CFP leaders are set to approve ESPN's new extension and revenue split. The expansion has not yet been completed

The 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame are expected to sign off on Friday on key details that will bring the sport one step closer to the next iteration of the College Football Playoff, several sources familiar with the approval process said. The athlete. The agreement is a precursor to the approval of ESPN's six-year, $7.8 billion extension that runs through the 2031-32 season.

After months of discussions, the leagues this week finally agreed to a new revenue model in which the Big Ten and SEC will receive nearly twice the CFP revenue share as the ACC and Big 12, starting next decade in 2026.

However, other key details — most notably whether the field will expand from 12 teams to 14 and whether “Power 2” will receive more automatic berths than other leagues — are not expected to be finalized on Friday. Expansion decisions could be made separately from the ESPN deal because the network is unwilling to pay more money for additional games in the first round, according to executives familiar with the negotiations.

The two parties are instead expected to sign a framework that includes certain protections for everyone if the field expands beyond 12 teams. There has been momentum for a 14-team field in recent weeks, but in a television interview on Thursday, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey indicated that neither agreement between the group had expanded yet.

“People have talked about 12 and 14,” Sankey said on SEC Network. “Let's put this as maybe an end to the conversation, put it on the shelf, where the bookends belong, for a moment, get these 12 things right, close it, and then we'll move on.”

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Multiple sources familiar with the revenue model confirmed that the new breakdown is about 29 percent annually for the Big Ten and SEC (more than $21 million per school), 17 percent for the ACC (about $13 million each), and 15 percent for the Big Ten 12 ( $12 million each) and 9 percent for the Group of Five conferences combined (about $1.8 million per school). The rest goes to the independents, including more than $12 million to Notre Dame and the Football Championship Subdivision. There is an additional performance bonus available only to freelancers for creating a CFP field.

The new deal is also expected to include a clause to consider 2028, allowing the parties to reshape the agreement based on performance or further realign the conference.

While each conference and team will receive more money in 2026 than they do under the current contract, this new revenue split represents a dramatic change. Since the CFP's inception, the power conferences have split roughly 80 percent of the pot evenly.

The new agreement also solidifies the financial advantage the Big Ten and SEC have over the rest of the FBS, including the other Power 4 conferences in the ACC and Big 12. The Big Ten and SEC already earn tens of millions more annually than the other two through the conferences' new television contracts. This CFP deal adds tens of millions to the spread, and the Big Ten and SEC secured it using their leverage as the league home to most CFP participants thus far.

The G5 conferences in particular have expressed some frustration with the agreement, seeing only a small increase in their payouts and the elimination of the performance bonus for qualifying. The G5 commissioners phoned each other earlier this week about the situation. But they also realize that they don't have much leverage and that it's better to be in the fold than out of it. They've earned a spot on the field.

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Terms of the ESPN deal have been worked out for some time, according to executives, but the conferences have delayed approving it due to a lack of clarity on the structure of the event once the current contract expires in two years. The clock was ticking because the ESPN deal includes the rights to the four on-campus first-round games that will be played in December and the following month as part of the new 12-team bracket. The CFP met with several potential media partners during recent negotiations, but no other network has made a bid to buy any games.

More discussions are needed for scaling up and what it could look like. Multiple 14-team models have been discussed. In one model, the so-called “3-3-2-2-1” format, the Big Ten and SEC would get three automatic berths, compared to two for the ACC and Big 12 and one for the Group of Five, along with three at-large berths. However, other options and a more straightforward '5+9' model (five automatic qualifiers, nine overall qualifiers) are also still possible. Among the protections in the framework expected to be signed Friday include the limit Notre Dame would need to meet to create a 14-team stadium, depending on the number of public spaces available.

The idea of ​​the Big Ten and SEC automatically receiving both byes in a 14-team model has been met with backlash and is unlikely to be included in a 14-team field.

College football has yet to see a 12-team playoff, but the sport is now one step closer to agreeing on a larger stadium, as revenues continue to consolidate around two conferences.

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The athleteAndrew Marchand, Scott Dochterman and Seth Emerson contributed reporting.

(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today)

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