Playoff Committee Rules: All May Vote For ND

News item: The College Football Playoff selection committee announced its official policy Thursday as nine of 13 committee members have been recused from voting for schools with which they are affiliated. The list, with five active athletic directors, includes:

  • Mike Gould (Air Force)
  • Jeff Long (Arkansas)
  • Dan Radakovich (Clemson)
  • Archie Manning (Mississippi)
  • Tom Osborne (Nebraska)
  • Pat Haden (USC)
  • Condoleezza Rice (Stanford)
  • Oliver Luck (West Virginia)
  • Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin)
Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez was defensive coordinator and associate head coach under Lou Holtz at Notre Dame.

Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez was defensive coordinator and associate head coach under Lou Holtz at Notre Dame.

What’s notable for Notre Dame fans is that four members of the committee have significant ties to ND, but will not be recused when the Fighting Irish are up for consideration:

  1. Haden, who spent several years as analyst on NBC’s telecasts of home Notre Dame games, and certainly developed a strong respect for the football program’s values in that time.
  2. Rice, who earned her master’s degree in political science from Notre Dame in 1975, and has spoken positively of the experience.
  3. Alvarez, who as defensive coordinator and associate head coach under Lou Holtz, helped engineer Notre Dame’s drive to the 1988 national championship, then used that success to springboard into his enormously impactful career at Wisconsin. Without a doubt, Alvarez can look back fondly at his three seasons at ND.
  4. Former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington coach Ty Willingham. OK, it might be debatable how strong an advocate for the Irish Willingham might be, given his inglorious exit after a three-year tenure. But, like Alvarez, he certainly understands the cornerstones of ND football: truly national scope; challenging schedule, and high academic standards.

(The remaining Committee members are Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president; Mike Tranghese, former Big East commissioner; and Steve Wieberg, former college football reporter for USA Today.)

Of course, one presumes that each individual will go into the deliberations wanting to weigh the teams under consideration with fairness and an open mind. That’s why they were selected.

But it’s safe to say the committee makeup could have turned out a whole lot worse for Notre Dame. Let’s hope the Irish do their part in reaching the consideration stage.