Thursday, July 23, 2009

The New Heal-Point System in Class I

I know this isn't exactly breaking news, but I wanted to post this for those who don't know about it yet, to give my take on it, and stir up some discussion.

First a summary of what it's all about. All the info is on the NHIAA website, but I'm putting it in my own words to make it easier to understand. Class I is doing a one-year trial of a Play-off Point System, or "Imperfect Scheduling." All sports where the teams are sorted by Class will be doing this. Basically there are two parts to this:
1. Changes in how Class I schools schedule their games
2. Changes in how teams are ranked in the standings and seeded for the tournament

They did this for 2 main reasons:
1. Schedule out of class games that are close by to:
a)Reduce costs of road trips
b)Limit athletes having to leave school early for games/getting home late from games.
2. Create a more fair way to rank teams in the standings, taking into account the quality of wins, not just the total number of wins.

How it works:
Scheduling - Out of class games were scheduled to the schedule by several schools that are close to each other. We will see L v. I, I vs. M, and M vs. S matchups - and these games will count in the standings.
- Since teams will be playing less games within their class, the ones they do play will be against schools that are closer to them geographically.
Standings - With every win that a team gets, it will be worth a certain amount of points. The number of points it is worth will depend on two factors:
1. How high their opponent is class-wise
2. How good their opponent is

That's the English version. Here's the more detailed version.
1. The value of the opponent you defeat is called their Preliminary Index. Each win is worth a certain amount of points. A win over a Class L team is worth 40 points, 35 points for a Class I win, 30 for a Class M win and 25 for a win over a Class S school. Add up the points for the teams you've beaten, then divide by the number of games you've played. That's your Preliminary Index.
2. The value that ranks teams in the standings and determines tournament seeding is Tournament Index. To calculate it, take the Preliminary Index of each team you defeated and divide it by the number of games you played. The higher a team's Tournament Index is, the higher they'll be ranked in the standings.
-There's a list of things that determine ties, however with this format I highly doubt you're going to see any ties, since a team's Tournament Index will be going into something like 123.47024, instead of just a simple 10-8 record.

My Take
What can I say? It's a great idea. Reduce distance of road trips, and at the same time creating a more fair way to rank the teams in the standings. Plus we get to see some exciting non-class matchups...and they'll actually count! Where do I sign up?

What I really like is that within classes, a win is still not worth the same amount, it depends on what class the team you beat is in AND how strong that team is. So for example, if you're Dover for example, a win over Portsmouth will be worth more than a win over St. Thomas. True, the Green Wave might still choose to schedule St. Thomas instead of Portsmouth because they're more likely to beat them, and if they lose they don't get any points. But that's the risk you take. Besides, this is how it works in the NCAA, when coaches are making their non-conference schedule. Especially teams who are likely to make the NCAA tournament. The selection committee looks at quality of wins and strength of schedule. So does Rick Pitino schedule a game vs. Pittsburgh or Oregon State? His Louisville team is more likely to beat Oregon State, but if they do beat Pittsburgh, they'll certainly get a higher seed in the tournament. Plus they'll be more battle tested and "Tournament Ready" if they play Pitt, especially if it's on the road.

The only negative I can think of with the Heal Point System is this: simplicity. It is so much easier to just keep track of wins and losses. To say, "Coe-Brown was 7-6 before tonight, they lost, so now they're 7-7." And for scheduling it's much easier to just say, "We're one of the 23 schools in Class I. We have 18 games, so we'll play the 18 schools that are closest to us, if we played them at home last year we'll play them away this year and vice-versa, and we'll just not play the other 4 schools."

The old system was much more simple, and required less thining, less calculating. But simpler isn't always better. This might be a little more work for A.D.'s and coaches to make their schedules, and for media and fans to try and figure out where teams rank in the standings, but it's worth it. This system creates more strategy on the part of the A.D.'s and coaches when scheduling games, cuts costs for the schools, less class time is missed by the athletes, they get home earlier from games, we get to see some exciting non-class games and those games actually count, and we have a more fair way of ranking the teams in the standings. The new system might not be a simple one, but it is a better one.


