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Tournament seeding needs human factor, cheers for baseball’s expanded season and more analysis

Post Preps Insider

Post Preps Insider is your daily source for news, story lines, top games and more information on Colorado high school sports — brought to you by Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman.


The CHSAA Legislative Council meeting was Thursday in Aurora, meaning a bunch of decisions were finalized that will affect prep sports across the board in Colorado. The following is an analysis on a few key changes:

Technology Committee makes RPI recommendation

The Technology Committee recommended changing the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) formula that’s used to determine the playoff fields for all of the state’s team sports.

The recommendation is moving from the standard formula — which places 25 percent weight on a team’s own winning percentage, 50 percent on a team’s opponent’s, and 25 percent on their opponents’ opponents — to a 30/40/30 equation.

It’s the latest suggested tweak to an RPI system that CHSAA, along with feedback from its member schools, is working to make better — although it’s tough to please everybody in a 358-member body.

More than 220 member schools responded to a CHSAA survery asking for RPI input, with the three main results being that schools value accuracy above all else. They wanted more weight on their own winning percentage and they think RPI should only be used to set the postseason, not seed it.

The third conclusion of the survey is most noteworthy: Even as some believe the RPI has continued to get better with each adjustment, there absolutely needs to be some sort of a human element reinserted into the process, especially when it comes to seeding the state tournament and doling out home-court advantage and first-round byes.

Baseball to lengthen spring season

In a state where baseball players spend just about as much time shoveling snow off the diamond in the spring as they do actually playing on it, the news that the Legislative Council voted to expand the season in Classes 3A, 4A and 5A is a welcome change.

The schedule will move from 19 to 23 games, meaning four more opportunities for baseball programs around the state to hopefully outwit mother nature and get better before their respective regional tournaments.

The expanded schedule also means that the state championships for the three biggest classifications will now be pushed back a week and held the weekend following Memorial Day.

Even if it’s only a week deeper into spring, that means there’s a greater chance players and fans won’t have to sit through rain/snow/sleet delays at All-City Field. Hooray for meaningful baseball played in clear weather (fingers crossed) starting with the 2019 season.

Football starting date, league alignments

Football also saw a couple notable changes.

First, the start of the season is being moved up a week starting this fall. That means the week formerly known as “Week 0” will now be “Week 1”, and that the accelerated start to the season allows Class 5A to move to a 24-team playoff field and the lower classifications to have a built-in bye.

Speaking of 5A, the expanded playoffs from 16 to 24 teams also came with the official demise of the waterfall format, as the proposed league alignments from early December are now final.

That means no more wackiness of Cherry Creek laying an unnecessary beatdown on Far Northeast, or Poudre and Fountain-Fort Carson traveling a six-hour roundtrip to play each other in a league game.

Rivalries, for the most part, have been restored. It’s a good day in Colorado high school football, even if the state still isn’t close to any semblance of parity in big-school football quite yet.

Volleyball switches to bracket play

In another win for local prep athletes and fans, the Legislative Committee voted to move the state tournament format from pool play to bracket play for all classes, beginning this fall.

The switch will do away with the dramatic but overly complex and confusing tiebreakers that bogged down the pace of the tournament, replacing it instead with a 12-team Olympic crossover format featuring double-elimination up until the semifinals.

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