The Division I-AA college football playoffs will go on without Howard University today, although a federal judge said the school's $9-million lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. for racial discrimination has merit.
U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn, in rejecting Howard's request for a temporary restraining order, refused Friday to postpone the start of the playoffs for a week and also refused to order that the 16-team field be expanded by four schools to include Howard, a predominantly black school in Washington.
"Any delay of these games would be a disruption which would cause severe hardship to the teams, their schools and their supporters," Penn said.
He recognized, however, that "there are substantial and severe questions that are raised in the course of this litigation."
Howard lawyer Francis Smith said that the school would instead seek a preliminary injunction to halt the second round of playoffs, scheduled Dec. 5.