Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff calls June playoff extension proposal a “mistake”

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LAS VEGAS – As negotiations for the expansion of the college football playoffs are underway, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has expressed frustration with how the process has unfolded in recent months .

“I think one of the mistakes made during the expansion talks was in June,” Kliavkoff said. “Before everyone needed to agree to anything, we announced a proposal. I think there has been a lot of speculation and bartering in the media as to who is voting yes or no for which model. ‘expansion and I think that’s doing a disservice.

“I think the right thing to do is to have the right people in the room, choose a model, then announce it instead of announcing it, and then try to get people to accept it. . “

The proposal, which was drafted by a subcommittee consisting of Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick and Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson, was publicly unveiled on June 10. .

When asked by ESPN on Wednesday whether he regretted publicly announcing a 12-team format in June, Sankey said no, as the news would have leaked anyway.

“If we had done any behind-the-scenes work it would have leaked,” he said. “We can’t even keep the date of a meeting place a secret. … Let’s just be transparent about it. So the idea that we were going to come up with a model format, and start making phone calls and asking for feedback, that was more problematic for me and my colleagues than just saying, “We were told. entrusted this task. Here is the product of this task. We have some work to do. “

“There is wisdom in that,” Sankey added. “Not everyone feels that way, but we did a lot of mental gymnastics as a subgroup with the staff and counselors trying to think about it. So I don’t think that’s a hindrance. I don’t think so. that’s a problem. I don’t think it was a bad decision. It’s just the reality of the news cycle. “

In a meeting this week, the CFP board could not agree on an expanded format and postponed discussions until January, when they will meet in Indianapolis, the site of the game. national championship.

Kliavkoff said the Pac-12’s position has not weakened in recent months. He favors expansion as soon as possible and wants automatic qualification for the Power 5 conference champions.

“We are very supportive of several proposals and we have not indicated that we would vote against any of the proposals currently under discussion, the eight and 12,” Kliavkoff said ahead of the Pac-12 championship game.

Kliavkoff noted that because the 11 entities involved in the process have a contractual agreement on the current four-team model until 2025, it would take a unanimous vote to drive changes before the contract ends.

“I think one of the great things that we started to do in the [board of managers] meeting in Dallas last week is to start focusing on what we want the playoffs to look like beyond the current tenure, ”he said. “I don’t think we need 11 people to say yes, to come up with a solution that would be good for college football. If we find this solution, then we can ask ourselves whether or not we can achieve this for the 24 and 25 as well.

“I think you start off by saying, ‘Who is the group that needs to agree on a template? We can then, hopefully, invite others to join us. So it’s just a different paradigm of how you think about who needs to make a decision on what their model looks like. “

When a future playoff model is established, the Pac-12 will re-evaluate how it structures its regular season – divisions, groups, number of games, etc. – and how to determine who is playing in the conference title game, Kliavkoff said. . The philosophy of the conference will be to institute a model that maximizes the number of teams that can participate in the playoffs.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich contributed to this story.


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