December 2nd, 2008
12:55 PM ET
8 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. Alex

    How about he starts with investigating torture, spying on American citizens, the manufactured case for war in Iraq, no-bid contracts to Enron and Halliburton, the illegal use of Blackwater mercenaries, voter disenfranchisement programs, politicized firings of US attorneys, the politically timely death of Sen. Wellstone, CIA-supported right-wing paramilitary units in South America, and Henry Paulson's rape of the Treasury?

    December 2, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. its me

    Lillian I completely agree with you that this bozo has nothing better to do than protect his voters of his state and district, what is he thinking?
    His concerns should be on the Middle East because not a single person has taken any action over there, and can not understand why anyone would be frustrated enough to ask the President-elect for help when there is obvious corruption going on. What is next, is someone going to ask him to start putting the same qualified teachers that educate the children of Bellvue Wa (next to door to Microsoft) in the ghettos of Chicago schools just because he knows there is a problem. This is the President-Elect he has much better things to do like continue to facilitate the out flow of cash, so banks can hoard the money while they collect from borrowers in distress, he has to use his double edge sword or maybe that bozo has a point.

    December 2, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. lala

    playoff for the love of god!

    December 2, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. RinFL

    Just develop a play off system and be done with it.
    This issue like steroids in sports is of NO concern to the federal govt. Is there not a couple of real issues to tend to any way?

    December 2, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. NY republican

    @ Adam -"waist" is what America's collective pants are way too far below these days. "Waste" is what we are doing with our time. But on the bright side, unlike a lot of other CNN bloggers, you got the spelling right. But anyway , Go UB Bulls !!!!! on to their first ever bowl game!!!!

    December 2, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Ron

    You need to learn how to spell. It's "waste" not "waist". Anyway, why not weigh in on something like this? It's not like he's going to spend weeks or months at a time hovering over college football. It's just simply him providing his opinion a few times, and hey it'll make him look good with college football fans.

    December 2, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. a newly blue state-VA

    Sure he should look into it, after he looks into:

    Iraq
    Afghanistan
    Iran
    Global Warming
    Economic Crisis
    Housing Market shambles
    Social Security
    (place another global/country crisis here_____)................

    December 2, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Mike

    Thank you Lillian. Do people seriously think this is what the Department of Justice should be spending its time on? It's college football people. It's meant to be played by student-athletes as they (supposedly) get an education along the way. There are over 300 Division I schools, each playing about 11 games per season, so if you do the math, there is no way that we could ever have a definitive #1 every year. And why do we need one anyway? Get over it.

    December 2, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Annoyed!!

    Doesn't anyone care about the student-athletes education? What does adding more weeks of play and more playoffs due to the athletes educational pursuit? Isn't that why this kids are in college to begin with? Why don't we have the NCAA investigate why the football teams going to the BCS games have lower graduation rates than those teams who don't make it to the post season play offs?

    December 2, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Okay, throw rocks at me if you want, but I am of all for it. It is an equality of opportunity issue to where athletes from specific schools are guaranteed the privilege of earning the national championship. If you go to a school, such as Boise State, and you win your conference championship, you are not allowed the privilege of trying to win a national championship because you do not belong to a privileged conference. Division I College Football is the only sport that does this. If this were basketball or baseball, you would have a chance to play for a national title. It falls into the government’s antitrust legislation.

    December 2, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Bill

    The Democratic puppet president is really attacking the important issues of our country. This will be another waist of tax payers dollars.

    December 2, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Svanbasten, Atlanta

    Am all for the play off and this is CHANGE we can believe in, too.

    December 2, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    As a college football fan who got his graduate degrees from LSU, the BCS has been very very good to me.

    But, yeah, maybe we should get the country away from the brink of bankruptcy first.

    December 2, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. M

    Playoff!!Playoff!!Playoff!!Playoff!!Playoff!!

    December 2, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. Felines For Freedom

    Adam:

    The BCS may not be the most pressing issue facing America right now, but its still something many citizens care about so no reason to dismiss it outright. I'd like to think many problems can be tackled by this administration, not just one or two big ones.

    Also, waist is a body part. I think you mean "waste."

    December 2, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Dee

    I hope constituents call these representatives and tell them to GET TO SOME REAL WORK! I don't want a SECOND of government time or a PENNY of my tax dollars spent on this "issue"...wake up people!!!

    December 2, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. Emmanuel

    Who says we can't have fun while we solve serious problems? Isn't that the American spirit that led to the baby boom era during and after world war II and vietnam war? Please get a life people and YES President Obama please look into it and lets have some real play-off in college football. It will generate more funds for schools and local governments where the games are played. Yeah!

    December 2, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Khalid

    Lillian. Thank you for putting clearly putting this into perspective. I am an AVID college football fan and I do want a playoff system. But wasting one iota of power on anything less than the health and security of the nation is insane. Ladies and gentlemen THIS IS NOT A GAME.

    December 2, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Godluvr

    Since he's from Hawaii, and my new President has family ties there, I say why not let staffers check it out! Anybody else requesting it, I would have said give him the boot!

    Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you! Be nice (R)!

    December 2, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Tech Red Raider

    Yes College Football fans; there should be in a playoff system. But Texas Longhorns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! don't blame the BCS, (a system of voting college coaches and a formula that they conceived and recognize) but blame your own (Big 12) conference to even suggest that it use outside sources (BCS system) to manipulate the standings within the conference. You think you have issues. Us Red Raiders aren't even considered in the BCS, due to the 2 team maximum, and yet we should be the other team in the BCS not Texas. Sorry Longhorn fans, you lost to the Red Raiders! Live with it!

    December 2, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. proud army and navy mom

    It's a great idea to have a college football playoff. I have been advocating for one for years. I guess the good ole boys make to much money off the current system to want to change it though.

    December 2, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Gaylon Barrow

    Well if OBAMA takes this initiative I will support him for he will have Integrity. I have not been on his band wagon but the man shows he does have excellent common sense. WE MAY HAVE GOTTEN OUSELVES A PRESIDENT AFTER ALL.

    December 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. Trojans

    Yes. We want playoffs!!!

    December 2, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. you know it

    Hey guys, come on. You know it's all about the money. It's big business. Just like the American system. The haves and the have nots. Let all the colleges play each other just like the NFL and come up with one winner and 5 or 6,7 winners.

    December 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. you know it

    Hey guys, come on. You know it's all about the money. It's big business. Just like the American system. The haves and the have nots. Let all the colleges play each other just like the NFL and come up with one winner and not 5 or 6,7 winners.

    December 2, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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