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CFP Committee Reportedly Could Vote to Move on Expansion

  • University presidents could vote to expand the CFP, according to reports.
  • Depending on the vote, expansion could be possible by 2024.
CFP Pylon
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

After over a year of stagnation — and failure to compromise — an expansion plan for the College Football Playoff may finally be formalized.

On Friday, the College Football Playoff’s Board of Managers, which includes one university president representative from every FBS conference and Notre Dame, will meet virtually to potentially vote on a new model, according to multiple reports. 

One source indicated to ESPN, however, that it’s “50-50” whether a vote takes place on Friday. “There’s momentum,” the source reportedly said. “There’s definitely momentum.”

The most likely outcome could be a 12-team playoff model, according to SI, though there is a possibility that a 16-team playoff is still on the table. The timeline for implementation could also depend on the Friday vote — if unanimous, expansion could start as early as 2024. 

That’s particularly significant given that the current four-team model is the precedent for ESPN’s exclusive CFP contract, which runs until 2026 and reportedly pays out an average of $470 million a year. Adding expansion to the existing contract in 2024 would create an extra windfall of $450 million, per SI.

A unanimous vote by presidents wouldn’t guarantee key details — commissioners would have to iron out specifics. Commissioners are reportedly slated to meet next week, however, and could be poised to take action then.

Last year, commissioners stalled on expansion for several reasons — including that conference realignment created bad blood. Some also wanted to bring the CFP media rights to market, and perhaps sell them to networks besides ESPN. 

ESPN, however, is definitely interested in renewing CFP rights, a source previously told Front Office Sports.

The news also comes amid whispers that a Power 5 or FBS football breakaway from the NCAA might be more probable than ever.

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