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Big College Football Playoff Changes Could Be Formalized Soon

  • The format of the expanded 12-team field still needs to be decided.
  • A reported media rights extension with ESPN hasn’t been signed.
CFP-tickets
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The future of the College Football Playoff continues to inch toward gaining clarity.

ESPN’s reported $7.8 billion extension for the CFP’s full package of media rights through 2032 is contingent on CFP leaders approving a new format for the expanded 12-team field, which has been in limbo since last summer’s realignment moves. But now, ESPN (perhaps not so coincidentally) is reporting that the CFP board of managers is set to vote on a new format next week, on Feb. 20. The expectation is that a 5+7 model (five conference champions plus seven at-large bids) will be approved, therefore greenlighting the new media rights deal.

Meanwhile the two remaining members of the Pac-12—the conference most responsible for throwing the CFP into chaos—are crystallizing their future, too. 

Oregon State and Washington State announced a formal measure to move on from Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, releasing a statement that they had “given the departing 10 schools notice of a proposed leadership transition with an invitation to provide comment” and that they “expect to provide more information following a decision in the coming days.” 

The move isn’t a surprise, given the turmoil surrounding the Pac-12, and Oregon State and Washington State’s plans to partner with the Mountain West Conference and West Coast Conference over the next two seasons. Kliavkoff’s contract was believed to have at least two years remaining, according to the San Jose Mercury News, with an expected annual salary of approximately $3.5 million. It is unclear whether a buyout was reached or Kliavkoff will receive his full remaining salary.

Basketball Changes, Too?

As March Madness approaches, college sports leaders are also thinking about making the men’s NCAA basketball tournament bigger.

Over the last three weeks, at two separate meetings, high-ranking college leaders took the initial step in exploring significant change to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and the College Football Playoff. Last month, commissioners of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC spoke with NCAA president Charlie Baker about exploring NCAA tournament expansion, according to Yahoo Sports. Any change would require additional work with CBS Sports and TNT Sports, which together are paying $700 million annually for the media rights to March Madness through 2032.

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