Neil Abercrombie knows he doesn't have all the facts straight. That's not going to stop the Democratic congressman from Hawaii from carrying on his anti-BCS crusade.
Abercrombie was ripped from sea to shining sea last week for his lack of BCS knowledge while announcing a bill aimed at the legal underpinnings of the BCS. His "Who elects these NCAA people anyway?" blast showed a lack of knowledge about the subject.
|Tulane made complaints in the past over the unfairness of the BCS. (Getty Images)|
"I know they're doing it for the money," Abercrombie said. "I know they're doing it because someone is letting them get away with it. My entire political career has been trying not to let people get away with it."
With the annual BCS meetings set to begin Monday in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Abercrombie doesn't have a spot at the table. You can bet, though, his actions will be a talking point. The main order of business will be how to proceed with the television contract for three BCS bowls that expires after the 2010 games. Presumably, Fox eventually will extend the deal through the 2014 bowl games.
Meanwhile, there is no urgency for the BCS commissioners to change the system that matches the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams at the end of each season. Abercrombie is not going to be shamed, though, into the background. While he is not exactly an expert on the inner workings of the BCS, that's kind of his point. Who is? And how did it get this way?
The 69-year-old, along with two co-sponsors, supports a bill claiming that the BCS is an illegal restraint of trade violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Abercrombie says a playoff would remedy that problem. How it is set up and with how many teams is less important than non-BCS schools getting better access to a national championship shot and the money that goes with it.
That those supposedly afflicted the most by anti-trust don't necessarily agree with him isn't going to stop the process.
"We think the system works," WAC commissioner Karl Benson, who represents one of the five Division I-A conferences without an automatic berth in a BCS bowl for its conference champion.
"Obviously, I'm going to try to get a hearing on it," Abercrombie said last week as he sought other supporters in Congress. "If not, it will at least establish a marker, which is our intent of trying to bring this to the attention of the next administration and/or any enterprising attorney general."
That sounds more ominous than some politician from paradise going off half-cocked after the local team didn't get a chance to play for the national championship. If the economy ever stabilizes and if the war ever ends, the issue might be taken up in earnest by Congress in the future.
Abercrombie speaks like a senior member of the House of Representatives who has been in politics since 1970, in Congress for almost 19 years. So what if he is a liberal, and a friend of Barack Obama's parents? That's all background noise compared to his solid record. The congressman proudly voted against the Iraq war 5½ years ago. He has been an advocate of the fighting man in the field as a member of the Armed Services Committee; a man who scoffs at criticism that his current pursuit of postseason fairness is frivolous considering the country's other problems.
"I've been an abuser of the public trust in a helluva lot more venues than the BCS ... " he said kiddingly. "I passed a resolution (for) getting out of the war. If someone would like to challenge my stewardship of the Armed Forces Air and Land Committee, in providing for the readiness of our troops (they are welcome).