07

Not Right for Us

The proposal to utilize KPI Rankings to seed the District and Regional rounds of the MHSAA Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments should not be adopted by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

This is no criticism of KPI Rankings per se, or of its creator who is assistant athletic director at Michigan State University; but it’s not the right thing to do for our statewide high school basketball tournaments.

The KPI rankings is one of a half-dozen means used by the NCAA to seed its Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament. But the proposal before us is that KPI rankings become the one and only system for seeding the MHSAA’s tournaments. There would be no other criteria and no human judgment.

The result would be seeding that misses important details, like which teams are hot and which are not at season end, and which teams have recently lost players to injuries or ineligibilities and which have had players return.

KPI ranks teams on a game-by-game basis by assigning a value to every game played. A loss to an opponent with a poor record is considered a “bad loss” and has a negative point value. A win over an opponent with a good record is considered a “good win” and earns a positive point value. Margin of victory is a factor.

This is a nice tool for the NCAA to use, along with a variety of other tools and considerations that its billion-dollar budget can accommodate, but none of which is proposed for seeding the MHSAA tournaments. KPI Rankings is not sufficient as the one-and-only seeding criterion for MHSAA tournaments.

Moreover, dependence on a seeding system owned by a single individual, who is outside the MHSAA office, and who has the potential to move from MSU to anywhere across the USA, is a poor business strategy.

If there is to be seeding, there are more appropriate ways to do it for the high school level. But first there needs to be clearer consensus that seeding is a good thing to do, philosophically and practically. In the MHSAA we do this sport by sport, and level by level. And the jury is still out for seeding in Michigan high school basketball.

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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.