Section seeding revisited
The Minnesota State High School League has enacted new seeding requirements starting this school year.
The methods for seeding competition at the section level for advancement to state tournaments have had one thing in common -- they were consistently inconsistent.
That is changing effective this school year. All section team competition will now be seeded one of three ways -- 1) point system; 2) face-to-face meetings of the coaches; or 3) an electronic process via computer, fax or telephone.
The new seeding requirement follows a multi-year review by League staff and administrative region secretaries with the purpose of developing greater consistency from one region to the next. The League Board of Directors last year adopted a number of recommendations from staff that are effective with this school year, including the consistent seeding methods.
The use of a common point system is the method that is most misunderstood. The League collaborated with Minnesota-Scores.net to refine what Minnesota-Scores.net terms a Quality Results Formula or QRF, originally unveiled in 2002. The new QRF has been reviewed by both coaches and athletic administrators and tested against examples of actual 2010-11 section seeding results.
Probably the most controversial part of the former QRF was Margin of Victory/Defeat ("MOV/D"). As part of the agreement with Minnesota-Scores.net, MOV/D has been completely removed, leaving the formula with three parameters:
1. Win or Lose the game
2. Opponent's Class
3. Opponent's Wins
The point system used at the section level in the past did not take into account the number of opponent wins, only the opponent's class. As a result, all opponents in the same class were treated identically, no matter what their record was. Also, varied degrees of credit were given to opponents in each class. By utilizing the new QRF, sections will be applying the same criteria in every corner of the state and will be able to better quantify the quality of the opponent based on their win total.
Ties will first be broken by head-to-head competition. The next option is to use section winning percentage, and then overall winning percentage. If all of those options don't break a tie, a coin-flip will be used.
The first QRFs of the fall season will be released on Monday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. and will be subsequently calculated weekly for football and daily for all other sports.
An example of the application and comparison of the new QRF versus the actual 2010 seeding of one 2010 football section can be found at http://minnesota-scores.blogspot.com/2011/09/qrf-explained-in-detail.html.
Every administrative region oversees multiple sections of each activity, and the choice of seeding method may vary from section to section and sport to sport.
With the face-to-face method, coaches meet at one location, share information and then vote on placement. The League has highly recommended (but not required) that each coach's high and low rankings be discarded; that ties first be broken by head-to-head competition; and if necessary to break a tie, throw out the rankings given each other by the tied teams. As a last resort, it is recommended that a coin-flip be used to break a tie.
With the electronic method, coaches share information about their teams via conference call, e-mail or fax. The ranking is then done online, with each coach ranking every team except his/her own. Each coach's high and low ranking is discarded, and the lowest total ranking becomes the high seed, and so on. The tie-breaking procedures mentioned above as recommendations are mandatory for the electronic seeding process.
The section consistency policy also includes a mandatory process of handling forfeits that occur both before and after the seeding process. Specific action is dependent on the exact circumstances of the forfeit. There is also a policy relating to fees allowed for renting venues for section tournaments.