CFP expansion discussions tabled until Dec. 1

GRAPEVINE, Texas — College Football Playoff expansion talks have been tabled again until Dec. 1, but the CFP’s management committee needs to make a decision on eight or 12 teams by January if the format is going to expand in time for the 2024 season, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said on Thursday following an in-person meeting at the DFW Grand Hyatt.

“Everybody’s looking for some kind of a deadline date, and I do think it has to be the end of the year,” Hancock said. “But that’s not in stone. What you don’t want to do is rush things. And we’re just not going to do that. We’re going to take our time and be deliberate, talk to people.”

If the management committee, which is comprised of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, cannot unanimously agree on an expanded format by January, the current four-team system will remain in place through the end of the contract, which runs through the 2025 season. Any changes to the playoff after that “can be decided at any point,” Hancock said, “and that’s not really under discussion now.”

“What they’re talking about now is Years 11 and 12” of the current 12-year contract, Hancock said.

Hancock said the deadline is January because the CFP has to identify the dates of the games, and determine logistics like lodging, convention centers and stadiums — in addition to determining the cities for the early rounds and the championship game.

This year’s national title game is Jan. 10 in Indianapolis, followed by Jan. 9, 2023 in Los Angeles, and Jan. 8, 2024 in Houston. The championship sites haven’t been announced for the ’24-’25 or ’25-’26 seasons.

“I feel like we need to get it finished by January in fairness to the championship game hosts and the bowls,” Hancock said.

Hancock was the only person made available to reporters Wednesday. He said he doesn’t expect the CFP’s board of managers, which is comprised of the 11 presidents and chancellors with the ultimate authority to change the format, to attend the Dec. 1 meeting. Hancock declined to say how much support there is for eight teams versus 12.

“I don’t think anybody’s keeping score,” he said. “But there are some people who would prefer eight, and there are some people who would prefer 12. And I think everybody understands that the alternative is four.”

The management committee agreed they would like a portion of any revenue to somehow benefit student-athletes, Hancock said, along with exploring a full range of media opportunities with multiple broadcast partners. No ESPN television executives or bowl representatives were part of the conversation, Hancock said.

“There’s a consensus that expansion of the CFP would be good for college football,” Hancock said, “It’s just a matter of how.”

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