PREPS: WIAA changes how it seeds team sports state tournaments

  • Thu May 14th, 2020 5:14am
  • Sports

PORT ANGELES — Beginning in 2018, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the group overseeing high school sports and activities in the state, came up with a new method to seed the state football tournament.

A human factor was implemented for the six-classification gridiron championships, rather than relying on a team’s district tournament outcome or using a statistical analysis such as the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Committees, made up of coaches, athletic directors and some media members, developed rankings for the first round of the eight- and 16-team tournament brackets.

Going forward, that approach will be expanded, as committees will seed first-round matchups for all team sports in a move approved by the WIAA Executive Board and first reported by the Eli Sports Network last Friday.

Football will be joined by committees for girls soccer and volleyball this fall.

In winter, the WIAA will no longer use the RPI rankings to fill out state tournament brackets for boys and girls basketball, but will keep those rankings for hoops and expand the RPI system to the other team sports as an informational tool to guide the committee’s moves.

In spring, baseball, softball and boys soccer state tournaments will be seeded by committees.

Friday, the WIAA Executive Board voted to extend the state seeding committees to all team sports. In the fall, that means, football, girls soccer and volleyball. In the winter, basketball will no longer use RPI to seed the state tournament, and will have separate committees for boys and girls. And in spring, it will apply to baseball, softball and boys soccer.

District tournaments, which still decide which teams qualify for state, for each sport generally end the Saturday before the state tournament, so the committees will meet Sunday and decide where the 16 teams that qualified will fall on the bracket.

WIAA Assistant Executive Director Cindy Adsit provided more details in a video posted online Tuesday.

“There will be one committee for each classification and each gender [per sport],” Adsit said. [For example that means there will be] six boys basketball committees and six girls basketball committees.”

School staff will likely make up most of the spots on each committee. For football, the number of committee members has been around 10 people per classification.

“Each league has the responsibility to nominate individuals to serve on the committees,” Adsit said. “This can be a coach, an athletic director, a principal or a superintendent. The WIAA Executive Board will make the final determination on makeup of these committees and will keep diversity in mind. In this case diversity means gender, position and ethnicity.”

Members of the media also may apply, but must be endorsed by at least two coaches in each sport for which they apply.

Adsit said the criteria to be a committee member and applications have been sent to prep leagues. Applications are due May 27, and selection and notification will be completed by June 15.

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected].