Talk about cutting it close.
With less than one week remaining in the regular season, the athletic council has accepted the section’s proposal to use 16 matches as the maximum number for teams in qualifying for the Section 1 tournament, The Journal News confirmed.
The vote passed unanimously, according to Section 1 coordinator Diane Swertfager.
Hen Hud athletic director Tom Baker and John Jay athletic director Christian McCarthy met with the athletic council on Thursday to pitch their 16-match proposal, which had already been unanimously approved by section representatives.
Prior to this ruling, teams would have been forced to base their season-end points off of a 20-match schedule, a decision that was made after teams made their schedules and would greatly affect any teams which opted to play in more weekend tournaments or a tougher regular season schedule.
Swertfager (pictured below), who coached Hen Hud to a section final in 16 of the last 18 seasons, applauded her AD and McCarthy for their work.
“They are two of the senior athletic directors, in terms of experience,” Swertfager said. “They’ve really seen the big picture for a long time with sports and they explained why (16 matches) was the right decision.”
The ruling still hurts teams who play 14 or 15 regular season matches, such as Hen Hud, but it significantly improves their chances to at least qualify for the section tournament.
Teams will be required to accumulate 40 percent of the maximum points based off a 16-match schedule, which works out to 26 points for the year. Teams are awarded four points for each regular season win during the year, and can earn bonus points for playing stiffer competition (two points if an opponent’s final winning percentage is .750 or greater, one point if it is between .500-749).
While the bonus points certainly help teams facing tougher competition, it would be much easier for a team to qualify by facing a weaker schedule and picking up four points at a clip. Seeding for the tournament will still be based off of however many matches a team plays during the regular season, which again benefits teams that play weaker competition and less tournaments.
From my understanding from Swertfager, this is what the section tournament scenario looks like, in a nutshell:
— Teams must accumulate 26 season points to qualify for the tournament, regardless of however many matches it played during the regular season.
— Teams will be seeded based on the number of points it accumulates; more points = higher seed. Tiebreakers will be (in order): head-to-head record, record against common opponents and then I believe it actually goes to a coin flip. However, Swertfager said that it hasn’t come to that in a long time.
EXAMPLE: If Hen Hud and John Jay each finish with 30 season points and split their head-to-head matches, the section will compare schedules and see which opponents they both faced. Whichever team has the better record will earn the higher seed.
I know this is confusing, but this is probably the best I could explain it. I’m going to attempt (and that is a very loaded word) to draw up some possible scenarios for the section tournament in each class. Yes, all five.
We do not have all of the matches from every team, so what I will do is send out another e-mail to coaches asking them to check their team’s schedule in our database and see if their record is incorrect and/or if there are any matches missing. Those who get back to me, I’ll update records. Those who don’t, oh well. Then I’ll just calculate based on what we have. (It should still be a pretty good idea of the field; most teams are up-to-date or close to it.)
Sunday is looking like a light night in the office, so I’m likely going to calculate everything then and try to put a post up that night. Don’t forget that the first-ever live LoHud chat is Wednesday night, after the official seeds will be out! Start thinking of your questions for the chat now; if you have any questions about the chat itself (i.e. “What is it?” “How does it work?”), please comment in the post and I’ll be happy to answer.
Photo credit: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News