DALLAS (AP) – The third in-person meeting of the conference commissioners who govern the College Football Playoff since their bosses’ August directive to expand the postseason format ended without resolution, but not without optimism.
“There’s a willingness to try and that willingness is still there,” Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey said Thursday.
The CFP Board of Directors, which consists of the 10 major college football conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director, met for six hours at an airport hotel to work on a plan to triple the number of playoff teams from four to 12 for the 2024 season. .
“We’re not done,” said CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock. “It is true that time is not on our side, but we have not given ourselves a deadline. It’s more important to get the job done right.”
Hancock said the board plans to meet again soon, possibly via video conference, but did not have an exact date.
The task is difficult because the postseason schedule is already set for the 2024 and ’25 seasons based on the current four-team format. The College Football Playoff’s 12-year deal with ESPN expires after the 2025 season.
“We put a calendar on the wall. We want to make sure we are aware of holidays, NFL game days. Starts,” Hancock said, ticking off some of the items the CFP needs to consider.
Now the job is to add the four first-round games to be played in mid-December on the campuses of better-ranked teams and find the best days to play them.
From there, the quarterfinals will be played on and around New Year’s Day, with the semifinals about a week after that and the championship at least a week later.
“I would suggest that every round has some interesting issues around it,” Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “And depending on where you put the needle in one week, it moves to where the next set of things goes, and then what do you run into that week? Whether it’s access to certain stadiums, NFL games that might be played, rest periods . So they’re all interconnected.”
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said, “Spacing games is key. You can’t have (a team) that gets more rest than somebody else.”
Hancock said Atlanta and Miami, which have been selected to host the championship games in 2024 and ’25, respectively. in a four-team format, indicated that they would be able to host games at a later date.
This time last year, the board was in the midst of seven months of haggling over whether and how to expand, with frustrations mounting with each meeting. There are no dissenters in the group this year. Just logistics to sort out.
“It’s been a fascinating process because every time you turn over one stone, you start tripping over other problems,” Steinbrecher said. “And it’s more challenging than I could have imagined. But we are getting there.”
University presidents who oversee the CFP took control of the process last summer, approving a 12-team expansion plan first floated in May 2021 and directing trustees to make it happen by 2024, if possible, and by 2026 at the latest.
Early playoff expansion could be worth an additional $450 million in gross media rights revenue in 2024 and 2025 for schools competing in major college football.
“At some point you have to fish or cut the bait to do it,” Aresco said. “And we somehow have a feeling where we will have to make those decisions. And we’re better informed in terms of the information that we got today and a lot of the things that we talked about.”
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