An alleged error in the way the Arizona Interscholastic Association calculates power point rankings is causing a stir around the state.
Gilbert resident and former Intel engineer John Carrieres, who seems to have a running battle with the AIA claiming two association officials “have stonewalled this issue,” brought the error in the ranking system to the public’s attention three weeks ago.
But indications are the AIA will work to correct its power point formula this spring.
The alleged flaw in the rather complex power point formula the AIA uses is that teams playing extra games receive an unfair boost in power points thus distorting the rankings.
Carrieres wrote in an e-mail to AIA Director Harold Slemmer and the executive board, “Teams that play more games have a decisive advantage over those who play fewer.”
Carrieres’ allegations that the formula the AIA uses is flawed was seconded by ASU math professor Scott Surgent after The Arizona Republic newspaper asked him to look into the contention.
But there’s more to the controversy than Carrieres’ claim that teams playing more games are at an advantage.
Most coaches simply question a rather complicated formula that contains terms such as, “OPVP” and “OPOPVP,” as well as subscripts and number of wins by opponents’ opponents.
Further complicating the process is that since power points were implemented, there have been some odd scenarios unfold, such as some deserving teams being left out of section and state tournaments while teams with lesser records receive berths.
Most of this season, Payson High School coaches have questioned how wins and losses are being calculated to determine power point standings.
“I can never figure out which end is up,” said veteran Lady Horn softball coach Will Dunman.
Baseball coach Scott Novack also harbors concerns, “It really is tough to strategize with.
“I thought that was the original intent of ‘power points’ was to measure strength of schedule. I know they say they do, but teams who play an easy schedule seem to sometimes get a nice ride right into state.”
Lady Longhorn volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink admitted at the end of last season that he was highly disappointed his team didn’t make the D-III state tournament hinting skewed power points might have played a role.
“I know any system used for determining state (placements) is fraught with unfairness in one way or another,” he said.
“But I do believe more points should be given for opponents’ wins. I don’t think a team should be penalized in power points rankings just because they have a tough schedule, and lose some in that tough schedule.”