Adjustments the Arizona Interscholastic Association has made in the power ranking system could affect how high school coaches approach games.
At least that's the opinion of Payson High School coaches Jerry Daniels and Will Dunman.
"The philosophy will now be win at all costs," said Daniels, the Longhorns baseball coach. "The way I used to approach games was to try to get most all the players in every game.
"But with the changes, we will have to play to win or your team might not be going to the playoffs."
Dunman, the softball coach, concurred, "I agree with Jerry and I've talked to our girls about it."
Daniels and Dunman said they understood why the power point changes needed to be made, but the modifications will affect playing time among the reserves and second teamers.
"We'll have a little more flexibility in tournament games (they don't count in the power rankings), but in the regular season we'll need to win every game to get a good seed (to the state tournament)," Dunman said.
AIA chief operations officer Chuck Schmidt said the changes were made when, "it became evident over the course of the 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 (ADs) 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 as does football.
The new changes, which will increase the victory points matrix, based on the sport and the maximum number of games played, will go into effect for the spring 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 teams wins; furthermore, the 18-0 team would earn only 50 victory points for that win, 40 points less."
During the past basketball season's progress, 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 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 said 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 an additional half point if that school's opponent wins that game.