Ohio State athletic director 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.

Barta will begin his three-year term this spring.

"Serving on this committee has been an honor," said Smith, who spent two seasons on the committee, in a statement. "Contributing to this great sport is always a privilege, and I will miss the time with my colleagues. It is imperative for me to have 100 percent focus in helping our new coach with his transition at The Ohio State University this fall."

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.

--Field Level Media

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