College football playoff expansion: Officials still unable to agree on model

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Years in the past, about 500 miles west of right here in Kansas Metropolis, an NCAA government committee made up of faculty presidents, shot down a playoff growth proposal that despatched one man angrily storming out of the room.

“I’ve obtained higher issues to do than this!” Charles Younger, the UCLA president and the chairman of the 1994 NCAA committee exploring growth, famously shouted on the presidents following the vote.

Practically 30 years later, faculty football has witnessed one other swing-and-miss and extra offended storm-outs. College Football Playoff officers couldn’t agree on growth throughout a gathering Monday blocks away from the positioning of tonight’s nationwide title recreation at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The outcome from CFP leaders delays growth of the four-team postseason, leaving many annoyed, exhausted and, like Younger, offended.


Large 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, visibly and audibly disenchanted whereas talking to reporters, bemoaned a course of that has ended with solely a plan to meet extra. In the meantime, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey advised that his league–extra dominant during the last twenty years than another–has no incentive to proceed negotiating, although he says he’ll, for now.

“Those that requested (to broaden the playoff) are usually not prepared to act,” Sankey mentioned to a small group of reporters after rising from conferences Monday in downtown Indianapolis. “It’s in my finest curiosity to depart it at 4.”

Whereas anticipated, the most recent failed try at growth is costly in more ways than one. For now, officers are passing on each $450 million in extra income and 16 additional playoff spots {that a} 12-team playoff would have generated in 2024 and 2025. So as to break the CFP’s contract with ESPN—it runs by the 2025 season—CFP officers want unanimity. They don’t have it.

A minimum of two and possibly three commissioners opposed the really useful model that the CFP Administration Committee offered Monday to the Board of Managers, which is the CFP’s government board together with illustration from the ten FBS conferences and Notre Dame.


For these concerned within the negotiations and others throughout the nation, the choice is vexing. They’re trying to find underlying the reason why a minority of leaders are resistant to approve an growth model supported by at the least eight of the 11 commissioners.

“There’s extra parochiality than there wants to be,” Bowlsby mentioned. “I’ve spent the final three days (of conferences) studying the playing cards on the desk. You’ll have to ask them (why they’re in opposition to it).”

These opposing the growth proposal are “entrenched” of their beliefs, Bowlsby mentioned. The commissioners are “no nearer,” he mentioned, to having sure points resolved than after they arrived right here for conferences beginning Friday.

At an occasion in Las Vegas final month, Large Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and ACC commissioner Jim Phillips publicly expressed their opposition for the primary time on this six-month stretch of deliberations. They imagine in computerized qualifiers for Energy 5 champions, they informed an viewers of directors on the Aria Resort & On line casino. Moreover, Phillips says the method needs to be delayed till after the on-going NCAA transformation is full, and he additionally holds the assumption that eight groups, not 12, is the suitable quantity for a playoff.


9 committee members have publicly supported the unique 12-team playoff model. The proposed model grants computerized bids to the six highest-ranked convention champions, offers first-round byes to the very best ranked 4 champions and completes the sphere with six at-large choices. The primary spherical can be performed on campus earlier than a rotation of six bowls is used for the quarterfinals and semifinals.

On the request of the presidents, a subcommittee of three commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick created the proposal after two years of deliberations in secret. They launched the plan to the general public in June earlier than it was formally offered to the complete Administration Committee, a transfer that Alliance members—the Pac-12, ACC and Large Ten—have chided.

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“I believe it was obtained favorably,” mentioned Bowlsby. “Since then, we’ve hung out on it. Some don’t prefer it now. … We knew it was going to get out and so we went forward and shared the main points of it. It wasn’t supposed to bind anyone.”

Sankey and plenty of others are baffled by an apparent reality: The conferences that want growth essentially the most and strongly inspired it three years in the past are those both on the fence or flatly voting in opposition to the present proposal.

“We don’t want this,” Sankey mentioned on growth, a wave of his arm.

The SEC has certified at the least one workforce in 15 of the final 16 title bouts, has gained 12 of these and has despatched 18 groups to the final 16 championship video games. The truth is, a couple of blocks from the positioning of Monday’s conferences, two SEC groups, Georgia and Alabama, meet for the championship—the third time in 11 years that’s occurred.

