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College Football Playoff to remain 4-team event through 2025 season

Expansion won't occur before end of current 12-year cycle
College Football Playoff logo on field at AT&T Stadium, Jan. 1, 2021
Posted at 11:46 AM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 11:51:31-05

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The College Football Playoff will remain a four-team event through the remainder of its current contract, executive director Bill Hancock said Friday.

That means the earliest timetable for expansion would be during the 2026 season.

"The board of managers has accepted a recommendation from the management committee to continue the current four-team playoff for the next four years, as called for in the CFP's original 12-year plan," Hancock said in a statement. "At the same time, the board expects the management committee to continue its discussions of a new format that would go into effect for the 2026-27 season."

Hancock said the board met Wednesday afternoon and couldn't come to an agreement on the proposed early expansion.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock in 2021
College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock listens to a reporter's question Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Grapevine, Texas.

"Even though the outcome did not lead to a recommendation for an early expansion before the end of the current 12-year contract, the discussions have been helpful and informative," Hancock said.

A working group within the management committee, which is made up of all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision-playing conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, recommended last year that the playoff expand to 12 teams.

But there was not a consensus among the management committee as to the proposed 12-team playoff, most notably from Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, who stated publicly last month that it's "not the right time for expansion." Phillips said the sport must first tackle more pressing issues such as name, image and likeness rules and the transfer portal.

There were also concerns about whether Power 5 conference champions should receive automatic bids in an expanded playoff, which Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren supports.

Georgia defeated Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship game last month.

Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart celebrates after winning College Football Playoff National Championship, Jan. 11, 2022
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart celebrates after his team defeated Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. The Bulldogs won 33-18.

Next season's title game will be held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., which just hosted Super Bowl LVI.

"I thank the working group for its hard work that resulted in the 12-team proposal, and the management committee for its thorough and diligent job reviewing it and other possible expansion ideas," Hancock said. "This has been a long, careful and detailed process that involved many people considering a complex matter. I am grateful to everyone for their dedication to college football and the detailed and deliberative effort everyone put into the consideration of a different format. I know the four-team event will continue to be successful."