College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams in 2024

Officials with the College Football Playoff on Thursday that the tournament will expand to 12 teams beginning in the 2024-2025 season.

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Update 11:20 a.m. EDT Dec. 1: In a statement, Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, said officials were “delighted to be moving forward.” Previously, the tournament’s board of managers had announced it would expand to include 12 teams by 2026.

“More teams and more access mean more excitement for fans, alumni, students and student-athletes,” Hancock said. “We appreciate the leaders of the six bowl games and the two future national championship game host cities for their cooperation. Everyone realized that this change is in the best interest of college football and pulled together to make it happen.”

The first round of the playoff in 2024 is scheduled to take place on Dec. 21, with the national championship games expected to take place in Miami on Jan. 29, 2025, and in Atlanta on Jan. 20, 2025.

“This is a great day for college football,” said Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University and chairman of the CFP board of managers. “I’m glad we are able to follow through and launch the expanded playoff early. It’s very exciting for schools, alumni and everyone involved.”

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Original report: The Rose Bowl has agreed to amend its contract to allow the College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams by 2024, sources told The Associated Press and The Athletic on Wednesday.

The presidents and chancellors who comprise the CFP’s Board of Managers in September approved a 12-team format, The Athletic reported.

A person with knowledge of the discussions between game organizers and CFP officials told the AP that the Rose Bowl wants to remain part of the playoff series beyond 2025.

ESPN was the first media outlet to report on the agreement. Nearly $450 million dollars are at stake in the final two years of the current contract in 2024 and 2025, the sports news outlet reported.

A formal announcement of the playoff expansion beginning in 2024 is expected soon, ESPN reported.

The CFP committee wanted a decision from Rose Bowl officials about whether they would amend contracts for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, which would allow the playoffs to triple from four teams to 12, the AP reported.

Rose Bowl officials had balked at the decision because the bowl game was scheduled to host its traditional New Year’s Day matchup between the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, the news organization reported. Rose Bowl officials had asked the CFP to guarantee the Rose Bowl contest would remain on New Year’s Day in the new format for 2026 and beyond, according to the AP.

In order to have a 12-team playoff, the Rose Bowl needed to host a semifinal game on a Jan. 1.

Had Rose Bowl officials refused to break its current contract, which runs through the 2025-2026 season, it would have ended any hopes of early expansion, The Athletic reported.