December 2nd, 2008
12:55 PM ET
7 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. Dave

    Seriously? Is this really something that the Federal government has any business setting policy? I'd love a playoff system, but let's do it the right way and let Obama focus on some issues that are actually important to the country...

    December 2, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Dan (Redmond, WA)

    Let's do it!

    December 2, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. joshua

    This is almost as good as when Joe Biden went after pro baseball for steroids... a few years after renewed interest in the game because of the McGuire/ Sosa home run race. The reason that non-bcs teams don't play for the national championship is that they are....in second rate conferences with weak schedules. If Boise State/ Ball State/ BYU/ whoever want to play in the big game, go to a big conference and play that conference schedule. This is a colossal waste of time and taxpayer money.

    December 2, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. silver bells

    i hope this will be on the bottom of president elect obamas list.

    December 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Matt

    We want real news!

    December 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Dee, Atlanta

    I agree with Lillian. I'm an huge college football fan but I think there are more important issues to worry about than college football playoffs. I hope he was joking.

    December 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Chris, Oakbrook Terrace, IL

    While this is perhaps not the most important issue facing the nation, I agree that the BCS system is unfair and needs to be fixed. A playoff system may be better. Fight on you NIU Huskies!!!

    December 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. joshua

    also, if the Longhorns were that good, maybe they should have beaten Texas Tech. OU didn't seem to have a problem with that (by 44 points).

    December 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Maniac

    Obama also needs to look into standardized arcade scoring. There is NO WAY someone beat my highscore on the Frogger machine, and yet my initials now only occupy the 2nd position! CONGRESS MUST INVESTIGATE.

    December 2, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Hal in Oregon

    Bravo Obama, Abercrombie and others! This is part of the change we will so happily embrace! It is inconceivable for the present system to change on its own. With the right push by the DOJ, it may offer them a new opportunity for the playoff system being enjoyed by the other divisions and sports.

    December 2, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Barbara in NC

    Very insensitive to be whining about football when people in this country are hungry and losing jobs. NOT A RELEVANT NEWS STORY.

    December 2, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Tulsa

    That would be the only thing I think he could handle.........I bet he would vote present on the rankings

    December 2, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. indy 08

    Crush the BCS mafia

    December 2, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. clarence virginia beach va

    Lillian, of course this is last on the priority list, please lighten up and go read a book

    December 2, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Marty

    Why is this a political ticker? Please move this article to sports. Thank you.

    December 2, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Sean

    Lillian: Do you truly think this is his only focus? The man is capable of multitasking. Why not give him a chance before insinuating he is incapable of doing his job? That's the real problem here. The election is over, and you still cannot give the man a chance.

    December 2, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Mofya

    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?
    "Life gotta go on" u numbnut urself...

    December 2, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. TEXAS LONGHORNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    tO: Lillian

    Some people look at football as a time to relax (down time)

    I CHOOSE NOT TO HAVE MY LIFE BE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN BEHIND THE GREED OF PEOPLE! SO WITH THAT BEING SAID, I WILL NOT WORRY ABOUT THINGS THAT I CAN NOT CONTROL!

    I WATCH FOOTBALL, AND I AM A WOMAN FROM AUSTIN TEXAS AND PROUD OF IT!!!!

    December 2, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Wow

    Seriously? I feel like he has bigger things to deal with than angry football fans...

    December 2, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. Gridiron terrorist

    Finally the pressing issues of our time...

    December 2, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Bruce WExler

    How about we finish at least one of the two wars we're in, get the economy back on track, and then worry about college foot ball!

    LET'S GO METS!!!!

    December 2, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Eric

    Hey Lillian, Obama can multi-task right? Representitives can have side projects right? Go rant on a blog for an article on ranting.

    December 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Average Joe

    YOOO, Barack, you were hired to be the President not a sports caster personally, big time collage sports is more professional with the players getting very little and the univercities get a ton of TV money. Lets keep our focus here MR. President, no more time for fun for you its TIME TO PRODUCE RESULTS AND NOT HOT AIR.

    December 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. KG

    Being from Hawaii, I can say this – with all the issues we have to worry about in Hawaii and the rest of the country, if this is all Neil Abercrombie has to worry about then maybe he should come back to Hawaii, resign his position, smoke his pakalolo, and fade away into oblivion where he belongs.

    And for any of you wondering "who is this numbnut?" Abercrombie is one of Hawaii's ultra-left, liberal Democrat congressman. Pure moron (and that's being generous).

    All that being said, we need a dang playoff!!

    December 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. NY republican

    Oh yeah – now there's a priority issue if I've ever seen one!!! The PE had better get right on this one, the season's almost over. Oops, sorry it will be by the time he can do anything about it.

    December 2, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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