CFP denies request to move semis

ByHeather Dinich ESPN logo
Thursday, February 5, 2015

The College Football Playoff will not move its semifinal date for the 2015 season despite a request from ESPN to change it from New Year's Eve to Jan. 2, 2016.

The 2015 semifinals -- to be played at the Capital One Orange Bowl and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl -- are scheduled for Dec. 31.

"We reviewed it and rejected it," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who is on the playoff's management committee. "We like the concept that we've developed for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Going forward, we think that's the right model for college football."

Ten FBS commissioners, along with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, comprise the playoff's management committee.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, confirmed no change would be made. He said those conversations are "over and done with."

"We're not going to change," Hancock said. "It's a done deal."

A representative for ESPN declined comment.

Part of the playoff's 12-year contract stipulates tripleheader bowl games, including the semifinals, on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

The Sports Business Journal first reported that ESPN executives lobbied to get the date changed because New Year's Eve falls on a Thursday in 2015, and the network not only realized it could suffer a drop in ratings, but it also had a window for a more fan-friendly Saturday on Jan. 2.

"The first consideration for our group is the prominence we put on taking back New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and putting the most meaningful games on those two dates," ACC commissioner John Swofford said. "... We look at this as a 12-year period, and to get away from the effort to consolidate the biggest games on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, to move away from that in the second year, I'm not sure feels right to the collective group."

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