Reports: Presidents meeting to discuss CFP expansion

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The university presidents who oversee the College Football Playoff are scheduled to meet to discuss expanding the four-team format, re-opening the possibility that a new model for crowning a champion could be implemented as soon as the 2024 season.

Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday that CFP’s Board of Managers, led by Mississippi State President Mark Keenum, is set to convene by video conference.

There is no guarantee the presidents will take any official action or vote to approve an expansion model, but another person familiar with the situation told AP they would like to accelerate a process that had ground to a halt six months ago.

All the people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the board’s plans were not being made public.

The CFP management committee, comprised of 10 FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director, is scheduled to meet next week in Dallas.

The management committee is responsible for hashing out a format for the CFP, but the presidents have the final say on what happens with the playoff.

Back in February, CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock announced expansion talks among the commissioners had failed to produce the needed unanimous consensus in time for the format to change before the end of the current contract with ESPN. That deal runs through the 2025.

The CFP recently announced the sites of the championship games for the final two seasons of the current 12-year deal.

Hancock said back in February that expansion talks would resume later in the year with a focus on what the playoff would be starting in 2026.

Since then, the commissioners who opposed the proposed 12-team format have seemingly softened their stances. The commissioners left a June meeting with renewed optimism their differences could be worked out, one of the people said.

Last year, the relatively new commissioners of the Pac-12, Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference pushed back against an expanded playoff plan that was unveiled in the summer 2021.

The 12-team model, that included six conference champions and six at-large teams, had been worked on for more than two years by a group of four commissioners, including Greg Sankey of the Southeastern Conference.

Concerns about automatic access for certain conferences, how the Rose Bowl would fit into an expanded format and the health and safety of players competing in as many as 17 games were cited as reasons against the 12-team plan.

Failure to get agreement on expansion left Sankey and others frustrated. Expanding the playoff before the end of the current television deal has been estimated to be worth an additional $450 million in media rights to the conferences.

At the SEC meetings in late May, Keenum said the presidents wanted the commissioners to provide a plan for the next CFP format no later than June 2023.

Keenum also said then that the presidents planned to take a more active role in expansion talks and that he wanted them to meet again before the end of the summer to “continue the dialogue.”

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.