FanDuel - WFBC

January 30, 2010

BCS under scrutiny from Capitol Hill: The Obama administration is considering several steps that would review the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series, the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to a senator who had asked for an antitrust review.

posted by FonGu to football at 07:36 AM - 18 comments

Repbulican, Democrat, or Independent party aside, I don't think it's the job of the politicos to be messing with sports. The economy sucks and we are in a two front war, yet they have time to debate sports?!?!?!?! **sigh** Leave sports to the schools and/or owners to work out.

posted by FonGu at 07:40 AM on January 30

We have had two recent examples, steroids in baseball and concussions in football, where congressional hearings spurred the leagues to take problems seriously that they had been ignoring. That is a good thing. It is probably the best thing Congress had done in quite some time.

Anyway, this is the Justice Department deciding whether to open an investigation. And, the BCS guy is an idiot for talking about the deficit. Does he think they are going to hire more employees just for an investigation?

posted by bperk at 08:51 AM on January 30

I believe the last time this came up, I was among those who did question the appropriateness of government intervention given the country's other problems. Then I realized this is why we have anti-trust laws. But let's not stop at the BCS -- what about the current bowl system where conferences are slotted into specific bowls, some with more slots than others? This is why some 6-6 teams get into bowls and probably a few 7-5/8-4 teams stay home.

posted by jjzucal at 10:29 AM on January 30

I'm glad Congress uses the power to call hearings to scrutinize a wide range of subjects, including college football. It's an amateur sport that directs millions of dollars to public schools across the U.S. The schools in the BCS are giving themselves special treatment and reaping millions in revenue unavailable to the other schools. If getting Congress involved is what it takes to upend this racket, I'm all for it.

posted by rcade at 10:52 AM on January 30

The economy sucks and we are in a two front war, yet they have time to debate sports?!?!?!?! **sigh**

Well I'm in no means in favor of getting Congress involved...I'm a strong believer in small government. That said, the argument of "don't they have better things to do?" is weak. These guys SHOULD be capable of tackling hundreds or thousands of issues. That's what they do. You think they can't look at ways to spur the economy AND have a chat about whether this violates anti-trust laws? If you don't believe they can, then you should vote next Oct (Nov?) and put in someone who has the capability to do just that. It's a job pre-requisite.

posted by bdaddy at 11:31 AM on January 30

The point is not can they multitask, the point is should they multitask in this arena. It is not the purpose of the Federal government to delve into such matters. I agree with you on one point one you made - if they're not going their job, vote them out. I play my part, having voted in every local, state, and national election for the past 30 years. IMHO, one should vote if they want to complain about the system! lol.

posted by FonGu at 01:16 PM on January 30

It is not the purpose of the Federal government to delve into such matters.

If the people want them to delve into such matters, it is.

posted by rcade at 01:28 PM on January 30

If you're going to hold hearings, then make it about the NCAA and its $600m budget for "amateur" sport.

I'd like to know which senator decided to call the DoJ, though.

posted by etagloh at 01:41 PM on January 30

This is why some 6-6 teams get into bowls and probably a few 7-5/8-4 teams stay home.

I don't think this has been true for at least a few years. This year every 7-win team made a bowl and Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Kansas State, and Notre Dame (who announced it would decline a bowl) were the only 6-6 teams that were not in a bowl (I think). Last year was similar. I don't know about the year before.

posted by Aardhart at 01:46 PM on January 30

It's not just about which 6-6 teams get in, and which don't, but rather, it's about which teams get into which bowls. The money involved varies greatly and if a few conferences can unfairly affect the placement of the teams then I'm all for the government taking a look.

From my political viewpoint, gridlock on major financial issues is actually a good situation (it lets the free market dictate more of the outcome), so if congress is a bit more wrapped up in this it may be a good thing.

I've been in favor of a playoff system for years, so I'm all for this.

posted by dviking at 03:30 PM on January 30

Unless I read the article wrong (twice), it doesn't say a thing about congress getting involved in a solution. It says that the DOJ, an administrative agency, will examine the legality of the system. That's sort of the DOJ's job; pointing out when there are violations of the law in America. That doesn't mean that they, or congress will spend time discovering the best system to put in place. It just means that they could determine that the current system violates the law, and require the NCAA to change the current system. They could also find the current system in complete compliance with the law and inform the NCAA of that, as well.

DOJ isn't going to fix the economy or end the wars in the Middle East, so don't worry that they are shirking their duty when they undertake this.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:01 PM on January 30

a better use of time for the Department of Justice would be to investigate Tim Geithner and other crooks appointed by Obama. If they are going to investigate the BCS why not investigate the NFL they don't include teams from the CFL and UFL in their championship games either. So look at it as the BCS is the NFL and Non BCS Conferences are the CFL and UFL.

posted by twgibsr at 05:14 PM on January 30

So look at it as the BCS is the NFL and Non BCS Conferences are the CFL and UFL.

Not even close.

posted by sgtcookzane at 05:40 PM on January 30

If they are going to investigate the BCS why not investigate the NFL they don't include teams from the CFL and UFL in their championship games either.

The NFL has an antitrust exemption. The NCAA and BCS do not.

posted by bperk at 09:41 PM on January 30

Just for clarification: the DOJ is involved with the economy if there is illegal activity going on (corruption, embezzlement, white collar crimes). The DOJ is involved in the wars. There are agents over there interviewing detainees, investigations and training police officers. And yes I do know this personally. And yes, they do get involved when it concerns anti-trust cases, such as this one.

posted by skippy at 11:33 PM on January 30

Pickin nits - but Obama et al aren't part of Capitol Hill

posted by bobfoot at 04:07 AM on January 31

Just re-pickin nits: since the issue started with a request from a Senator, and given that the head of the DOJ is the Attorney General (appointed by, and answers to the President), it's misleading to say that congress and Obama are not connected to this.

Obama, and many members of both parties have voiced their desire to have a playoff system, the DOJ is just a logical place to start. If they can find legal issues with the current system it makes it far easier to push for action from Congress.

posted by dviking at 01:10 PM on January 31

DOJ isn't going to fix the economy or end the wars in the Middle East

the DOJ is involved with the economy if there is illegal activity going on (corruption, embezzlement, white collar crimes). The DOJ is involved in the wars.

Are these statements inconsistent, skippy?

posted by tahoemoj at 01:20 PM on January 31

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