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With the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is all for the changes.
As long as players get a cut of the money generated.
“I do believe the players should receive a revenue share from the massive TV deals that have been worked out,” Harbaugh said Monday via the Associated Press.
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The NCAA implemented a policy in July 2021 that allowed incoming and current student-athletes the opportunities to make money on their name, image and likeness. These NIL deals have been commonplace since, allowing players to profit while playing a college sport.
It’s going to be a lucrative business no matter who is the TV partner for these new playoff games, which will be a total of 12 in the championship bracket. As much as $2 billion in media rights to the major college conferences could be generated.
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Currently, ESPN owns the rights to the College Football Playoff, but the deal ends in 2025. The new playoff format, which was approved on Friday, could be implemented before the 2026 season begins. If that’s the case, the conferences could make $450 million more over the final two years of the contract.
ESPN will get the first bid if a new playoff format is added in the 2024 and 2025 seasons, said CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock. However, the new format following those seasons will be up for grabs from any network.
In this new format, the playoffs will have six conference winners and six “at-large” teams that the selection committees will rank. The top four teams will get a bye into the second round, while first-round games will feature the rest of the pack. Those games will be played on the home team’s campus.
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The 12-team bracket was first proposed in 2021, but it was rejected in February. The College Football Playoff replaced the Bowl Championship Series in 2014 and has been a four-team bracket since its inception.
“The four-team format has been very popular and is a big success,” a four-person working group said in a statement last year. “But it’s important that we consider the opportunity for more teams and more student-athletes to participate in the playoff. After reviewing numerous options, we believe this proposal is the best option to increase participation, enhance the regular season and grow the national excitement of college football.”
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The CFP management committee will be meeting Thursday in Dallas to discuss the dates of these extra playoff games as well as host sites, TV windows and more. The committee is made up of conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.