With the fourth Bowl Championship Series (BCS) four-year term set to conclude after the 2013-14 season, the commissioners began creating a process for considering possible formats for the future. These discussions occurred during teleconferences October 4 and 12. The Presidential Oversight Committee members addressed the matter further in their in-person meeting in Denver November 14.
During the winter and spring, the commissioners and presidents spent countless hours evaluating the many pros and cons of numerous possible formats. These formats ranged from returning to the old bowl system with no attempt to match the top two teams, to continuing the BCS, to creating a multi-team playoff.
The commissioners met in person January 10 in New Orleans, February 21-22 and March 26 in Dallas and several times by teleconference. They affirmed a commitment to protect college football’s regular season, the best in sports, and to preserve the bowl tradition and the bowl experience for students. Further, they focused on the realities of the academic calendar and options related to where the games should be played. They self-imposed a deadline of the summer of 2012 to decide what changes to propose to the presidents.
April 25 – At a meeting in Hollywood, Florida, the commissioners took both an 8-team and a 16-team playoff off the table. They prepared a small number of four-team options for discussion in the conference meetings to be held in May. They discussed in detail the advantages and disadvantages of various ways to rank or qualify teams.
June 12-13 – The commissioners met in Chicago to report on the outcomes of their recent conference meetings.
June 20 – Meeting in the Sullivan Room at the InterContinental hotel in downtown Chicago, the commissioners voted unanimously to recommend a four-team playoff for 12 years beginning in 2014-15, with a selection committee choosing the participating teams.
June 26 – Meeting at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C., the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee members voted unanimously to submit legislation to the NCAA board of directors that would allow two institutions to participate in two post-season games each year—thereby officially creating the playoff. The presidential group adopted the format and policies that had been recommended by the commissioners June 20. The NCAA would approve the proposal in August.
The presidents and chancellors also endorsed (1) rotating the semifinal games among six bowl sites and rotation of the championship game among neutral sites; (2) managing the championship game by the conferences; and (3) creating a selection committee that would rank the teams to play in the playoff, giving all the teams an equal opportunity to participate. Among the factors the committee would be instructed to value were win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and whether a team is a conference champion.
The presidents’ group also decided to (1) play the semifinals New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day; (2) create “Championship Monday” by setting the date of the championship game on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the second semi-final game is played; (3) establish the new format to cover a 12-year term, from the 2014-2015 season through the 2025-2026 season; (4) distribute revenue from games according to a formula that (a) rewards conferences for success on the field, (b) accommodates teams’ expenses, (c) acknowledges marketplace factors, (d) rewards academic performance of student-athletes; and (e) eliminate the “automatic qualification” designation.
September 19 – The commissioners agreed to select the host for the first playoff championship game only, and to choose future hosts later.
November 12 – In a Denver meeting, the presidents and chancellors unanimously approved the playoff format that called for a stand-alone championship game and semifinals rotating through three contract bowls and three other bowls. The group also took the following actions:
- Adopted a revenue-distribution plan and agreed to review it after four years to determine whether the allocations should be revised;
- Agreed that, the academic pool would be distributed through the conferences, or processed directly to the independent institutions;
- Determined to rotate the semifinals evenly among three contract bowls and three host bowls over the 12 years;
- Guaranteed a spot in one of the bowls to highest-ranked champion from the Big East (later became the American Athletic Conference), Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt conferences, as determined by the selection committee, when such champion does not qualify to play in one of the semifinals;
- Confirmed that the media rights would cover 12 championship games, 24 semifinals and 24 host bowls;
- Supported the concept of not having a title sponsor for the championship game;
- Decided that the Rose and Sugar Bowls would host semifinals in the same year; Orange Bowl and Host 1 in the same year; and Host 2 and Host 3 in the same year.
- Agreed that the champion of a contract-bowl conference that is displaced by the semifinals will play in one of the host bowls;
- Voted to create a limited liability corporation (LLC) to manage the playoff, with the presidents and chancellors serving as the Board of Managers;
November 14 – The Presidential Oversight Committee named Bill Hancock Executive Director of the new playoff. Hancock had been Executive Director of the BCS for three years. He had become BCS administrator in October 2005.
November 18 – Michael Kelly was named Chief Operating Officer of the playoff.
November 21 – The playoff group and ESPN reached an agreement in principle for the company to present the games for 12 years on an exclusive basis across ESPN platforms. The agreement included the national championship game and semifinals as well as other bowl games that would be a part of the rotation to host the semifinals.
January 8 – During a meeting in Miami, the commissioners unanimously agreed that the playoff would launch with semifinals January 1, 2015, in the Rose and Sugar Bowls. The group also agreed that the Orange Bowl and a yet-to-be-named bowl would host the semifinal games in the second year of the playoff. The hosts in the third year were yet to be named.
January 14 – Hancock and Kelly opened a temporary headquarters in the Conference USA suite of offices at 5201 N. O’Connor Blvd. in Irving, Texas.
February 5 – Reid Sigmon was named Chief Financial Officer for the playoff.
