CFP Keeps Four-Team Format Through 2025


CFP Executive Director, Bill Hancock


The people have waited, and the committee has spoken. This isn’t the news we wanted. The College Football Playoff (CFP) will keep the four-team format through the end of its 12-year contract, which is set to expire at the end of the 2025 season. This news was announced by CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock on Friday 2/18. This decision is larger than the CFP itself. The 10 FBS conferences along with Notre Dame have given up approximately $450M in potential revenue due to this decision.


On June 10th, 2021, a twelve-team CFP was proposed, but could not be unanimously confirmed by Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick and/or the 10 FBS commissioners. A new recommendation to keep the four-team format was made to the CFP’s board of managers, which is made up of 11 presidents and chancellors who have most of the power over what happens with the structure of the playoff. The recommendation to keep the current format was confirmed by the board. Hancock said in a statement that he still believes an expanded field is possible for the next contract in 2026. Too many variables stand in the way for a major concrete decision to be made involving the College Football Playoff format. Multiple sources present during the meeting involving the expansion claimed the vote was 8-3, with the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC voting against the expansion. These three conferences have also joined forces, claiming an “alliance” in the beginning of the 2021 CFB season, but they were all but on the same page in their reasoning for not voting in favor of the motion to expand. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement, “There are 1,000 football players roughly from eight teams that could have been part of a national championship, yet they won’t be. We were willing to adapt to modern expectations to create opportunities. Others weren’t willing to adapt to create those opportunities. So, we’ll have to rethink our views as at some point the process reengages.”


Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren also issued a statement regarding the expansion of the CFP. “The Big Ten Conference supports expansion of the college football playoff system -- for our student-athletes, member institutions and fans. Expansion provides increased opportunities, exposure and value for our member institutions, student-athletes, coaches, football teams and athletic programs. I trust that we will continue to collectively address the unresolved matters and move forward with expansion for the greater good of college football.”


This long and drawn-out process confuses me. Most fans and student-athletes have nothing but support for the expansion, but since NCAA bureaucrats want to stand in the way, it won’t happen until 2026. This is a disservice to the FBS and the entire NCAA. The time will come where a CFP expansion decision will reach a unanimous approval, and commissioners everywhere will wish they did it sooner than later.


“You try to stay within the rules for the sake of the game, but you can always turn up the intensity.” – Lawrence Taylor