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Monday, December 22, 2014         

FERD'S WORDS


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Utah AG keeps aim on BCS, even while sunning in Kona

By Ferd Lewis

POSTED:



Of all the things the Bowl Championship Series thinks it ought to be concerned about these days, 53-year-old Mark Shurtleff proselytizing on the beach in Kona probably wasn’t on the list.

But it should be.

Shurtleff is Utah’s attorney general and he’s on the Big Island for a little rest and relaxation preceding the Conference of Western Attorney Generals that opens there Sunday.

Of course R&R is a relative term for a man who has kept the BCS firmly in his sights even while beating back Stage 3 colon cancer these past eight months.

A tumor was surgically removed and months of chemotherapy were undergone with complications overcome, all the while his will to battle the BCS has been unwavering. It was an indication of his dedication in the pursuit of the BCS that, amid his regular workload and everything else that was hanging over him, Shurtleff returned a phone call to the Star-Advertiser in May with the explanation, “I’ve got a few minutes to talk before my chemo appointment, so ...”

As his fellow attorneys general meet to discuss trust responsibility to beneficiaries in administering public lands and other compelling topics of the day, they probably shouldn’t be surprised if one of their number wants to bend an ear or spreads the gospel about standing up to the insidious plot that is the BCS.

Between catamaran rides and snorkeling excursions they should expect a tap on the shoulder followed by, “Say, have you got a couple minutes to talk?”

It was at another meeting of AGs in March that Shurtleff got Hawaii’s AG, David Louie, to consider joining Utah in a possible lawsuit against the BCS. An arrangement that a spokesman for the AG’s office said Hawaii is still studying.

Now the campaign is gaining traction with Utah announcing this week that it is in the process of assembling a legal team of those “interested in taking on the BCS under federal and Utah state antitrust and other applicable laws” with an eye to filing a lawsuit in early fall.

Shurtleff has been investigating the BCS since Utah was denied a BCS championship berth in 2008 and says the cabal is an “illegal monopoly” that has wrongfully deprived a number of nonautomatic qualifying conference schools, including UH, of opportunities or money payouts they should have received.

For example, Shurtleff said, “All of the WAC has been harmed in that Boise State ended up with a (BCS) ranking of 10th with one loss and a team ranked that high is supposed to go to a BCS game. Because TCU was also (ranked) and got the Rose Bowl, Boise State wasn’t allowed, while a four-loss Connecticut team played a two-loss Oklahoma team in the Fiesta Bowl.”

The bottom line, Shurtleff maintains, “is that Hawaii and our Utah State from the WAC were denied some of the millions because Boise State was kept out based upon their (the BCS’) scheme, which we believe is an illegal scheme.”

Now that Shurtleff has cancer on the run, watch out, BCS. Even when the opponent is in swim trunks.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com.






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