Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Multiple sources reported Thursday afternoon that the College Football Playoff is inching closer to a 14-team playoff model that would begin in 2026. Per ESPN:

Multiple sources told ESPN on Thursday that each league and Notre Dame are expected to sign a legal agreement by midday on Friday. Starting in 2026, the new agreement will codify the further financial separation of the expanded Big Ten and SEC from everyone else in college athletics. The Group of 5 commissioners have been in a difficult position without any negotiating power, but sources indicate they won't choose being excluded from the CFP.

"It's like the Godfather's offer you can't refuse," one Group of 5 athletic director told ESPN on Thursday.

The financial distribution for the expected 14-team playoff will look radically different that its playoff predecessor. On an annual basis, for example, the Big Ten and SEC will be making more than $21 million per school, a number that's up from the nearly $5.5 million the Power Five leagues are currently being paid.

In the ACC, the schools will get more than $13 million annually and the Big 12 will get more than $12 million per school. Notre Dame is expected to get more than $12 million as well, and sources tell ESPN there will be a financial incentive for any independent team that reaches the CFP. (There will no longer be a participation bonus for any of the other leagues -- a detail that was frustrating to some leaders in the Group of 5.)
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