Hatch plans to keep pushing BCS

August 20, 2010

Another conference realignment hasn't changed U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch's views on the Bowl Championship Series.

Hatch says he has no plans to back off the BCS regardless of what league Utah and BYU are playing in.

Utah is leaving the Mountain West Conference for the Pac-10. BYU is also considering leaving the MWC and becoming an independent in football.

''I have no doubt that BYU and Utah officials made their decisions with the best interests of their schools, students and athletes in mind,'' Hatch said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Thursday. ''I am equally certain that regardless of their conference status, both schools - along with most Utahns - would welcome fixes to the BCS to ensure fairer access and revenue distribution for all universities.''


Hatch, who has served in the Senate since 1977, and fellow Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) wrote to BCS executive director Bill Hancock this spring with questions about the system that has left Utah out of the national championship game despite the Utes' unbeaten seasons in 2004 and 2008.

And Hatch was livid with Hancock's response:

''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,'' Hancock wrote, repeating a stance he has taken when lawmakers and public officials have threatened the BCS.

Hatch's state is also home to Utah State, which is in the Western Athletic Conference, another league without an automatic bid to the BCS. The WAC's future is unclear now that an arrangement to have BYU join in everything but football fell apart when the MWC reeled in Fresno State and Nevada.