Ashley Moody wants an antitrust probe of Florida State University’s snub by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee

March 2023 Doak Campbell Stadium, home of Florida State University Football - FSU
FSU's football stadium. Tallahassee, FL. By CRobertson via iStock for WMNF News

©2023 The News Service of Florida

In a step toward a potential lawsuit, Attorney General Ashley Moody on Tuesday demanded wide-ranging information from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee about Florida State University’s exclusion from the upcoming four-team playoff.

“In Florida, merit matters. FSU proved that they deserved to be in the playoffs,” Moody told The News Service of Florida. “If the selection committee believes that is not the case, and there was truth in that deliberative process and they truly followed their protocols, then we expect them to be cooperative and provide us all of this information.”

The demand, known as an antitrust civil investigative demand, is a way to gather information ahead of a possible lawsuit.

The document said it is part of an investigation to determine if antitrust violations have occurred through “the nature of possible contracts, conspiracies in restraint of trade or monopolization of trade and commerce relating to anticompetitive effects of the College Football Playoff.”

The FSU football team went undefeated and won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship this fall, but the playoff committee selected Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama to compete for the national championship.

Moody’s request seeks information about such things as votes and vote tallies by committee members during closed-door deliberations; statements relating to the deliberations, including media talking points and interview notes; and committee ethics and conflict-of-interest standards.

In a proposed budget released last seek, Gov. Ron DeSantis included $1 million for any legal action related to FSU being left out of the playoff.

Chris Spencer, director of the governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that DeSantis believes FSU was “wronged” and that there is economic harm to the school.

The football team and involvement in playoffs “drives a lot of focus on recruitment for students,” Spencer said. “It also drives other non-athletic related donations that end up supporting the institution and defrays the amount of investment the state has to commit towards these institutions.”

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