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SEC and Big Ten express doubts in commitment as College Football Playoff remains undecided on future format

Just over a month ago, top officials of the College Football Playoff (CFP) met with high hopes of implementing a 12-team playoff format. However, a snag in the form of a postponed vote by one conference has left the decision hanging, casting doubts on the playoff’s trajectory beyond the current contract term in 2025.

Key Points:

1.Format Change Limbo:

Originally planning to transition from a 6+6 to a 5+7 model, aligning with the Pac-12’s realignment, the CFP Board of Managers hit a roadblock with a delayed vote by Pac-12 representative Kirk Schulz, sparking uncertainties.

2. Pac-12’s Unique Proposition:

Schulz’s proposal sought guarantees for the Pac-12, linking voting rights and revenue distribution beyond 2025 to the format change vote. However, the proposal faced resistance, injecting complexity into the ongoing discussions.

3. Commissioners Express Skepticism:

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti, while expressing commitment to the CFP post-2025, openly voiced concerns. They emphasized the need to address governance challenges for the playoff’s sustainability.

4. SMU’s ACC Move Adds Drama:

SMU’s entry into the ACC stirred controversy, particularly regarding whether they should receive Power Five distribution. ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips proposed a compromise, shedding light on the broader revenue distribution debate.

5. Debating the Revenue Model:

The current revenue distribution model allocates approximately $460 million annually, with the Power Five claiming 80%. The ongoing debate revolves around how to distribute revenues in the future, especially with the transformed SEC and Big Ten landscape.

6. Future in Limbo:

Beyond 2025, the future of the CFP remains uncertain. Ongoing negotiations with ESPN for a six-year extension, valued at $1.3 billion annually until 2031, are underway. However, lacking a binding agreement, unity among the 10 FBS conferences is in jeopardy.


As the CFP Management Committee convenes to discuss the playoff’s long-term future, unresolved issues, potential format changes, and debates over revenue distribution take center stage. The delay and expressed doubts from influential commissioners underscore the complex challenges facing the CFP post-2025, emphasizing the urgency for a comprehensive and agreeable solution.


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