Expanded college football playoffs: Board agrees to 12-team field with aim to implement as soon as possible

The governing board for Friday’s college football playoffs voted to expand the playoff field to 12 teams, with the goal of implementing the larger format as soon as possible, sources told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. A unanimous vote is an important first step in advancing the playoffs beyond the current four-team format.

The expanded 12-team bracket, which the Board hopes to start as early as the 2024 season, will feature the six highest-ranked conference champions as automatic qualifiers, along with six highest-ranked large teams after the season .

An 11-member Board of Trustees, including the university presidents and chancellors representing each of the 10 FBS conferences, and John Jenkins, Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame, endorsed the expansion as a concept, although the discipline has four teams. is just the first step to ensure that the Currently, his ten FBS Commissioners and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, who make up the CFP Management Board, oversee the implementation.

The committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday in Irving, Texas.

Among the main topics on the docket is when to begin implementing the 12-team field, which could begin as early as the 2024, or no later than the 2026 season, once CFP’s 12-year contract with ESPN expires. there is a possibility.

The CFP subcommittee, made up of the FBS Commissioners who developed this 12-team bracket, was well received when it was first introduced in June 2021. Big 12 of the SEC.

Given that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and then-Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlesby were on that CFP subcommittee, while other conference commissioners reassessed the league’s place in the sport, Stopping the expansion conversation has rattled the ranks.

First, an alliance was struck between the ACC, Big Ten, and Pac-12, and the conference agreed to vote as a major issue bloc. The alliance held back expansion with a tally of 8 to 3 on Jan. 10 in favor of a move to a larger arena. A unanimous vote was required to pass the expansion. In February 2022, the board was largely expected to be rubber stamped in a preliminary vote, so expansion was deemed a topic shelved for the time being.

The Big Ten’s deprivation of USC and UCLA from Pac-12 this past offseason was a continuation of this string of reorganizations and marked the end of a short-lived alliance. Given that the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 won’t bring media rights income to the level of the Big Ten and SEC in the near future, it likely opened the door to revitalized negotiations.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock previously said the playoffs would not expand until his current contract, which is set to expire in 2025, expires. Just weeks before he released the National Championship Games site for the 2025 season, Atlanta will host him following in 2024. Season, the following year South Florida – CFP seemingly confirmed that no format change would take place before then.

If CFP seeks to expand before its contract with ESPN expires, it should find a sufficient number of gaming sites (perhaps on campus for the early rounds of games) and appropriate logistics (hotel rooms, practice facilities, etc.). Face the hurdle of needing to enact. In a short period of time. Those are still big hurdles, but multiple sources tell Dodd that they could all be cleared in 28 months, before the 2024 playoffs could be expanded.

“My general reaction is, if people are willing, [to do it]Anything can happen,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson, one of four key members of the subcommittee alongside Sankey, Bowlsby and Swarbrick.

The 12-team playoffs are valued at $1.2 billion a year, according to industry sources, up from the current $600 million CFP is getting from ESPN. By not enacting an expansion before the 2026 season, CFP will be leaving a lot of money on the table. ESPN will retain rights to additional CFP games for the final two years of the 12-year deal.

There remains widespread support for CFP’s media rights to go to multiple bidders once ESPN’s contract expires. Big Ten recently signed a $1.2 billion annual deal with CBS, Fox and NBC to air the game.

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