BCS to senators: Let us run college football

The governing body of college football's championship system on Thursday rebuffed two senators who requested that it disclose its inner dealings from months ago. 

Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Executive Director Bill Hancock wrote a letter to Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who wrote him on March 9.

BCS opponents, including many members of Congress, have long accused the group of running a secretive operation that favors teams from large conferences as opposed to those that play in smaller conferences, both in terms of revenue shares and opportunities to play for a national title. 

The BCS has long argued that lawmakers have more important priorities on which to focus, aside from college football.

The bipartisan senators wanted to see information on how television revenue under its new broadcast contract will be distributed, how the organization evaluates the standing of its teams, the legal standing of the organization and how it ranks teams.

With regards to revenue, Hancock wrote that the BCS has a better system than previously existed.

"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," he wrote. "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."

Hatch has long been an opponent of the BCS and has frequently lobbied the administration and Congressional leaders to launch inquiries into the system. Hatch's home state Utah Utes, who are considered a "mid-major" school, went undefeated in 2008 but did not receive a bid to play for the national title.

Baucus has been less outspoken on the BCS; his state does not have teams that play in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the top rung of the sport.

The system came under scrutiny during college bowl season late last year, when lawmakers passed a bill out of a House subcommittee that would severely restrict the BCS' ability to operate. The legislation was never taken up by the full House. 

Read the full letter here.

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