December 2nd, 2008
12:55 PM ET
4 months ago

Congressman requests Obama DOJ investigation of the BCS

Alabama currently tops the BCS rankings.
Alabama currently tops the BCS rankings.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – It may not top the list of Obama administration priorities, but Hawaii Democratic Congressman Neil Abercrombie is urging the president-elect to take on one more controversial issue - creating a new playoff system for college football.

Obama himself has already waded into the debate. In a 60 Minutes interview on CBS last month, he said he would push for a championship playoff system - adding three weeks to the current college football schedule - to replace the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS). "I'm gonna throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do," Obama said.

Critics of the current BCS model argue that it gives a competitive and financial advantage to schools in the six BCS conferences and excludes schools with equally good or better football records in the other five non- BCS college football conferences. BCS-sponsored bowl games at the end of the season generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for the schools who are selected to play in them.

Seizing on Obama's public support of a new system, Abercrombie wrote a letter to the president-elect last month urging him to have the Department of Justice investigate the issue. “With the prestige of the Presidency and vigorous pursuit by the Department of Justice in support of fairness and equity, we are certain the BCS will be persuaded to resolve the issues to the benefit of the nation’s colleges and their fans.”

New BCS rankings released on Sunday reignited the controversy among college football fans when the University of Oklahoma edged out the University of Texas for a chance to play in the championship game, despite having an identical 11-1 record this season. Abercrombie released a statement on Tuesday, arguing that the current situation "very clearly constitutes a restraint of trade."

"Replacing the Bowl Championship Series with a process that allows the NCAA Division I football National Championship to be decided on the field is a matter of sportsmanship and a matter of equity," Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie, along with Republican Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and Mike Simpson of Idaho, and Democrat Jim Matheson of Utah, introduced a non-binding resolution in April directing DOJ to investigate the BCS system and take appropriate step if it found illegal action.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Robert The Man

    Yeah this is really the issue that needs to be addressed. The BCS system. This is the change we all wanted. I wonder how much money is going to be dumped into this.

    Good Job Amercia!!!

    December 2, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. J

    We want a playoff!!

    December 2, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Jaiskrilla

    If Obama pulls this off and brings a playoff system to college football. He will win all 50 states in 2012 (especially the South)

    December 2, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. BK

    Oh please, let's be serious! With everything facing Obama right now, the economy, terrorism, two wars, I certainly hope the BCS is VERY far down on his priority list!

    December 2, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. CanIcallyouJoe

    Sports accomplish nothing except giving ignorant people disgusting amounts of money.

    December 2, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Jack

    The good congressman should realize that the incoming administration has more important things to do than get involved in collage sports.

    There have to be 1000 things that need investigation before sports including what the hell happened to our economy! Anyone out there that believes that some bad home loans caused all this mess has their collective heads in the sand. it may be a contributor but, this economy has been heading south for the past 7 years.

    December 2, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Sandy

    Please give me a break. I think the POTUS has some real problems to fix. Just because he said he would favor a play-off system doesn't mean he should devote one second to this "national crisis". Get a life, people.

    December 2, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. CT Indy

    Huh? Is this "report" a joke?

    December 2, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Lillian

    Let me get this straight. The middle east is in shambles. India and Pakistan are on the brink of a nuclear war. Our economy is now "officially" in a recession (for the better part of a year). The US will be the target of a bioterrorist attack within the next 4 years. And this bozo is blathering about college football? Who IS this numbnut?

    December 2, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. carlo

    I have been complaining about this for years. People might actually start watching college football again. I for one got tired of seeing the same teams in the bowl games every freakin year.

    December 2, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. TEXAS LONGHORNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PLEASE Look into it, Mr. Obama, I am having a hard time dealing with the fact the UT beat Oklahoma Sooner, and Missouri, and we are not going to the BIG 12 Championship game, Because of the STUPID BCS STANDINGS they have! its dumb and everyone was cheated, I hate that it had to go this FAR for it to get some attention!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 2, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Sue in MI

    For gosh sakes, I think President-elect Obama has a few more important things to deal with than college football. If he REALLY wanted to change the wrongs there, he might start by requiring players who haven't graduated before they sign with the NFL to return all scholarship monies, which would go back into the school's scholarship fund, thus making the sports' scholarships self-sustaining. Many of these guys never plan on getting an education anyway; it's just a place to platy ball where NFL scouts will notice them. I say, no degree, no cash.

    December 2, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Proud NC Swing Voter

    Oh...pulllllease......... is there anyone who REALLY wants to spend Congressional time on this? Being from Missouri and subjected last year to one of the biggest BCS snubs in history, I still find this request unbelievable.

    December 2, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. TEXAS LONGHORNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    we (TEXAS LONGHORNS) beat Missouri and Oklahoma and we are not going to the BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP!!!! but both teams are!!! all because of the STUPID BCS RANKING!!!! DUMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This needs to be evaluated this YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 2, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Michael

    hahaha, The BCS is just another Lobbiest Group!

    December 2, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Ben - Portland, Or

    How about saving that project for some lame duck down time in 2016?

    December 2, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Jesse - Go Hogs!

    I know a lot of people will say there are more important things to worry about. In spite of this, the congressman has a point that it is a system that gives an unfair advantage to some schools. It is also unfair that by voting and computing, schools with identical records don't "settle it on the field".

    December 2, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Ron Larson

    Butt Out Obama...you need to concentrate on more pressing issues, like which failure from the Clinton Administration you are going to seat into a Cabinet position. Reformer my rear-end.

    December 2, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Marc

    I've been watching NFL's games and saw those Texans bearing '35-45' or '45-35' marks and asked myself 'What's the meaning of this?', then I went to check on the answer and found it.
    AND FROM THEM ON I SUPPORT THE PLAYOFFS FOR THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!!

    December 2, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Greed is not good

    College basketball does it...why not football? Yes too much east coast and Big 12 blatant bias rankings.

    December 2, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Adam

    Oh come on. This is the problem with us Americans; we waist too much time on stupid things like college football championships. Why don't we focus on college academics and the increased cost of tuition while more and more athletes are getting free rides; many of which, by the way, will not become professional athletes and will have wasted their time in college learning very little more than what teachers go easy on sports players. With the economical turmoil we are going through this should be the last thing Obama weighs in on. I voted for Obama do to good for our country, not waist our time.

    December 2, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. PeaceProsperityLove

    With all thats going on in the country and world, the fact that our elected and paid officals would waste one minute on this foolishness is grotesque.

    If I were a citizen in Utah, Hawaii, Georgia or Idaho, I would repeal these boneheads. What poor tase as millions are losing jobs. Send these turkeys and the autoexec back to doing something productive and meaninful for the country.

    December 2, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Adam

    Oh come on. This is the problem with us Americans; we waist too much time on stupid things like college football championships. Why don't we focus on college academics and the increased cost of tuition while more and more athletes are getting free rides; many of which, by the way, will not become professional athletes and will have wasted their time in college learning very little more than what teachers go easy on sports players. With the economical turmoil we are going through this should be the last thing Obama weighs in on. I voted for Obama do to good for our country, not waist our time.

    December 2, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. Curt

    Now there's a way to unite Republicans and Democrats!

    December 2, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Laura, Boston

    Congressman Neil Abercrombie needs to get a life!

    Our economy is in shambles, terriorism in India and other country seems to be worse than ever and Mr. Abercrombie is worried about "college football". Please!!!

    I certainly hope that putting all the dems in a near filabuster proof congress doesn't backfire with trivial matters such as these.

    December 2, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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