I'm no legal expert so I am not sure what to think just looking at the situation. If you asked me, however, I'd say that the BCS is going to have its hands full in this situation. Any lawyers that can give some insight?
OT: BCS in Trouble?
Can't help with your question but did you know that Denard Robinson is REALLY FAST? Just wondering.
I think I may have read something about that here at MGoBlog in fact... not sure where though. Old Diary post maybe...
As a (relatively young and inexperienced) antitrust lawyer, I'd have to think that would be a tough but not impossible case to win. It would also take several years in the meantime, assuming it didn't get kicked out of court early.
I think hoping for an injunction in the interim (as the Utah AG was hoping for) is pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking, though. No way a judge grants an injunction with this much money at stake and with those long odds of success on the merits.
Frankly, the best thing that the average fan could reasonably hope for in the short term is that the BCS' contracts and documents are made public. They'll probably fight to keep them under seal, but that's not a done deal. With any luck, there might be something in those documents incriminating enough to put the prosecuting attorney/plaintiffs in an advantageous bargaining position.
All of that said, bottom line: don't get your hopes up.
As an older (U-M Law class of 96) but non-anti-trust lawyer, I am not impressed. But, it has been more than a few years since I took anti-trust. Subrosa - isn't the fact that the University of Utah signed an agreement creating the BCS fatal to its case?
Not to get too technical (and boring) but you can't get an injunction if money damages are available to fix the harm. At this point, that's all Utah has left. An injunction is not going to reset the clock. If the Utah AG was talking about this in late December of last year, I would give it more credit. I suspect that he will drop the case in order to work on his campaign for higher office.
Agreed on the damages/injunction, but doesn't it depend on what they're alleging as the harm? Because it seems to me that they would be seeking injunctive relief in the form of greater access to the table, yes? So the harm could be to competition in general, as opposed to Utah itself.
Again, I don't think the injunction flies regardless, but I'm just throwing that out there. Clearly, I haven't spent a ton of time thinking that through and I'm much more familiar with antitrust law in the context of private enforcement, rather than public enforcement like we'd have here.
As for your question about signing the contract, I would think they would argue some sort of coercion or fraud in the inducement or some type of breach. Of course, they'd need evidence of something like that. It's certainly a really really REALLY bad fact, but I'm not sure it's fatal, depending on the evidence. If nothing else, those law professors quoted in the article think it's a colorable claim and I'm sure they know more than I do.
Come to think of it, I'm not sure they'd have to argue fraud or breach if it's a state attorney general bringing the suit.
Hmmm. Let think about this a bit rather than go off completely half-cocked on a totally irrelevant tangent.
I was really talking more about a TRO than an injunction.
Maybe the Utah Attorney General would be representing the University as a division of the state?
I really think its just politics.
Well, I think the Utah AG could represent the people simply in his own enforcement capacity. I don't think they'd have to represent the University itself.
Regardless, I'm certain you're right about the politics. It's just probably better politics if they can make out a case that would get past a motion to dismiss.
OK. Not a lawyery type. But I smell a big, fat rat.
- First, Orrin Hatch is a fucktard. "More than half the schools have no chance of being in the championship game." Bullshit - if he would bother Googling the BCS selection procedures, he'd realize that all 120 schools have a de jure equal shot at the title game. Be #1 or #2 in the rankings. That's all it takes. It doesn't say, "Be #1 or #2 in the rankings and a member of a certain conference." There's no antitrust issue here - period.
- In fact, it seems to me the BCS could pull the rug out from under this lawsuit completely and totally simply by removing the conference autobids. The Rose Bowl wouldn't like it though, so the Rose Bowl could just pull out of the BCS. Actually if they really wanted to punk out the lawsuit, they could just remove the BCS label from the four BCS bowls and just hold a "BCS championship game" with the only criteria being #1 or #2 in the BCS rankings. The bowls would then revert to being independent nonprofits again and free to negotiate contracts with the conferences. This strikes me as far more "free market" based than the NCAA using a tournament to monopolize all the revenue. Then the antitrust whiners could congratulate themselves for busting up the monopoly, all the while most of the country fumed because the ulterior motive - playoff - is shot down.
- Third, there's this: "Abercrombie said he is tired of 'the insufferable arrogance of these BCS people. Nobody likes arrogant, condescending, patronizing types.'"
"We'll go it alone if necessary," the Utah attorney general said. "But we have the president, the Congress, and the law on our side. We'll see them in court." - if that's not arrogant, condescening, and patronizing, I don't know what is.
Not that the BCS folks are clean either - I call bullshit on their "question of neutrality" since they hold all the other football playoffs at home sites.
We need someone in Law School.
In Ann Arbor.
Maybe he could explain it.
Um - What is with the attitude?
The original post asked for a lawyer's opinion and I gave you my quick read on it. So did someone who practices in the area. To summarize - there doesn't appear to much there. It's almost always impossible to give a detailed legal opinion in ten minutes, let alone one based on a news report that mostly contains political hot air. Ask yourself this - if the guy had such a great law suit, why did he wait until now to start taling about it.
FWIW - I did go to law school, at Michigan, in Ann Arbor.
It's a joke about a former law student poster who used to bring up those facts (in law school, at Michigan, in Ann Arbor), pretty often. I'm sure he meant no offense.
For the record, I also went to law school. At the oldest law school on the west coast. On the west coast.
I meant no offense. I just like bringing up some of the ongoing/inside jokes. I do appreciate the insight.
Sorry MaizeandBlue14 - I didn't have the background. My mistake.
Ann Coulter, right? I of read all have your books
saved a lot of money on car insurance.
I am no lawyer, but I read an article awhile back (couldn't find the link) where John Swofford, ACC commish and last year's BCS commish, says that his lawyers have looked at the system and say that it complies with anti-trust laws. Maybe there is something that those lawyers missed, but, even if there is, I would figure that the BCS officials would just alter the system so that it does comply. I'm not a lawyer, though...
"if he would bother Googling the BCS selection procedures, he'd realize that all 120 schools have a de jure equal shot at the title game. Be #1 or #2 in the rankings. That's all it takes. It doesn't say, "Be #1 or #2 in the rankings and a member of a certain conference." There's no antitrust issue here - period."
That is the whole point: teams from lesser conferences can go undefeated (like Utah did twice) and not get into the game because they will not be ranked one or two. Only teams from BCS conerences get ranked one or two. And while I agree with the rankings, I also agree with their premise.
I want to see a sixteen team playoff. Let Utah and Boise State try to win four games against quality teams. If they can, they deserve to be champions.
Using last year's pre-bowl rankings (I think I found the right one, anyway) and giving the higher seeds wins for the sake of convenience, 6th seed Utah would have had to beat TCU, Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma to win it all.
Does anyone, even Utah fans, think Utah could have actually won those four games in a row? I know they would have liked to find out, but I think it would be a case of "be careful what you ask for."
Utah is definitely the mosquito floating on its back asking for the drawbridge to be raised here, but I am all for anything that could eventually result in a playoff and a true champion.
Legally speaking, Utah had precisely the same chance that Florida and Oklahoma had. Nothing you said addresses that, nor the fact that Orrin Hatch is speaking out his ass.
I still have yet to hear from anyone why playoff champion = "true champion" and not "playoff champion". I firmly believe that at least half of playoff supporters aren't really interested in a "true champion", they just think brackets are cool.