SBD/April 29, 2013/Colleges

Commissioners Yet To Decide On College Football Playoff Selection Committee

Scott said deciding the sites of the playoff games needs to be taken care of first
The BCS commissioners gathered in Pasadena last week for their annual meeting, but have "yet to reach an agreement on any specific aspects" of the selection committee for the new College Football Playoff, according to Stewart Mandel of SI.com. The commissioners "have made almost no headway on what is arguably the most important element of the entire spectacle." The logos, stadiums and TV windows "won't have nearly the same effect on public acceptance as the method by which the participants are chosen." Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said, "It's much more difficult than we first thought." Mandel noted the commissioners "don't know what the size of the committee will be." The "latest reported number was '14 to 20,' but that's far from a guarantee." The commissioners also "don't know whether the committee members will be current administrators, ex-coaches and athletic directors, former media members or some combination of the above." They "don't know whether the group will be divided geographically, by conference affiliation or something else." The commissioners "don't know which sets of data the members will utilize, and they don't know whether the committee will issue an official poll late in the season, a la the BCS standings." Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, "I think there's honest disagreement in the room." Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott: "The thing we had to decide as early as possible was the sites, as well as the name and that stuff. The selection committee can take more time. They don't go to work until the fall of 2014." Mandel wrote the goal previously was to "have a committee roster decided in time for the panel to use the 2013 season as a type of dress rehearsal." But there is "no precedent for the commissioners to follow" (SI.com, 4/26).

PROCESS OF ELIMINATION: In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton wrote of the selection committee, "We already know what we don’t want to see. We don’t want loopholes. We don’t want coaches politicking their way into the playoff. We don’t want automatic bids. We don’t want computers picking the teams. Most of all, we want transparency. No more secret ballots. ... Leave the athletic directors out of this. Leave the conference commissioners as well" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/28). In Columbus, Rob Oller wonders, "What does right look like?" No former coaches should be "part of the selection committee," and "no athletic directors, either." The committee members "must be above reproach." Even the most "trustworthy college administrators would be seen as susceptible to the temptation of engaging in partisan politics" (DISPATCH.com, 4/29). ESPN.com's Brad Edwards wrote it is "probably best that they take their time." It is "hard to imagine the selection committee not being the lightning rod of the College Football Playoff, no matter how much careful thought and planning is done over the next few months." Almost everyone on the committee "will have some connection to at least one FBS school and, therefore, will be deemed by fans to be biased" (ESPN.com, 4/28).

DISSENTING VOICE: Univ. of Michigan AD Dave Brandon said of the CFP, "I’m a reluctant participant in this new model simply because I don’t know where this all ends. ... We’re not going to end any controversy, we’re going to create more. It’s not going to settle anything (more) about who’s the national champion. There’s going to be a lot of judgment involved with four teams involved." He added, "I just worry about these young guys playing 15 games because that’s kind of the road that we’re on -- you play 12 regular-season games, you play a 13th championship game in your conference, then you play a 14th game as part of the four-team playoff and if you do well, it’s a 15th game." Michigan State AD Mark Hollis: "I think it’s a good step. I think we’re headed in the right direction. The controversy is probably going to be exponential or (at least) doubled because you’re going to have more teams who think they belong" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/28).
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