According to a copy of the letter obtained by ESPN on Thursday, Bowl Season executives who oversee the operation of 43 postseason bowl games sent a letter this week to hundreds of college football leaders asking that any future College Football Playoff games in potential expansion models be held at bowl sites rather than on campus.
Bowl Season executive director Nick Carparelli and chairman Mark Neville delivered the letter ahead of the CFP management committee’s in-person meetings in Dallas next week on Wednesday and Thursday to continue conversations regarding extending the playoff beyond the current four-team concept. It’s the first time Bowl Season has officially spoken on the expansion debate with their pitch for their venues.
“We feel that any expanded playoff plan should involve all playoff games being played inside the traditional Bowl system, not at one of the participant teams’ home venues,” the letter added. “The Bowls, like they have in the past, would offer a neutral, competitively fair venue for these events. Bowl games would be detrimental to Bowl Season, particularly Bowls and their host cities, and post-season college football in general if they were excluded from any stage of an extended playoff.”
The management committee, which includes the ten FBS commissioners as well as Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, has been working on a 12-team structure but has yet to come to an agreement on a proposal to bring to the CFP’s board of managers for a vote.
The 12-team model being considered includes the six highest-ranked conference champions, as well as the following six highest-ranked teams. The four highest-ranked conference champions would get byes in the first round, while the other eight teams would play on the campus of the higher seed in the first round.
The letter was addressed to 403 persons, according to Carparelli, including 131 presidents and chancellors, 131 athletic directors, 131 head coaches, and the 10 FBS commissioners. Carparelli said the letter was written to remind them of the vital role Bowl Season has played in the sport’s history and to urge that, as the sport’s future is discussed, “Bowl Season has a seat at the table for the talks.”
“We understand that the commissioners will make the ultimate choices, and we would never interfere,” Carparelli added. “Postseason college football, on the other hand, is divided into two parts: the playoffs and bowl season. And they’re both critical, and they collaborate in a variety of ways. So we believe we can contribute a lot of value to the discussion and perhaps come up with ideas that the commissioners would not have considered or that the bowl system could never manage.”