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NIU president part of ‘historic day’ in college football

June 27, 2012

Northern Illinois University President John G. Peters was among the 12 university presidents that gathered Tuesday to announce approval of a plan for a four-team college football playoff put forward by commissioners of the top athletic conferences.

Peters and the others comprise the Presidential Oversight Committee of the Bowl Championship Series.

“It was a historic day, and I was very pleased to be a part of it – not that the work is done yet, since there are many details to be worked through,” Peters said. “This has been an evolutionary process, and I believe that the BCS model has contributed to the development of a national championship format that is good for the fans and our student-athletes.”

The announcement caps a six-month process that had Football Bowl Subdivision commissioners developing a new way to determine a major college football champion.

Instead of simply matching the nation’s top two teams in a title game after the regular season, as has been the case since 1998, the new format will create two national semifinal games. Those would be played Dec. 31 or Jan. 1 each year with a “Championship Monday” to take place at least six days later.

The site of the two semifinal games and national championship game would rotate on a yearly basis, similar to the way previous BCS national championship games have done.

“We anticipate tremendous fan excitement as the traditional bowl season culminates in a four-team playoff to decide the national championship, culminating in a ‘Super Bowl’ type game on Championship Monday in January,” Peters said. “The MAC is pleased to support this new format, and salutes the conference commissioners for their hard work on a job well done.”

The latest configuration likely will result in increased revenues for the schools, and how the revenues would be distributed is revolutionary.

“What makes Tuesday’s outcome even more unique is that for the first time ever, revenue distribution will reward academic performance, which is in alignment with the core values of the Presidential Oversight Committee,” Peters said.

“Not everybody got everything they wanted. That’s just not possible, but I think there’s enough to satisfy a lot of people,” he added. “From the perspective of the Mid-American Conference, the opportunity to compete for one of the six bowls involved in the new series and to share proportionately in any enhanced revenue distribution is exciting.”

The four semifinal teams will be chosen by a football selection committee, taking into consideration won-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results and whether a team is a conference champion.

Members of the selection committee also will have a role in creating matchups for the games at each of the four bowl sites that do not hold a semifinal in a given year.

“With the new four-team playoff model leading to a national championship game, I believe the sport will continue to grow in popularity. However, much work remains including work on the format, selection committee, access, and revenue distribution,” Peters said. “That being said, the presidents are unanimous in their strong support for this new national championship playoff format.”