Gracey and Mathieson in the room as playoff system undergoes major changes
They met on Sunday.
They will meet again on another Sunday later in the season, to finalize the high school football playoff brackets.
But please don’t call it Selection Sunday.
How about Seeding Sunday instead?
“It is not a selection committee,” said Heritage football coach Matt Gracey. “The teams are already there. We don’t decide who’s in. We are not there to select anybody.”
Gracey and Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson are the two coaches from Clark County who are on the WIAA’s Football Seeding Committee, a first of its kind for a Washington high school sport.
The 30 or so coaches and administrators, retired coaches, media members and other friends of the game who are on the committee met for the first time Sunday at Washington Interscholastic Activities Association headquarters in Renton.
“It was a good experience,” Mathieson said. “You know some of the guys from different circles. You meet others. Talk and discuss. It’s an exciting time. Everyone’s approaching it the same way … you’re trying to honor kids. We’re talking high school athletics, high school football specifically. All the egos were checked at
the door. Great dialogue.”
The meeting was to set the criteria for seeding the tournaments for each classification. Details of that criteria will come at a later time. Gracey and Mathieson said the committee members agreed not to share specifics right now.
“One voice is better than 10,” Gracey said, noting that the WIAA will release the pertinent information, not individual members of the committee.
“We just shared ideas,” Mathieson said. “Things have to go forward through the executive board. A lot of it was suggestions, concepts, and ideas.”
What we do know is that the seeding committee is scheduled to meet again on Nov. 4, the Sunday after the Week 10 games are played. Throughout Washington, many of the Week 10 games are either district or state preliminary round playoff games.
The 16 teams in each state playoff bracket (eight for Class 1B) will qualify for state through those district and preliminary round games. No computers, no humans will select the teams to go to state. Every team qualifies on the field.
Once the teams qualify for state, the selection committees for each classification will meet to seed the tournament. In theory, this would do away with top teams playing each other in the early rounds.
The WIAA has used an RPI system to seed its basketball tournaments the past two seasons. Football coaches and administrators balked at using RPI in football because there are only 10 games per season prior to state.
While no details of how the seeding process will go, it is assumed that committee members will combine computer rankings and analysis along with the human input – the eyeball test, if you will.
“It’s a great step forward,” Gracey said.
All of the committee members are volunteers. Gracey said he appreciated the WIAA’s efforts in trying to change what he, and many others, felt was a flawed system.
“If you’re going to whine about something and want to change it, get your butt in gear and help,” Gracey said. “Don’t sit at home and whine about it.”
Mathieson joked that he volunteered because “I just didn’t think I had enough stuff going on in my life.”
Seriously, he said he wanted to ensure that someone from the Washington State Football Coaches Association was on the committee. He is a board member.
Plus, as an athletic director and coach, Mathieson travels the country to various clinics. He has met fellow administrators from other states and has seen how other states set up their state brackets.
Mathieson said all the coaches could see that seeding the football playoffs was the future.
“As a professional, stay engaged and try to move forward,” Mathieson said. “I just felt it was important, as a professional, to lend my services to it.”
For a list of all committee members, go to: http://www.wiaa.com/News.aspx?ID=607&Mon=7&Yr=2018