February 7 – The management committee unanimously agreed to implement a philanthropic program when the new structure begins. It also decided that the new event warranted a new trophy.
March 13 – CFP Administration, LLC, a limited liability company, was organized to manage the administrative operation of the College Football Playoff. Under its operating agreement, members of the company were the ten Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and Notre Dame. The company would be governed by a board of managers, consisting of a university president or chancellor nominated by each member. Day-to-day operations of the company were to be managed by a management committee, consisting of the FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletics director.
April 23 – The name “College Football Playoff” was adopted for the new event and was announced in a news conference in Pasadena. Also, the group invited fans to choose the playoff’s logo through an online voting process
April 24 – Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, was named to host the first national championship game of the playoff era. Also, the Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl were selected to be part of the semifinal host rotation. The rotation was to be: year 1 – Rose and Sugar; year 2 – Orange and Cotton; year 3 – Chick-fil-A and Fiesta. Also, it was agreed that, for the sake of consistency, the name of a bowl participating in the arrangement should include specific wording, either traditional or descriptive of the local culture, in addition to the title sponsor’s name.
April 25 – The management committee formulated plans for the selection committee, including, (1) it would be comprised of no more than 18 members; (2) each conference would be invited to nominate prospective members; (3) the management committee would choose the members and their terms, and also the chair; (4) committee members would not receive honoraria but would receive expense reimbursement; (5) members would serve three-year terms, with selected individuals’ terms being two or four years initially until a rotation has been achieved; and (6) members would not be eligible for re-election after their terms expire.
April 29 – Some 101,670 fans participating in an online ballot chose the “gold football” logo for the playoff. It received 38 percent of the vote, compared with 25 percent, 24 percent and 13 percent for the other three candidates.
May 7 – The board agreed to locate the playoff’s headquarters at The Summit building in the Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas, 545 East John Carpenter Freeway. The office would open August 5.
June 18 – The management committee decided several matters related to the selection committee, including: (1) members would fall into one of five classifications, including sitting athletics directors, and persons with experience as coaches, student-athletes, administrators and journalists; (2) persons currently working for media agencies, or serving as commentators in any media, are not eligible to serve; (3) five slots would go to athletics directors from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12; (4) each nominee for the committee must be approved by unanimous consent of the management committee; and (5) committee members would not be expected to attend games in person and the playoff group would not reimburse expenses for those who do attend games.
October 16 – Membership of the first selection committee was announced in a news conference at the playoff headquarters in Irving, Texas. The 13 members were Barry Alvarez, athletics director, Wisconsin; Mike Gould, former superintendent, Air Force Academy; Pat Haden, athletics director, Southern California; Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president; Jeff Long (chair), vice chancellor and athletics director, Arkansas; Oliver Luck, athletics director, West Virginia; Archie Manning, former student-athlete, Mississippi; Tom Osborne, former athletics director and coach, Nebraska; Dan Radakovich, athletics director, Clemson; Condoleezza Rice, former provost, Stanford; Mike Tranghese, former commissioner, Big East conference; Steve Wieberg, former journalist, USA Today; Tyrone Willingham, former head coach, Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington.
November 10 – The board of managers authorized creation of the CFP Foundation.
November 11 – The selection committee met for the first time, at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. The members reviewed the proposed protocol and conducted an exercise on assigning teams to bowl sites.
December 16 – Arizona and Tampa Bay were named to host the College Football Playoff national championship games in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
January 6 – The playoff group honored former Southeastern Conference commissioner Roy Kramer during pregame festivities at the final BCS national championship game in Pasadena.
January 13 – Applications for the first College Football Playoff random ticket drawing were being accepted. Fans could apply for tickets to attend the championship game January 12, 2015.
April 30 – It was determined that the selection committee would compile rankings seven times during the season, including selection Sunday. The rankings were to be announced Tuesday evenings beginning October 28. Also, the committee’s recusal policy and voting procedures were announced.
May 1 – The group formally launched its philanthropic initiative, Extra Yard for Teachers, to honor and support teachers nationally and in the communities that host the College Football Playoff national championship.
May 1 – Ticket prices for the 2015 national championship were adopted: club seating, $650; general seating, $450; student seating, $200; standing-room-only, $200.
July 14 – The new College Football Playoff national championship trophy was unveiled.
January 12 – Inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship played at AT&T Stadium.
Board of Managers Chairs (formerly BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, until March 2013)
March 2003-June 2009 – Dave Frohnmayer, University of Oregon
July 2009-July 2010 – Harvey Perlman, University of Nebraska
September 2010-November 2011 – Graham Spanier, Penn State University
November 2011-February 2013 – Charles Steger, Virginia Tech University
March 2013-present – Harvey Perlman, University of Nebraska
1998-2000 — Roy Kramer, Southeastern Conference
April 2000-2002 — John Swofford, Atlantic Coast Conference
April 2002-2004 — Mike Tranghese, Big East Conference
April 2004-January 2006 — Kevin Weiberg, Big 12 Conference
January 2006-2008 — Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference
January 2008-December 2009 — John Swofford, Atlantic Coast Conference