Hawkins represents TROY, Sun Belt inside College Football Playoffs

The Trojans holding up the New Orleans Bowl trophy.

The Trojans holding up the New Orleans Bowl trophy.

With the eyes of the country focused on tonight’s College Football Playoff, few college football fans may realize the role Troy University has played in making the championship a reality.

Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. serves on CFP’s Board of Managers and chairs its Audit Committee, one of just two committees in the organization. CFP Administration, LLC manages the administrative operations of the College Football Playoff and members of the company are the 10 FBS conferences and the University of Notre Dame. He represents the Sun Belt Conference as one of 11 university presidents or chancellors on the board.

Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr.
Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr.

“It’s been rewarding to be engaged with the national leadership in attempting to structure the college football playoffs and I think it’s extremely important to intercollegiate athletics and football in particular,” he said. “There are some outstanding people involved and I’ve enjoyed the increased contact I’ve had with members of other conferences and have especially enjoyed working with our own conference commissioner in addressing the issues of the Sun Belt Conference.”

In addition to the Board of Managers, the company has a Management Committee comprised of the member conferences commissioners and a Selection Committee that includes former coaches, athletics administrators and leaders in government and business. Past members include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne, and Bloomingdale’s CEO Mike Gould.

A staff led by Executive Director Bill Hancock rounds out the CFP team. Hancock was the first full-time director of the NCAA Final Four, the first executive director of the BCS and, now, the CFP’s first leader.

Hawkins, a past-president of two athletic conferences himself, views his participation with the College Football Playoff as engagement “in a very important process.”

“I think the college football playoff – now its fourth year — was a direct result of a lot of dissatisfaction with the old BCS, and this is a more systematic way to arrive at a national championship. For the most part, it’s working out well,” he said, recognizing the process needs continued evolution.

“In my estimation, it was a growth step to go to the BCS, it was a growth step to go the College Football Playoff (and now we have four teams in that process); but we’ve got to continue to refine that process,” he said.

Fairness, parity among the conference members and an equal shot at a national title for college football teams is the end goal from Hawkins’ perspective, which comes from TROY’s own athletics evolution.

“We’ve probably been in more conferences than any other school in the country. We’ve seen intercollegiate athletics from a lot of perspectives and we’ve been able to succeed in all those areas,” he said.

“The playoff process has got to be an active process and one that continues to be fair. Division 1 FBS football has no natural playoff, and I know there are money issues and there are bowl game issues, but at some point fairness has to be the standard and everybody has to have a shot at it and it not be controlled by a few. I hope that’s where the process continues to evolve,” he said.