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College Football Playoff puts expansion discussion on hold

Ashton Pollard09/22/21
Article written by:On3 imageAshton Pollard

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(Photo courtesy of Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

It appears College Football Playoff expansion will have to wait a little longer. 

On Wednesday, CFP executive director Bill Hancock issued a statement saying the management committee met in Dallas today, but playoff discussions will not continue exactly as planned in Chicago next week.

“As the committee moves forward, there remain issues to be discussed,” the statement says. “Given the complexity of these matters, the management committee will meet again in Chicago next week to continue our discussions.

“As we said in June when the 12-team playoff was proposed, that was the first step in a long process. It is vital that all issues be fully explored and addressed.”

There will not be a vote on expansion next week; the meeting is merely informational. The committee could have formally recommended expansion for next week’s gathering.

The 11 presidents and chancellors that compile the CFP Board of Managers will meet remotely but will not travel to Chicago because there is no vote occurring. The commissioners (plus Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick) that make up the management committee will be on-site, however. 

Hancock told The Athletic that an eight-team structure came up in today’s meeting, but there is not unanimous support for the idea. The meeting in Dallas took place to further discuss the 12-team idea, to discuss the impacts of realignment, and to review feedback already received on the option to add to eight additional teams to the postseason.

“I’m certainly not disappointed,” Hancock told The Athletic, per Nicole Auerbach. “The process continues. We have time.”

Hancock did not speculate further as to whether or not the 12-team structure would ultimately win out.

12-team playoff was supposed to be the talk of the summer

For almost two years, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Swarbrick met as a working group to discuss ways to move forward with the CFP.

Late this spring they announced they were recommending a 12-team structure, and the ball was rolling on expansion. The format was going to include at-large bids for the top-five conference champions, and a bye week for the top-four seeds.

Since then, conference realignment sparked by Oklahoma and Texas’ decision to leave the Big 12 for the SEC has taken over the national discourse with confirmation that expansion would be moved to the back burner as a result of it coming this afternoon.