Inside the tumultuous summer of College Football Playoff expansion

CHICAGO -- Tuesday's meeting of the most powerful people in college football had been scheduled since June. Travel plans had been made. Hotel rooms were booked. At least one university president had his school's charter plane pilot on standby.

Last week, he told him to take the day off.

The 11 university presidents and chancellors who comprise the College Football Playoff's board of managers -- the only people with the authority to change the playoff -- are no longer coming here, postponing a vote on a proposal to expand the playoff from four to 12 teams.

So how did we get from a widely celebrated announcement in June to another closed-door meeting with no timetable for a resolution in sight? It's a story that, like most in college football, involves TV money, power and mistrust. And in many ways, it all began with the announcement that Oklahoma and Texas would be headed to the SEC.

The possibility of a vote had fizzled throughout a tumultuous summer filled with seismic changes. While CFP executive director Bill Hancock and others urged patience from the beginning, one high-ranking Power 5 source involved in the process told ESPN he believed a vote Tuesday in favor of 12 teams would occur right up until the decision of Big 12 co-founders Oklahoma and Texas to eventually join the SEC.

"With conference realignment, people start to get a little nervous," the source said. "You get a lack of trust, nobody knows the future, there's uncertainty."