Senate Feud Surfaces Over College Football

Mitch McConnell pulling strings for Louisville, angering W. Va senators
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2011 3:21 PM CDT
Senate Feud Surfaces Over College Football
Mitch McConnell talks with Christy Lewis, a University of Louisville "McConnell Scholar," before the Republican Party Lincoln Dinner in Louisville, Ky, April 9, 2011.   (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Scott Utterback)

(Newser) – A war is brewing in the Senate over… college football? Yep. Mitch McConnell is making a zero-hour backroom push to get Louisville into the Big 12, calling officials at the conference’s other schools to sing his beloved alma mater’s praises, sources tell Politico. That’s put him in direct confrontation with Democratic West Virginia senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, because, according to some reports, the Big 12 had already decided to give West Virginia University its last open slot.

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Manchin, a former WVU quarterback, isn’t being quiet about his displeasure. “Tell him to bring it on!” Manchin said in a radio interview. “I’m going to fight … if Mitch wants to fight. But Mitch, if you lose the fight, go back and retrain and get better. OK?” He’s even calling on the Rockefeller-chaired Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to investigate McConnell’s “unethical” behavior. Dan Boren, an ex-senator who is now the University of Oklahoma's president, says both McConnell and Rockefeller have contacted him—but neither exerted “improper political influence.” (Read more West Virginia University stories.)

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