The SEC’s dominance has been such within the CFP and BCS eras that Sankey joked, in talking about computerized bids, that possibly his league ought to get two.

This 12 months, three of the 5 energy conferences weren’t represented within the playoff— the second time that’s occurred within the CFP’s eight years. The Pac-12 hasn’t superior to the playoff since 2016.

“In December 2018, convention leaders from these not within the SEC have been loudly and publicly calling for growth. We weren’t,” Sankey mentioned. “It’s not good for school football to have a whole area not central to the (playoff) dialog—the West.”

The stalemate has dragged on lengthy sufficient—six months—that officers are barreling towards an arbitrary deadline. The hope of increasing within the ultimate two years of the CFP contract with ESPN, in 2024 and 2025, is at a close to unattainable level, commissioners say. As every day passes, growth’s earliest 12 months strikes nearer to 2026, the primary 12 months of what can be the CFP’s new multi-media rights deal.

CFP government director Invoice Hancock described the scenario as “going into extra time,” however didn’t rule out growth earlier than the contract ends, although a choice is required “quickly.”

Says Sankey: “This can be a nine-overtime recreation the place no one can rating a two-point dialog proper now. However that does not imply you cease.”

Sankey says the SEC’s willingness to participate in growth talks and to help an growth model is an “monumental give” for a convention that doesn’t want it. He strongly advised that the SEC won’t be as prepared to participate in future negotiations. His presidential illustration hinted on the similar.

CFP Board of Managers Chairman Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State, left open the potential for sustaining a four-team playoff even after the present contract ends “if these points aren’t resolved,” he mentioned.

“Do we have now an growth or can we maintain the established order?” he requested. “The established order has labored fairly nicely for the Southeastern Convention.”

Would the SEC actually take its proverbial ball and go residence? The league’s energy solely continues to develop. Its success on the sphere has generated a mega new TV cope with ESPN, so vital that it helped lure away the Large 12 Oklahoma and Texas, that are set to be part of the league in 2025.

In one in all its most transformative instances, the panorama of faculty sports activities is starting to shift. That may impression future playoff negotiations in the event that they proceed to drag on, advised Sankey, who himself is main an NCAA transformation committee that would carry change to the Division I construction.

“If we have now to cease and go to Sq. 1, all of us have to perceive, it’s not as if issues keep as they’re,” he mentioned.

In the meantime, the Pac-12 and the Large Ten have a historic relationship to think about. The 2 leagues maintain a profitable separate contract with the Rose Bowl, the oldest bowl recreation in faculty football. The growth proposal impacts that settlement, the date of the sport’s kickoff and the normal matchup of groups, one thing seen as a possible hurdle to expansion.

Phillips from the ACC, Warren from the Large Ten and Kliavkoff from the Pac-12 didn’t converse with reporters following the assembly.

Computerized qualifiers, one other sticking level, are constructed into the 12-team proposal, however they aren’t designated to particular conferences. Phillips and Warren have spoken in favor of Energy 5 champions incomes an computerized berth—one thing of which Bowlsby, Sankey and a number of other Group of 5 commissioners have been publicly crucial.

During the last six months, leaders have explored a number of codecs, together with an eight-team model, however none have garnered what is important to break the contract early—unanimity. Sankey is in opposition to any eight-team format with six computerized bids, because it limits the at-large choices to solely two groups. Group of 5 commissioners are in opposition to an all-at giant eight-team model as a result of it doesn’t present them yearly entry.

“There are holdouts for 4, holdouts for eight, holdouts for 12,” Bowlsby mentioned. “It’s been a irritating course of. … All people is extra involved about their very own silo than all people else’s. The primary time round (Large Ten commissioner) Jim Delany and (SEC commissioner) Mike Slive obtained previous their particular person considerations to do what’s finest for school football. That’s why we obtained to a playoff. That hasn’t occurred this time.”

Extra College Football Protection:
• Indy Climate Doesn’t Outshine SEC Highway Present.
• Contained in the Historical past of Sensible, Saban and a Lopsided Collection
• Movie Room: What Does Georgia Have to Do In another way This Time vs. Alabama?
• Why Have Southern Groups Dominated the CFP? Observe the Cash, and Historical past.

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