The College Football Playoff will drop its initiative to play more semifinal games on New Year's Eve, responding to a dip in television ratings for last year's semifinals.
CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock told USA Today Sports that a change of date is coming for four future years that originally had been scheduled for semifinals on New Year's Eve. In the spring, Hancock showed little interest in changing the dates, suggesting New Year's Eve could be a new tradition for the semifinal round. He softened his stance this summer, however, before ultimately acknowledging that a change would be made.
"We looked at the replay, and we reversed the call," Hancock, said.
Although the decision moves the semifinals off of New Year's Eve in future years, this year's CFP semifinals will be on New Year's Eve. Hancock said future semifinals would be played either on New Year's Day, or on the Saturday prior to New Year's Eve.
"After the study, we just feel like this is in the best interest of fans. They want to experience these games, and we want them to. And these changes for four years will allow that to happen," Hancock added.
Last year's CFP semifinals -- Oklahoma vs. Clemson and Alabama vs. Michigan State -- suffered a 40 percent ratings slip on the New Year's Eve from the previous year's semifinals, which were played New Year's Day. ESPN holds the College Football Playoff broadcast rights.