Seeding errors force District 1 to postpone tournament

The District 1 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 to 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 1 chairman Mike Barber said when reached by phone. “It wasn’t a calculation issue. It was a misapplication of the District 1 approved power ratings formulate. 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 1. 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, who neither Ruoff nor Barber would identify. Ruoff said he realized the contractors used a proposed formula instead of the one approved by the District 1 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 revised 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 1 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.

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.

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 p.m. Wednesday for the No. 28 seed. The winner of that game visits fifth-seeded Pennridge in Thursday’s first round.

The Boyertown girls and the Perkiomen Valley boys were the big winners when the brackets we re-released Tuesday as the Lady Bears (13-4) moved up to the No. 4 seed — from No. 5 — and earned a first-round bye. Boyertown now awaits the winner of No. 20 Mt. St. Joseph and No. 13 Central Bucks West for a matchup that will take place Saturday.

The Phoenixville girls team, the Frontier Division champions, also benefitted from the change, elevating to No. 7, where PAC-10 champion Spring-Ford was originally seeded. The Phantoms (14-4-1) host No. 26 Upper Dublin Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Rams (14-3-3) dropped to No. 8 and are now grouped in a quarter with top seed Pennsbury. Spring-Ford’s first-round contest will be against No. 25 William Tennent (Phoenixville’s original opponent) at home at 7 p.m.

On the boys side, the seeds have changed for the preexisting three PAC-10 competitors, but the matchups have not.

Boyertown (15-5) went from No. 13 to No. 12 and will still face Lower Merion (No. 21), set for 6 p.m. Thursday. Owen J. Roberts (14-6), up from No. 19 to No. 18, travels to No. 15 Great Valley (7 p.m.). Methacton (11-6) went from No. 21 to No. 20 and still has a meeting with Strath Haven (No. 13), 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The schedule for Class AAA has the first round on Thursday, Oct. 23 and the second round on Saturday, Oct. 25. The quarterfinals, which are state qualifiers as all four semifinalists earn a berth to the PIAA tournament, will be played on Tuesday, Oct. 28. The semifinals will be played on Thursday, Oct. 30 as a doubleheader at a site to be determined. The finals will be played Saturday, Nov. 1.

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