Back in April, ESPN reported the College Football Playoff management committee would ultimately recommend expanding the playoff to anywhere between six and 16 teams during a meeting held in Chicago next week. 

That council has reportedly landed on a concrete number. 

The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach and ESPN’s Heather Dinich confirmed Thursday that the committee will recommend expanding the playoff from four to 12 teams. This format would include the six highest-ranked conference champions along with the six highest-ranked non-champions that would receive at-large bids.

“No conference would qualify automatically and there would be no limit on the number of participants from a conference,” reads part of the proposal, as shared by Dinich. 

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson are responsible for penning the proposal. CFP executive director Bill Hancock said earlier this spring that a new format would not be embraced for either the 2021 or 2022 season, and Dinich referred to Thursday’s development as “only the first step in a long process.” 

“The timetable is certainly an important detail, but it hasn’t been determined yet. It’s too soon to predict the timing, but even if the board decides to alter the format, it may well not occur until after the current agreement has expired, which isn’t until after the 2025 season,” Hancock explained in April.

Regardless of what fans think of the change, the days of a four-team playoff to determine a national champion are undeniably numbered.