  1. The idea of playing teams that are closest to you to save cash is smart but could ruin some very nice matchups for some rivals as well. Milford is surrounded by class L teams that are much closer than Portsmouth,Pembroke and Oyster River. Milford could almost play their current Rival teams of Souhegan,Hollis,Pelham and Bedford twice each and then go play the next closest schools. That would be a very tough schedule. It is very possible that if Milford did do this and played the closest competition that they end up closer to 500 than to 14-4 as I had them based on a all class I schedule. Interesting but look at this schedule
    I will do home games in caps.
    Road Games
    North ?
    B G L
    Cental ?
    West ?
    Memorial L
    Trinity L
    Souhegan L
    Hollis W
    Bedford W

    So while we all try to predict how these teams will finish lets think about the new process of less travel and realise the Northern teams now may be able to justify an easier schedule and the southern teams a much harder one. This system is a great idea but if could be crazy until teams learn that travel as well as giving yourself a chance to accummulate wins could be quite a balancing act. Stay tuned.

  2. Under the new system last years rankings would have been.
    1 Oyster River
    2 Pelham
    3 Portsmouth
    6 Pembroke
    Cant wait for a 17-1 coach to react at being 6 when he would have been 2 under the old rules and having a second round away game instead of home.

  3. Any idea who would have been 4-5

  4. The 17-1 team wouldn't be dropped to 6th if they played a difficult schedule......or maybe wouldn't have had that record in the first place. This will help reflect the true talent among the teams....not rate them on how they beat up on the lesser ones. You'd be better off to be 14-4 aand have some tough battles to prepare for the tournament then 17-1 and be overwhelmed in the spotlight.

  5. I have a friend who played for a class c school in northern maine. Due to their location it was difficult to schedule games against quality teams. They finished the regular season 15-3 and due to Heal points they were seeded 10th in class c, which secured them the final tourney spot. 15-3 in New Hampshire will almost gaurentee you a top three finish. I think its a great idea and I look foward to seeing how it works out this year. Hopefully they will eventually use it throughout all classes.

  6. This just makes it even harder for schools not in the greater Manchester-Concord areas of the state(Keene, Fall Mountain, Monadnock,Berlin,White Mountains, Ect.) to win consistantly.

  7. Heh 1:18 am - Keene got 2 consistent wins against weak Class I Conval last year. These 2 wins against a "natural rival" helped them get into the playoffs. Thank God Keene got those 2 "consistent" wins.

  8. It will help teams outside of the Manch/Nashua area to win games without guilt playing down since most all of the schools north of COncord are non L schools. However if those teams play down in M to fill the schedule their playoff seeding will be affected. Laconia playing Belmont last year twice would have probably lost them home court because their schedule was so soft. So just wins are not going to be impressive your going to have to play good teams as well.

  9. If you go 17-1 and finish 6th you would have had the easiest schedule possible and deserve...........6th

  10. Consistantly in the Tourney I mean...

  11. Con Val is not consistently in the tourney - has to be quite a few years

  12. For the record, the travel will not change in class I this year since no class L teams would change anything to play class I. NHIAA failed to realise that the class L teams have nothing to gain because all of their games are within and hours drive and they cannot afford to play a lower I team and lose points in that system. Correct it now and make the schedule based off of 16 reg games and make the crossover games possible.

  13. Good point. However, Class L teams can get more points in the tournament index by beating a top Class I team as opposed to beating a bad Class L team. The difference likely wouldn't be that much, but every point counts, and it could be the difference between getting into the tournament, getting home court, etc. One thing is for sure though - starting next season, Keene will have a tough time getting other Class L teams to play them, since they're so far away from the other schools, and they're usually a bad team, so a team like Salem would get more tournament index points by beating Pelham than they would by beating Keene.

  14. I hope your right cause it sure would be great to see some crossover games. Maybe next year things will change and teams will crossover but this year it seems the L teams were unwilling to change their schedules.

