Spring 2012 Symposium – Mississippi Sports Law Review

Legal and Political Challenges to the Bowl Championship Series and Conference Realignment/Expansion

The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) continues to be a lightning rod for public criticism and scrutiny, with legal intervention by state and federal government becoming increasingly likely.  Indeed, this past summer the Department of Justice has investigated the NCAA and the BCS, exploring whether its current structure violates antitrust law.  The NCAA has currently been distancing itself from the BCS, adding new questions to the structure of a potential lawsuit.  The bigger issue is whether such issues can propel college football into a playoff, and what actions the BCS can take to maintain its current monopoly over the post-season.  This symposia aims to explore the legal issues surrounding the BCS, assess the likelihood of a college football playoff, and assess the role of litigation and public action in promoting a move from the current system to a college football playoff. Along with the BCS this symposium aims to address the very controversial issue of Conference Realignment/Expansion, including the breach of contract issues associated with leaving a conference (i.e. West Virginia) and the renegotiation of media rights deals due to conference shifts, as well as other issues.

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