The eleven conference commissioners, the Notre Dame Athletic Director, and BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock met in Chicago today in a continuing attempt to determine the successor to the current college football postseason. Though the prognosis in April was for “seismic change” and a near-certain four-team playoff, things haven’t progressed much since then.
Here’s their statement:
We made progress in our meeting today to discuss the future of college football’s post-season. We are approaching consensus on many issues, and we recognize there are also several issues that require additional conversations at both the commissioner and university president levels.
We are determined to build upon our successes and create a structure that further grows the sport while protecting the regular season. We also value the bowl tradition and recognize the many benefits it brings to student-athletes.
We have more work to do and more discussions to have with our presidents, who are the parties that will make the final decisions about the future structure of college football’s post-season.
The word from Twitter and other blogs seems to be that the commissioners had nothing interesting to say upon leaving the meeting, only reiterating that everything but the status quo is still on the table, and that includes a plus-one. There seem to be some hang-ups, and it’s not surprising that the folks at today’s meeting couldn’t get past them. They’re the same things we’ve known as stumbling blocks for months now: how to select teams, when to play games, how to select sites for games, and how to distribute the revenue.
The very public discussion has been over how to select teams, while there’s been less talk of where and when to play the semifinals. What is likely the major sticking point (and will be for some time) is revenue distribution. Revenue distribution shouldn’t have much influence on the structure of the playoff, but it’s not surprising that the people in charge want the new postseason system revealed only when it is completely finalized.
One of the goals for the June meetings was said to be narrowing down the postseason proposals to present a small number of options to the presidents. In the last couple of months, commissioners and presidents have been making periodic public statements about various postseason proposals. The commissioners and other folks in charge have almost certainly spent time polling the opinions of their athletic directors and school presidents (and hopefully the fans as well).
Our guess is that today’s meetings were a time to reconvene, discuss their constituents’ opinions, narrow down the already-leading options, eat some delicious lunch, craft a few statements, and head back to their presidents. It seems unlikely that anything will be resolved by next week, but it’s pretty clear the men convening at these monthly meetings are eventually going to pass the final decision on to the school presidents. How soon that happens is anybody’s guess.