RPI for all WIAA team sports could arrive next school year

Governing body of high school sports, which already seeds boys and girls basketball tournaments via RPI, could use similar system in all sports starting in 2018-19

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association could be using an RPI system for all of its team sports to fill out state tournament brackets as early as next school year.

The state’s governing body of high school sports started using a Ratings Percentage Index for boys and girls basketball last school year, and is now studying how such a system, or a similar system, would work in all other team sports.

Camas made its way through the high school football playoffs last year to win the Class 4A state championship. Starting in 2018-19, teams in all sports could be seeded using the same RPI system used by the WIAA to seed teams in the basketball playoffs. Photo by Mike Schultz
Camas made its way through the high school football playoffs last year to win the Class 4A state championship. Starting in 2018-19, teams in all sports could be seeded using the same RPI system used by the WIAA to seed teams in the basketball playoffs. Photo by Mike Schultz

This fall, for example, all schools are sending results for their football, volleyball, and girls soccer teams to the WIAA, and the association is charting the RPI for each team, according to Mike Colbrese, the executive director of the WIAA.

“It’s totally under the radar,” he said, adding that the RPI results for those sports will not be available on the WIAA’s website. “It’s a dry run.”

It is just a way for the WIAA to see what an RPI bracket would look like in comparison to the brackets that will be used next month in the state playoffs.

A committee dealing with RPI for all sports will meet again in December. Colbrese said the WIAA’s executive board will meet in January and could vote then on any future changes. If changes are made, they could be implemented as early as the 2018-19 school year.

“The bottom line is this year everything stays the same as it was last year,” Colbrese said. “RPI in other sports is being examined. We’ll know more as the year goes on.”

Colbrese does not see any change to the current format of 16 teams in the state tournaments.

Most of the districts use Week 10 in football for elimination games in order to get to 16 teams for state. However, Week 10 is not part of the state playoffs. So if an RPI system were to be implemented next football season, it would not seed the teams until after Week 10.

The Week 10 football games are similar to district or bi-district tournaments in basketball, Colbrese added. In basketball, the WIAA seeds the teams into brackets once the 16 teams have qualified for state.

The RPI for each basketball team can be found on the WIAA’s website throughout the second half of the season. RPI is not used to determine the teams that qualify for state; only where to put those teams into the brackets once they make it to state.

In theory, this is to keep the best teams from playing each other in early rounds.

There were many critics of the system last year in basketball, but also some praise from coaches, players, and fans who preferred an upgrade from the traditional draw.

If other sports do adopt RPI, it does not necessarily mean all sports will use the exact system. Colbrese said the WIAA wants input from each sport’s coaches association.

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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