Mountain West Reluctantly Agrees To BCS TV Deal

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- After taking its fight to change the Bowl Championships Series to Congress, the Mountain West Conference is reluctantly agreeing to a BCS television deal.

That doesn't mean the conference is finished pushing for a playoff.

University of Utah president Michael Young issued a statement on behalf of the conference Wednesday, one day after he testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee.

In the statement, Young said the Mountain West felt it had no choice but to sign the agreement with ESPN, which runs through the 2013 season. The Mountain West champion would still not automatically qualify for a spot in one of the top-tier bowls.

"While the Mountain West has expressed serious concerns with the various fundamental flaws in the current BCS system, our various good faith initiatives to generate reform have thus far not been accepted," Young said. "If a conference wishes to compete at the highest levels of college football, and the only postseason system in place for that is the BCS, no one conference can afford to drop out and penalize its football programs and student-athletes."

It's fitting the MWC statement comes from Young. The Utes have twice gone unbeaten in the BCS era. Each time the Utes were left out of the national championship game, but soundly defeated an opponent from one the leagues with a guaranteed spot in another BCS game.

Last year it was Alabama, which Utah beat 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl. The Utes were the only unbeaten team in major college football and finished No. 2 in the final AP poll last season.

"Our goal is to ensure the eventual outcome of these endeavors is what our universities and student-athletes need, what the vast majority of American sports fans want, and what is long overdue: an equitable system," Young said.

Young was in Washington on Tuesday to speak before the Senate subcommittee, which includes Utah Republican Orrin Hatch. Hatch wants the U.S. Justice Department to investigate whether the BCS violates federal antitrust laws.

The other major conferences that make up the BCS, along with Notre Dame, rejected a Mountain West proposal for an eight-team playoff to determine a national champion.