Big Ten Conference Football Media Days

Tuesday July 26, 2016

Bill Hancock

CFP Executive Director

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Bill Hancock, College Football Playoff executive director.

BILL HANCOCK: Good morning, everybody. It's a real pleasure to be here. First of all, I want to offer our condolences to Nebraska and Michigan State and also to the families of Sam and Mike. From what I know, have heard of them, each of those young men represent the sons that all of us always wanted.

I want to talk just a minute about that. From personal experience I know that the families have a long road ahead of them and I'm heartbroken for them. But what I have heard about them, I know they will face the journey with determination and grace and faith. I personally know that their path will include many ups and downs.

But waiting at the end of that path for them is a miracle of joy and hope. I know that joy and hope is many months and possibly years away for them. But what is ahead for them is a time when college football will matter again, when they will need the game that Sam and Mike loved so much. And I hope for them that that time will arrive as soon as possible.

There's no easy transition I want to move to college football. I'm here to talk about the college football playoff of course.

The CFP has been an enormous success. Fans have, for lack of a better word, fallen in love with it. The CFP has brought many benefits. Some of them were expected and others not. It brought stadiums full of passionate fans.

I've been to sporting events all my life and I do not believe I've ever been to games where there have been so many passionate fans pulling for one side or the other as we had in the first two college football playoff championship games. The CFP brought a booster shot of energy to the regular season which really didn't need it.

The most compelling, the most meaningful, regular season just got better. I think the existence of the CFP brought added incentive to the NCAA's marvelous decision to reimburse expenses for student-athletes' families for the Final Fours. I think the fact that there was another high profile event in college sports helped the NCAA make that decision. And I know when Mark Emmert called to notify us that it was happening our management committee voted immediately to make it happen for the CFP as well.

The CFP has enriched regular season schedules. It has become apparent that in order to qualify for this playoff you have to give your athletes an opportunity to prove themselves against the very best competition. If you want to be in the playoff, you have to play somebody.

I suspected that we would see enrichment of regular season schedules as a result of the playoff. But I must confess that I did not think that it would happen so quickly, as witnessed the first weekend that we're going to see this year. I for one just can't wait.

The CFP has also brought a foundation, the CFP Foundation that is doing remarkable things for teachers around the country. When we created the playoff we knew we wanted to give something back. And what better place to help America than through K through 12 education?

Our foundation has not received as much coverage as I hoped it might. But it is doing remarkable things to honor and assist teachers around the country. The cornerstone of the foundation is Extra Yard for Teachers, and you will see when you're at games this year Extra Yard for Teachers week being celebrated on campuses around the country. It's September 17th through 24th. Check it out on our website.

The playoff also created a must-see weekend of college football, a celebration of the game like we have never seen before with fan events, excitement in the city, culminating in a Monday night championship game that has been both of which have been remarkably successful. I think also demonstrating that there's a new method for selecting teams, a selection committee with a disciplined, transparent approach has proven to be perhaps the most significant improvement over the BCS.

This committee established a culture of integrity and strength that will carry forward for many years. I think the best thing we did was creating the selection committee the second best thing we did was create a selection committee that is the best thing we did was putting these 13 members on the first committee that first bunch dedicated people of high integrity who treasure the game, love the game as much as all of us do and unselfishly gave of their time, got this playoff off on the right foot. And they did establish a culture that will last for many years to come.

Those 13 people got it right. They made it happen. Four members of the first committee have dropped their microphones with satisfaction and we have four new people coming on this year who will continue that culture of hard work, deep evaluation and most of all high integrity.

In conclusion, I'm honored to be here. I'm honored to have the job that I do. This will be my 12th season in college football after spending 16 years at the pinnacle of college basketball. I'm the luckiest guy I know. If you think about it, I got to direct the best event in college basketball for all those years. And now I get to direct the best event in college football. I'm just very, very lucky. I don't know whether time will allow us to have questions.

Q. Tampa, their readiness, they've had the Super Bowl obviously, just what you're dealing with there and an outdoor venue, just all the different headaches involved with that and just the city's overall readiness for this event?
BILL HANCOCK: Tampa's ready for this. Tampa is a big-event city. Tampa has a new energy, great facilities, remarkable stadium. I got to direct the Final Four that was in that area, and we felt the same thing. But, of course, now we're on the other side of the bay. But talented people who are already working very hard to make the event happen.

My mantra to our staff and the host is let's be ready to play on Labor Day. Let's have everything lined up so we can play this game on Labor Day. And then after that we'll just be tweaking. We do get to worry about the weather. First time for us to have an outdoor venue. But it's Tampa. It's January. It'll be great. Tampa will be a great host for this event.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #2 by #19 at 2016-07-26 16:30:00 GMT

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