The College Football Playoff management committee concluded another lengthy, closed-door meeting on Thursday still undecided about when the playoffs will expand to 12 teams, but encouraged it can happen as soon as 2024, according to the executive director.
After about six hours, he emerged from a conference room at the airport with no idea if the format can be changed before the start of the season. The window to change the format in time for the 2024 season is getting smaller by the day.
Time is not on our side, but we have not given ourselves a deadline. Getting it right is more important than getting it quickly.
There was a sense of optimism going into Thursday's meeting, but there was also a realization that the dates for the games are a significant challenge, especially with campuses hosting the first game. There are conflicts with the academic calendar, including December graduation and final exams, as well as TV windows that don't compete with the football league.
Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, said that the process has been fascinating.
Concerns have been raised about the New Year's Six bowl games. Bowls would be used to play the four quarterfinals and two semifinals. The first-round games would need to be televised. Current bowl and playoff deals would keep control of the quarterfinals, semis and title game for the foreseeable future.
The 11th and 12th years of the current contract are the ones that everyone wants to get done. Is it possible to get it done? We don't have a lot of opposition to it.
The new format could bring in $450 million in gross revenue if it's implemented in time. The Big Ten and SEC are poised to become the sports' first 16-team super conferences with an opportunity to have more representation in the new model.
Sankey said it's just one part of the puzzle.
He said they haven't spent a lot of time on it. There's a model that has different numbers. It's out there.
There was a feeling of being close to a long-awaited resolution after Thursday's meeting. The 11 university presidents and chancellors who have the ultimate authority over the College Football Playoff decided in September to expand the field to 12 teams in order to get a consensus. The plan is usually sent to the presidents by the Commissioners.
Since the presidents asserted their authority over the format, the management committee has been tasked with working out the details to implement it as soon as possible. Six of the 12 teams are at-large teams. The ranking of the teams will be determined by the committee.
Each conference champion will receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. The first round of the playoffs will be played on the second or third weekend of December. The championship game will be played at a neutral site and the quarterfinals and semifinals will be played on a rotation.
When it was clear that Atlanta and Miami could host the national championship games on different dates, there was a renewed sense of importance. Atlanta and Miami will host the national championship game in the 20th century. Atlanta and Miami are willing to accommodate an expansion of the playoffs. They need to be told the dates by theCFP.
Sankey said there's a will to attempt. It is still there.