The College Football Playoff is not interested in ESPN's suggestion to move next season's semifinals from New Year's Eve to Saturday, Jan. 2.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock and ESPN acknowledged having discussions about a one-time schedule shift.

"We understand and appreciate their interest in this," Hancock said about ESPN. "The fact is that we have started a new tradition of back-to-back tripleheaders on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We're not interested in changing for one year, then returning for the next 10. This event has been very well received, and we are excited about the future and about enhancing the concept of a 'holiday within a holiday' on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day."

The College Football Playoff semifinals are scheduled to be played on New Year's Eve eight times during a 12-year contract with ESPN.

The NFL, meanwhile, is considering expanding its playoff structure, including moving a playoff game to the Monday night opposite the national championship game.

... Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long will serve another season as the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee.


Solo may have to get counseling

Goalkeeper Hope Solo faces the possibility of being left off the American roster for this year's Women's World Cup if she fails to complete tasks set for her by the U.S. Soccer Federation, which may include alcohol counseling.

The 33-year-old was suspended for 30 days Wednesday for what the U.S. Soccer Federation called "an incident that occurred during the current WNT training camp" in Carson, California.

Asked whether she could be omitted from the team's World Cup roster, USSF President Sunil Gulati said Monday: "Look, that's possible. We hope that's not the case. We hope she's making progress and joins the team. That's certainly the goal, hers and ours."

Jerramy Stevens, Solo's husband, was driving a team vehicle when he was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence. Solo was ordered to refrain from drinking alcohol last June after being arrested for domestic violence at her sister's home. The charge was dropped.

auto racing

Championship format to stay

NASCAR won't change its new championship format, which chairman Brian France said is "overwhelmingly popular" with fans. The Chase was revamped last year into an elimination-style system that created a winner-take-all final race among four drivers. Kevin Harvick won the season finale at Homestead to claim his first Sprint Cup title. France called it "perhaps the best Chase ever" and said the excitement will carry into this season. "It's overwhelmingly popular with our most important stakeholder, the fans," France said.


Santana to take a break

Two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana won't pitch during the rest of the Venezuelan Winter League season because of stiffness in his pitching shoulder. ... Bill Monbouquette, an All-Star pitcher for the Red Sox who threw a no-hitter and had a 20-win season, died. He was 78.


NFL: The Raiders signed pending free-agent safety Charles Woodson to a one-year contract extension, bringing him back for an 18th season in the NFL. ... Colts linebacker Andrew Jackson was arrested on a drunken driving chargey. ... The Packers signed punter Cody Mandell.

Olympics: Maria Cerra Tishman, a U.S. fencer who finished fourth in individual foil at the 1948 Olympics, died. She was 96.