Keenum, Hancock address media at CFP National Championship

Contact: Sid Salter

Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum, left, who also serves as chair of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Board of Managers, and CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock, right, today [Jan. 7] addressed the media following the annual meeting of the board. Speaking on behalf of the board, the MSU president addressed questions about the CFP format and other issues.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum, who also serves as chair of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Board of Managers, and CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock today [Jan. 7] addressed the media following a meeting of the board.

During the wide-ranging press conference, Keenum said in response to media questions regarding possible expansion of the current playoff format: “We have concluded our annual meeting of the College Football Playoff Board of Managers.  As we do every year, we meet alongside the commissioners, and Notre Dame’s Athletics Director, to review the ongoing operations of the Playoff, now entering its sixth year.

“It is our unanimous agreement that the Playoff has been a tremendous success for students, fans, and universities. We are very proud of it.  Fans love to watch it and we look forward to its continued success.

“When it comes to the Playoff, as part of our normal review, we always look at everything and we will do so again. 

“Our job as university presidents is to listen to a variety of views, as we do every day back on campus, and every year when we consider how best to run the CFP.  Academics, student-athlete well-being, existing contractual agreements and the overall good of the game are just a few of the issues we consider.  At all times, we want our students who play sports to be successful in college and in life.

“As far as expanding the number of teams in the Playoff, it’s way too soon – much too soon – to know if that is even a possibility.  It’s fair to say the speculation about expansion has outdistanced the reality of what the commissioners and the presidents have discussed.  If a decision were to be made down the road, the Presidents would be the ones to make it and we are not there.

“At some point down the road, as part of our regular review of all matters pertaining to the Playoff, the management committee will meet, and it will consider all aspects of the Playoff, as it routinely does.  When that discussion happens, I advise observers not to read too much into it.  We have a twelve-year contract we are very happy with.  It is always appropriate to ask the right questions and to examine every issue to be sure we have things right.  We are very satisfied with the Playoff and look forward to its continued success,” Keenum said.

Keenum was named chairman of the CFP Board of Managers in 2018 after serving as the Southeastern Conference representative on the board since 2015. He served a term as president of the Southeastern Conference from 2016-2018.

In its fifth season, the CFP determines the national champion of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Four teams play in two semifinal games, and the semifinal winners advance to the CFP National Championship.

The CFP Board of Managers is the governing board of CFP Administration, LLC, the organization that manages the administrative operations of the College Football Playoff. Members are the 10 FBS conferences (American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac-12, Southeastern and Sun Belt) and the University of Notre Dame.

The CFP’s business, property and affairs are governed by the board, comprised of the university presidents or chancellors from the 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame. The board develops, reviews and approves annual budgets, policies and operating guidelines. It also appoints officers of the company. It has authority of overall primary aspects of the CFP’s operations.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

About the College Football Playoff

The College Football Playoff matches the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in semifinal games that rotate annually among six bowl games – the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. The College Football Playoff National Championship will be Monday, January 7, 2019, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.