Muda69 Posted May 22 Share Posted May 22 (edited) https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/high-school/2023/05/22/ihsaa-tournament-success-factor-a-decade-in-is-it-working-indiana-high-school-sports-class/70235896007/ Note: Story is behind a paywall Quote There is a decade’s worth of data to digest since the Indiana High School Athletic Association implemented the tournament success factor. Is it working? Before David Pierce, the director of the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute answers that question, he applauds the IHSAA for taking a forward-thinking approach to competitive balance. “For an organization that is probably perceived as not being very innovative at all, they are actually very innovative in this space,” Pierce said. “Our perspective was not, and you see this a lot in college athletics that the professor crowd gets very critical of alphabet soup organizations, that we’re going to take them down. Ours was, ‘This is an innovative policy. Let’s see what it’s doing.’” The tournament success factor, in essence, is a tool to level the playing field in high school sports. While many states have instituted a multiplier for private schools or even operate separate tournaments for public and private schools, the IHSAA pushed through the success factor in 2012 for all team sports. Under the rule, schools are moved up a class on a sport-by-sport basis if they earn six points (four for state title, three for semistate, two for regional, one for sectional) during a two-year classification period. ... Pierce and James Johnson, a professor of sport administration in the school of kinesiology at Ball State, studied the tournament success factor and recently published a paper titled, “Are we punishing success? An evaluation of the Indiana tournament success factor for interscholastic policy” in the Sports Innovation Journal. Johnson originally studied the tournament success factor four years after it was created to research which schools were moving up. The results were not necessarily surprising. “We noticed that disproportionately it was private schools moving up,” Johnson said. “So the success factor wasn’t necessarily targeting any type of school, but you see it implemented more with private schools because private schools have more success proportionately to the representation of the state. You continued to see that trend in this work.” Johnson said the study was more than a public vs. private issue, though. He wanted the research to lead the way. ... Critics of the tournament success factor argue it unfairly penalizes student athletes on teams who must play up in classification after the success of their predecessors. Pierce and Johnson started with that criticism in mind as they investigated a total of 107 teams that had moved up a class since the success factor was implemented. At the time of the study, however, 14 teams had not had the opportunity to move back down. So the study analyzed the 93 teams that had completed the two-year classification cycle. Of note: >> Those 93 move-ups represented 82 unique teams at 63 unique high schools, representing 15.3% of all IHSAA member schools; >> Three schools had three teams move up, 15 schools had two teams move up and 64 schools saw one team move up; >> Football accounted for the most move-ups (20.4%), followed by volleyball (17.2%) and girls basketball (15.1%). >> Private schools accounted for 57% (53 of 93) teams to move up; >> Teams previously from the lowest class size accounted for 38.7% (36 of 93) of the teams to move up a class. But what Pierce and Johnson found most interesting and, perhaps instructive, was that 52 teams (55.9%) that were bumped up by the success factor moved back down the next cycle. There were 34 that stayed the same class and another seven that moved up again. A better metric for the success factor, Pierce said, would be to use a larger window of historical data to predict future success. That would help eliminate cases where a talented group of athletes achieves success and then graduates, leaving a team to compete above its weight without the same level of talent. The paper used an example of the North Harrison girls basketball team that had not won a sectional in six years, then won two semistate titles in 2016 and ’17 and moved up from Class 3A to 4A. “That isolated spurt was fueled by three players who went on to play college basketball,” the study read. After losing those players, North Harrison lost in the sectional in 4A to Bedford North Lawrence the next two years and moved back to 3A, where they accumulated zero success factor points the next two years. That was not uncommon. North Harrison was one of 25 schools (out of 65) to achieve zero points or one point after moving back down to its enrollment cycle. “Our data would 100% support going back and looking at previous cycles,” Pierce said. “We actually found a significant difference between the ‘move down,’ ‘remain,’ and ‘move up’ groups after looking back at two class cycles. There is also a practical element of, ‘How far is too far back?’ Right now, they use one cycle of performance. I feel like you might be able to move people back to thinking about a cycle before that (four years of data) … but one key theme out of the data is that it would support at least one cycle back as far as points scored to make that determination.” ... In the study, Johnson makes the point public and private schools operate under the same rules that restrict recruiting for athletic reasons but points out “private schools are disproportionally successful in high school athletics despite multiple policy implementations across the US designed to suppress inherent advantages.” But while the success factor has disproportionally affected private schools, Johnson also points out unique circumstances like Delaware County volleyball, home to three volleyball programs that have moved up (Yorktown, Wapahani and Wes-Del) in classification. Those programs are historically strong due to the Munciana volleyball training program, dating back to the 1970s. This is a unique situation that disproportionally impacts schools in a small geographic area but has historical advantages. “I’m a two-minute drive from Yorktown,” Johnson said. “That’s an example of something (Munciana) that is really unique in a specific sport that would justify moving up. Not a lot of schools in Indiana have a facility like Munciana where girls start playing when they are age seven or eight or 10 or whatever. So maybe in situations where these high schools have inherent advantages built in since they were young, it would justify moving up. My daughter is eventually going to play for Yorktown, and I’m saying it’s probably appropriate to move up. Those are things we’re trying to parse out from this. We’re trying to figure out whether most of the schools are being punished for success or are there some that are not?” ... Pierce and Johnson agree the success factor is the best tool out there for competitive balance. Not perfect. But after 10 years, it is pretty good. “I like this policy,” Johnson said. “I like it better than separate playoffs, like it better than multipliers. I like it better than what a lot of other states are doing. … We’re not trying to bash the IHSAA in any form. In fact, we’re trying to help. Policy innovation happens all the time. It’s just a matter of, ‘Here’s the data and here’s what we found.’” Ping pong balls. Promotion and relegation is still a better system. Edited May 22 by Muda69 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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