Were LaVarr Webb and Ted Wilson born yesterday? In May 1997, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the "Alliance"— the former name of the BCS — to examine whether the Alliance violated United States antitrust laws.

I testified against the Alliance at those hearings as a representative of the Holiday Bowl. Many others testified including Brigham Young University tight end Chad Lewis; Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson; Bowl Alliance Chairman Roy Kramer, who was also Southeastern Conference commissioner; and Cedrick Dempsey; executive director of the NCAA, among many others.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch made a perfunctory appearance — primarily to have his picture taken with Chad Lewis. Sen. Bob Bennett stayed throughout the hearings and although he did not have a deep understanding of the impact that the Alliance would have on college football, he was nevertheless very attentive and effective. He publicly reprimanded Roy Kramer for the arrogant manner in which he "talked down" to the senators. This is all available on C-SPAN tapes. The bottom line is that absolutely nothing was done by the Senate committee and nothing would be done today.

BYU and MWC should include themselves in the blame for the mess they are now in. In 1997, the WAC and the Holiday Bowl agreed to share equally the expense of pursuing litigation against the Alliance. Both the Holiday Bowl and WAC had obtained separate opinions from legal counsel that the litigation would be successful.

I met with then-BYU President Rex Lee, Karl Benson and other WAC representatives at the Hotel Utah in early 1997. At that meeting we agreed to proceed with the litigation pending President Lee securing the vote of the other WAC presidents. Incredibly, with the exception of San Diego State University President Tom Dey, every WAC president including Lee voted against litigation. I called Rex and asked him why he had changed his mind. He stated that all the WAC presidents but Dr. Dey had decided it best to work in the system and he had decided to go along with that approach.

At the present time, the Mountain West Conference accepts money from the BCS, its commissioner Craig Thompson sits on the BCS governing council and the MWC has agreed to be bound by entry rules including the Byzantine computer polls.

How good are the BYU/MWC chances for success in Senate hearings or litigation? About as good as my chances of throwing a football from San Diego to Provo.

Good luck.


Richard Circuit of La Jolla, Calif., is chairman of the Holiday Bowl Executive Committee.