Knight Commission recommends college football overhaul

The commission’s proposal to create a new entity would be a significant departure from the current structure for FBS playoff and championship games. This competition, known as the College Football Playoff, or CFP, has been operated by the CFP Administration LLC, a company that is separate from the NCAA, since 2015, according to the commission’s report.

The CFP distributed about $462 million[9] to institutions that competed in football playoff competition in 2019, according to Knight Commission research. The commission found that nearly 80 percent of this revenue went to institutions in the “Power Five” conferences, which include the Big Ten Conference and the Southeastern Conference, and major football colleges such as Clemson University, Louisiana State University and Ohio State University, all of which tend to be the most successful and richest among college football competitors. The Power Five conferences also have more voting power in NCAA Division I governance.

Revenue from CFP “may be used at the discretion of the institution without regard to education, health, safety, and success of football players,” whereas other college sports with NCAA championship competition must abide by association rules that require some revenue to be used for educational purposes, the commission’s report said. FBS football programs do still receive annual funding from the NCAA that contributes to football scholarships, the report said. The NCAA provides oversight such as rules enforcement, insurance and legal and health and safety-related services to FBS football during the regular season, despite not receiving any revenue from the CFP, the report said.

The commission report outlined potential benefits to the NCAA if the new structure is adopted, including that it will no longer have to dedicate staffing and financial resources to oversee FBS football and can focus on other sports, for which it oversees their playoffs and championships. The NCAA is facing significant budget challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the 2020 men’s basketball tournament and will furlough 600 employees[10] this year. 

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