Big 12 weighs in on football playoff selection committee

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, like top administrators in other leagues, said Wednesday he has submitted 15 names of candidates he considers worthy to serve on the College Football Playoff selection committee, starting with the 2014 season.

Bowlsby said his list is tinged with some Big 12 names but primarily is a “non-denominational” list of former college coaches, players and administrators he considers capable of seeding college football’s top four teams in a playoff bracket. And handling the inevitable feedback that will follow.

Bowlsby said during Wednesday’s session at the Big 12 spring meetings that commissioners from every league involved with the playoff will submit lists to Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, and Hancock will do the vetting of candidates. Hancock, who spent Wednesday at the SEC spring meetings, told reporters in Destin, Fla., that he hopes to compile a list of more than 100 nominees that will be pared to the final 12 to 20 members of the inaugural committee.

The first national championship game of the playoff era will be played Jan. 12, 2015 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Hancock said he knows the inaugural selection committee will be heavily scrutinized, which is why he wants the process to be “as transparent as we can possibly be.” Hence, the move to solicit nominations from commissioners.

“It’s possible nobody on my list will be selected,” said Bowlsby, who sought input from fellow Big 12 staffers and did not disclose any of the names on his list. He also said he did not contact anyone on his list to gauge their interest in serving on the committee, a practice common among all commissioners involved in the process.

Bowlsby said each of the selection committee members will serve in an unaffiliated capacity, for a period of two to four years, even if some are still working in college athletics. A stipend for their services is likely, but not a given.

“We agreed that we ought to go after the people of highest ability and highest integrity, regardless of past affiliations,” Bowlsby said.

Bowlsby and other commissioners will not be allowed to serve on the selection committee. But athletic directors may be allowed to do so. Bowlsby said a couple of names on his list were active ADs, as well as former media members.

Athletic directors regularly serve on the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee, a practice that could easily be carried over to football, in the estimation of Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt. But Hocutt said he “wouldn’t anticipate that’s something I’d be interested in doing” as a member of the first playoff committee.

Although Bowlsby did not share his list of nominees, Hocutt listed three individuals he considered “ideal candidates” to serve on the committee: Chuck Neinas, the former Big 12 interim commissioner who helped keep the league together before Bowlsby’s arrival; former Tech football coach Spike Dykes and Archie Manning, chairman for the National Football Foundation (NFF).

All three, said Hocutt, love football and have “integrity and character that are impeccable.”

Eight-man football crews

Bob Bowlsby said league officials approved using eight-man officiating crews for 2013 football games, a one-year experiment, in Wednesday’s session. The extra official will be located in the offensive backfield, on the side of the quarterback opposite the referee. The Big 12 will be the only conference to use the extra ref in games this season.

Bowl business

Bob Bowlsby said league officials are close to locking in their bowl affiliations for the 2014 season, the first under the playoff format, but nothing has been finalized. Asked if the Alamo Bowl is likely to replace the Cotton Bowl in the league pecking order, once the Arlington-based game moves into the playoff mix, Bowlsby said: “It looks like it’s going to work that way.”

Bowlsby also said league officials continue to have dialogue with their colleagues from the ACC in regard to a football scheduling alliance but nothing has been finalized on that front.

NCAA talk

NCAA President Mark Emmert will address Big 12 administrators during Thursday’s session in Irving. Donald Remy, one of the NCAA’s lead lawyers, offered an update Wednesday to league officials about ongoing lawsuits related to use of a player’s likeness in video games.

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