The MPA is voting on classification tomorrow at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. Let’s just get it out of the way first and say that the MPA’s football proposal is a joke. Anyway, the basketball numbers have been rumored for awhile and within 5 minutes of asking online, I had a couple of different emails/DMs with the information. Let’s dig in!
I’m posting these as 2 separate screen grabs so they’ll be easier to read than 1 small one. Schools in red are moving.
Doing enrollment as a hard number is…not ideal. There’s a ton of evidence that enrollment has very little impact on how good a team is. One of the reasons for this is different schools have different priorities. You can have 2 schools with equal enrollment, but if team A has hockey and wrestling and a good jazz band and cheerleading and team B is a basketball-obsessed school, guess who’s going to be better? Trying to draw a hard line is an exercise in futility. A better system would be to have an overlap and come up with some sort of system where some smart basketball minds figure out which schools in the overlap go up and which go down. You could make the AA/A overlap from 700-800 schools and pretty easily send Brunswick, Falmouth, Hampden, and Messalonskee up to AA. And that doesn’t even factor in Greely. This would get even more helpful in cleaning up the Class C logjam.
If you look at the better programs in each class, then look at where they are in the enrollment list, the cutoffs get even more ridiculous.
One way to facilitate this would be some sort of a promotion/relegation system. Greely would do just fine in AA. Same with Hampden. MDI and Hermon could easily be in A. You could move Noble down to A or B and they might actually be competitive. This way, if you put a team in a class where they clearly cannot compete, there’s a system in place to fix it automatically. Indiana does this and it works pretty well.
A Region Minimum
Eight teams in a region is not only sub-optimal, but it renders the regular season completely meaningless. If you’re only really playing for tourney seeding, all you’re trying to do is avoid having to play a certain team in the first round. There’s no real stakes. There should be no fewer than 12 teams in a region, with exceptions for class D, where often teams have a real struggle to put together a roster. Can’t put 12 teams in a region? Maybe we don’t need that region.
If you moved the 4 biggest A schools to AA to ensure a 12-team region, then shuffled everyone else accordingly, you’d end up with some really interesting, competitive regions.
It’s no secret that certain teams are in certain regions because they…let’s say influenced the proceedings. It’s great that you don’t want to lose a rivalry game or drive beyond a certain number of miles to get to your tournament site. We all understand that. We’d all like to play 18 home games. But there are 137 other schools involved and, to quote the great philosopher George Costanza, “we’re living in a society.” If you’ve got a vote tomorrow, instead of worrying about how classification will impact your school, worry about how it impacts the overall competitive balance in the state. That is, after all, the whole point of this.
Someone always has to be the smallest school in the region. No one wants it to be them. But the smaller schools can absolutely compete.
I’m trying to get clarification on the IMC’s note that they recommend 0-140 for Class D, which obviously isn’t reflected in these numbers. My guess would be that’s one of the votes that’ll take place tomorrow. This would be pretty helpful in thinning out C and helping keep D competitive.
If you haven’t noticed, balancing out the regions should really be a larger priority. Having 8 schools in AA North and 20 in C North isn’t sustainable.
UPDATE: This is confirmed. There will be two proposals tomorrow. One with Richmond, Central Aroostook, Woodland, Ft. Fairfield, and Hodgdon in C and one where they’ll move down to D.
Portland drops 213 students because of how the MPA is allocating students in Casco Bay and they’ll now have to petition up to stay in AA, because can you imagine? First of all, they’d have to play their tourney games in Augusta. Second, they’ve only been one of the dominant programs in the AA era. It’d be a really bad look for everyone involved if they dropped to A. Would, like in football, a bunch of A schools petition down to B? Would there only be 7 schools in AA North? What a mess.
I have little to no doubt that this will get approved in some form. After all, this is essentially the same broken system as before. It needs a drastic overhaul, but that seems unlikely.