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Utah football: Hatch extends congratulations to Utes

WASHINGTON — Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, today congratulated the University of Utah for receiving an invitation to join the Pac-10 Conference, but vowed to continue his fight to reform the Bowl Championship Series.

"I want to congratulate the University of Utah for all of its accomplishments that led to today's news," Hatch said in a released statement following the university Board of Trustees' vote to accept the invitation. "The school has spent a long time building up its athletic and academic programs and is truly deserving of the recognition it has received. Congratulations are also in order for the Pac-10 for adding such an outstanding university to the conference."

Hatch has been one of the nation's most outspoken critics of the Bowl Championship Series. While this announcement improves the University of Utah's position with respect to BCS revenue and access, Hatch said the system is still fundamentally flawed and vowed to continue his efforts to reform it.

"Look," Hatch said, "Utah moving to the Pac-10 doesn't mean that the BCS is suddenly good for college football. It doesn't mean that the legal concerns that many have expressed about the BCS have disappeared or that a system that favors some schools while systemically putting others at a disadvantage is suddenly well and good. Most Utahns — Ute fans included — understand the BCS is fundamentally anticompetitive and do not want Congress turning a blind eye to blatant violations of our nation's antitrust laws, whether they be in college football or elsewhere. Those concerns won't just go away because of today's news.

"Most reasonable people agree with me that a fair playoff system would benefit all schools, regardless of what conference they're in," Hatch continued. "Fixing the BCS to make it more fair and inclusive would benefit all of Utah's schools, including the University of Utah."