December 2nd, 2008
12:55 PM ET
8 years ago

Congressman requests Obama DOJ investigation of the BCS

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Franky

    "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."

    Alright!!! That's 4 people so far!! Let's keep raising that ante and get GOP and Dems involve. This will be a bigger accomplishment than the "Lousiana Purchase!" LOL!! Na'h, I'm playing, I'm playing...

    Come on Mizzou, VT(Virginia Tech) and Florida!! First hook me up wtih the conference title then we can work on this system. plus, Tebow could snap in this next games and oput himself in the Heisman back baby!! If he's superman, I like my chances but Florida being a 10 point favorite, I don't know about but based on my calculations, that's a lot so be careful if you shoose em.


    December 2, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Tulsa

    C'mon people.... lighten up for a minute!
    Just because the story isn't about politics or war or the economy doesn't mean it doesn't deserve some thought. Even if it's just some good natured ribbing. (sorry 'bout that Longhorn)
    Every now and then it would do us all good to remember that we are ONE NATION. The things that divide us shouldn't overshadow that fact. It's not a bad thing to look at the lighter side now and then.
    Oh, and GO BIG 12!

    December 2, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Ryan

    Finally. Obama is addressing a real disaster.

    I'm hoping Obama will also address my son's little league draft system. It's really not fair to the 8 year olds.

    December 2, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. BJ


    It's WASTE, not WAIST.

    Must have been one of those athletes, huh?

    December 2, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX




    December 2, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Virginia

    And this is something a newly elected Prez should have to contend with? Why not worry about all the bailout money he plans to spend and how high the taxes for us regular folk will become??? Big job, big change–ha!

    December 2, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. David V.

    Go Horns!

    December 2, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. DebM, Allentown, PA

    Utterly asinine. With all the challenges we have, WHY are we even wasting time with this?

    December 2, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Robert The Man

    And for the record even in a playoff system, OU would smash UT in a playoff system, so either way, UT go cry somewhere else. You were domniated during the Tech game, and OU domintaed tech. So go cry you Autin baby. OU is the better team.

    December 2, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. JJ12345

    To be completely honest, we need a playoff system but really is that important at this time. There has been things mentioned about college tuition rates, there are so many ways to go to college that there is really no excuse for someone that wants to go to school. With, grants, scholarships, other routes of free money there are plenty of ways to go to school.

    December 2, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. rick

    Get a life. I don't agree with the playoff ranking for college football bowls either, but our President-Elect has 1000 more important issues to deal with. Why don't you turn the TV off and go volunteer at a soup kitchen!

    December 2, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Mike Mc

    Wow! This issue is almost as important to me as guns and bibles in schools!!!

    December 2, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. TJ Johnson

    I mean, really, just how important is it to the world that there is a college football playoff for championship? Why would a president need to get involved, or why would DOJ need to get involved? This is inane with so many truly significant things happening in our world, but, unfortunately, it is so like the liberals who elected that egotistical Obama who thinks he know how to fix anything (even football which he does not play???). I suppose because he likes basketball, he thinks that makes him an expert thinker for football, too?

    December 2, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Johnny C

    Although I do want a playoff system, I do not believe that the President of the United States should get involved nor spend any tax dollars to investigate the situation and then to provide the government's viewpoint ... this is not a concern that I would want my money wasted on ... even if the "committee" that were to provide a recommendation what makes anyone believe that it would even be honored or that any actions would be taken ... besides, what other pandora boxes could this open ... let the NCAA handle their own affairs.

    December 2, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Tom

    People need to get off their high horse. Of course there are bigger problems but who said the goverment cant do more then one thing at a time?

    Also this is a multi billion dollar industry. So yea, it isnt just some stupid little college football game.

    Get the thing fixed

    December 2, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. JD

    Oh, Great Obama, spread your magic pixie dust and save us from ourselves!

    December 2, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Rob

    Looks like the good senator has eaten too much poi.

    But hey, with the ever present threat of terrorism (despite what the libs say), and an economy that is now going to attempt to be repaired by the very same party that played a major role in its destruction, of course the most important issue is the flippin' college football playoff system. No, the reason the world has a bad view is not because of Bush you libs, it's because of dolts like this senator who have the gall (yet apparent lack of intelligence) to say that the president should step in on this.

    Get real.

    December 2, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. The Great One

    Yeah man we definately deserve to be in the Big 12 championship game, Texas Tech beat us fair and square though, i'm not going to complain about that. Go Longhorns!!!!!!!!!!

    December 2, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. KBD3

    Texas beat OU 45-35 on a neutral site. Argument over.

    December 2, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. LA-LA LAND

    He was a innocect wide-eyed dove flying in the blue sky, care free and with a twinkle in his heart longing for the far away land of utopia...holding hands, cumbaya, peace on earth and brotherhood of men... until he received the Economic and National Security Briefings which sent him shaking like jello to former Clintonites and Bush's Secretary of Defense: HELP, HELP, yelled the dove in despair...

    December 2, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Nanimae'ole on da mainland

    KG– let's be fair brah, ultra left in Hawai'i nei is a little different than ultra left in say California, yeah? But I do agree that Abercrombie seems a little lolo in even bringing this up.
    Say, where you from in the islands, braddah? Me? Moku O Keawe, Kona side. 'Most' of our pakalolo is over Puna or Ka'u way. 🙂 And they can keep it there as far as I'm concerned. Maybe Tutu Pele will take it all away one of these days.
    Mele Kalikimaka kakou!

    December 2, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Mary, IN

    Uh...I think he has more pressing issues, like two wars and the Bush recession.

    December 2, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. What?!

    Excuse me but my 401K is more important than a college football.

    December 2, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Phil (Dallas, TX)

    To: Robert The Man

    Robert, what planet are you from? UT already beat OU this year. UT lost to Tech on a last second play. So what? Tech certianly didn't "dominate" UT if they needed a last second play to win. . .

    It is nice to say that OU dominated Tech, which they did, but UT beat OU by more than one score. How can you argue that OU is a better team than UT when they lost to UT?

    December 2, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. cfs

    TJ: Just because Obama doesn't play football doesn't mean he doesn't understand it or the problems it causes for schools, who are more concerned with the financial implications. That and the fact that many FOOTBALL coaches and players have been calling for a playoff system for a while. Should politicians be involved in making the decision? no, but that's not what you're complaining about But come on. Really? you're blaming liberals for this? I didn't realized that Republican Reps. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and Mike Simpson of Idaho owere liberals. Try reading the facts before you go bloviating about on a partisan bent.

    December 2, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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