CHICAGO — The proposal to expand the College Football Playoff to 12 teams is moving forward as the CFP’s management committee agreed on Friday to present the concept to the 11 college presidents and chancellors who have ultimate authority over the format at a meeting Tuesday in Dallas.
The management committee, made up of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, will ask the presidents and chancellors on the CFP’s board of directors to “authorize soliciting feedback” and “to begin feasibility assessments of new formats.”
“It’s an information process,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, one of the four members of the working group that wrote the proposal. “There were four of us in one place. Now I think 11 of us are in that place. Now we’re going to talk to the presidents and see if we can get them there.”
If the board supports the proposal, it would give the commissioners a go-ahead to continue working on the details throughout the summer before reporting back in September.
The two-day meetings in Chicago were an important step in expanding the field beyond the current four-team format, but attendees warned there will be no firm conclusions about when and how it could happen until this fall at the earliest.
“This is a huge undertaking with dozens and dozens of moving parts, and it won’t be a quick process,” Bowlsby said. “At least it will be [this] before we have the necessary conversations and have the necessary information to make informed decisions.”
The proposal was written after two years of investigation by a subcommittee of Bowlsby, Swarbrick, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. The meetings in Chicago marked the first time the full executive committee was able to discuss the details in person.
Swarbrick attended the meetings on Thursday but did not attend Friday because he was not feeling well, according to CFP director Bill Hancock.
The proposal contains no guarantees for congressional champions. Instead, it is requested that the bracket includes the six highest-ranked conference champions plus the six remaining highest-ranked teams, as determined by the CFP selection committee. There would be no limit to the number of participants in a conference.
“The good news is that everyone on this conference committee supports expansion,” said new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, who will take up his post on July 1 and attend meetings with current commissioner Larry Scott. “So we can all agree on that. The good news for me, coming in here first is that the starting point for everyone’s discussions is what’s best for the student-athletes and what’s best for the game. “
After the meeting, Scott released a statement say the Pac-12 supported the CFP expansion. But he also showed that some details are yet to be settled, as he added that all Power 5 conference champions must be guaranteed a playoff berth.
The general feeling from the audience on Friday was that the 10 FBS commissioners supported the basis of the proposal, but needed more time to gather feedback from the university presidents, sports directors, coaches and student-athletes during their conferences.
“There are so many voters,” Kliavkoff said. “We’re going to spend the next few months going back to our constituents, getting them all on board with the same format. There are also timing issues with all contracts.”
The playoff enters the eighth season of a 12-year deal that runs through the 2025 season, and Hancock reiterated that the playoff will not change this or next season, although it could happen as early as the 2023 season. . Hancock said the commissioners haven’t talked much this week about the timing of the implementation.
“That will come later,” Hancock said. “The first step is to determine whether this new format is feasible at all or something the people on campus want to do.”
Under the proposal, the first-round games would take place on campus sometime in the two-week period after the conference championships. The quarter-finals would be played on January 1 – or January 2 when New Years Day falls on a Sunday – and on an adjacent day.
The working group did not include which bowls could be part of the CFP in the future, but recommended that if “traditional bowls” host games, teams to those bowls should be assigned for the quarter-finals, with priority going to the higher-ranking team.
“We don’t know who the six bowls will be if the format continues,” Hancock said. “That will be determined later. In my mind, the six bowls that make up this will be a lot of fun to be a part of.”
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