The college football playoff board will hold a virtual meeting Friday that could accelerate playoff expansion as early as 2024 if the 11 presidents and chancellors, who make up the sport’s most powerful group, vote and unanimously approve a format, sources confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.
“There’s momentum,” a source with knowledge of the talks told ESPN. “There’s definitely momentum.”
The source stated it was 50-50 whether there would be any type of vote. Sports Illustrated first reported on the meeting.
CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock declined to confirm or deny the report. The CFP’s management committee, made up of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swabrick, is expected to meet next week to continue its expansion discussions, but members are waiting to hear what the presidents decide – if at all – on Friday.
If there are moves towards an expanded playoff within the current contract, this meeting would give the commissioners an opportunity to study the details of the structure set out by the presidents.
While sources have suggested that there is some confidence at the commissioner level that some sort of expansion will happen, the future of the CFP is left to the unpredictable whims of a group of college presidents.
The CFP is entering the final four years of a 12-year deal with ESPN that expires after the 2025 season. In order to expand before the end of the treaty, there must be a unanimous decision by the Presidents and Chancellors.
Typically, the commissioners are tasked with figuring out the model, and if they can unanimously agree on it, they would submit it to the board for approval, since the presidents and chancellors have ultimate authority over the playoffs.
After 10 months of debates and often tense meetings full of suspicions that took place in public, the commissioners ended the discussions in February by a vote of 8 to 3. The Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 voted against the original 12-team proposal, which included the six-highest-ranking conference champions plus the next six-highest-ranking teams.
Choosing to stay with four teams for four more years cost the 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame about $450 million in potential revenue. Since then, the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 have publicly expressed support for the expansion.
In July, at the Pac-12 media days, Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN he thought it was possible to change the format before the end of the contract.
“We’re closer than ever to agreeing on a format,” he said. “The lack of consensus on a format has kept us from doing it fast instead of slow.
“I said it back when we originally met about it. Once you have agreed to a format, you can incorporate that into the existing contract. If we can agree on how it looks under the existing treaty, why not give it a try? more quickly?”
While there is a feeling that the process is moving very quickly, sources said there are also concerns it may be rushed now, leaving too many unanswered questions. If presidents were to vote on a format, there is still debate among commissioners about whether conference champions should automatically qualify for a spot, how revenue would be distributed, and what the bowl system would look like — particularly the Rose Bowl.
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said his conference is open to 12 or 16 teams and that it would be ideal to give all 10 FBS conference champions automatic bids.
“That would energize college football and really help it get a lot healthier,” Aresco said. “That would make the championship game weekend enormous. We think a 16-team playoff is something we should definitely consider, and if it included 10 automatic games and six at-lass games, it would be great for college football.”
Further conference rebalancing also remains a factor, with sources suggesting expansion of the Big Ten is possible beyond the pending additions of USC and UCLA.
The presidents also met virtually earlier this month and briefly discussed the possibility of restructuring the administration of college football, with one idea to put the FBS under the administration of the CFP.
“I think it’s very lively and, like the CFP, discussions are moving forward,” a source said.
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34497744/sources-cfp-board-managers-meet-momentum-playoff-expansion CFP board of managers to meet, with ‘momentum’ toward playoff expansion