Pac-12 commish leads voices suggesting College Football Playoff expansion be paused amid SEC additions

The Pac-12’s new commissioner mentioned out loud this week what his friends had been pondering for the final seven days: School Soccer Playoff growth have to be reconsidered. Not a lot the precise growth itself, however how there appears to be a bum rush in the direction of it.

CBS Sports activities spoke with a number of high-profile directors who may have a direct hand within the discussions. Their conclusion is that your entire proposed construction and entry to the CFP have to be reevaluated because of forthcoming convention realignment as triggered by the moves of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.

How can there be certainty once we do not even know what number of conferences will exist or what groups will probably be in them by the point this proposed growth goes into impact?

“It is actually going to be readdressed,” George Kliavkoff, who took over as Pac-12 commissioner earlier this 12 months, informed CBS Sports activities. “Keep in mind that was a two-year course of achieved by 4 individuals. The proposal is nice, but it surely’s not achieved. We have mis-set followers’ expectations that it will transfer on a really quick timeline.”

That timeline was set in an April press launch when CFP government director Invoice Hancock mentioned the soonest growth might be applied was 2023. The difficulty had been studied for 2 years by a CFP subcommittee that included Greg Sankey (SEC commissioner), Bob Bowlsby (Huge 12 commissioner), Jack Swarbrick (Notre Dame athletic director) and Craig Thompson (Mountain West commissioner).

Nevertheless, with the SEC’s pending addition of the Huge 12’s two powers, that appears to have slowed the method on a number of tracks.

A type of tracks is one thing no administrator has talked about publicly. Texas and Oklahoma transferring to the SEC adjustments not solely school athletics however your entire school sports activities enterprise mannequin.

In devastating the Huge 12 to the purpose it has misplaced 50% to 75% of its worth, the SEC enhanced its energy, leverage and incomes potential to the purpose some school leaders concern the convention might earn six of the 12 accessible playoff spots within the proposed growth.

“With 12 groups, we might simply be watching plenty of SEC groups within the 12-team playoff,” a highly-placed Energy 5 supply informed CBS Sports activities.

One Energy 5 AD added: “Why on God’s inexperienced Earth would the Pac-12 and Huge Ten hand over these [playoff] rights, which solely strengthens the SEC?”

A second Energy 5 AD agreed: “I do not care if there are 10 SEC groups in; we simply cannot make {that a} bonanza [every] 12 months for them. You may’t strangle all people else financially.”

A straightforward repair for the CFP can be limiting the quantity groups from one convention that would enter a 12-team discipline. The issue? Not one of the stakeholders need that. As dominant because the SEC might grow to be, different energy conferences don’t wish to hand over the potential for limitless berths for his or her leagues.

Kliavkoff being a rookie in his job doesn’t imply his voice stands alone. He’s supported by three different Energy 5 convention commissioners and a few of strongest school directors within the nation.

They assert that one factor has grow to be clear: Sankey was a type of “4 individuals” engaged on growth whereas concurrently partaking in a big aspect hustle — negotiating a blockbuster deal to lure Texas and Oklahoma to his convention. All whereas taking part in these proceedings with Bowlsby.

That at the least calls into query the CFP growth course of. Sankey was engaged on formulating logistics of a CFP growth parallel whereas making certain his convention would maintain a extra vital benefit in dominating the CFP.

[The SEC] was not the convention clamoring ever for growth,” Sankey informed CBS Sports activities. “I heard that from basically each different convention. Not this convention.”

With Sankey as one of many main voices within the room, the looks of a battle of curiosity has led some to recommend he ought to have recused himself from the method.

“No,” Sankey mentioned, denying such an assertion. “There’s plenty of checks and balances within the system. Issues occurred quickly within the final eight days.”

In the meantime, CFP government director Invoice Hancock informed CBS Sports activities that the growth timeline has not modified. 

“The summer season evaluation interval is constant — the administration committee members are gathering feedback from their faculties’ presidents, athletics administrators, coaches, college and student-athletes,” he mentioned.

The monetary achieve for having an outsized aggressive benefit in a 12-team playoff would seemingly be minimal. Underneath the present contract, every Energy 5 convention will get $66 million per 12 months from the CFP. Conferences get $6 million in further funds for every semifinal berth and $4 million for a New Yr’s Six bowl berth.

What’s of larger concern is a potential reshaping of school sports activities overseen by SEC and ESPN.

