West Virginia president Gordon Gee said that he believes College Football Playoff expansion is “on life support” and that he will not vote in favor of the proposed 12-team model when the CFP board of managers meets next month.
In comments to West Virginia student newspaper The Daily Athenaeum earlier this week, Gee said he had changed his mind about supporting the plan given the increasing uncertainty across the collegiate landscape after Texas and Oklahoma announced they would leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
His own school is now in a conference with an uncertain future.
Gee serves on the CFP board of managers, which is set to meet Sept. 28 to discuss the proposal further. The 11 presidents and chancellors who serve on the board have ultimate authority over the format.
“I think [expansion] is on life support now,” Gee said. “I have one of the votes and I think it nearly needs to be unanimous and I’m not voting for it. I think the Big Ten will not vote for it and the Pac 12 will probably not vote for it either.
“It’s one of those ideas that I think was very good when there was stability. When there’s instability, the idea becomes less appropriate.”
ESPN learned the board vote must be unanimous to proceed forward with the expansion plan.
In June, after the board voted to move forward with expansion discussions, Gee said, “If all of the pieces come together, it makes absolute sense. I’d like to be playing in November knowing we have a chance to be in the playoff.”
But he told the newspaper he is no longer in favor “because I think with this changing environment, we want to keep it very narrow and keep it so there is a lot of opportunity to reconfigure what we’re doing in athletics.”
During a conference call with reporters earlier this week, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said that they were in favor of expansion but that they wanted further discussion of the plan before they felt comfortable moving forward.
“I’m a big believer in expanding the College Football Playoff,” Warren said, “but also I’m a big believer in being methodical and doing our homework.”
Kliavkoff added that the Pac-12 is “100 percent in favor of expansion” but there are “issues at the margins” he wants to continue to discuss.
“All the criteria related to CFP expansion is on the table for discussion, and any component of that is up for debate.”