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College Football Playoff Board discusses potential restructuring, departure from NCAA

Though it was a brief discussion, 11 people that really run college athletics at least floated the idea of taking football outside of NCAA governance.

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum attends the game between the LSU Tigers and the Mississippi State Bulldogs on October 19, 2019 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 11 College Football Playoff Board of Managers met this past Monday to have almost a State of the Union conversation, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN. According to reports, topics discussed included the potential of restructuring how college football is “governed”, especially regarding the NCAA. A proposed idea was that the CFP could not only manage the Playoff system, but could oversee the entirety of major college football.

While not discussed in length, the idea is an intriguing one. It would change the landscape of college football completely. The CFP would be able to instill its own rules and regulations, which would greatly affect how teams recruit players and certainly payouts for programs and coaches alike. Amidst all the changes coming forth in the form of conference restructuring, this would arguably be the biggest change in the sport’s history.

The Board of Managers consists of one representative from each of the 10 FBS conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC as the automatic qualifier leagues, AAC, Conference USA MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt as the “Group of Five” leagues), as well as Notre Dame. These are university presidents and chancellors that generally lean heavily on their athletic directors to manage most sports-related issues.

This would not affect football at the FCS level, where the former Division I-AA would still be governed by the NCAA and they would run their 24-team championship tournament after each season.

The main impetus behind the meeting and this suggestion is that the presidents and chancellors that make up the Board of Managers feel that too much money is being “left on the table” with the current system. Cue the world’s smallest violin playing somewhere. The CFP Board of Managers members seem disgruntled that there hasn’t been a change to the current playoff format, and one isn’t likely by 2026, but that could change if the partnership with ESPN is re-opened.

Many parties are advocating for a 12-team Playoff, which would help alleviate some potential anti-trust issues if the G5 conferences continue to have limited access to a postseason that can play for a national championship.

Again, this was a brief conversation on a Zoom meeting, so it hasn’t grown legs just yet. But the fact that all 11 members were present and it was mentioned is worth noticing.