  15. My only concern is that coaches arent scheduling the games so what to say a truly good team would finish 5th or 6th even though they are a 1-4 and have to go on the road in the quarters. I like the system but with AD's scheduling they dont truly care about getting their kids a good schedule.

  16. Keene may be down but with Coach Joe at the helm it won't be for long. Can't wait to see them play this year - they should play Conant this year in the late game at the Keene St Holiday tourney

  17. Coach Joe is at Keene????

    I thought he retired

  18. He had semi retired and went to Maine but came back to NH and took over at Keene in the summer - not much talent there but a new mentality - they attack

  19. The Class L basketball teams might not be changing their schedules around to accommodate the Class I schools, but they are in soccer. There are numerous L/I crossover games going on this season, including Dover/St. Thomas. Perhaps the same will happen in basketball as well.

  20. So does anyone know of any class L teams that have scheduled a class I game to this point? So far Milford has struck out in trying to get a class L team.

  21. Only the best class I programs should be scheduled to play class L school who can compete year in and year out. Milford will be ok this year but as a school and program they are not good. All the top teams of a year would want to schedule L teams for that particular year. It doesn't work like that. Either you are randomly selected by location or you play up on tradition of a program.

  22. You miss the point 4:56. It doesnt matter who wins or loses in these games. Play a team in your area and save gas,time and the headaches that would come from Milford or Monadnock traveling to a Hanover or LEbanon game. Basketball should be played during the week Tuesday and Friday and the kids should not have to spend 4 hours in the bus to do so.
    Class L really only has one team that is off the beaten path and thats Keene. All the other Class L teams are within an hour of each other. So travel isnt an issue.
    I have always felt that making three divisions in class I would make more sense. Get to 24 teams and make three divisions. Eastern,Western and Northern.
    Milford,Hollis,Souhegan, Monadnock,Bedford,Conval,Pelham and Starke in a division.
    Oyster River,St Thomas,Coe Brown,Portsmouth,KIngswood and Laconia
    Kearsarge,Pembroke,Kennett,Lebanon,Hanover,Bishop Brady, Merrimack Valley and Bow.
    Each team plays divisional teams twice and is allowed 2 games outside the division that do not count in the playoff seedings.
    Playoffs could then be decided in a 123 format with top seeds in the division being based on win percentage in their division.
    If you did this then you could play outside your division against L or M and it not hurt you come playoff time.
    I know everyone is going to look at the divisions and have questions about it but if you get to divisions you at least balance your schedule for seedings.

  23. These divisional games would also decrease travel for the teams both North and East. No longer would Oyster River need to travel to Monadnock for 2 hours plus nor would Lebanon need to come all the way to Hollis. I know it isnt perfect but this would promote divisional rivalrys,balanced schedule and save our kids from studying on moving buses in the dark. Northern teams would still have to get to Kennet but other than Kennet dropping to M there is no way around that. Very curious what everyone thinks of this.

  24. I think it is a very interesting idea. And I like that you're thinking outside the box. In your division setup you forgot Plymouth. And for a Class M team that comes up to I I would think it would be either Campbell or Conant. They're both strong teams year after year. Not sure which Class M school has the largest enrollment.

    I think your theory could work, you just have to have some way to construct the standings to offset the fact that each school is only playing against 7 of the other 23 teams in the class. To do this, I think you have to to:

    a) Have the 2 other games be against non-class I schools who are close geographically.

    b) Use the heal points system to do the standings, playoff seedings, etc.

    If you do these two things, it could work, and like I said, it's an interesting idea.

  25. The problem is a lot of the L teams will not play down and vice versa with I down to M and M down to S. I know Pelham for years has tried to get games with Salem and Nashua. If you look at their schedule this year, they are playing campbell again (used to be a rivalry) and they are going to Mass to play Whittier Tech. This will always be a debated topic, because the smaller schools want more recognition when they have a good team. I think you should have to prove your legitimate every year for more than a season or two. I think Some of the teams in Smaller divisions have earned that reputation like a, Pelham, Conant, Campbell, and others.