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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS MEDIA CONFERENCE


October 16, 2013


Bill Hancock

Jeff Long


BILL HANCOCK:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for being here.  It's great fun for us to move the chains and be ready to get started with the college football playoffs.
Today I'm honored and proud to announce the members of the Selection Committee, the first committee of its kind.  Before I list the names, I want to tell you a little something about how this group came about and why they were picked.
The Management Committee started with only one goal, and that was to find people of integrity.  With these 13 people, we've absolutely nailed that.  I was lucky enough to be able to call each of these people to visit with them about the position and to answer their questions and to offer them the opportunity to participate on the committee.  It was a very rewarding position for me to be in.
Every person we invited was pleased and honored to be called and eager to give something back to the game.  These 13 people bring an awesome set of resumes.  They represent nearly 130years of participation in college football.  And while they come from different walks of life, each of their careers are stellar.
We drew from five categories.¬† These were people with experience as coaches, student‑athletes, administrators, journalists, along with sitting athletic directors.¬† Let me give you some statistics.¬† Ten of these people played college football.¬† Three of them were head football colleges at the FBS level.¬† Three were in the College Football Hall of Fame.¬† Two served at the highest levels of administration in higher education.¬† Get this, our group includes one of the nation's most decorated sports writers.¬† How about the that?¬† There's a Rhodes scholar.¬† There's also a man who started an FBS football conference.¬† There's a former member of Congress, former United States Secretary of State, a retired three‑star general.¬† See what I mean about this group of folks?¬† Wow.
The committee also includes two academic All Americans, three members of Phi Beta Kappa.  Collectively, the committee has 26degrees of higher learning, including eight masters degrees, two law degrees and two doctorates.  Obviously their experience is remarkable.  Just as importantly, each member is united by one thing:  their love and their knowledge of this game.
Here are the members of the first Selection Committee for College Football Playoff:
Jeff Long is the chair, who you will meet shortly.¬† Jeff is vice‑chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Arkansas.¬† He has 35years of college football experience and worked in eight different conferences.¬† He earned letters in football and baseball in college.¬† He was an option quarterback, so he knows when to keep and when to pitch.
Barry Alvarez, director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin.  He is the winningest coach in Badgers history.  He's a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and he was also a dandy football player at the University of Nebraska.
Leuitenant General Mike Gould, Mike is a highly decorated three‑star general and a former superintendent of the Air Force Academy where he did earn three varsity letters in football and was an assistant coach.¬† He also was chairman of the Mountain West Conference board of directors.
Pat Haden, director of athletics at the University of Southern California.  Rhodes scholar.  Let me say that again, Rhodes scholar.  Successful businessman and attorney.  He was an astute television commentator, and I suppose I should mention an outstanding college football player who played on two National Championship teams at Southern California.
Tom Jernstedt, retired NCAA executive, one of the wisest, most respected individuals in all of college sports.¬† Of course, Tom was the architect of the NCAA tournament as we know it.¬† He's a long‑time college football observer and he played quarterback at the end at the University of Oregon.
Oliver Luck, director of athletics, West Virginia University.¬† He was a two‑time team MVP and record setting quarterback at his alma mater.¬† Of course, he was a quarterback for the Houston Oilers.¬† He's a two‑time academic All American.¬† And Oliver is a renown father, as you all know.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are only just beginning.
Next is Archie Manning, businessman and motivational speaker.¬† He is another member of the College Football Hall of Fame.¬† Archie was a most valuable player of the Southeastern Conference, was a two‑time All SEC quarterback, terrific NFL quarterback.¬† He's a brilliant leader and the three‑time all world dad.¬† Like Beyonce, Archie could go just by his first name.
Tom Osborne, former head coach and athletic director at the University of Nebraska.  He is another member of the College Football Hall of Fame and real true gentleman with 32years of college football experience.  He led the Corn Huskers to three National Championships and 13 conference titles.  He was a member of Congress back when Congress' approval ratingwas higher than Turner Gill's jersey number.  Turner wore number 12, by the way.
Dan Radakovich, director of athletics to Clemson.  Dan played his football at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and he won the school's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.  He worked at Miami, South Carolina, and at South Carolina before becoming athletic director at Georgia Tech before moving on to Clemson.
Condoleezza Rice, professor at Stanford, was provost at Stanford for seven years.  And that's one of the most prestigious academic positions in this country.  In that job as provost, she oversaw athletics and was directly involved in the hiring of two football coaches.  Oh, yeah, she was United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor.
Mike Tranghese, another long time college football leader with nearly 40years of experience.  Mike started the Big East Football Conference from scratch.  He was the longest serving commissioner of the Conference.
Steve Wieberg, he covered top tier college football for USA Today 30years.  He's a great guy with keen insight.  He was named one of the most ten powerful people in college sports by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Chronicle got it right.
Byron Willingham, this guy, widely respected gentleman and gentle man, who earned his football spurs as a quarterback and receiver for Michigan State. ¬†Then he worked his way up the coaching ladder and he ultimately was head coach at three FBS institutions.¬† He's a two‑time PAC‑10 Conference Coach of the Year and former president of the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees.
There they are, 13 people who will become one of the best known teams ever in college football.¬† It's plain to see that the College Football Playoff Selection Committee is an all‑star crew made up of some of the finest, most respected and most knowledgeable college football people anywhere will ever meet.¬† They are good, smart and dedicated.
Now I'd like to introduce to you the chairman of the committee.  The Management Committee unanimously selected Jeff for this position because of his intellect, judgment, integrity, pure talent, the deep respect that everyone in college football holds for him.  He is fixing to become one of the best known people in college football.  I'm proud to you present to you Jeff Long, chair of the college football Selection Committee.  Jeff?
JEFF LONG:  All right.  Thank you.  It is certainly my honor to be here.  Bill, thank you very much.
Today is an exciting day for all fans of college football.  We already have a great game, but we're getting ready to make the postseason even better.  I could not be more pleased and excited to be participating on this committee.
Me personally being named chairman of the Selection Committee is certainly an unparalleled honor.  Again, I want to thank the commissioners for placing their trust and faith in me.  It is a pleasure for me to serve the game that has meant to so much to me and that has given to me in the game of football.  I also want to thank two other individuals for their permission to serve on this committee.  First is my wife Sandy, who has joined us here today.  This job will take a tremendous amount of personal time, and I wanted to get the okay from her and enthusiastically gain support of my taking on this role.  Secondly, the chancellor at Arkansas, Jason Earhart.  He has the respect, my respect, and he has trusted me to lead our athletic program while assuming this very important role nationally.
With today's announcement, the details of the first ever College Football Playoff are coming into view.  The structure is in place and the Selection Committee will now work with the Management Committee over the months ahead to finalize the details involved with naming the best four teams to play in the College Football Playoff.  We have a lot of work to do.  There is no question about that.  We couldn't have a better team to do that very important work.
The Selection Committee, as Bill outlined, is incredibly intelligent, experienced, dedicated, and I'm certain they will be a hard working group as well.  The people on this committee are distinguished, representative of higher education, the media, business, and in particular college football.
Our charge is simple:  determine the best teams in college foot and seed them to play each other.  Our work will be difficult, yet it will be rewarding at the same time.  It will require long hours and thick skin, for sure.  We know our selections will be well received by many college football fans across the country, but we also know we have important judgments to make during that process.  I believe this group is collectively up to that task.  As part of that task, we recognize we represent all of college football.
While most of us on this committee have served a number of institutions and in various conferences, in this task we do not and with not represent anyone school, conference or region.  Each of us will represent college football in its totality.
As Bill stressed from the beginning, when we serve on this committee, we are expected to check our various loyalties and affiliations at the door.  When we do that, we will act in a way we believe to be in the best interest of college football.
Again, I'm honored to serve as the committee chair and I can't wait to get it started with this group of committee members.
With that, Bill and I would be happy to take any questions you might have.

