Dear Friends of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl,
The last few months have been a period of rapid and fundamental change in college football. Many of these changes have involved post-season play, the BCS structure, and the NCAA's involvement in the bowl industry.
Playoffs: The BCS Presidential Oversight Council on June 26 approved a four-team post-season playoff to determine the national college football champion commencing in 2014. The new format, recommended by the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame's Athletic Director, will feature semi-final games rotated at bowl sites and a championship game rotated among neutral sites.
The four participants in the playoff will be chosen by a selection committee that will rank teams on the basis of win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and conference championships. The semi-finals will be scheduled each year on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, with the national championship game to follow at least six days later on "Championship Monday." The format will cover a 12-year term, from the 2014-2015 season through 2025-2026.
Still to be determined are the composition of the selection committee and the six bowls included in the semi-final rotation. However, the Rose Bowl and the new "Champions Bowl" matching the champions of the SEC and Big 12 will be in the rotation.
I believe the new playoff format is a very positive outcome in that it: 1) satisfies the public and media clamor for a playoff; 2) protects the importance of the regular season, and 3) preserves America's bowl tradition and the bowl experience for the athletes. The only potential downside is the uncertainty in team selection caused by the rotation of the semi-finals among six bowls and how that might impact team availability for the remaining bowls.
Our staff and Board of Directors have been monitoring these developments closely, as well as the ongoing changes in conference configuration. To that end, our Long Term Strategy Committee has begun the process of planning for 2014 and beyond. The committee, chaired by former Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen, also includes former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham, former Cal and NFL quarterback Craig Morton, former Stanford and Oakland Raider tight end Bob Moore, and Presidio Bank chairman Jim Woolwine (former chair of the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee and one-time Notre Dame third baseman). Obviously, I have a distinguished group assisting me in this endeavor.
In other developments:
Bowl Licensing: The NCAA eliminated its Postseason Bowl Licensing Subcommittee and will no longer be involved in licensing bowls based on criteria such as attendance, letters of credit, TV agreements, sponsorship, community support, and financial guarantees. Conference and bowls are now responsible for working out those details. Henceforth, the NCAA's bowl oversight will focus on governance and commercialism.
Governance: The NCAA has mandated a number of governance policies and procedures in the wake of last year's Fiesta Bowl scandals. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl already was in compliance with virtually all of the recommendations; however, a number of our existing policies needed to be formalized in documents approved by the Board of Directors. This was done at the Board's April and May meetings. See our website for more info.
Commercialism: The NCAA approved the Task Force's recommendations regarding bowl advertising and sponsorships. Several categories of potential sponsorship have been deemed inappropriate and impermissible, including: tobacco; alcohol; gambling; firearms; certain personalities and images; and advocacy of controversial viewpoints.
Meetings/Events: Our staff attended the Football Bowl Association (FBA) meetings in Ft. Lauderdale and is in the midst of planning for the two big events we organize each summer--the NCAA youth football clinic on July 21 and the Bay Area College Football Kickoff Luncheon and Media Day on July 30.
I attended the Pac-12 meeting in Phoenix with our new Board Chairman, Jack Boland. There we met the conference's new head football coaches--Rich Rodriguez of Arizona, Mike Leach of Washington State, and Todd Graham of Arizona State (we'd previously met UCLA's Jim Mora, Jr. at last December's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl). Jack and I also drove down to Tucson to visit our game's first chairman, John Marks, retired President of the SF Convention & Visitors Bureau. John looks great and is enjoying retirement and polishing up his golf game.
Game Date: The 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will be played on Saturday, December 29 at 12:15 pm. We believe this is a terrific game date and time for our local fans, the participating teams, and the national TV audience. This year's game matches Navy vs. a selection from the Pac-12 Conference.
We'll be back with another report prior to the opening of the college football season, unless new developments dictate an earlier update. Hope you all have a great summer!