As it typically does each summer, the College Football Playoff on Thursday announced recusals for 10 of its 13 selection committee members.
However, in a preseason that continues to be unlike any other, four of them have asterisks by their names because their affiliated schools aren't playing this fall -- including committee chair and Iowa athletic director Gary Barta.
Both the Big Ten and CFP have told ESPN that Barta can begin his first season as the face of committee after the conference pushed fall sports to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pac-12 made the same decision just hours after the Big Ten on Monday, and two committee members -- Paola Boivin and R.C. Slocum -- are recused from Arizona State, with Slocum also being recused from Texas A&M. Colorado athletic director Rick George is recused from his school, as is Wyoming athletic director and first-year committee member Tom Burman, even though the Mountain West Conference also has pushed its season to the spring.
"These 13 people are on the committee because they are football experts who can evaluate teams and make decisions," CFP executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN. "Whether they represent a school under consideration has never been a factor. And it never will be. Whether the conference won't be playing this season won't affect their judgment as football experts."
The recusal policy remains the same as it has the past six years.
"A recused member is permitted to answer only factual questions about the institution from which the member is recused but shall not be present during any deliberations regarding that team's selection or seeding," the policy states.
Recused members are not allowed to participate in discussions about the placement of a recused team into a bowl game.
Like Barta, four other recused committee members are acting athletic directors: Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir; Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin; Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury; Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione. Former U.S. Army chief of staff Ray Odierno is recused from NC State discussions.
The committee met virtually this week through two 90-minute videoconferences -- one on Wednesday afternoon and another Thursday morning.
"We don't know right now what the season will bring, but as a committee, we are ready to use the protocol and the expertise of the 13 people who have been charged with selecting the teams," Barta said in a statement. "The committee's task is to rank the teams based on what happens on the field. This week gave us a great chance to catch up with the familiar faces and welcome our three new members to the process. If the board and management committee say we are having a CFP, we will be ready."
The final selection-committee rankings of the 2020 season will be released on selection day, Sunday, Dec. 20. The committee also will announce the matchups for the Playoff Semifinals at the Rose Bowl Game and Allstate Sugar Bowl, as well as the other New Year's Six bowl pairings.