Q.  How frequently will you put out rankings?  Weekly?  Every other week?  Has that been determined?
JEFF LONG:  Tentatively, we plan to put out four to put rankings of 25 teams beginning somewhere around the middle of the season, probably similar to where the BCS rankings come out currently.

Q.¬† Bill, could you take us through the process of when this committee‑‑ did anybody you approach say no on this?¬† What was the breakdown?
BILL HANCOCK:  Yes, we got the composition we wanted, probably with that key word integrity.  Each of the conferences decided to nominate people.  Each one did so.  We got about 120 names from that group, and it was a matter of the Management Committee whittling it down, and then they sent me out to begin making phone calls to inquire to folks about whether they would be interested and answer their questions.
The five groups are critical here.  The key thing that's important to remember.  Player, coach, media, administrator, sitting athletic directors.  We have every group represented.
We started about the end of June, so it was an ongoing, long process.  Every person that we talked to was honored and eager to be part of this committee.  Some were not able to meet some of the commitments, but not very many.  We got who we wanted.

Q.  Bill, you addressed Condoleezza Rice a little bit in your opening, that she was the provost at Stanford.  That's the name that a lot of people have kind of asked why and how is she on this committee.  Address that and the thought process of Condoleezza Rice being on this committee?
BILL HANCOCK:  Condi has definitely earned her spot on this committee.  She knows the game.  She is a student of this game.  Athletics reported to her at Stanford.  She had to know the game.
My conversation with her from the beginning was fascinating to me, because it was clear from the start how well she knows the game and what a good and tremendous team member she was going to be.  Obviously part of this is going to be the ability to make judgments under scrutiny and Condi has that.  I mean, she loves this game and she is a real student of it.

