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College Football Playoff to expand to 12-team format

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The College Football Playoffs governing board unanimously decided Friday to expand the CFP to 12 teams in 2026, but encourages sports commissioners to implement the CFP by 2024.

On what has been described as a “historic day for college football,” the Board’s 11 presidents and presidents endorsed the original 12-team model, first unveiled last summer, and the six highest-ranked The board announced, including conference champions and six general teams.

“There are still quite a few issues to be resolved.There are also very obvious logistical issues to be resolved, but our hope is that [the commissioners] Mississippi President Mark Keenum, who chairs the CFP’s Board of Trustees, said: Pre-season 2026 team playoff format in either 2024 or 2025.

Ten FBS Commissioners and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick will meet next Thursday in Irving, Texas to begin discussions on the possibility of implementing the format as early as 2024.

Team rankings will continue to be determined by the CFP selection committee, but this is largely unchanged.

The top four conference champions will be seeded 1-4 and each will receive a first round bye. Teams seeded 5-12 will meet in the first round on the second or third weekend in December. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will alternate bowl games, and the championship games will be played at neutral sites, similar to the current four-team format.

“Today is an exciting day for the future of college football,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. Create more access to participate in ship events.There is work to be done to bring this format to life, but I am happy that we are all on board.Same direction with a common purpose What.”

The 12-team model was initially put together by Sankey, Swarbrick and Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson and former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlesby. It was launched in June 2021, but was bogged down by conference politics. In February, CFP announced that it would not expand on its current contract, which expires after the 2025 season.

The main holdups were concrete opposition from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12. But after a restructuring thunderbolt this summer with USC and UCLA pledging to join the Big Ten and that conference signing a historic television deal, those league problems began to fade into the background. .

“Pac-12 is strongly in favor of expanding the CFP and welcomes the CFP Board’s decision,” Pac-12 said in a statement on Friday. “Expanding the CFP will increase access and excitement, and is the right thing to do for student-athletes and fans. looking forward to it.”

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement that the expansion of the CFP is “great for college football and great for the Big Ten Conference.” “There is still work to do, but I am proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to bring the 12-team format to life.”

When asked specifically about those three meetings voting in favor of expansion, Keenum said it was a matter of those leagues and everyone else “doing their due diligence” and talking to each member. Said there was.

“They put in the time and effort to get to this point,” said Keenum. “And I think it’s been a cumulative effort by all of these individuals to the point where I feel that not just these specific meetings, but all of the meetings that I’m on the board of have gone through the same process.”

After a year of boiling, and sometimes public, indecision and mistrust among commissioners, the president has led the decision-making process in recent weeks. The president and prime minister have final authority over the playoffs, but the commissioner usually presents the plans for approval.

Two weeks ago, the CFP board held an unannounced conference call to discuss expansion and the possibility of a 12-team playoff within the current contract structure. It appeared on Friday afternoon, just before the official start of the football season on Saturday.

When asked why now, Labor Day weekend and the opening Friday of the season, Keenum said, “The time has come.”

“It’s time to make a decision,” he said. “We need to give the commissioners direction. , is where we think college football needs to head.’ …We believe the Commissioners need direction from this board, and we are pleased to give them to them today. .”

It could take weeks or months to determine the likelihood of a 12-team playoff in 2024 or 2025. In mid-August, CFP announced that the national championship game would be held in Atlanta in 2025, followed by Miami in January 2026. Authorities presented obstacles to such sudden movements. Venues, hotels, TV contracts, etc. Money can be a powerful motivator for change.

“It’s not simple to understand that expanding the playoffs adds value, but from being in these discussions from the beginning, what motivated the president and me is that we want more of the national championships in the country. of teams to participate,” Keenum said. “With only four teams, we felt it wasn’t fair to the student-athletes from a participation standpoint…we recognize that there will be additional income, but that was not the driving force behind this final decision.” It did. It didn’t.”

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