Paola Boivin named to College Football Playoff selection committee

The ASU professor and award-winning sportswriter is excited to give back to college football (and about watching more games)


Brown haired woman in purple shirt

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Arizona State University professor and Arizona Sports Hall of Fame inductee Paola Boivin was selected Wednesday as one of six new members to serve on the College Football Playoff selection committee. Boivin will be the second woman in history to work on the elite panel.

A professor of practice at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Boivin, who was an award-winning journalist with the Arizona Republic, will start her three-year term this spring. She joins new members Joe Castiglione, Ken Hatfield, Ronnie Lott, Todd Stansbury and Scott Stricklin.

The 13-person committee will be responsible for selecting the top four teams in the playoff and assigning them to semifinal games, as well as placing the next group of teams in the remaining New Year’s bowls. Boivin previously served as president of the Association for Women in Sports Media and in November 2017 was the first female journalist to be inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.

ASU Now spoke to Boivin on the day of the big announcement to discuss her selection, what her new duties will entail and what effect having a female on the panel will have.

Question: Congratulations on the big honor. How does this feel?

Answer: Amazing. College football has been such a big part of my life. I used to cover UCLA football and loved the drive through Pasadena on Saturdays that took me to the Rose Bowl. And many times I sat in the press box of Sun Devil Stadium thinking, "How did I get so lucky?" I'm excited to give back to the sport.

Q: You are the second woman ever to serve on this committee. From a football and equality perspective, why is it important to have a voice like yours on this committee?

A: Diversity in all walks of life is important and the sports arena is no exception. To follow Condoleezza Rice is pretty darn cool.

Q: What will be expected of you in your duties and how do you think the committee will benefit from your service?

A: As a member of the committee, the main goal is to rank the Top 25 teams and assign the top four to semifinal sites. That means watching a lot of football with a keen eye. Poor me. Ha! As a journalist, you are taught to be driven by a tenet of fairness. I hope that's the biggest thing I can bring.

Q: How often will the committee meet and does this mean you’ll be attending more college football games?

A: We will meet about six times during the season and several times during the off-season. I may not be attending more games but I will be watching an enormous amount of them. 

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