College Football Playoff presidents OK expansion evaluation

Getty Images
6 Comments

DALLAS – The 11 university presidents and chancellors who oversee the College Football Playoff authorized a continued evaluation of a proposed 12-team playoff on Tuesday that, if eventually adopted, could still be another five years away.

While far from an approval of the proposal, the move by the CFP board of managers was a necessary step to determine the feasibility of tripling the size of the playoff field.

“The four-team playoff has been a great success and I’m confident it will remain a success,” said Mark Keenum, the Mississippi State president and CFP board chairman. “Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to explore options to make it even better by increasing the number of schools that participate in it.”

The 12-team proposal was presented to the presidents and chancellors after the 11-person panel that manages the postseason system – 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick – last week had its first meeting with everyone together in person.

Keenum said the next step is a summer review phase that will “engage other important voices,” including athletes, campus leaders and coaches.

The proposal doesn’t address when a new format or any expansion could be implemented. The earliest possibility is 2023 if everything falls into place. It could as be as late as the 2026 season after the current media rights contract with ESPN expires, along with some contractual considerations with bowl games, including those that are part of the New Year’s Six.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey issued a bit of a caution when asked about how soon a new playoff could be up and running.

“I would temper my expectations, and never say never, but we’ve got an opportunity to dig deeper as a group,” Sankey said. “Those answers are going to come. There were decisions made back in 2012, 2013, 2014 that guide us for 12 years. That’s reality. Can that change? I don’t know.”

The detailed proposal for a 12-team playoff was developed over two years by four members of the CFP management committee: Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson, Sankey and Swarbrick.

Keenum said the meeting Tuesday made him aware of numerous legal matters that have to be taken into consideration, along with the extensive feedback from others.

“We have bowl partnerships with our six playoff bowls, every conference has affiliations with its own set of bowls and there are contracts that are in place already,” Keenum said. “We’re just past halfway under our current 12-year contract. What are all the legal issues that have to be addressed from that standpoint? We have a media partner right now, ESPN, and so … how does this impact that relationship with that particular provider, not only for the balance of the contract, but beyond.”

Those are answers the presidents and chancellors don’t have, and still might be trying to get when they are next scheduled to meet as a group Sept. 28.

“We’re going to take some time and we’re going to give them opportunities to bring more facts, bring more information to the table so we can be better informed on what to do, and when to do it, if we decide to make any changes under the current highly successful playoff format that we have,” Keenum said.

Air Force football sanctioned for recruiting violations

air force
Peter Joneleit/Getty Images
0 Comments

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.

The penalties were announced Thursday after Air Force and four individuals reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations. A fifth individual in the case has contested their role and will be heard by the committee on infractions.

The sanctions also include a fine and a reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program in the 2022-23 and `23-24 academic years. In addition, there’s a prohibition on unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022, and a reduced number of evaluation days this fall.

Air Force has around 115 players on its varsity roster, plus a JV team that all count as NCAA athletes and its roster size.

“The (committee) appreciates the parties’ efforts in working collaboratively together to reach agreement on the violations, levels, classifications, and significant and meaningful penalties,” Gary Miller, the chief hearing officer for the panel and president at Akron, said in a statement. “The panel also recognizes that Air Force has gone above and beyond in its overall approach to this case.”

In a joint statement, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and director of athletics Nathan Pine said: “The U.S. Air Force Academy is pleased that our case has progressed to the point of the NCAA accepting our negotiated resolution. We will continue working with the NCAA on this ongoing self-reported case from the COVID dead period, as it’s our responsibility to ensure integrity of the institution, athletics department, cadet-athletes and staff.”

The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start and host Navy on Saturday to begin the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition. The trophy is presented to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin format.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

florida gators
Donald Page/Getty Images
0 Comments

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”