Arkansas AD talks about first CFP selection committee meeting

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was invited to attend this month’s national championship game as part of his new role as the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee.

When it ended, Long said it became very clear that the new era in college football — one he will play a major role in — was underway.

“I kind of did feel that pressure kind of shift and move over,” Long said last week. “But at the same time, it’s an exciting time. It’s a different time because we will be choosing four teams. Then the championship really will be decided on the field.”

It will be a year until the next national champion is crowned, but the group in charge of determining which four teams will compete in the first College Football Playoff is at work. The 13-member selection committee — which is led by Long — met in Dallas last week to continue ironing out policies and procedures that will be in play.

It was the second time the selection committee has met since being announced last fall, following their inaugural meeting in Washington D.C. last November. Long said nothing definitive has been determined at this point, but there has been progress.

“As you might expect, with the quality of people in that room, it’s been great,” Long said. “I knew a lot of them, but there were several that I really had never met before or spent any time with. So that’s been fun to get to know each other and we’re starting to get more comfortable with each other and just kind of share openly our thoughts and views and opinions on the process.”

Last week’s agenda included presentations regarding video technology, which will give selection committee members ways to watch games around the country throughout the season. There were discussions about analytics as well as the committee looked at ways to compile and sort data to track and compare teams.

One other key topic — a recusal policy — was discussed as well. The group must make a decision regarding when committee members are removed from conversations about specific programs to avoid conflicts of interest. A number of different ideas remain on the table, but Long believes there will be more clarity when the group meets next.

“We’re trying to look at all the different levels that you can take the recusal policy,” Long said. “Everything from the simplest form would be you’re just recused from the institution you work for currently or are paid for by currently. It can include any institution you worked at or any, your alma mater. So we’re looking at all of it.

“We’re analyzing all of it and then we’ll make a recommendation, eventually, to the management committee and if they’re comfortable with it they’ll endorse it.”

The next selection committee meeting is scheduled for April. The group also will meet in August just before the season begins. There’s a chance they’ll hold another meeting in between, too, depending on how much is accomplished in April.

Long said the CFP management committee, which is comprised of 10 conference commissioners, will meet in April as well.

“I think once those meetings have occurred, both those meetings, we’ll be able to put out pretty clearly where we’re headed,” Long said.