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NCAA President Mark Emmert joins the many other voices who would like to see the College Football Playoff expand to eight teams.

"It's not my decision, obviously," Emmert said Wednesday at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. "But I think conference championships ought to really matter. I'm kind of old school, I guess, and it would be really fun to have a model where those five champions all got a crack at moving forward."

The NCAA doesn't have jurisdiction over the Playoff, which is controlled by the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences.

This season, Penn State and Big 12 champion Oklahoma did not make the Playoff field and Ohio State, which did not win the Big Ten, did.

"The conference championship ought to keep you in that hunt," Emmert said. "When kids win that championship, the banner ought to be really, really important."

Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, had this to say: "We know that the four-team Playoff is enjoying immense success, and the regular season is unique. We respect President Emmert, but on this matter, we certainly see things differently."

Emmert also said he was happy about Penn State's run to the Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl.

"I thought Penn State's season was spectacular," Emmert said. "What Coach (James) Franklin has done there, I think, is very, very impressive."

Emmert spearheaded the NCAA's unprecedented move in 2012 to penalize Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

The decision to impose a postseason ban and severe scholarship reductions drew criticism from many who said the organization had overstepped its bounds.

The penalties were later lessened when the NCAA said the university had made significant progress in addressing the scandal.

"The university has done an amazing job of putting in place all the changes their board wanted and our (board of governors) wanted, and they're on a terrific path," he said.

Emmert declined to comment on the recent scandal at Baylor, noting some investigations were ongoing, other than to say the forced departures of university president Kenneth Starr, athletics director Ian McCaw and coach Art Briles were "a demonstration that (Baylor's board of regents) obviously took this matter very seriously."

He didn't comment on Liberty University's recent hiring of McCaw.

Asked if the NCAA would consider sanctioning Baylor similarly to Penn State, Emmert said, "That's an active debate among the membership right now. I'm not going to comment on that one case."

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December 8, 2016


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