In its first meeting of the new year on Wednesday, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control discussed the football playoff structure and bracketing .
Concerns were raised by a portion of the membership regarding significant early round travel and unbalanced matchups, in some cases, under the current cross bracketing system (which was originally requested by the Commissioner’s Football Advisory Committee as a means of playing different teams in the postseason and varying the annual matchups).
Included in the discussion, was the determination to finalize the development and approval of a Rating Power Index (RPI), as has been adopted in many states, to seed playoff matchups at a certain point in the playoffs.
The RPI would be a function of the strength of schedule, with parameters weighted 35 percent on a team’s strength of schedule, 35 percent on its opponents’ strength of schedule, and 30 percent on its opponents’ opponents’ strength of schedule. The development of an RPI could also have the added benefit of resulting in more competitive schedules for some schools and a modernized method of breaking three-way district ties.
After reviewing several options, the Board approved a motion to play the first two rounds of play within district. The RPI would then be used to seed the third round, within districts 1-4 and 5-8, and would also be used to seed the final four teams as well.
“There is probably no fan of high school sports that doesn’t have an opinion about the football playoffs. There certainly have been a variety pack of formats as we continue to get membership feedback. However, in the end, the vast majority of the schools did not want to reduce the number of playoff teams,” said KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett.
“With that in mind and continuing concerns about less than desirable matchups in the first round, the board felt very strongly that the amount of travel for the first two rounds needed to be reduced regardless of the fact the teams might have already played. Certainly, those repeat matchups occur in every team sport and the board did not feel a difference was justified if less travel was involved.
“The RPI will be an exciting development, especially given the fact that it will be totally transparent. It does not reward teams for higher point margins, instead rewarding teams that play a tougher schedule, and will not be some group of people interjecting opinions and thoughts with potential unchecked bias. The objectivity of the RPI will be a great feature. “