Guest column: Include the coaches polls in the new RPI formula

Editor's note: The use of an RPI formula to determine the postseason fields in all team sports is up for final approval at the Legislative Council on Thursday.

Regis Jesuit Rangeview boys basketball

Rangeview boys basketball coach Shawn Palmer. (Jack Eberhard/JacksActionShots.com)

As a math teacher and boys basketball coach, statistics and formulas drive many of the decisions I make on a daily basis. Based on this, I have a genuine appreciation for planned implementation of the RPI system. I do, however, have some concerns regarding the computer rankings plan CHSAA is planning on using for postseason seeding beginning next season, for all sports.

Entering the week of Jan 11th, the Rangeview boys basketball team was ranked No. 1 in the CHSAANow.com coaches poll, and was also No. 1 in the RPI rankings based on the formula proposed for next season. However, after two victories last week, Rangeview's RPI ranking dropped two spots while remaining No. 1 in the referenced coaches poll.

As the season continues, if we continue to win games against league opponents, it is likely the placement in the coaches poll will stay at, or near No. 1, while the team’s position in the RPI rankings will continue to drop — based on the records of league opponents.

This does not have any impact to seeding for the 2015-16 season, however, my concern is that future teams in all sports could find themselves in this difficult situation.

My recommendation is consider using a system similar to the BCS college football system, combining both human and RPI rankings. We have a trusted coaches poll already in place for boys and girls basketball. Therefore, using an average of RPI rankings and the respected opinion of our coaching colleagues would provide both integrity and valuable perspective.

Our boys basketball players and coaches have been humbled by the tremendous support we have received this year from our school and community. Our opinion is simply that, and we understand this matter may impact some teams and sports more than others.

I appreciate the consideration of this point of view, and trust CHSAA will continue to make the best decisions for athletes and schools as high school sports thrive in Colorado.

Shawn Palmer is the head coach of Rangeview boys basketball, and has been since 2002.