The Arizona Interscholastic Association made it official Friday. The governing board for the state’s high schools has made an adjustment to the AIA power-rankings system that will take effect for the spring sports of baseball, softball, team tennis and volleyball.
The modification was reported in the Tribune two weeks ago after the 5A conference had its monthly meeting, but wasn’t announced until Friday after the AIA finished informing other conferences. The changes will enhance the victory points matrix based on number of maximum games that can count toward a school’s power ranking in a particular sport. The opponent victory point matrix will stay the same for all sports, based on a five-point scale.
“The initial development of the system was created off of football,” said Chuck Schmidt, AIA chief operations officer. “It became evident over the course of the winter sports season that a modification needed to be made to the system for the sports that play more than 10 games in a season.”
In football, on the most basic level, a school earns 50 points for a victory in a game counting toward power rankings, and five points for each opponent’s victory in a counting game. The same was true for the other sports; however, in a sport like basketball, where 18 games are played, a school could potentially earn more points for losing than for winning. If a 0-17 team played a 17-0 team and lost, the 0-18 team would earn 90 points for each one of the 18-0 team’s wins; furthermore, the 18-0 team would earn only 50 victory points for that win.
“As the fall and winter sports seasons progressed, the AIA started to receive feedback from athletic administrators and coaches,” AIA director of media marketing Brian Bolitho said. “From that feedback, the AIA made the modification that is necessary to better align with the mission statement of the AIA to ‘ensure fair and equitable competition.’ ”
The modification to the system ensures that a school that wins a game will always earn an equal amount of points, if not more, than the losing team.
In the sports of baseball, basketball and softball, where a maximum 18 games can count toward power rankings, a school now will earn 90 points for a victory. In volleyball (boys and girls) a school will earn 85 points for a victory, with a maximum of 17 games. In badminton and team tennis, a school will earn 70 points for a win (maximum 14 games). In soccer, a 12-game maximum, a school will earn 60 points for a win, and in football, a 10-game maximum, the number stays the same at 50 for a win.
“The (system) was created for the member schools, by the member schools,” AIA executive director Harold Slemmer said. “This is a system that allows for modifications should they be necessary and it’s also a formula that the membership can all see and understand.”