Twenty-three years ago, Chuck Neinas presented a proposal for a college football playoff.
Neinas was then executive director of the College Football Association, which had a committee develop plans for a 16-team format. He presented the idea in May 1989 to Southwest Conference athletic directors in Austin, Texas.
It's taken nearly a quarter of a century, but a playoff — albeit smaller — for major college football now appears imminent. And playing a key role is Neinas, now the outgoing interim commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
“We had a committee study a playoff, just to show the membership how it would work,” Neinas said in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman, adding that his proposal was well-received by CFA member schools.
Conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced Wednesday they've reached an agreement for a four-team postseason tournament, which would feature semifinals within the current bowl structure, followed by a national championship game, the location of which would be bid on like the Super Bowl.
The playoff proposal will be presented to university presidents Tuesday in Washington, where both Neinas and new Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will represent the conference.
Although a “plus-one” model, where a championship game would be played after all the regular bowls, will also be presented to the presidents, the seeded four-team playoff is the favorite.
“I think that most of my colleagues would agree that it's going to be the four-team playoff,” Neinas said.