District tourney reseeded after mistake is discovered

The District One boys and girls Class AAA soccer tournaments were supposed to start Tuesday. Neither did and not because of the weather.

Early Monday evening district officials realized the people hired to tabulate the power rankings system used to seed the tournament in all three classifications used the wrong formula, which threw all the numbers out of whack and forced the district recalculate and reseed the tournaments, and push the first round in Class AAA back to Thursday. The second round is Saturday, with the final three rounds and consolations next week.

“It wasn’t a tabulation issue,’ District One chairman Mike Barber said when reached by phone. “It wasn’t a calculation issue. “It was a misapplication of the District One approved power ratings formula. Once we realized there was a mistake, we had to correct it.’

Barber said he became aware of the problem Monday night in a phone call from Bob Ruoff, the executive secretary of District One. Ruoff said he did not become aware of the matter until he had a conversation with the two people hired to tabulate the power rankings, whom neither Ruoff nor Barber would identify. Ruoff said he realized the contractors used a proposed formula instead of the one approved by the District One committee.

“I told Mike that we had to dump this and do it again,’ Ruoff said.

Barber gave the order to recalculate the numbers using the approved formula, which completely made over both the boys and girls Class AAA brackets and a few minor changes in Class AA and A, and caused quite a stir throughout the district.

“It’s a mess,’ said one athletic director who asked not to be identified. “I’m getting calls from teams, referees and people in the district. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

Barber apologized for the foul-up.

“As District One chairman, who is responsible for overseeing the district office and the district committee, I take full responsibility,’ Barber said. “I want to apologize to all the student-athletes and coaches for any problems this situation may have caused.’

This is the first year that a power rating system has been used to seed the tournaments in soccer, field hockey and volleyball. It is similar to the ones used in football and basketball for years.

Teams are awarded five points for a win, 2.5 points for a tie, points for the winning percentage of all opponents on a team’s schedule times five and bonus points for the winning percentage of each your team defeats times 12.

However, there is no provision for bonus points in regards to ties.

“The tabulators said that’s the flaw in the formula,’ Ruoff said.

The tabulators suggested that a provision be added to the formula to award bonus points for ties the same as the provision for winning percentage, only multiplied by six instead of 12. Somewhere along the line the tabulators began to use the proposed formula and not the approved one.

“It was just miscommunication,’ Ruoff said. “There wasn’t anything malicious. They thought it was OK to use a formula that had not been approved.’

The coaches noticed early something was askew.

“Somebody said at a meeting after Week 3 that the math was wrong, but (the district) decided to stay with it,’ Dodds said.

“Any change to a district approved formula or rule has to be submitted, discussed and then voted on at the conclusion of the season,’ Barber said. “We don’t make changes during the season. There’s a process. Each sport has a steering committee. Those committees put together any proposed changes and then present it to the district committee for approval at the end of the season.’

Ruoff immediately called Barber with the problem and chaos ensued. Many schools did not find out about the changes until Tuesday morning.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,’ Haverford High athletic director Joann Patterson said. “It’s unprecedented.’

Most affected were the Class AAA fields. In the boys bracket, only two teams, West Chester Rustin at No. 10 and Kennett at No. 11, remained the same. All the other teams either went up or down after the recalculation.

The boys Class AA and Class A brackets remain the same. Class AA begins with one game Wednesday. The Class A tournament has two games Wednesday at one game Sunday.

Perkiomen Valley, which was not in the Class AAA tournament when the initial bracket was initially released Sunday, got in at No. 27. Downingtown West, which was the 25th seed, and Abington, which was seeded No. 27, are in a play-in game for the No. 28 and final seed in the tournament. The winner gets fifth-seeded C.B. East Thursday.

There is a play-in game in the girls Class AAA bracket, too. Haverford hosts Owen J. Roberts at 3 Wednesday for the No. 28 seed. The winner of that game visits fifth-seeded Pennridge in Thursday’s first round.

There was no change in the girls Class AA bracket and only one minor switch in the Class A field. Calvary Christian and New Hope-Solebury flipped spot at three and four. New Hope-Solebury gets top-seeded Christopher Dock while Calvary Christian faces No. 2 seed Delco Christian in next Monday’s semifinals.

After the recalculation, Neshaminy is the top seed in boys Class AAA, followed by Unionville, Wissahickon and C.B. East. Unionville was the top seed in the intial bracket. Those teams all receive byes in the first round. Conestoga fell from third to ninth and faces Marple Newtown, which moved up two spots to No. 24.

As far as the other Delco teams in boys Class AAA, Penncrest goes from sixth to eighth and hosts No. 25 West Chester East in the first round.

Strath Haven falls from No. 12 to No. 13, yet still hosts Methacton, which moved up to No. 20. Radnor and Pennsbury flipped spots at Nos. 16 and 17, which means the Raiders get a home game in the first round. Springfield went from No. 15 to No. 14, but still faces league rival Harriton, which dropped one spot to No. 19. Interboro moved up one slot to No. 22 and visits No. 11 Kennett.

On the girls side, Strath Haven went from No. 8 to No. 9 and hosts No. 24 Henderson in the opening round. Garnet Valley went from No. 12 to No. 11 and entertains No. 22 Great Valley. Penncrest moved up two spots to No. 23 and visits No. 10 Conestoga.

“The system isn’t bad, it jus needs to be tweaked a little,’ Dodds said. “What that tweak is, I don’t know.’

Dodds did have one suggestion.

“If they don’t want to include ties in the formula then we should go to PKs,’ Dodds said.

“Our immediate concern was to rectify the situation,’ Barber said. “I know it caused a lot of problems, but the bottom line is that it’s about the kids. We want to make sure that the right teams are in the playoffs.’

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