The new seeding methodology will start being used in the fall of 2019; at the same time the recently decided classification realignments will go into effect. During its meeting on Jan. 24, the UHSAA Board of Trustees ratified a directive from the executive committee to adopt an RPI system. The decision will not only change how state tournaments are seeded, but also allow every program to participate in the postseason.
MaxPreps will calculate RPI scores using a formula that considers three distinct and weighted factors – 40 percent of the score is based on a team’s winning percentage, 40 percent comes from opponents’ winning percentage, and 20 percent is based on the winning percentage of those opponents’ opponents. “The algorithm will then create an index score that can be ranked to determine a state tournament field,” according to UHSAA.
According to the UHSAA, several of Utah’s neighboring states like Arizona, Colorado and Idaho are already using an RPI system for high school sports.
The decision to change to the RPI system was made after examining options to make tournament seeding more accurate, said Rob Cuff, executive director of the UHSAA.
“This new approach in qualifying and seeding will bring added excitement to state tournaments as teams earn seeding based on overall season performance and not just region competition,” he said.
Since recent classification realignments have drawn complaints from some Utah schools, changing postseason seeding so it no longer depends only on region competition can be viewed as a sort of concession. “It has become a growing issue in the realignment of member schools to have the alignment process directly connected to the qualifying and seeding of state tournaments,” Cuff said.
The change will not impact cross-country, tennis, track and field and wrestling, which will still use a “traditional region-qualifying format. Golf, drill and swimming will all use unique methods to decide which teams qualify for state tournaments.
With every program in team sports now able to compete in the postseason, there is the potential another round will need to be added to accommodate the increase.