A Deeper Look at Non-Public Power Points

By Jon Fass
Posted:  Thursday, October 27, 2016   2:40 pm

Check out Mark Wyville's photo gallery from St. Peter's Prep's victory over Bergen Catholic on Oct.14.

Despite the pure absurdity of it all, it appears the NJSIAA is sticking with the new wrinkle it added to the power points formula this season.

According to the NJSIAA's football regulations, "
Opponents of North Jersey Super Football Conference United Red and White Divisions will receive power points as follows: Two times the Quality, Group and Residual points against Red Division teams and 1.5 times against White Division teams.  In either case, points will be calculated as though the opponent had won, regardless of the actual outcome of the game."

As if common sense wasn't enough of a reason to determine what a bad idea this is, consider this example.

This Saturday in Oradell, Bergen Catholic (5-2) hosts Don Bosco Prep (3-4) in one of the state's best rivalries.  Regardless of the outcome, Bosco will earn more power points than BC.

Think about that for a second.  It doesn't matter what the score is.  It doesn't matter who plays or doesn't play. Once that game starts, there is no way Bergen Catholic gets more power points than Don Bosco.

Because the game is treated as a win for both teams, the maximum amount of points Bergen can get from the game is 44.  The fewest amount of points Bosco can get from the game is 50.  And what's more, both teams would earn more power points from a loss than a from a win.

If Bosco wins, Bergen Catholic's record would fall to 5-3, and the Ironmen would earn 50 points.  But if Bosco loses, the Crusaders record would improve to 6-2, which would give Bosco 56 points.

Conversely, if the Crusaders lose, Bosco's record improves to 4-4, which means 44 points for Bergen Catholic.  But if BC wins, Bosco's record falls to 3-5, and the Crusaders would only get 38 points.

In both instances, Bosco will earn more power points than Bergen.  And both teams actually benefit -- from a points-standpoint -- by losing, not by winning.

Now of course, both teams are out to win the game, no coach would ever take a loss over a win.  But in what world is it acceptable to utilize a system which benefits the losing team more than the winning team?

The idea behind the new wrinkle in the formula was to entice public schools -- as well as other non-public schools outside the NJSFC United Red and White Divisions -- to want to schedule these traditional powers.

Columbia has already played Seton Hall Prep, and Montclair will play the Pirates this weekend, while Lincoln takes on St. Peter's Prep.  Hudson Catholic, in the United Blue Division of the NJSFC, has already played DePaul and Delbarton, and has Pope John on its schedule too -- but that's after the eight-game cutoff.

Essentially, only four schools "took the bait" and scheduled games against teams from the United Red and White Divisions.  The NJSIAA was certainly hoping other non-public schools -- like St. Augustine Prep and St. John Vianney -- would have done so too.

But what the NJSIAA fails to realize, evidently, is that even if they had scheduled an independent game against one of these heavyweights, it wouldn't make much of a difference in the power points standings.  By having this new rule apply to all of the teams in the United Red and White Divisions, and not just those on the outside, teams like St. Augustine Prep aren't gaining any real advantage in the standings.

Here are the updated Non-Public, Group 4 power points standings, both as they have been calculated in the past, and with the new wrinkle added in:

“Old” Formula



“New” Formula


1.  Paramus Catholic (6-1)



1.  Bergen Catholic (5-2)


2.  St. Augustine Prep (7-0)



2.  St. Peter's Prep (5-2)


3.  Bergen Catholic (5-2)



3.  Paramus Catholic (6-1)


4.  St. Peter’s Prep (5-2)



4.  Seton Hall Prep (1-6)


5.  St. Joseph (Met.) (7-0)



5.  Delbarton (3-4)


6.  Don Bosco Prep (3-4)



6.  Don Bosco Prep (3-4)


7.  Delbarton (3-4)



7.  St. Augustine Prep (7-0)


8.  Paul VI (2-5)



8.  St. Joseph (Met.) (7-0)


9.  Notre Dame (1-6)



9.  Paul VI (2-5)


10.  Seton Hall Prep (1-6)



10.  Notre Dame (1-6)


Take St. Augustine Prep, for example.  Under the old formula, the Hermits would currently be in second place in the power points standings.  But with the new wrinkle added in, they're in seventh.

In Week Zero, the Hermits scheduled Malvern Prep of Pennsylvania, and Paramus Catholic went out to Ann Arbor to battle St. Frances of Maryland.  Let's say, hypothetically, that St. Augustine and PC decided to play each other instead, and for argument's sake, let's say the Paladins won.

With PC's record at 6-1, St. Augustine would get 56 points -- win or lose -- just for scheduling Paramus Catholic.  So instead of the 21 points they're currently receiving for beating Malvern Prep, let's slot 56 points into their calculations instead.

St. Augustine would currently have 155 power points, still well behind the 172.5 points of the fifth place team, Don Bosco Prep.

And if they're sticking with this new addition to the formula, what exactly is the purpose of the following, which is printed in the NJSIAA's 2016-'17 Football Regulations:

"The United Red and White Divisions of the North Jersey Super Football Conference will receive automatic entry into the championship tournament."

Again, b
y having this new rule apply to every team in the United Red and White Divisions, and not just those who would schedule them as an independent game, teams like St. Augustine Prep aren't gaining any real advantage in the standings.

Does the NJSIAA actually know this?  Or do they just not care?

Based on the explanation given to Darren Cooper of The Record a couple of weeks ago, and reiterated in his story linked above, it sounds like it might be too difficult for the powers that be to do a little math by hand.

Is that a good enough explanation?

Jon Fass is the owner and operator of Gridiron New Jersey, and can be reached by emailing jon@gridironnewjersey.com.