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Thursday, June 2, 2011
Updated: June 7, 6:42 PM ET
Statement by Bill Hancock on discussions with Department of Justice regarding Bowl Championship Series

Bowl Championship Series -- June 2, 2011

"Late last week staff attorneys at the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) contacted me to request a voluntary background briefing on how the BCS operates. I told them I would be happy to provide it.

"The briefing will occur sometime this summer. No specific date has been set.

"The BCS was carefully created with antitrust laws in mind, and I am confident that it is fully compliant with those laws. It has improved competition by delivering a national championship game between the two top-ranked teams, which only rarely existed before the BCS. It has also dramatically increased access to top-tier bowl games for schools from non-AQ conferences. I look forward to a conversation with the attorneys at the Justice Department."

Background

Among the benefits of the BCS:

Delivering a national championship game: Before the formation of the BCS, the Associated Press's Nos. 1 and 2 teams met in bowl games only 11 times in 62 seasons. By contrast, thanks to the BCS, the two top-ranked teams have played each other 13 times in 13 years by BCS measurements and 10 times in the last 13 according to the AP poll -- including the last seven years in a row. The BCS is the best format ever devised to match the nation's two top-ranked teams in a bowl game.

Expanding access to all teams: The BCS has increased access for all teams into major bowl games, while enhancing the value of the regular season and preserving traditional bowl-conference relationships. Before the BCS, teams from conferences that did not have guaranteed participation in the top tier of bowl games seldom played in those games -- in fact, it happened only six times in 54 years. Thanks to the BCS, it has happened seven times in the past seven years. The BCS has undeniably expanded access like never before. For example, without the BCS arrangement, TCU would not have played in the Rose Bowl.

Satisfying consumers like never before: Fans have more access to more games than ever before. After staying relatively flat for nearly 20 years, attendance at FBS college football games has increased 35 percent since the BCS's inception in 1998 -- from 27.6 million in 1998 to nearly 37.7 million in 2010. BCS television ratings regularly surpass the NCAA men's basketball finals, the NBA and NHL playoffs and most other sports.