Report: Conferences, CFP agree on financial terms for expanded playoffs

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Officials with the College Football Playoff, the nine FBS conferences and independent Notre Dame have agreed to the next playoff contract, which will take effect in 2026, ESPN reported Friday.

Under terms of the agreement, the CFP will include at least 12 teams starting in 2026 and moving forward, though expansion to 14 teams remains on the table and is considered likely to happen sooner rather than later.

Four teams have been part of the CFP since its inception for the 2014 season.

“Anything else regarding format is to be determined,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said Friday, per ESPN. “This is a very important next step for CFP, of course, and we do still have details to be finalized regarding the format, but I want to stress that the really good news is that football fans will continue to see the best teams in the country competing for the national championship on the playing field. This arrangement will also ensure the expanded access will continue to be in place. We firmly believe this, about the importance of a competitive opportunity for more programs and more players and more fans. We’re pleased to be in the position we’re in, while we know there’s still more work to be done.”

Per ESPN, the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference will take the lead in establishing the format of future playoffs beyond guaranteed berths for conference champions of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC, as well as the highest-ranked team from Group of Five champions. Notre Dame was assured it will have “protections” as the format evolves, ESPN reported.

The conferences and Notre Dame also agreed on annual compensation for each conference. Big Ten and SEC schools each will receive more than $21 million, the ACC schools will get upward of $13 million, and Notre Dame and Big 12 members will be paid more than $12 million.

Group of Five schools will receive $1.8 million — a raise of $300,000 — and Washington State and Oregon State will earn $360,000. The two Pacific Northwest schools find themselves as the remaining two members of the Pac-12, and, at least for now, are independents.

These new payouts coincide with an upcoming contract with ESPN, in which the network is expected to spend an average of about $1.3 billion on the CFP in each of the next six seasons.

That’s about three times the amount per season that ESPN has paid for the four-team playoff, Yahoo Sports said.