By taking Texas and Oklahoma, SEC and ESPN — unique companions within the convention’s media rights deal — broken Fox’s funding within the Huge 12. Fox splits rights with ESPN within the Huge 12, Pac-12 and Huge Ten.

To some, the takeover was larger than realignment. It was a big enterprise maneuver.

That is why one high-profile AD tells CBS Sports activities he has “main points” with the 12-team growth as proposed. 

The ten FBS commissioners are as a result of meet with the CFP Board of Managers (convention presidents) concerning growth in September. The objective is to summarize findings after in-depth talks with athletes, coaches and directors on their campuses. That is the following step towards finalizing a 12-team construction.

Nevertheless, multiple Energy 5 supply informed CBS Sports activities that the September date might be pushed again due to the SEC’s actions. Complicating issues is Bowlsby’s assertion that ESPN conspired with Texas, Oklahoma and the American Athletic Conference to take down his convention in realignment. 

“Simply a few of the public feedback, it appears to be individuals are altering their minds a bit of bit,” Bowlsby informed CBS Sports activities.

Per the CFP, it might take a unanimous vote of the conferences to approve playoff growth. May one convention refusing to play alongside scuttle your entire plan?

“We mange by unanimous consent, but it surely is not going to crumble on that foundation, I do not suppose,” Bowlsby mentioned. “I do not suppose individuals wish to have a scenario the place many of the energy is in a single space.”

The best concern is the idea of increasing a playoff whereas realignment is reshaping college football. Does the proposal change if there are solely two, three or 4 energy conferences?

“It simply feels uneasy relative to the 12 [teams],” Kliavkoff informed CBS Sports activities. “I am assuming my colleagues, nationally, this can be a purpose to pause on the 12. We have to pause.”

As proposed, an expanded playoff would come with the highest six ranked convention champions with no computerized bids. The highest 4 ranked groups would obtain first-round byes.

Nevertheless, Sankey has raised the concept of accepting the 12 finest groups, no matter convention titles.

“Ought to we simply say the 12 finest groups?” Sankey proposed. “I have been requested that by our personal membership.”

Such a construction would assist the SEC, the nation’s strongest soccer convention. Within the 12-team discipline was in impact over the primary seven years of the CFP, the SEC would have averaged three entrants per season (primarily based on remaining CFP Rankings 2014-20). Together with Texas and Oklahoma in that blend, the common would have been roughly 4.

With a lot occurring, increasingly directors in energy at the moment are asking: Why would not the CFP wait and go on the open market to maximise the worth of product after the 2025 season? That is when the present take care of ESPN ends. ESPN has unique negotiating rights with the CFP till then.

Nevertheless, as one administrator identified, it is a full unknown what the media rights panorama will appear to be in 5 years. The final assumption is that the CFP will double in worth to $1 billion per season. That would skyrocket with a number of bidders within the combine, together with streaming providers.

“Streaming is the longer term,” Kliavkoff mentioned.

If the contract had been open to bid, it might additional be maximized by inserting every degree of the playoff on a unique community.

Deeper into the dialogue, the strengthening of the SEC with the Longhorns and Sooners creates a probability it’s given extra favorable broadcast home windows on ESPN. Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione has been public along with his distaste for the historic Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry recreation being performed at 11 a.m. CT within the warmth of September in Norman, Oklahoma.

The Pac-12 has lengthy been caught with the logistic downside of enjoying on the West Coast. When its rights come up for bid in 2024, it is uncertain no matter cash the convention will get will embrace video games nonetheless lasting nicely into the night time on the East Coast.

“The Pac-12 does not get within the playoff fairly often within the present format,” Sankey informed CBS Spots. “I believe all of us felt a duty to have a look at totally different fashions to offer entry.

“If anyone desires to recommend this was motivated by some self curiosity, they’re lacking a giant image. Why would I assist any computerized convention entry? Why would I’ve mentioned fairly overtly we should not depart the West Coast a part of the nation out of the playoff?”

It is protected to say Bowlsby is bitter having labored alongside Sankey and Castiglione for years. Kliavkoff introduced up the truth that solely two of the Energy 5 conferences (SEC, Huge 12) had been concerned in shaping the growth course of over a two-year interval.

“That is unlucky,” Kliavkoff informed CBS Sports activities. “Bear in mind: The commissioners of the Huge Ten, Pac-12 and ACC weren’t within the room.” | Pac-12 commish leads voices suggesting School Soccer Playoff growth be paused amid SEC additions


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