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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

CFP Heads Into Expansion Era In Search Of New Leader

  • Longtime college sports administrator built playoff into major event
  • Successor will face wide range of pressing issues
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Hancock was the prime mover in making the College Football Playoff a major event after decades of infighting within the sport. 

Now, the 72-year-old says he will retire from the CFP on Feb. 1, 2025, when his current contract expires, and will shift to a consultant role next year to facilitate the transition.

Appointed in 2012 shortly after the CFP’s creation, the longtime college sports administrator played a central role in building the playoff into one of the most-watched events in American sports — even amid a recent decline in title game ratings. He then led a historic expansion of the CFP into a 12-team format beginning with the 2024-25 season. 

“He’s a legend in college sports,” said Mark Keenum, Mississippi State University president and chair of the CFP’s Board of Managers.

Hancock’s successor will play a huge role in determining how the CFP capitalizes on its expansion era.

Key issues to be discussed include how the CFP will distribute its media rights in the expanded format, and whether the CFP ultimately expands beyond 12 teams. In that light, it’s possible the next CFP executive director will have an extensive media background, following a growing trend within college sports.

Several names from within college sports leadership have already been posited as potential candidates for the position, including retiring Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick, former Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby, and Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith.

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