AURORA — The RPI system is the next big thing in Colorado prep sports.
At the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast on Thursday, the Colorado High School Activities Association legislative council convened to discus upcoming proposals for prep sports in Colorado. At the forefront of nearly every individual team sport's committee report was a proposal to implement an RPI (Rating Percentage Index) system as a means of selecting and seeding the playoff field.
It was no surprise that RPI proposals were met with little resistance.
By the end of the January meeting, RPI was approved for use in six different sports - football, baseball, soccer, softball, volleyball and field hockey.
"That was expected," Longmont athletic director Jeremy Burmeister said. "It's a good thing for the state and it provides consistency across the sports. We'll see how it works but I think it provides some transparency as to how teams qualify and that's a good thing. It'll be interesting to see how it works out with baseball this year."
The RPI system rates each team based 25-percent on that team's winning percentage, 50-percent on that team's opponents' overall winning percentage, and 25-percent on the winning percentage of the opponents of that team's opponents. The system will get its initial field test during baseball season in spring of 2016.
Despite an initial proposal to exclude out-of-state baseball games from the RPI formula, the legislative council voted that out-of-state competition should indeed factor into a team's RPI rating.
"We play one or two (out-of-state games) a year to go out and get that competition so it's not a major impact for us, but some teams play five or six," Burmeister said. "But if they weren't counted, it becomes a glorified scrimmage. That's the purpose of that."
Erie athletic director Richie Wildenhaus was also enthused about the ruling for its potential to help avoid a similar out-of-state competition debate in softball.
"We host a big softball tournament with out-of-state teams and we're planning on even expanding it," Wildenhaus said. "So, that precedent was great news for us."
As expected, the much-anticipated football realignment proposal was also approved on Thursday, as was a weighted RPI system that replaces the old wild card system for football playoff selection. Both will take affect for the 2016-17 school year, as will the newly-approved RPI systems for soccer, softball, volleyball and field hockey.
RPI will likely be popular ballot measure for basketball, hockey and lacrosse at the next legislative council meeting in April.
Also on Thursday, a proposal to change the number of scoring runners at the 2A state cross country meet from three to four failed. The goal of the proposal was to make the scoring system more in line with the higher classifications and make the criteria more team-oriented. Shining Mountain Waldorf athletic director Mike Hawkes, whose school competes at the lower end of that classification with an enrollment of 66 students, argued to the council that the change would put athletes from smaller schools at a competitive disadvantage.
"To me, it really comes down to the small schools in that combined 1A/2A classification would be at huge disadvantage," Hawkes said. "Just mathematically, you take a school like that has 50 students in it and you're talking about eight kids (boys and girls) who are scoring at state, one in every six kids needs to be coached to a state-qualifying level."
On the same day a proposal passed strengthening the requirements for CHSAA membership, Twin Peaks Charter School in Longmont became a full CHSAA-sanctioned member school.
A new rule making football players eligible to play no more than six quarters in three days, and no more than seven in a week, passed. A proposal to change the state's transfer rules was sent to a subcommittee and will be voted on at a later date.