Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith has stepped down from the College Football Playoff committee, citing the need to spend more time assisting his school’s football program.

Gary Barta, the athletic director at Iowa, will replace Smith as the Big Ten’s representative, CFP executive director Bill Hancock announced Friday.

Manchester, N.H.’s Ryan Day replaced the retired Urban Meyer as the Buckeyes’ head coach last month.

“Gene has been an invaluable member of our CFP selection committee,” Hancock said. “As a former football student-athlete, coach and now collegiate administrator, his influence is deeply appreciated.”

This is a significant time commitment, and we understand Gene’s need to focus on his primary responsibility on campus.”

Having Smith off the 13-member committee could benefit Ohio State down the road.

Ohio State narrowly missed the playoff the past two seasons, and Smith had to recuse himself from discussions that concerned the Buckeyes. With Barta in the room instead, he could make a case for his conference’s inclusion in the CFP field of four.

Only one Big Ten team other than the Buckeyes has appeared in the CFP in its five seasons of existence — Michigan State earned the No. 3 spot in 2016 and was drubbed 38-0 by Alabama. Ohio State won the first CFP championship in 2015 and lost in the semifinals in 2017.

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