“The College Football Playoff is just an incredible organization and I’m so humbled to be part of it. We have a tremendous staff back in Dallas. It’s a great environment and a great place to work.”
Andrea Williams has been at her post for just over a year now, serving as the Chief Operating Officer of College Football Playoff. It’s a role she’s dreamed of filling for years and one that keeps her busy.
“My role is certainly to be a support system for our staff because we are so lean and mean. There are a number of responsibilities that we have beyond the championship game. But essentially, it’s managing the relationship we have with our new year six bowls,” she said.
Williams and her staff of 19, plus 6 soon-to-be-added interns, manage the relationships of bowl partners year-round.
“This year with the Peach and Fiesta Bowl serving as semi-final playoff hosts. Our championship bowl just happens to be in the same place as our Sugar Bowl family, so it’s going to be a great year.”
They also work with non-university partners, like ESPN, to make sure all needs are being met and experiences are top-notch.
“We have a great relationship with ESPN and they do a great job with all of our bowls and not just in-game presentation but in terms of managing those relationships.”
Williams came to the CFP from the Big Sky Conference, where she had been the league’s commissioner for two years. She replaced Michael Kelly, the CFP’s first chief operating officer, who left to be athletics director at the University of South Florida.
“I was really fortunate,” Williams tells CollegeAD. “I tell people all the time I was living my best life at the Big Sky Conference and living in the great state of Utah. It was all about the experience and the people I got to work with, it was truly special.”
She had been a member of the CFP’s advisory committee and stadium operations team and kept close tabs on her “dream job.”
“When the CFP moved from the BCS era I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Not only for the coaches and players but also for the fans and sponsors. That dates back to 2013, I knew that was my dream job. I knew if the opportunity were to ever present itself, which it did, I would be a part of it.”
Williams and her team oversee the revenue created by CFP, which is generated in two ways.
“There are a number of variations. We have the college football playoff side, which is made up and managed by our ten FBS conferences as well as Notre Dame. But then we also have our College Football Playoff Foundation as well. It a pretty unique experience to where certainly there is revenue raised from the College Football Playoff that goes back to each of those respective conferences in addition to funding that also supports the foundation.”
The College Football Playoff Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the College Football Playoff. The purpose of the CFP Foundation lies in supporting early childhood through secondary education across the country.
“They can use those funds specifically to help with teachers or schools in their local community, and we’ve seen so many wonderful projects that have come from that. From the Big 12 creating a library/media room at a local school in Dallas to the Big 10 creating an auxiliary space for a school in Chicago. It’s wonderful to see the funding find its way into the communities.”
The CFP Foundation is already on the ground in New Orleans, where the Championship will be held in 2020, to evaluate the needs of teachers in the districts. Now, as far as the championship itself, Williams says a 4-team playoff model is working, but things can evolve.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have any breaking news on expansion. What I can tell you is that our 4-team format has been successful. What we have seen is that it has given strength and support to the regular season identifying a true national champion. We are still very young and trying to figure out the direction of where we are taking our game. It’s a pretty special time to be a part of the college football playoff and watching it evolve.”