Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt is taking over as the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee this year. Although his term on the selection committee is scheduled to expire at the end of the 2016 season, a clause in the selection committee protocol could lead to a one-year extension for Hocutt, according to a report from Heather Dinich of ESPN.com.
“Members will not be eligible for re-appointment, but a member’s term may be extended one year if the member would serve as chair in what otherwise would be his/her final year,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN.com. This being Hocutt’s final year on his term qualifies Hocutt for the one-year extension, which would allow him to fill that role again in 2017. Selection committee members typically serve three-year contracts, which means the bulk of the selection committee is entering their final year on their respective contracts, but Hocutt was not a founding selection committee member. This will be just his second season on the committee.
Hocutt fills the vacancy on the committee left by West Virginia’s Oliver Luck and succeeds Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, who served as the chair of the selection committee for the first two seasons of the College Football Playoff. In addition to being the top head of the selection committee, the chair must also be the public face of the committee. Long had appeared on the weekly rankings show aired by ESPN to answer questions about the most recent rankings and attempt to shed some light on the logic behind the rankings as discussed by the selection committee. It was a job that came with plenty of criticism, although this was not always the direct fault of Long the past two years. He was just there to take the brunt of the attacks from critics, as any chairperson might.
There is no deadline for the College Football Playoff and selection committee to decide the fate of Hocutt’s term, although Hancock notes the discussion will be held later this year. There is no real rush to make a final judgement either. This is a decision that could even linger into the 2017 calendar year, although it would be expected to be cemented in place before the start of the 2017 college football season and could come much earlier than that. The future of other selection committee members with expiring contracts — Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez, Bobby Johnson and Condoleezza Rice — remains unknown at this time as well.
Again, there is plenty of time to piece together the 2017 College Football Playoff selection committee, so don’t expect much clarity on the situation in the near future.