Fans and boosters logging on to the Arizona Interscholastic Association Web site to check out Payson High School basketball power points standings might be confused by both teams’ listed 4-1 records.
The boys team has actually played eight games and the girls have played 12.
The reason behind the discrepancy in games played is because the rankings don’t include tournament games and both PHS hoop teams have played in invitationals this month.
Also, there have been significant changes made in power point rankings since last season.
AIA chief operations officer Chuck Schmidt said the changes were made when, “it became evident over the course of the (2007-2008) winter sports season that a modification needed to be made for the sports that play more than 10 games in a season.”
Payson High School athletic director Jason Lobik said AIA officials told high school athletic directors last spring that the intent of the change was “to put more weight on the record than the strength of schedule.”
For example, a team that finished the season with a 9-7 record might receive a higher seed into the playoff than a team with a 13-5 mark.
“The AIA wanted to correct that,” Lobik said.
Originally, the power point system was designed for football, which usually plays only about 10 games a season.
The spring sports play more than twice as many games than does football.
The new changes, which will increase the victory points matrix, based on the sport and the maximum number of games played, went into effect last spring for the sports of baseball and softball.
In making the changes, the AIA issued the following press release explanation:
“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, 40 points less.”
During the 2007-2008 basketball season, AIA officials apparently received complaints from coaches and ADs who said the power points system was not always equitable in the winter sports.
“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,’” AIA Director of Media Marketing Brian Bolitho said.
“The modification to APRS ensures that a school that wins a game will always earn an equal amount of points, if not more, than the losing team.”
The AIA press release also said:
“In the sports of baseball, basketball and softball, where a max 18 games can count toward power rankings, a school now can earn 90 points for a victory. In volleyball, a school can earn 85 points for a victory with a max of 17 games. In soccer, a 12-game max, a school can earn 60 points for a win, and in football, a 10-game max, the number stays the same at 50 for a win.”
AIA Executive Director Harold Slemmer argues the new system, “allows for modifications should they be necessary and it’s also a formula that the membership can all see and understand.”
How power points work
A school’s power ranking is equal to the total amount of victory points for wins by the school, plus the opponent victory points of wins by the school’s opponents. That number is divided by the total number of games the school has scheduled that count toward power rankings up to the maximum per AIA bylaws, equaling the school’s power ranking.
For example, in baseball, a school will earn 90 points for playing a member school of their conference, and the school can earn five opponent victory points for each one of their opponent’s wins.
Based on the APRS matrix, if a school plays one conference division level lower, that school can still earn the same amount of victory points; furthermore, if the school’s opponent plays one conference/division level lower, that school can still earn the same number of opponent victory points.
In addition, the APRS matrix is set up so that if a school plays an opponent one conference division level higher, that school would have the opportunity to earn an additional five victory points for each conference region level that school played up and won. If the school’s opponent plays one conference region level higher, that school can still earn five opponent victory points. If the school’s opponent plays two conference/division levels higher, that school can earn even more extra points.