CHSAA votes to change RPI formula in football, 2 other sports

Photo - The Doherty Spartans hosted the Boulder Jaguars in boys' football on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at Garry Berry Stadium. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing
The Doherty Spartans hosted the Boulder Jaguars in boys' football on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at Garry Berry Stadium. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing

AURORA - Hoping to avoid a similar flub that landed deserving teams out of the high school football playoffs 2 ½ months ago, the Colorado High School Activities Association's legislative council voted in favor to recalibrate the RPI formula used for postseason qualification in football, baseball and boys' soccer.

Athletic directors, coaches and CHSAA officials met at the Radisson Hotel in Aurora on Thursday and unanimously passed the change in football with 67 votes, as well as the other two sports.

Colorado's high school football will leave behind a formula that weighed heavily on strength of schedule -- 25 percent team's winning percentage, 50 percent opponent's win percentage and 25 percent of the winning percentage of the opponents of a team's opponents - and was highly criticized because of the enormous impact it had on a small, 10-game regular season.

In its place, the football committee's new formula (37.5 WP, 37.5 OWP, 25 OOWP) will go into effect next season.

"The reality is there's no perfect system out there," CHSAA assistant commissioner Harry Waterman said after the 3 1/2-hour meeting. "I think we all know that but I do believe we're headed in the right direction."

Contention and controversy arose last season surrounding the football postseason fields after eight-win Doherty was left out of 5A in favor of two three-win teams, while 2015 state finalist Loveland missed the 4A postseason despite going 9-1.

If the new totals were in place then, the Spartans would have ended the season 12th in RPI, according to Doherty AD Chris Noll and CHSAA. Loveland, meanwhile, would have replaced six-win Vista Ridge in the 4A field, per Wolves AD Sam Baldwin.

"I think it definitely gets us on the right path," Noll said. "I'm not sure if it's guaranteed to fix it completely, but I definitely think the numbers are much more in line with what needs to happen."

Baseball and boys' soccer move to a 35/35/30 RPI formula immediately, while girls' soccer will make the change after the spring season. Volleyball, softball and field hockey opted to stay at 25/50/25 at least through the end of the two-year cycle.

"I'm excited we're willing to change and make sure we get it right," Baldwin said, "and not just be stubborn in our ways."

Adding a fourth classification in boys' soccer by the 2018-2020 cycle was the other big topic Thursday, and it passed with 62 of 67 votes.

The Black Forest League put forth the change to add a 2A classification to boys' soccer, following what girls' soccer did two season ago.

The 3A division in boys' soccer has 78 teams with schools ranging from less than 100 students to more than 600.

"I think it's a great thing," Fountain Valley soccer coach and assistant athletic director Byron Dacy said about the proposal earlier this month. "Some of the other smaller schools that are trying to compete in 3A just don't have the players and numbers to really be able to do it."

Also of note, cross country's proposal to score four runners at the 2A state meet was shot down. It will stay at three scoring runners.