BCS agrees on idea of playoff

College football is on the verge of finally having a playoff, its own version of the Final Four.


For the first time, all the power brokers who run the highest level of the sport are comfortable with the idea of deciding a championship the way it’s done from pee-wees to pros. And the way fans have been hoping they would for years.

“Yes, we’ve agreed to use the P-word,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday.

They want to limit it to four teams. That’s for sure. Now they have to figure out how to pick the teams, where and when to play the games and how the bowls do or do not fit in. The new postseason format would go into effect for the 2014 season.

As for the 14-year-old Bowl Cham­pionship Series, it’s on life support. Any chance that it survives past the next two seasons?

“I hope not,” said Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, who pitched a four-team playoff four years ago but was shot down at the same beachside hotel in Hollywood, Fla.

“This is a seismic change for college football,” BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said after the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director wrapped up three days of meetings in South Florida.

That Hancock actually used the word playoff when describing what was being considered alone signaled a shift in thinking for the BCS. In a memo leading up to these meetings, the term “four-team event” was used to describe creating two national semifinals and a championship game.

Hancock said the commissioners will present a “small number” of options for a four-team playoff to their leagues over the next month or so at conference meetings. He estimated that between two and seven configurations are being considered.

STIPEND PROPOSALS: In Indianapolis, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Di­rectors heard three proposals regarding the $2,000 stipend toward what the NCAA calls the full cost-of-attendance –
money that goes beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees.

That legislation was approved in October but was suspended in De­cember after more than 100 schools asked for an override vote.

The proposals would:

• Allow each school to provide up to $2,000 whether on full or partial scholarships, though the money would be limited to the proportional cost of a full scholarship;

• Base eligibility for the stipend on demonstrated need as established by the Free Application for Student Financial Assistance;

• Allow each school to use the student-athlete opportunity fund to pay out the $2,000. Schools could then supplement those funds by up to $2,000 per scholarship.

NCAA President Mark Emmert has said he and the board still want to implement the stipend. No vote is expected before the board’s August meeting, when the board could also take action on an edit of the massive rulebook and a new penalty structure.


WEBER STATE: The university has selected Jody Sears as its interim football coach to replace John L. Smith. Smith left Monday to take the Arkansas job after the firing of Bobby Petrino.

Sears, 44, joined the Wildcats staff this spring and has been working as the team’s defensive coordinator. He will continue in that role as well.


ALABAMA A&M: Assistant football coach Benjamin Blacknall died. He was 63. The university said in a statement that Blacknall died Wednesday. Madison County Coroner Craig Whisenant said Thursday that the probable cause of death was a diabetic coma.




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