Consensus reached on playoff

Updated: June 21, 2012, 5:18 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

CHICAGO -- The BCS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Wednesday endorsed a seeded four-team playoff model for college football that would begin for the 2014 season.

The commissioners' consensus must be approved by the BCS presidential oversight committee, which meets June 26 in Washington, D.C. If approved, the four-team playoff would replace the current BCS system, which has been in place since 1998.

Sources told ESPN.com that under the recommended model, four participating teams would be selected by a committee, which would consider certain criteria such as conference championships and strength of schedule.

The two national semifinal games would be played within the existing BCS bowl games (Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar) on a rotating basis, with the host sites being predetermined before each season. The national championship game would be offered to the highest bidding city.

"We're very unified," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said. "There are issues that have yet to be finalized. There's always devil in the detail, from the model to the selection process, but clearly we've made a lot of progress."

Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott said the recommendation was the product of a lot of negotiating and cooperation among the commissioners.

Delany We're very unified. There are issues that have yet to be finalized. There's always devil in the detail, from the model to the selection process, but clearly we've made a lot of progress.

-- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany

"I'm sure it won't satisfy everyone," Scott said. "Until you have an eight-team or 16-team seeded playoff, there will be folks out there that aren't completely satisfied. We get that. But we're trying to balance other important parties, like the value of the regular season, the bowls, the academic calendar."

The BCS commissioners have met five times since the national title game in New Orleans, including a four-hour session Wednesday. SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who likened the process to a marathon, said, "My hope is we've done 26 [miles]. My hope is we have .2 to go."

The presidential oversight committee, which includes a representative from each of the FBS conferences and Notre Dame, still is expected to discuss multiple models next week, including a plus-one format proposed by presidents from the Big Ten and Pac 12.

"The fact that there will be a full and complete discussion is totally appropriate," Slive said. "Obviously, we have put forth a consensus four-team playoff model, and we wouldn't do that if we didn't feel it was appropriate."

Scott Until you have an eight-team or 16-team seeded playoff, there will be folks out there that aren't completely satisfied. We get that. But we're trying to balance other important parties, like the value of the regular season, the bowls, the academic calendar.

-- Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott

The presidents' committee could either approve the recommended four-team model or direct the commissioners to work out its remaining details.

"I'm sure all of the I's and T's won't be crossed and dotted," Scott said. "The presidents just have to decide whether they want to go in this particular direction that we're coming out with. Every other detail, I feel comfortable can be worked out."

ACC commissioner John Swofford said the commissioners have agreed on the principles of how the increased TV revenue will be distributed among the participating conferences. Industry sources have indicated a four-team playoff might be worth as much as $400 million to $500 million annually.

"We've agreed to the principles," Swofford said. "It's hard to move past the principles if you don't know what the market value is. Everyone agrees that financially this is going to be good for everyone in the room."

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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