SBD/June 28, 2012/Colleges

Officials Confident CFB Playoff Selection Committee Will Emphasize Performance

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Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick thinks the committee could consist of 12-15 members
Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick yesterday said that he “expected college football's four-team playoff selection committee to put an emphasis on strength of schedule and be able to analyze every FBS team's season,” according to Scott Powers of ESPN CHICAGO. Swarbrick said, “We want it to be big enough so that every football team, all 121 FBS schools, are viewed. There's somebody who's actually spent the time having watched some games and understand them.” He added that he “thought the committee could consist of 12-15 members.” Swarbrick: "I think we'll probably have a model where each conference has a representative and then there are a group of the independent people who have no affiliation but who are clearly identified as football knowledgeable" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 6/27). Big East interim Commissioner Joe Bailey said of the selection committee, “They're concentrating on the teams and they're doing it over a long period of time over the course of a season. It's not as if there's some sort of randomness about it. They will see all the teams. ... It will be a much more focused, concerted effort on the evaluation of teams and team performance” (ESPN.com, 6/27). Bailey said, “There is an enormous amount of studies on group thinking and how they make the wisest decisions, so from my perspective, anyway, the committee piece plus the concentration by the committee by focusing on the quality of play ends up being a meritocracy, so forget perceptions" (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/28). Univ. of Michigan AD Dave Brandon said, “If you look at how the basketball committee has operated, generally it has strong credibility there and acceptance. So if we can get the right composition on that selection committee, that should work very well to make sure a whole bunch of factors are considered when those four teams are chosen” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/28).

A SCORE WITH FOUR: Swarbrick said that there were “no plans to make an eight-team playoff before the contract" ends in '25. Swarbrick: “With all we're all learning about concussions and player safety, we didn't want to add another round of games even if we had time on the calendar. ... We don't plan on even considering a change during that 12-year period" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 6/27). Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said, “We’re concerned about slippery slopes. We’ve seen what happened in the playoffs with professional sports, intercollegiate sports. We think inside the bowl system is far less slippery than outside. We know there’s probably a little less revenue in that respect, but we think it is a better outcome” (USA TODAY, 6/28). In Cleveland, Jodie Valade noted Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher “would love to see an eight- or 16-team playoff." But Steinbrecher said, “I don't think that would be right for the student-athletes. It doesn't fit within the academic calendar we have, it doesn't fit within the current number of games we play in the regular season. You've got to match the fantasy with the reality.” Northern Illinois Univ. President John Peters said, “Not everybody got everything they wanted. That’s just not possible. But I think there’s enough to satisfy a lot of people” (CLEVELAND.com, 6/27). Brandon said, "There’s always been a concern that once you go down this playoff road, there’s going to be a strong push to expand it larger and add more football, and I feel strongly that would be a huge mistake as far as student-athletes” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/28).

MAKING BIDS: In Atlanta, Tim Tucker notes the city’s sports execs are planning a bid to host the national championship game "for one or more years and probably a bid by the Chick-fil-A Bowl to become a regular rotating site for semifinal games.” Atlanta Sports Council Exec Dir Dan Corso said, “We will do everything we can to position our community and hopefully be successful in the process.” Corso said that the Sports Council, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Georgia Dome/Georgia World Congress Center Authority and the Falcons “will collaborate on putting together a bid strategy.” Tucker notes bidding “likely won’t begin until this fall” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/27). Swarbrick said that Solider Field “could be a destination for the championship game.” He said, "Absolutely, Chicago could. That's one of the things we're most excited about -- the championship game is going to be bid out like the Super Bowl” (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 6/27).

DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS: In San Antonio, Tim Griffin notes Texas’ “three major cities are interested in bidding for the right to host games in a four-team playoff format.” Lone Star Sports & Entertainment President Jamey Rootes said, “The comparison you have to draw is with the Super Bowl. While it won't have the history of a Super Bowl immediately, the college championship game will quickly become one of the elite events in all of American sports.” Early speculation "appears to have Cowboys Stadium in Arlington as a virtual shoo-in destination for semifinal and championship games." San Antonio and Houston "are not perceived as strongly, although bowl officials in both cities say they are intent on joining competition that could include up to a dozen of the nation's major cities” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 6/28). The HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports things in the city “appear to be progressing on parallel tracks,” as the Texans and Lone Star Sports & Entertainment will “focus on boosting the ESPN-owned Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas into the semifinal rotation, leaving others to lead the way in pursuing the championship game for Reliant Stadium.” Rootes said that he “expects the Harris County Houston Sports Authority and the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau to take the lead in Houston's bid for the championship game” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/28).

PLAYERS' PAYDAY? The AP’s Ralph Russo noted Univ. of Texas football coach Mack Brown is among those who are wondering if some of the playoff’s financial windfall “should be heading the players’ way.” Brown wrote on Twitter, “In my opinion, with the amount of money the playoff will generate, I hope we can revisit the student-athlete stipend.” West Virginia Univ. AD Oliver Luck said that, to those who "want the players to receive more money, all that playoff cash ‘is at least one more arrow in their quiver.’” Texas Tech Univ. AD Kirby Hocutt said that it is "too soon to start talking about what to do with the extra money.” Hocutt said, “I think there's still a lot of work to be vetting out, and how the revenue is going to be distributed is the first step in that. We haven't gotten that far along in the process but I expect over the course of the next academic year we will do that in meetings” (AP, 6/27).
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