Washington, D.C. -- The group of university presidents who oversee college football's Bowl Championship Series agreed today to launch a new four-team, seeded post-season playoff to determine the national collegiate champion. The new format will begin with the 2014-2015 season.
"We recognize that the BCS has been controversial in some years, but we also believe it has turned college football from a regional sport into a wonderfully popular national sport, much to the benefit of our alumni, student-athletes and fans," the twelve members of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee said in a joint statement. "We now seek to build an even better college football season by creating a four-team playoff to crown the national champion, while protecting the regular season and the bowl experience. We're delighted to support this format and congratulate the group of conference commissioners who have done so much for college football and who worked so hard to make this happen."
The group of presidents also endorsed:
• Rotation of the semifinal games among six bowl sites and rotation of the championship game among neutral sites. The championship game will be managed by the conferences and will not be branded as a bowl game.
• Creation of a selection committee that will rank the teams to play in the playoff, giving all the teams an equal opportunity to participate. Among the factors the committee will value are win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and whether a team is a conference champion.
The POC also decided to:
• Enhance college football by playing the semifinals New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. The date of the first semifinal games will be either Wednesday, December 31, 2014, or Thursday, January 1, 2015.
• Create "Championship Monday" by setting the date of the championship game on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the final semi-final game is played. As a result, in the first five years the championship game will be played on Monday, January 12, 2015; Monday, January 11, 2016; Monday, January 9, 2017; Monday, January 8, 2018; and Monday, January 7, 2019.
• Plan the new format to cover a twelve-year term, from the 2014-2015 season through the 2025-2026 season.
• Distribute revenue from games in a manner that remains under discussion. Generally speaking the concept would (1) reward conferences for success on the field (2) accommodate teams' expenses (3) acknowledge marketplace factors and (4) reward academic performance of student-athletes.
• Eliminate the "automatic qualification" designation.
Among additional matters to be decided later are the name of the new event; the composition of and procedures for the selection committee; the final funding formula; and which bowls will participate as rotating hosts of semi-final playoff games.
The decision is subject to passage of appropriate legislation by the NCAA Board of Directors to permit the two semifinal winners to play an additional post-season game.
"We are very pleased with this new arrangement," the presidents said. "College football's championship game is America's second most watched sporting event and we're proud to build on our successes as we grow the sport and hear the voices of everyone who loves college football."