The NJSIAA Got It Wrong Again
By Jon Fass
Posted: Monday, November 7, 2016 11:55 pm
The NJSIAA’s power points calculations are wrong.
The NJSIAA knows its power points calculations are wrong.
The NJSIAA isn’t changing its power points calculations.
Let those three sentences sink in for a moment.
Mahwah should be the top-seed in North 1, Group 2, and Shawnee should be seeded second in South, Group 4.
But the NJSIAA screwed up the regulations. And instead of fixing the regulations, they decided to screw up the playoff brackets instead.
In North 1, Group 2, Pompton Lakes and Mahwah should have finished tied with 138 points, with Mahwah winning the tie-breaker on strength of schedule.
In South, Group 4, Timber Creek and Shawnee should have finished tied with 145 points, with Shawnee winning the tie-breaker on strength of schedule.
However, the NJSIAA short-changed both Mahwah and Shawnee three power points, which alters the seeds in their respective brackets.
It all has to do with the Thunderbirds and the Renegades playing their eighth game against an opponent playing its ninth game.
On Oct. 28, Mahwah beat Ramsey, 49-14. Ramsey was playing its ninth game, and came in with a record of 4-4. Ridgefield Park, Pequannock, Verona and Westwood are the other four teams who defeated Ramsey this season, and they were all awarded 20 points for doing so. Mahwah, though, received only 17 points.
This past Friday night, Shawnee topped Hammonton, 28-14. Hammonton, too, was playing its ninth game, and entered play with a 4-4 record. Rancocas Valley, Cherokee, Millville and Kingsway are the other four teams who defeated Hammonton this season, and they all received 22 points. Shawnee, however, got only 19.
The NJSIAA, in computing power points for scenarios such as this, using the following, which can be found in its 2016 Football Regulations:
"The team playing its ninth game (Team B) will be ineligible for Quality, Group and Residual points. The team playing its eighth game (Team A) will be eligible for full Quality and Group points while its Residual points will be calculated off Team B’s first eight games as follows: If Team A wins, it will receive Residual points for Team B’s victories and ties, minus 3 points. If Team A loses, it will receive Residual points for Team B’s victories, minus 1 point. If the game between Teams A and B results in a tie, Team A will receive Residual points from Team B’s victories and ties, minus 1.5 points."
There’s one glaring omission from the formula, though, which the NJSIAA never rewrote into the regulations. This should only be applied when Team B – the team playing its ninth game – comes into the game with a record of 8-0.
This was added to the football regulations to prevent teams from gaining an advantage, simply because of when an opponent appeared on the schedule.
It stems from a situation which came up many times in the past, but was supposed to be finally addressed after the 2014 season, when Palisades Park was left out of the playoffs, and replaced by North Plainfield because of a loophole.
Going into the last week of the regular season, North Plainfield was playing its eighth game against Cranford, who was 8-0 and playing its ninth game. The power points formula is written to state that the losing team gets one residual point for every win the opponent has from the first eight games, not including that game.
When Cranford beat North Plainfield, the Canucks were awarded 8 points because Cranford was 8-0 at the cutoff, and none of those eight wins came against North Plainfield. But every one of Cranford’s other opponents that year received only 7 points. North Plainfield was benefitting from the loophole, which didn’t account for the timing of the game.
Because of that additional point, North Plainfield ended up tied with Palisades Park, and earned the 8-seed by way of the strength of schedule tie-breaker. Making matters worse for Pal Park, the Tigers played an 8-0 team that season in Waldwick, but only received 7 points for that loss because it was Waldwick’s third game. Had they had the fortune of playing them in their ninth game, it would have been a different story.
The NJSIAA tried to close this loophole, which would have leveled the playing field for all opponents of one team. Beating Team B would yield the same amount of power points for everyone, just as losing to Team B would have the same amount of power points for everyone.
But they failed to properly address this issue in the football regulations, and because of that, the power points totals are not accurate, and the seeds have been affected.
The NJSIAA is claiming a change will not be made during the season in order to adhere to the letter of the law.
But that’s not what they told Bergen Catholic last week. The Crusaders found issue with the NJSIAA’s failure to follow its own regulations when it came time to address the wording put forth regarding the multiplier for opponents of the NJSFC United Red and White divisions.
It appears the NJSIAA has once again complicated something which should be rather simple. They’ve tried time and time again to tinker and manipulate the power points formula, only to make matters worse.
If the NJSIAA was a student/athlete and performed this way on the field, they’d be benched.
If the NJSIAA was a student/athlete and performed this way in the classroom, they’d likely be ineligible to participate in sports.
If the NJSIAA was a high school coach and performed this way on the sideline, they’d likely be looking for a new coaching job.
It’s a good thing they don’t have those kinds of responsibilities.
Jon Fass is the owner/operator of Gridiron New Jersey and can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.