AG hopes to file BCS suit by summer

SALT LAKE CITY -- Looking to file a federal lawsuit aimed at disbanding the BCS system, Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has put out a request for proposals from national antitrust firms to help with the case.

Shurtleff said Thursday he expects the suit, accusing the BCS of being an illegal monopoly, will be filed this summer.

It will seek damages for schools including the University of Utah and Boise State that have lost out on millions of dollars over the years because the existing system keeps non-preferred conferences at a competitive disadvantage, he said.

That Utah is making the jump to the BCS by joining the Pac-12 Conference in July doesn't change anything, he said, because the flawed system remains.

His legal threat, first reported by USA Today, comes as conference commissioners and athletic directors prepare to meet next week in New Orleans.

Shurtleff said it should take about a month or so to select an antitrust firm. He is still trying to get more states to join in filing the lawsuit.

"But if not, I'll do it alone," he said.

Shurtleff also deflected criticism that his time would be better spent on other issues.

He said antitrust violations involving taxpayer-funded institutions need to be examined, especially when many such institutions are hurting, raising tuition or asking for more general fund money to help sustain them.

"It's irresponsible to look the other way and say, 'Well, this is just sports,' " he said. "The Supreme Court has ruled that antitrust laws apply to the NCAA and college sports and this needs to be rectified."