SEC athletic directors gathering candidates for College Football Playoff selection committee

DESTIN, Fla. – The gradual process of firming up the College Football Playoff selection committee is continuing here, with Southeastern Conference athletic directors submitting names of potential members to commissioner Mike Slive this week.

Slive has asked for names by Friday, when the SEC spring meetings conclude. College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said other conference commissioners also are gathering names during their spring meetings.

"We'll have 100 or more names, I'm sure," Hancock said, adding that the committee should number anywhere from 12 to 20.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said he submitted two names to Slive, but declined to identify who they are. Foley himself has no interest in serving on the committee.

One group that will not be represented on the selection committee: the commissioners themselves. Hancock said the College Football Playoff management committee – which comprises the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick – decided to recuse itself from the process.

That's a departure from the men's basketball selection committee, which is being used as something of a model for the College Football Playoff version. Commissioners routinely are members of that committee.

Slive said he believed the time demands of being part of the selection committee would be enough to eliminate sitting commissioners.

"I don't know if you could devote that time," he said, adding that the year he spent as both Bowl Championship Series coordinator and chair of the men's basketball committee was an excessive burden in concert with his full-time job.

"That's when I went from being 6-foot to 5-8," he joked.

Hancock said current athletic directors may be considered for the committee.

If the committee ultimately excludes both current commissioners and ADs, it would be comprised completely of people who are outside the hands-on world of college athletics.

It is believed that committee nominations largely will be comprised of former college administrators – both commissioners and athletic directors – plus former coaches and players. Former media members may also merit consideration, but not current ones.

Foley said he wanted committee members who "know the game of football," in addition to possessing high integrity and credibility.

"When the names are published, we want people to say, 'That's a good group,' " Foley said.

"We need people with the courage to make difficult decisions," Hancock said.

While stressing that the process is far from finished, Hancock laid out some additional details about how the committee may be comprised:

• Term limits. Like the basketball committee, there will be limitations placed on the number of years members will serve.

• Geographic balance will be a factor, but members will be expected to know about more than the teams in their backyards. "The concept is that it will be a national committee."

• As part of the premium on integrity, there will be efforts to check the background of committee members to avoid undiscovered issues that could compromise credibility.

Hancock said he envisions the committee meeting four or five times during the 2014 season, with each meeting lasting three or four days. The final meeting would be the early December weekend of the conference championships, when playoff and bowl selections would be announced. Since the College Football Playoff headquarters are in Irving, Texas, Hancock said he expects that the final meeting – and perhaps all meetings – would be in the Dallas area.

Despite the amount of scrutiny and pressure members will face, Hancock is optimistic that the venture will attract a surplus of qualified candidates.

"I think they'll be proud to be on this committee," he said. "But it'll be hard. There will be criticism."

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