Committee needs more time to discuss playoff expansion, CFP chief says
September 28, 2022
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock has said its management committee still needs more time to determine whether the playoffs can expand to 12 teams as early as 2024.
The committee, comprising FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, met for almost seven hours at the Big Ten’s Headquarters on Tuesday to discuss the expansion of the postseason system. They are scheduled to have another meeting in Dallas on October 20. Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said the group would also have some video conferences.
"We won't wrap up this week," Hancock said after the meeting. "It's never been done before, obviously. And so anytime you have new ground to break, it takes a lot of conversations to make sure you're not missing any details."
The Tuesday meeting was the management committee’s second in-person meeting after September 2, where the CFP’s board of governors, comprising 11 presidents and chancellors, voted unanimously to expand the playoff to 12 teams in 2026, if not sooner.
The university presidents encouraged the commissioners to try implementing a new format before CFP’s current contract with ESPN ends after the 2025 season. ESPN will retain control of the quarterfinals, semifinals and title games through the existing bowl and playoff deals until they expire.
Expanding from four teams to 12 in 2024 and 2025 reportedly requires rescheduling semifinals and championship games that already have fixed dates and sites. It also calls for four new first-round games on campus in mid-December.
Discussions with host cities
Hancock said the CFP had discussed moving the start of the college football season to the week before Labor Day to create more room at the end for the playoff.
“I think most people view that as a future item. As long-term item and not an immediacy item,” Hancock said. “Remember, there's so many details.”
According to Hancock, CFP officials have consulted with bowl partners and host cities that will hold semifinals and championship games after the 2024 and 2025 seasons, but they have not given the new dates.
Atlanta has been selected to host the championship game following the 2024 season on January 2025. Should the playoff be increased to 12 teams, the game would have to be pushed back for about two weeks. Miami will be the next to play host in 2026. While Hancock said the conversations with Atlanta had been “healthy,” he also said there were other matters that required their attention.
“[Atlanta organizers] have some work to do because of other businesses in the community,” Hancock said. “Other meeting-type business, hotel business and Convention Center business there. They’ve been great to work with.”
They also need to determine how the New Year’s Six Bowls will deal with the rotation since the four quarterfinal and two semifinal games will be in bowls. Coming to terms on a TV contract for the first-round games is also one of the things they need to consider.
Hancock also said the commissioners would continue to discuss the revenue shares and ticketing allocations for first-round games. He said they also needed to see if the hotels and convention centers in the host cities could accommodate an early field expansion.