaced letter, which included two attachments totaling six more pages, was in response to a letter sent by the Senators to the BCS group earlier this year. Much of the information in the letter has been in the public domain. Click here to link directly to the complete Hancock letter.

"While I appreciate your interest, I believe that decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress," said Hancock in the letter.

Hancock also addressed the issue of revenue distribution by illustrating how Utah and the Mountain West Conference have specifically benefited from their voluntary participation in the BCS arrangement.

"For example, if the University of Utah qualifies for a BCS game in the 2010-11 season, it will earn for its conference approximately $24.7 million which, under the agreement among the Mountain West and the other four non-AQ conferences, would then be divided among the five conferences," wrote Hancock. "The Mountain West certainly could keep all $24.7 million within the conference, or Utah could keep it all. The decision to share the revenue – and how to allocate it – was made, not by the full group of 11 BCS conferences, or by the six conferences that have earned annual automatic qualification, but by the five non-AQ conferences."

"An example worth noting is that, if the BCS had not existed, Utah probably would have played in the Las Vegas Bowl in the 2008-09 season. Because of the BCS, the Utes played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl instead. The payment from the Las Vegas Bowl was approximately $900,000; for participating in the Sugar Bowl, the Mountain West's share—after the five conferences divided the revenue—was $9 million. Obviously, the difference is significant," continued Hancock.

The letter also included information about the competition for annual automatic qualifying conference status, the BCS structure and governance, and the process for compiling the BCS standings, among other subjects.