Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff bullish on expanded College Football Playoff, potentially before 2025

LOS ANGELES — Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff is so bullish on College Football Playoff enlargement that he advised ESPN on Friday he potentially sees the format altering before the present contracts finish following the 2025 season.

“I’m actually assured that we’ll broaden the College Football Playoff,” Kliavkoff advised ESPN. “It truly would not shock me as soon as we agree on the format, if it occurs before the top of the present time period. Once you comply with the format, why would not you?”

Kliavkoff’s feedback are counter to the notion populated by the College Football Playoff board of managers in February that the format wouldn’t broaden till a brand new format is put in place for the 2026 season. Others expressed skepticism on the timeline, contemplating that an enlargement choice would must be made within the coming months. The subsequent CFP assembly is in mid-August by way of Zoom, sources advised ESPN, and there is one other deliberate a month later.

Kliavkoff’s optimism relies on the tenor of the latest CFP assembly in Park City, Utah, final month. “[It was] the best CFP assembly I’ve been in. I’m extremely optimistic that we’re truly going to get there.”

Can that result in a brand new format before the top of the present contract? That would require unanimous approval, which is at all times tough in a room with so many dynamics and stakeholders.

“We’re nearer than we have ever been to agreeing to a format,” Kliavkoff mentioned. “The lack of settlement a couple of format held us again from doing it rapidly, versus slowly.

“I mentioned it again once we initially met on this. Once you comply with a format, you may shoehorn that into the present contract. If we agree on what it seems like previous the present contract, why would not you attempt to do it quicker?”

In the autumn, there was dialogue about increasing the playoff subject as early as 2024 or 2025, however the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 finally voted in opposition to it in January and February for numerous causes. In order for it to nonetheless occur before the present, 12-year contract expires after the 2025 season, CFP govt director Bill Hancock advised ESPN, “many, many particulars must be labored out.”

“We’ll need to see,” Hancock mentioned. “There’s much more discuss forward.” Hancock mentioned the commissioners have not talked about playoff enlargement since June and the presidents and chancellors have not mentioned it since May.

“The board and the administration committee will focus on the format when the time comes,” Hancock mentioned. “I do really feel just like the commissioners have been extra open to alter and collaborative once they met in June than they have been in February.”

Hancock mentioned the June assembly didn’t embody any discuss a possible 16-team format, and the dialog was extra philosophical than it was “within the weeds” a couple of format. The commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick initially preferred the idea of rewarding the highest 4 groups with a bye within the 12-team format — one thing that may be misplaced with a 16-team subject.

Swarbrick didn’t rule out the potential for a sped-up timeline for a brand new CFP, however mentioned it might be troublesome to broaden the sector through the present contract.

“I believe the calendar is the impediment,” Swarbrick mentioned. “I can see the intent being there, nevertheless it’s not simple. It’s so dependent on the dimensions of the playoff.”

Swarbrick was one of many authors of the unique 12-team proposal, together with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, outgoing Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson. Swarbrick mentioned the explanation they favored 12 over 16 was as a result of “we cherished the byes.”

“We cherished how that rewarded groups,” he mentioned, including that any discussions he is been part of relating to a 16-team subject thus far have been “very conceptual.”

Sankey was not instantly out there for remark.

Kliavkoff added that he has not delved into the small print of the influence of tv contracts. One of the possible steps within the subsequent playoff, because it developed from 4 groups, will likely be a number of tv companions. Right now, ESPN owns all of the rights to the four-team playoff. Fox could be the anticipated favourite to affix ESPN within the bidding, because the CFP goals to potentially mannequin its postseason after the NFL’s and have a number of rights holders.

What that formally seems like nonetheless hasn’t been determined, however the notion of a possible 16-game playoff continues to be perpetuated. Kliavkoff talked about the dynamic within the room altering now that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is anticipated to tamp down his demand for computerized qualifiers, one of many key hindrances for the 12-team playoff. He additionally talked about one of many ACC’s points — a 365-day calendar evaluation — is underway and prone to be resolved.

“I’m in favor of increasing the College Football Playoff,” Kliavkoff mentioned. “I haven’t got specific points between 12 and 16. I perceive the arguments for and in opposition to.”

He added: “It’ll be attention-grabbing now that I believe Kevin is backing away from his demand for computerized qualifiers. I’m keen to enter the room and pay attention.”

That 16-team thought possible brings with it calendar points, as Swarbrick talked about, and the possible debate of whether or not leagues would potentially remove their convention title video games in favor of that weekend being reserved for the primary weekend of the playoff. That would possible require lots of contractual gymnastics and monetary lodging for these whose league title video games are value essentially the most cash.

But the thought, for instance, of Ohio State taking part in Michigan to shut the season, then taking part in USC within the league title recreation and embarking from there on a possible four-game playoff run is a frightening one. Kliavkoff mentioned he plans to proceed to stump for the Rose Bowl, even within the wake of the Big Ten poaching two of the Pac-12’s Most worthy manufacturers. The Rose Bowl has lengthy been a contract between the Big Ten and Pac-12.

“Three hours each three years for the Rose Bowl,” Kliavkoff mentioned. “We’re 100% dedicated. It’s vital. It’s a part of the historical past and custom of faculty athletics. When we begin throwing out traditions for cash, that is once we get ourselves in bother. It’s not a giant ask.”

Kliavkoff would not reply to the quotes from Warren from Big Ten media days that the 2 hadn’t spoken for the reason that Big Ten broke the Alliance between three leagues by taking two of the Pac-12’s colleges.

“I’m not speaking about who I talked to and who I did not discuss to,” he mentioned.

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