Legislative Council notebook: Breaking down the agenda for April's meeting

Examining April's Legislative Council agenda, including notable proposals. The Legislative Council meets April 17. Find full info here.

In this notebook:

5A football seeding committee proposal

Legacy Stadium. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Legacy Stadium. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

How will Class 5A football determine its playoff field? That is, well, still to be determined.

In December, the idea of a seeding committee rapidly swept through the football committee meeting. That idea turned into a portion of the committee report which was to be discussed at January's Legislative Council meeting -- but it was ultimately removed before it went to a vote because it was seen as too complicated.

Yet the 5A football community is intent on changing the way its postseason is done. So, in the months since that January meeting, they sat down and hammered out a new proposal. This one will be heard at the April 17 Legislative Council meeting.

And, at its root, it's not so much of a drastic change. The 32 teams that make up the playoff field will still be determined by CHSAA's Wild Card points formula, which determines a team's strength based upon the number of wins their opponents have.

What that proposal would change, though, is the use of a more in-depth seeding committee to place those 32 teams on the bracket. In recent years, a panel of administrators had moved teams up and down a few seeds from their Wild Card points finish to avoid pairing conference opponents in the first round.

The proposed committee would "true seed the 32 qualifiers," according to the language used in the proposal. (They would also seed teams Nos. 33-50 for their non-qualifying Week 10 games.) And here is the criteria they would base their decision on, in no particular order:

  • Wild Card points
  • Head-to-head matchups
  • Common opponents
  • Overall record
  • League standing
  • Strength of schedule
  • RockyPrep.com's RPI system (link)

Another big change would do away with seeding teams Nos. 1-32. Instead, the bracket would be divided into four quadrants, with each having seeds Nos. 1-8. This would allow for greater flexibility in placing teams on the bracket (avoiding league matchups early on), and is similar to what basketball does for its 4A and 5A tournaments.

Additionally, "The committee will attempt to place the top two seeds from each conference in separate quadrants," according to the proposal. This means strong teams from the same league would likely not meet until the semifinals, should they both advance.

The proposal -- set forth by the Colorado Springs Metro, Continental and Jeffco leagues -- will need approval from a simple majority to pass and become part of the 5A football structure. Should it fail, the classification would use the format it has been using in recent years -- namely, Wild Card points are in charge.

Wrestling seeking change in classification numbers

State wrestling

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Seeking to spread its teams out more evenly across classifications, wrestling will bring a proposal to the Legislative Council to change the numbers it uses as enrollment cutoffs for 2A, 3A and 4A.

Currently, wrestling is grouped in with the majority of sports in using enrollment classification cutoffs established by the Classification and League Organizing Committee. For the 2014-16 cycle, those enrollment cutoffs are as follows:

  • 1A: 1-92
  • 2A: 93-240
  • 3A: 214-600
  • 4A: 601-1410
  • 5A: 1411-up

A total of 229 schools have wrestling programs among the CHSAA membership. Based on the CLOC enrollment cutoffs, that would leave the following number of teams in each classification (Note: wrestling doesn't have a 1A classification, so 2A includes schools with an enrollment of 1-240):

  • 2A: 58
  • 3A: 38
  • 4A: 71
  • 5A: 62

Recognizing a "gross inequity" in the number of classifications, notably 4A and 3A, the wrestling community put together a proposal that would change their enrollment cutoffs. It is a joint proposal from the Intermountain, Northern and Colorado Springs Metro 4A and 5A leagues.

The proposed new enrollment cutoffs, with number of teams in parentheses:

  • 2A: 1-275 (61)
  • 3A: 276-780 (53)
  • 4A: 781-1410 (53)
  • 5A: 1411-up (62)

Spreading out the number of teams would allow for a more equal qualification opportunity to the regional and state tournaments, the proposal argues.

As the proposal amends the Classification and League Organizing Committee report, it will require two-thirds of the Legislative Council to approve it in order to pass.

4A basketball tournaments proposal

Denver South Cheyenne Mountain boys basketball

(Ray Chen/arrayphoto.com)

At its February meeting, the basketball committee recommended shrinking the Class 4A tournament fields from 48 to 32 teams. But a proposal from the Jeffco League seeks to stave off that change.

Citing the fact that "there are 10 more teams in 4A basketball in the next two-year cycle than the previous cycle," and thus now has the most schools of any class, the proposal argues that the change to 32 qualifiers "does not follow what has been traditionally done in CHSAA postseason qualifiers."

When the basketball committee made the recommendation, they cited "the diversity of 4A, with the travel across the state, and the competition levels of the games" as reasons for the reduction in qualifiers. Additionally, a state-wide survey of administrators showed they thought too many teams made the 4A tournaments.

This proposal needs a simple majority from the Legislative Council to pass.

Transfer rule proposals

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

There is an administrative proposal from CHSAA's Board of Directors that seeks to clarify language in the transfer rule, specifically as it relates to a hardship.

Currently 1800.4 reads:

The Commissioner may grant varsity eligibility in the case of transfers after the beginning of the school year caused by "hardship", pursuant to the provisions of Article 25 of these bylaws.

The change would have 1800.4 read:

When the definition of a hardship has been met, the Commissioner may grant varsity eligibility pursuant to the provisions of Article 25 of these bylaws.

This change would make it so a waiver can be granted only if the definition of a hardship is met. That definition is laid out in rule 1800.44:

"Hardship means an unforeseen, unavoidable and uncorrectable act, condition or event that imposes a severe, non-athletic burden upon the student or his/her family. The Commissioner shall have broad discretion in applying this standard to specific cases. He/She may take into consideration not only the needs of the student and family directly involved, but also the best interest of member schools and interscholastic athletics/activities generally as he/she understands those interests.

Another administrative proposal from the Board seeks to strengthen the appeals process. It would amend bylaw 2500.23. Currently that rule reads:

STANDARD OF REVIEW -- If judicial review is sought of a decision by the Commissioner, Appeals Committee or Board of Directors, the court shall affirm such decision unless it finds upon clear and convincing evidence that the decision was arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law.

The amendment would add this sentence to the end of the rule:

Note, per state law, arbitration can only take place after all steps in the CHSAA Appeals process have been exhausted.

Both proposals will require a simply majority to pass.

Short stuff

  • Hockey's two-classification proposal will be put to a vote in April. The sport's committee recommended the split to 5A and 4A in February, basing it upon competitive balance. It needs 60 percent of the vote to pass.
  • Among schools requesting playdowns: Montezuma-Cortez girls basketball (4A to 3A), Pueblo Centennial girls basketball (4A to 3A), Coronado hockey (5A to 4A) and Rampart hockey (5A to 4A). The hockey playdowns would only be voted upon if the hockey classification split is approved.
  • Field hockey, lacrosse and soccer each have separate sport proposals seeking a small increase to the number of halves/quarters a student can play in during the regular season. This change would primarily affect junior varsity players.
  • New Board of Directors members will be voted on. Included: Grand Junction Schools' district athletic director Paul Cain replacing Dennis Fraser in District 1; Antonito's Joe Garcia to replace Curt Wilson, who is now board president, in District 8. A rep for District 5, replacing Karen Higel, is still to be determined; as is a rep from the Colorado State Legislature..