Playoffs and tournaments long have determined champions of every college sport from baseball to bowling.
The exception was major college football.
That ended Tuesday. Come 2014, the BCS is dead.
A committee of university presidents approved a plan for a four-team playoff put forward by commissioners of the top football conferences.
For years, the decision-makers had balked at any type of playoff because they said it would diminish the importance of the regular season. If only two teams had a chance to win a championship in the postseason, even one loss could be too many. That made for some very high stakes regular-season games. As recently as 2008, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive proposed the type of plan adopted Tuesday, and it was quickly shot down.
Four years later, minds changed. The 12 university presidents stood shoulder to shoulder on a stage at a news conference in a posh hotel in the nation's capital and delivered the news.
''It's a great day for college football,'' BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said. ''As soon as the commissioners realized they could do this and protect the regular season, the light went on for everybody.''
The move completes a six-month process for the commissioners, who have been working on a new way to determine a major college football champion after years of griping from fans. The latest configuration is certain to make even more money for the schools than the old system -- and not satisfy everyone.
''There were differences of views,'' said Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, who headed the BCS presidential oversight committee. ''I think it would be a serious mistake to assume it was a rubber stamp.''