College football playoff board will not vote next week on proposed 12-team format

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The college football playoff board, which is made up of 11 presidents and chancellors with the power to change the playoffs, will not vote next week on a proposed 12-team format, further delaying any major changes to the field. current of four teams. .

The board was originally scheduled to meet with the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick on September 28 in Rosemont, Ill. – member flights were booked. But after some of the commissioners raised numerous questions on an appeal last week and again in a meeting in Dallas on Wednesday, they chose to keep working before making a recommendation to the presidents for their approval.

Commissioners and Swarbrick will still meet in the Chicago area next week, but Presidents and Chancellors will now join them by Zoom for all or part of the meeting.

“I think we can continue to keep them informed and they will decide when they are ready to vote,” Swarbrick told ESPN on Wednesday. “This is ultimately their decision. We thought there were still issues to be resolved and it would be important for us to resolve them before making a recommendation or asking them to act.”

The playoffs enter the eighth season of a 12-year contract that spans the 2025 season, and there is always the possibility that the format will change before the contract ends.

If that were to happen, ESPN would have the first rights to all new games, but if ESPN refused to buy them, the CFP could bring them to the open market. Sources said a large majority of Commissioners wanted to have multiple TV partners, but the only way that would happen in the current contract is for ESPN to agree to it.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN on Wednesday “there is no rush” to determine the next step.

“We have time because if we want to change the format in 2024, we would have a few months,” Hancock said. “If we wanted to change it in 2026, we have a few years. There is no fixed timetable. It will be up to the presidents to decide, but there is no rush.”

The next scheduled meeting for the CFP board of directors is currently in January, when presidents and chancellors meet each year during the national championship game.

Sources familiar with the talks said there is some interest in an eight-team model, but not unanimous support.

“The support for the expansion is clear which is great,” Swarbrick said when asked if the eight-team format is being seriously considered. “I think the focus will be on the issues surrounding the 12-team model.”

The hurdles haven’t changed: There are concerns about the academic calendar and playoffs going on during the December final exams, as well as concerns about the health of student-athletes who may play 17 games – a distant possibility. , but still a scenario. The Rose Bowl’s demand to sell its own television rights and keep its game on January 1 is a major sticking point. If the Rose Bowl hosts a semi-final or quarter-final game, the CFP will hold the media rights.

American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said his league was still “strongly supportive” of the 12-team format.

“You still have a lot of problems to solve, and it’s taking time,” Aresco said. “Hopefully we can finally get to 12. I think 12 is the right number because of the balance between autos and GPs. This is the one that is most likely to satisfy the whole group, but that’s my personal opinion. “

The current proposal under consideration calls for the range to include each year the six highest ranked conference champions, as well as the other six highest ranked teams, as determined by the selection committee. No conference would automatically qualify and there would be no limit to the number of participants in a conference.

The four highest-ranked conference champions would be ranked one through four and each would receive a first-round pass, while teams ranked five through 12 would face off in the first round on the field of the highest-ranked team. According to the proposal, the quarter-finals and semi-finals would be played in bowls games. The Championship match would continue to take place on a neutral venue, as in the current format.

Speedbumps developed this summer following decisions by Oklahoma and Texas to join the SEC, with Commissioner Greg Sankey being a member of the CFP’s four-person task force that ultimately concluded that the 12-team model was the best option.

The collegiate landscape has changed dramatically since June, when presidents and commissioners last met to discuss the 12-team format, which at the time had garnered wider support.

“A 12-team format allows the top six conference champions to advance to the domestic championship playoffs,” Sankey told ESPN in a recent interview. “It also allows the remaining top six teams who are not conference champions to access it.

“And while we can look at the long term and say that four can keep working, so that we have a healthy national sport, a national championship, I remain convinced that there is a lot of wisdom around the 12 approach. teams. I look forward to the others. formulating their own ideas and the discussion that’s going to take place, but I haven’t been in a position to say, ‘Hey, here’s when I think this change is going to happen, and when that decision will be made. ‘”


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