A formal 16-team college football playoff worth at least $650 million has been proposed by Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson.
CBSSports.com obtained information from the document that was distributed to the 10 other Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners. It proposes that a human committee would rank 30 teams at the end of the season to help select the 16-team field. Those rankings would determine the 1-through-16 seedings. At least six Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) conference champions would be in the field. There would be a maximum of three teams per conference.
Thompson had an eight-team playoff proposal rejected by the BCS in 2009. With the current BCS agreement ending after the 2014 bowls, there is an opening for suggestions for new postseason models. BCS executive director Bill Hancock did not immediately comment.
Thompson's proposal was sent to those 10 other FBS commissioners, Notre Dame and Hancock.
Under his proposal, first-round games would be played the week after conference championship games (usually the second week of December). The games would be played at the home stadium of the top eight seeds. The quarterfinals would follow on Jan. 1 or 2 at the four major bowl sites -- Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose.
The semifinals would be played at the stadium of the two highest-seeded remaining schools. Bowls could bid on hosting the championship game.
Financial bonuses would be awarded to participating conferences based on performance in the NCAA's Academic Performance Rate. There is also a clause that would allocate $50 million "to address issues of integrity in intercollegiate athletics."
Several playoff scenarios have been proposed by commercial entities. The NCAA even explored the possibly in the mid-1990s before dropping the idea.
The Arizona Republic interviewed Thompson about his proposal on Wednesday.However, CBSSports.com was able to obtain specific detailed information about the proposal.
The FBS commissioners were to discuss Thompson's proposal at a previously scheduled meeting Sept. 20 in Chicago. But conference realignment issues forced the meeting to be cancelled.
Information from the document details the revenue windfall long anticipated from a playoff. Under Thompson's plan, a conference would receive $25 million for each top eight seed it had in the field. For seeds 9 through 16, the revenue would decrease by $2 million in descending order. For example, the conference of the No. 9 seed would get $23 million, No. 10 seed, $21 million, etc.
Conferences would then receive $20 million for each team that reaches the quarterfinals (round of eight). The remainder of the revenue from the semifinals and championship would be distributed this way: Two shares for each for each of the semifinal winners. One share for each for the semifinal losers. Each of those shares, according to information in the document would exceed $25 million.
According to a source, Thompson also asked for support from the so-called "group of five" non-BCS conferences to support and promote the proposal. There was no consensus of support from those four other leagues -- Conference USA, WAC, MAC and Sun Belt -- according to the source.
The Mountain West at least is staying in the news. Thompson's league and Conference USA announced an alliance on Friday. The champions of each league -- soon to be a 22-team consortium -- would play each other, the winner of which would theoretically get an automatic BCS bowl bid. Both leagues are currently non-automatic qualifiers for BCS bowls.
They have received no assurance that they would receive an automatic bid under the new arrangement. The current BCS agreement runs through the 2014 bowls (2013 season). The champions of each BCS league (Pac-12, Big 12, Big East, ACC, SEC, Big Ten) are guaranteed a BCS bowl. That leaves four other spots filled by second teams from BCS leagues. Notre Dame and non-BCS league champions can also qualify by meeting certain benchmarks.