Leave the DOJ out of the BCS

LEAVE THE DOJ OUT OF THE BCS…. Looking at the rankings for the top 12 college football teams, there are four undefeated teams, and six teams with one loss each. Because Div. IA football is the only collegiate team sport without a playoff system, only two of these teams — chosen by a computer, using a convoluted formula — will be given a chance to play for the championship. It is not, to put it mildly, a good system.

It’s why Barack Obama raised a few eyebrows a few weeks ago when he talked about his desire to see a change. On the eve of the election, appearing on “Monday Night Football,” ESPN’s Chris Berman asked Obama about what he’d like to see changed in the world of sports. Obama responded, “I think it is about time that we had playoffs in college football.” A week later, on “60 Minutes,” Steve Kroft broached the subject, and Obama suggested — I think only half-kiddingly — that he’s prepared to throw his “weight around” a bit to make a national college football playoff system happen.

This, however, is a bit much.

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. […]

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.”

I’m afraid this is a little silly. OK, more than a little. The BCS is a dumb system, but it’s not illegal, and given the last several years, there’s a lot more important work to be done at the Department of Justice.

It’s one thing to enjoy a game, but once members of Congress start calling for DOJ investigations, the fun is getting out of hand.

Back in December 2005, the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection — which refused to hold substantive hearings on much of anything — scrutinized the BCS. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), then-chairman of the full committee, said at the time, “Man doesn’t live by policy alone. Sports is an important part of American society.”

Perhaps, but it’s certainly not this important. If Obama wants to use his bully pulpit to apply some pressure on this, fine. But let’s remember that it’s a decision about a game for the colleges to make, not an issue worthy of Justice Department investigation.

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