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Hatch: Boise deserves White House invite

Published January 14, 2010 6:56 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, wants the president to poke the powers-that-be in college football by inviting Alabama and Boise State to visit the White House, the latest move in Hatch's ongoing offensive against the Bowl Championship Series.

It is customary for the president to invite the champions of major sports to visit the White House. But since college football's top team is not selected by a playoff, Hatch thinks President Barack Obama should invite every undefeated squad, which includes Boise, a team from outside of the BCS system.

He pitched the idea in a letter to Obama sent Thursday.

"Inviting both Alabama and Boise State to the White House this year will not erase the fairness of the past, nor will it substantively address the ongoing legal, financial, and fundamental fairness concerns that many have regarding the BCS system," Hatch wrote. "But it will send a clear message that champions should be chosen on the field and not in pre-arranged agreements."

In the letter, Hatch says inviting only Alabama legitimizes a system the president has previously criticized. Shortly after his election, Obama called for a playoff and said he would pressure the BCS to change its format.

The White House had a terse response for Hatch.

"The President has previously articulated his displeasure with the BCS system, but he's focused on more important things right now," said spokesman, Adam Abrams.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock reiterated that Alabama is recognized as national champion by sports writers and coaches nationwide.

"Really," Hancock asked, "doesn't Congress have more important things to do?"