The glacial pace at which the wallet-stuffing codgers representing the Bowl Championship Series move toward a fair and rewarding system got a bit of a boost Tuesday with the announcement of a four-team playoff.
Hallelujah! Creating a Final Four for college football is a minuscule step toward mollifying millions of fans who have longed for big-time college football to join basketball and baseball.
It's an even smaller step toward reducing the winking and backslapping and face-saving that goes on behind closed doors.
But it does nothing whatsoever to address the fundamental injustice of the current system.
That system, well established and fiercely protected, is designed to exploit the so-called student-athletes while rewarding coaches, athletic directors, bowl representatives and dozens of universities across the land.
Many of the players who put their bodies on the line to provide the college sports product still have to scrape and scrounge for sandwich money.
Some will have to borrow cars, clothes and cell phones.
More than a few will be forced to ask their struggling -- or unemployed -- parents to cover travel expenses required for a visit to the modest home or apartment they dream of replacing should they beat imposing odds and sign a megabucks deal to play in the NFL or NBA.
Should one of these student-athletes get a dime, regardless of purpose, from someone who is tangentially related to the school or an agent, that young man shall be receive a severe backhand from the NCAA enforcement squad. It's considered a "violation."
Now, however, these student-athletes will get an opportunity to perform in an actual national championship game instead the mythical -- and transparently political -- title games the BCS has been feeding us since 1998.
Please understand that the process for deciding a national champion has gone through a variety of changes over the past 76 years. The final Associated Press poll, before bowl results, was the word from 1936 through 1964.
In '65, it was decided the AP final poll should come after the bowl games.
For 1966 and '67, the NCAA decided to go back to the final poll before bowl games.
From 1968 through '97, the national champion was decided by the actual final poll, the one that comes after the bowl games.
In the years since the advent of the BCS, the national championship game has featured the teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS standings. The formula for those rankings was altered in 2004 and now is based on three primary factors: percentage of votes received from two polls (Harris and USA Today Coaches) and an average from six computer rankings.
Keep in mind that some entire conferences were considered unworthy of BCS status and therefore had zero chance of ever seeing a national championship game.
Yes, you might say the BCS did all it could to complicate a process that could be simplified with 60 minutes of football.
The new system, unveiled by something called the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, is two years away, taking effect in 2014-15 and approved for 12 years. It involves the usual suspects -- selection committees, bowl sites and a bidding process -- which means there still is considerable latitude for corruption.
Can anything, however, be more corrupt than the current system being followed in major college sports?
The best coaches receive seven-figure salaries. The best student-athletes -- those that put butts in seats -- get no salary, no perks other than the scholarship.
Head coaches in football and basketball can, and often do, break an existing contract on Friday to accept a job at another school on Monday -- because the new school is willing to pay even more.
Players seeking to escape their commitment or their scholarship generally must sit out for a year before becoming eligible at their new school.
I don't know if there is a perfect system to provide fairness and allow the players to reap a piece of the financial windfall they create.
I do know the NCAA is dodging this issue. And each passing day preserves its share of the financial pot.
It is good these suits eventually got around to an actual national championship game, for it scratches an annoying itch.
But it does nothing to treat the disease still sickening big-time college sports.