DALLAS – His briefcase slung over his shoulder and his stride long, George Klyavkov moved briskly through the lobby of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, speeding past a group of reporters before hurtling up an escalator to the airport above.
“I’m running to catch the flight!” he said through a smile. “I’m focused on this year and winning the National Championship! See you guys!”
As quickly as he appeared, he disappeared.
Klyavkov’s first public appearance since the league began disintegrating was not more than a flash in the frying pan. A Pac-12 commissioner burst out of the room where conference commissioners congregated for six hours Wednesday to discuss the expansion playoff. He said there was “nothing new” to discuss regarding the future of the Pac-12, before he took the escalator and disappeared from view.
The uncertain future of the Pac-12 has hung like a dark cloud over the industry, delaying any important decisions or discussions at Wednesday’s meeting of the College Football Playoff leaders.
Will the Pac-12 be there?
Will the ACC acquire Stanford and Cal?
How many FBS conferences will be held when the 2024 football season starts?
“We have to have some clarity,” said Greg Sankey, the SEC’s commissioner, who presided over the commissioners’ meeting. “We don’t have complete clarity at the moment. … You have to consider that the circumstances have changed. I want to see what the conditions are at some point.
Although no decisions have been made, there is consensus on a possible format change for the expanded playoff: the 5+7 model.
In this scenario, the 2024 and 2025 Expanded Qualifiers will still be a 12-team event, but the qualification numbers will change. Instead of six automatic qualifiers for the top six ranked conference champions, there will be five. Instead of six common places for the next six highest-ranked teams, there will be seven common places.
Such a model maintains at least one spot for the Group of Five champion and honors what MAC Commissioner John Steinbrecher described as the “fundamental principle” of the expanded playoff: the value of conference champions.
“It’s important that that continues as we move forward,” Steinbrecher said Wednesday. “Depending on how many conferences we have, you can have conversations about the number of heroes and generic groups. It felt good to come out of that conversation.
Any change in format was only briefly discussed during the meetings. This was a pre-scheduled meeting — set long before the current realignment wave began — where the commissioners were expected to finalize details of the expanded post-season for 2024 and 2025.
They’ve accomplished some things. First, they agreed to continue to provide a $3,000 travel stipend to the families of each participating CFP player. They hired a company, Collegiate Sports Travel, to help provide logistics for the four on-campus first-round games.
They also met in executive session for more than an hour to discuss the search for Bill Hancock’s replacement. Hancock is retiring. The commissioners are expected to choose a search firm by the end of next month, the first real step in a process that is expected to move quickly.
Hancock described Wednesday’s meeting as productive and “friendly,” an interesting observation under the circumstances. Commissioners met as reorganization shakes the sport. However, there are still uncertain aftershocks ahead:
The ACC is pursuing Stanford, Cal and SMU as potential new members. The league chiefs were scheduled to meet Monday night and possibly vote before a fatal outcome Shooting on the University of North Carolina campus Postponement of the meeting. Jack Swarbrick, the athletic director at Notre Dame, whose school has one of the 15 votes on the ACC and is on the CFP, says he’s not sure when the meeting of the chiefs will be rescheduled. He added that the expansion decision was “at the presidential level.” Notre Dame has supported the expansion proposal. ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips did not attend Wednesday’s meeting in person. He shared via video, and Hancock said, no, he didn’t discuss the ACC expansion status with his fellow commissioners.
AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco and Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez seek to pursue Oregon State and Washington State as expansion members. Nevarez has already appeared before officials at both schools to make an expansion offer. Aresco says the university continues to “evaluate” the addition of Oregon State and Washington State and that further discussion is needed with league members to ascertain whether there is sufficient support for the measure. He will likely visit the two campuses to give a presentation, as previously planned.
Aresco says the league has “contingency” plans if SMU leaves the American for the ACC. He said the league does not need to add a replacement and can play with an odd number of teams. However, AAC has examined several expansion options. Aresco refused to disclose the programs, despite the belief that the military is a preferred target.
Aside from the reorganization, the format change is the most important. The commissioners are expected to begin meeting monthly on changes in format and other actions to be taken Yahoo Sports detailed it earlier this month.
Any change to the format of the 2024 and 2025 playoffs—currently the 6+6 format—requires a unanimous vote of the CFP Board of Directors, made up of one school president from each of the ten FBS leagues plus the president of Notre Dame. .
Any modification to the format that excludes automatic qualifiers is likely to disqualify any team from the Group of Five from advancing to the CFP. For example, a best-of-12 coordination would face opposition from a group of commissioners, most notably Aresco.
“Access is critical, and that’s our mindset,” he said Wednesday.
Hancock said a decision was not expected until the “dust settles” on reorganizing the conference.
Nobody, especially Klyavkov, knows the answer to this question.