CFP expansion review gets OK
The 11 university presidents and chancellors who oversee the College Football Playoff authorized a continued evaluation of a proposed 12-team playoff on Tuesday that, if eventually adopted, could still be another five years away.
While far from an approval of the proposal, the move by the CFP board of managers was a necessary step to determine the feasibility of tripling the size of the playoff field.
"The four-team playoff has been a great success and I'm confident it will remain a success," said Mark Keenum, the Mississippi State president and CFP board chairman. "Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to explore options to make it even better by increasing the number of schools that participate in it."
The 12-team proposal was presented to the presidents and chancellors after the 11-person panel that manages the postseason system -- 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick -- last week had its first meeting with everyone together in person. Keenum said the next step is a summer review phase that will "engage other important voices," including athletes, campus leaders and coaches.
The proposal doesn't address when a new format or any expansion could be implemented. The earliest possibility is 2023 if everything falls into place. It could as be as late as the 2026 season after the current media rights contract with ESPN expires, along with some contractual considerations with bowl games, including those that are part of the New Year's Six.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey issued a bit of caution when asked about how soon a new playoff could be up and running.
"I would temper my expectations, and never say never, but we've got an opportunity to dig deeper as a group," Sankey said. "Those answers are going to come. There were decisions made back in 2012, 2013, 2014 that guide us for 12 years. That's reality. Can that change? I don't know."