Tucson Sabino’s girls basketball team had to forfeit 12 games this week for using an ineligible player because of prior-contact with the head coach over a transfer.
That didn’t hurt its playoff ranking.
The team remained No. 1 in 3A in the Arizona Interscholastic Association Rankings powered by MaxPreps.
The playoffs begin next week, and, even with the late punishment, it appears the team could still be in good position.
How is that?
Forfeits are treated as “no contests” by the AIA.
So, now they’re 5-0 in the rankings.
Page and Yuma Catholic are behind them with 15-1 records with Tucson Tanque Verde following at 13-3.
Brian Bolitho of the AIA explained in an email how it works:
“Forfeits (while included for standings purposes) are not included in the rankings for either team involved in that contest. For a school to be calculated within the basketball rankings, it only requires that a school have played and recorded a result in two games. Sabino, with the forfeits removed in girls basketball, had competed in four games with four wins, and thus continued to be included in the rankings at that point. Two of those four wins were against quality ranked opponents, which enabled Sabino to stay at No. 1.
“Essentially, now with five completed games, all wins, three of which against top-rated competition, the formula continues to keep Sabino at the top.”
So where is the punishment other than the ineligible player can no longer participate?
It seems like the AIA Executive Board needs to put “forfeitures” on its next monthly agenda, and see if there is a way to makes forfeits have any negative impact on a team that violated a bylaw.
The AIA is contracted with MaxPreps to ranks the teams for state tournaments, relying on its formula. But the formula, based on algorithms and scoring results, doesn’t factor forfeits as losses, only “no contests.” The rating system has no way of telling what the result of the game would have been without the ineligible player.
If something can’t be done with the AIA and the MaxPreps formula, then teams might feel like they can get away with cheating without hurting their standing.
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