(CNN) — For the first time in the history of NCAA Division I college football, there will be a playoff system, starting with the 2014-2015 football season.
A group of 12 college presidents — the Presidential Oversight Committee of the Bowl Championship Series — approved a plan Tuesday for a four-team seeded football playoff. The deal is for 12 years and will go through the 2025 season.
“A four-team playoff doesn’t go too far,” Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, chairman of the BCS committee, said. “It goes just the right amount. We are very pleased with this new arrangement.”
The playoff system will replace the current — and controversial — Bowl Championship Series — which began in 1998.
The new system will have two national semifinal games and a final. The teams will be selected by a committee. This plan is similar to how the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are created.
Despite the change, the bowl-game structure will still exist.
“It’s a best of both worlds result,” Steger said. “It captures the excitement of a playoff while protecting the best regular seasons in sports and also tradition of the bowls.”
Steger said that some issues — such as access to nonplayoff bowls and financial distribution — have not been finalized.
Lower college football divisions — the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, and Division III — already have playoff systems in place.
The current BCS system uses human polls, computer rankings, and strength of schedule to match the top two teams in the country to play for the national championship, and the process has always been open to criticism.
Even congressional representatives in the past have tried to make headway to change the BCS.
In 2005, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, called for a hearing on the BCS before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. No legislation results from the hearing. In 2008, Reps. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, and Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, introduced what they called the NCAA Football Championship Equity Resolution, which stated that the BCS was unfair and a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
In 2009, President Barack Obama reiterated his preference for a playoff system.