(NewsNation) — The College Football Playoff will expand from four teams to a 12-team format beginning in 2026, according to ESPN and The Athletic.
The College Football Playoff board of managers approved the move on Friday, and per ESPN, is also pushing conference commissioners to implement the 12-team format by 2024.
Making the playoff will be the six highest-ranked conference champions and the six highest ranked at-large teams, according to The Athletic.
The move comes against the backdrop of major conference realignment in college football, which has seen powerhouse programs Texas and Oklahoma flee the Big 12 for the SEC and USC and UCLA leave the Pac-12 for the Big 10.
Record amounts of money are also pouring into college athletics, with football remaining the main revenue driver. The Big 10 just signed a $7 billion TV rights deal with Fox, CBS and NBC that will begin in 2023.
Athletes are also monetizing their roles in college athletic under the new name, image, likeness rules implemented by the NCAA. The new rules have led to some athletes signing multimillion-dollar endorsement deals.