The last time we checked in on Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff's increasingly quixotic attempt to tear down the BCS with an antitrust lawsuit, he was hoping to find other state AG's who might join as co-plaintiffs. He hasn't had much luck there.
He's also asked for help from the U.S. Department of Justice, which has made some noise about stepping in for a look at college football's antitrust status but hasn't yet seemed to do much more than basic fact-finding.
None of this has swayed Shurtleff from what he sees as his appointed mission, though, and he was back in headlines Wednesday when he began soliciting law firms to make up the legal team necessary to bring the suit. As the Salt Lake Tribune reports:
“There are serious antitrust violations in the BCS system that are robbing taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Shurtleff said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. “Putting together the strongest legal team from around the country will give us the best chance at bringing equity back to college football.”
Wednesday’s query is the second time Shurtleff has put out a “request for information” to law firms that handle antitrust cases. He first announced he was seeking requests for proposals in April. His latest pursuit to find a law firm to take the case is through BidSync (www.bidsync.com), where interested firms can file responses until Aug. 8.
Shurtleff's over-the-top statement (since when did college football ever have "equity"?) is met by an equally over-the-top statement from Bill Hancock, the BCS executive director. But rather than focus on either side's posturing, the better question is: Will Shurtleff actually be able to bring the suit?
Though there's been some doubt whether he'd have the financial muscle going it alone, a spokesman for his office says the suit is "right on track" to be filed this fall.
We remain somewhat skeptical. But with the DOJ paying some kind of attention and Shurtleff seemingly as committed than ever, it might be time to stop dismissing Shurtleff's chances of getting his day in court. He still needs the legal help he requested yesterday, of course, and a lot of other things (and that's before we even discuss his chances of winning if the suit is brought). But if he is indeed "on track," his story is one that will have to be followed this college football season.