As a former assistant coach, NCAA administrator, conference commissioner and College Football Association executive director, Chuck Neinas knows the sport like few others. And as the Bowl Championship Series Presidential Oversight Committee prepared Tuesday to adopt a decades-overdue playoff, Neinas couldn’t hide his satisfaction.
“I think, generally, we couldn’t be ignorant of the public (sentiment),” he said less than a hour before Tuesday’s 3 p.m. meeting here at the Dupont Circle Hotel. “There seemed to be a need for it, and I think there was genuinely a feeling that there needed to be some kind of change, and it had to be change of some significance. …
“There’s a general feeling we need to do something better to determine the national champion.”
That consensus, among fans, media and coaches, has been brewing for years. Indeed, as the CFA’s leader, Neinas helped conceive a playoff proposal in 1991. The powers-that-be weren’t ready.
“The BCS is part of an evolution,” Neinas said. “There was the (Bowl) Alliance, the (Bowl) Coalition, the BCS and now this … four-team playoff. So it’s been an evolutionary process.
“The significance will not only be in the four-team playoff, but if the proposal is adopted, the significance will be in how postseason football will be restructured. … I think that the colleges are going to become more involved in the management of postseason football.”
A former Big Eight commissioner, Neinas returned to that role on an acting basis after the Big 12 parted ways with Dan Beebe in September 2011. He subsequently joined Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive and the ACC’s John Swofford in building a consensus for a playoff that will begin in 2014.
Neinas has since been replaced by a full-time commissioner, former Stanford and Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby.
Bowlsby, like Slive and the Big Ten’s Jim Delany, is a former chairman of the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee, the same model the playoff will use.
“The only thing we’ve talked about is, it needs to be of such size so that when people are recused you still have a good group,” Neinas said of the committee’s possible composition. “While there are critics of the basketball tournament, it’s worked pretty well with their selection process.”
Basketball panel members leave the room when a team they’re affiliated with is discussed. Fans, media and coaches annually debate the basketball tournament field, and the same will occur in football.
But it’s better than the BCS, which uses a formula to determine the participants in the national championship game.
“Just a new wave of controversy,” Neinas said with a smile. “Give us a chance to work out all the details, and I think you’ll have a better understanding.”
Check back for more details after the presidents adjourn and take questions.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP
Here's a link to my radio chat Tuesday afternoon with Greg Burton of ESPN950 in Richmond.
And here's a link to my Daily Press print columns
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