Q.  Bill, how long will the committee members serve?  What will be the length of their term?
BILL HANCOCK:¬† The term will be three years, generally.¬† But everybody won't have a three‑year term at the start, because we don't want them all to go off at the same time.¬† The terms will be staggered and we haven't worked out the staggering yet.

Q.¬† How will strength of schedule ‑‑ for instance, (indiscernible) like Auburn, Utah, Boise State with perfect records, how will that factor into your selection?
BILL HANCOCK:¬† Strength of schedule is one of the factors along with of course win‑loss record, record against common opponents, obviously head to head.¬† The committee will have all kinds of data in front of them, but strength of schedule will be a very important part of this.
The one I left out was did you win your conference.  That's another important factor.
JEFF LONG:  I think strength of schedule certainly will be one of those matrixes.  Certainly we will consider that.  It will be one piece of a bunch of data that we will have at our disposal to utilize and make these decisions.

Q.  Could you take us through injuries were included in the principle?  Is that fair?  Do you expect a lot of blow back?
BILL HANCOCK:  I think both of us can talk about this.  Injuries to critical players at certain parts of the season will be a factor.  Did you lose your second game?  And if so, was your left tackle injured and how did that affect the rest of your season?
You know, college football teams change throughout the season.  Nobody ends the season with the same team they started with.  A big part of that is injury.  That will be a factor we'll consider.
JEFF LONG:  I agree, Bill.  Certainly injuries are part of the game, and we see it week in and week out.  I think it would be unfair if we didn't take into account injuries as they got into the later part of the season.
I think we need to look at those injuries and they do play a factor in the strength of the team when they are finish the year and go on to the playoffs.

Q.  For Bill and for Jeff, just talk about the hand in the dirt argument, not just with Condoleezza, but just the fact that you've got five current ADs, only (indiscernible) Division I football coaches in here, and the idea that maybe some football expertise is getting lost in this.  How important was it knowing the game versus looking at the framework of the committee and evaluate the data that you will have in front of you?
BILL HANCOCK:  We'd be talking about the hand in the crushed tires.  No more dirt now.  It's like crushed tires on the field.
Ten of these people played college football.  Three head coaches.  Eight were assistant coaches.  These people know the game.  I'll call on my experience, my 16years in the NCAA.  Some of our best committee members never played basketball.  Mike Slive was a lacrosse player.  Bob Mosby, a tremendous member of the basketball committee, was a wrestler.  I can go on and on.  Jay (indiscernible) from Syaracuse, football player, never played basketball.  Yet they were some of the best committee members ever.  So playing the game is just not a prerequisite to being a part of a top committee like this.
Certainly if you look at the past national champions, many of those people that made those decisions were not were not college football players.  I do think that this committee has a breadth of people who have played and coached.  I think there is more to it than just being a coach.  Being able to make decisions under stress, also bringing in a lot of data to review and analyze and then coming up with the collective decision.  Remember this is a decision of 13 individuals coming to a collective decision.  So anyone person is not going to be able to sway the committee one way or the other.

Q.  You guys have talked about transparency.  Specifically, how transparent will you be?  Will you reveal individual votes of the Committee for the final poll?  Will you provide individual votes during the season?  What exactly will you be transparent on?
BILL HANCOCK:  We will be as transparent as possible.  That was one of the first steps that our Management Committee took when they created the playoff, was insisting on transparency.  Now, we don't know what that means exactly, but there will be a defined set of procedures that will be made public.  We may bring you and some others in for some practice, like the NCAA does with the tournament.
This will not be a matter of each committee member coming in and leaving their top 25 and having that averaged.  That's not going to be part of this.  There will be numerous ballots during the weekend to narrow the field and take step after step after step.  So there really won't be any individual ballots to announce.  But again, we will make this as transparent as we possible can.

Q.  So basically you are going to have one big list, not a system of 13 different lists?
BILL HANCOCK:  That's right.  With each of the four to five meetings that Jeff referenced during the regular season, at the end of that we will announce a top 25.  That will be a collective list made up of results of many, many, individual ballots that will be taken through the weekend, throughout the meeting period.

Q.  Take us through the process.
BILL HANCOCK:  We can both know the answer to this.  Committee members who are directly associated with an institution that's under consideration, a team that's under consideration, will be recused from any voting about that team and discussion about that team.  Again, that was a central element of the decision to create the playoff and to create the Selection Committee.
JEFF LONG:  Part of the work the committee will do is go through the process of how the recusal will work, what that association means, and how deep that association goes.  So that's some of the work that the committee will do.
As I mentioned in my remarks, many of us have worked at many different institutions and many different conferences.  Certainly we couldn't recuse ourselves from all the universities we have been associated with.  Part of the work of the committee will be to work through this recusal process.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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