Knight News uncovered “prime evidence” in a potential anti-trust case that could help end the College Football Playoff bias, according to an attorney who has successfully litigated in the Supreme Court. This evidence was found in University of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin’s emails.
In these emails, exchanges between University of Missouri’s athletic director and UF’s athletic director, who happen to both be in the SEC, show Mizzou’s AD lobbying with UF’s AD – who sits on the playoff committee – for a better bowl game. The emails go back and forth between the two, with UF’s AD even explaining how he likes Mizzou and their football team and will do his “best” to make Mizzou’s case to the committee.
UCF’s athletic director has spoken out against the current system, alleging it favors “power 5″ conference teams and overlooks undefeated group of 5 teams, like UCF. Other group of 5 teams have spoken up about the faulty system: Temple’s interim head coach Ed Foley even spoke up at a recent press conference saying he thought UCF was the best team in the country last year.
This evidence can be the first step in a direction to change the system that is currently in place. We sat down with University of Miami Law instructor Daniel Ravicher who has dedicated his career to fighting for the little guy. In this case the little guy is anyone not in the power 5.
In the emails it is clear that the secret lobbying between the SEC is a problem for schools in the group of 5, not to mention very illegal, Ravicher alleges.
Knight News asked the two Athletic directors to comment on how the emails appear to show there is special treatment towards the SEC in terms of bowl games and rankings. UF’s AD refused to comment, but Mizzou’s AD thinks they did nothing wrong.
“The materials that were provided to my colleague were readily available as part of our weekly football media releases that are distributed to college football writers across the country,” said Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk.
“These are the hallmarks, these are further confirmation that what exists here is a violation of anti-trust law. That’s not the question. The question is anyone going to stand up and stop it,” said Ravicher.
Most schools or players don’t want to go after the College Football Playoff in court, because they think it would be too heavy of a cost, but it could be worth it.
“If you can prove that under a fair system you would have had greater opportunity and have more financial success you can prove that you’re entitled to 3 times that amount in damages,” said Ravicher.
Any player, coach, AD, university or conference could have a potential case here in a situation like this. One person or entity stepping up could change the ways of what many see as a corrupt system. Ravicher told Knight News he has had conversations with people who are interested in a case like this, and he says he will continue to talk and have as many conversations with people as people would like.
The College Football Playoff corporation did not respond to a request for comment, even though UF referred Knight News to its spokesperson.
Joan McCain, who teaches public relations at UCF, was not surprised UF’s athletic director refused to comment.
“UF’s AD is declining because the best way to protect himself is to not speak about it. The less he says, the less potential problems he creates. Digging yourself out of a hole is virtually impossible in a controversial situation,” said McCain.
McCain thinks continued pressure could change the system for the better.
“This is, in my opinion (and only my opinion) the beauty of Danny White’s strategy. Keep stoking the fires and keep the conversation out there. The more the public learns about how the P5, Bowl system, and national championship works (and it does operate like a cartel), the better the chance for change,” said McCain.
Knight News will continue investigating to find any additional potential evidence of colluding between any of the other power 5 conferences.