Lack of leadership again stings college football as divided interests squash playoff expansion

We’re owed an apology. All of us. The fans, the public — gosh, maybe even the unwashed media who staked out countless hotel lobbies in the rush to first learn about College Football Playoff expansion. All of it netted, well, nothing. At least for now.

This long, protracted, overwrought journey to CFP expansion officially died Friday. (At least for the next few years.) But considering the way in which we were led to this point, it has largely been a waste of time — a big tease. Blame will be assigned, and it deserves to be.

Four administrators were given a good-faith task in January 2019 to explore CFP expansion beyond the current four-team format. We now know that expansion won’t happen until the fall of 2026 at the earliest. That is not necessarily their fault.

If it comes, expansion will arrive 7 ½ years after that initial assignment to Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and commissioners Greg Sankey of the SEC, Bob Bowlsby of the Big 12 and Craig Thompson of the Mountain West.

In the three years since the four were given the assignment by the CFP Board of Managers (school presidents), there have been dramatic changes to the college football landscape. The Big Ten and ACC changed commissioners, Oklahoma and Texas (most notably among others) changed conferences, and the NCAA retreated to a neutral corner undone by its lack of foresight in, well, everything.

By Aug. 1, when a new NCAA constitution goes into effect, there is every reason to believe the NCAA will be nothing more than a glorified party planner each March with its basketball tournament. It will be up to the Power Five to take over what we refer to as “major-college sports”.

We need to first find out how many teams will actually be in the FBS going forward. That…

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