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Faculty Soccer Playoff enlargement: Board agrees to 12-team subject with purpose to implement as quickly as potential

The Faculty Soccer Playoff’s Board of Managers on Friday voted to increase the playoff subject to 12 groups with an purpose to implement the bigger format as quickly as potential, sources inform CBS Sports activities’ Dennis Dodd. The unanimous vote is a vital first step in pushing the playoff past the present four-team format.

The expanded 12-team bracket, which the board needs to start as early because the 2024 season, will characteristic the six highest-ranked convention champions as computerized qualifiers together with the six highest-ranked at-large groups following the season.

Whereas the 11-member board — together with college presidents and chancellors representing every of the ten FBS conferences, plus Notre Dame president John Jenkins — permitted enlargement as an idea, it is just step one in making certain the sector strikes past 4 groups. It’s now as much as the ten FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, those that comprise the CFP Administration Committee, to supervise implementation.

The committee is scheduled meet on Thursday in Irving, Texas.

Among the many major subjects on the docket shall be when to start implementation of the 12-team subject. It might be instituted as quickly as 2024 or as late because the 2026 season as soon as the CFP’s 12-year contract with ESPN expires. 

A CFP subcommittee comprised of FBS commissioners that developed this 12-team bracket obtained a good reception when it was first launched in June 2021. Following that presentation and earlier than enlargement might be permitted, realignment rocked faculty sports activities as Texas and Oklahoma introduced plans to depart the Huge 12 for the SEC.

Given SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and then-Huge 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby have been on that CFP subcommittee, the ranks have been rattled with different convention commissioners placing a halt to enlargement conversations whereas reevaluating their leagues’ locations within the sport.

First got here an alliance between the ACC, Huge Ten and Pac-12 with the conferences agreeing to vote as a block on key points. That alliance stood in the way in which of enlargement on Jan. 10 with an 8-3 tally in help of shifting to a bigger subject; a unanimous vote was required to cross enlargement. In February 2022, given the board largely anticipated a rubber stamp within the prior vote, enlargement was thought-about a shelved subject for the foreseeable future. 

The Huge Ten swiping USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 this previous offseason, a continuation of this spherical of realignment, introduced a transparent finish to that short-lived alliance. It maybe opened the door to revitalized talks given the ACC, Huge 12 and Pac-12 won’t be bringing in media rights income to the extent of the Huge Ten and SEC within the close to future.

CFP govt director Invoice Hancock beforehand acknowledged that the playoff wouldn’t increase earlier than the top of its present contract, which is about to run out in 2025. In releasing nationwide championship recreation websites by the 2025 season simply weeks in the past — Atlanta will host following the 2024 season, South Florida the subsequent yr — the CFP seemingly confirmed a format change wouldn’t happen earlier.

If the CFP goals to increase previous to the top of its ESPN contract, it faces a hurdle of needing to search out sufficient recreation websites (probably on campus for early-round video games) and enact applicable logistics (lodge rooms, apply amenities, and many others.) in a brief time period. Whereas these stay massive obstacles, a number of sources instructed Dodd all might be cleared with 28 months to go till a doubtlessly expanded playoff in 2024.

“My response normally is, if persons are prepared [to do it], something can occur,” mentioned Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, one of many 4 key members of that subcommittee alongside Sankey, Bowlsby and Swarbrick.

A 12-team playoff has been valued at $1.2 billion yearly, business sources instructed Dodd, up from the present $600 million the CFP is incomes from ESPN. By not enacting enlargement previous to the 2026 season, the CFP could be leaving important cash on the desk. ESPN would maintain rights to any extra CFP video games by the ultimate two years of its 12-year deal.

There stays widespread help for CFP media rights to exit to a number of bidders as soon as the ESPN contract expires. The Huge Ten lately signed a $1.2 billion annual cope with CBS, Fox and NBC to air its video games.

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