Some very key changes were made to the Oregon Schools Activities Association’s RPI rating system that was implemented at the beginning of last school year.

In its summer workshop July 24-26, The OSAA Executive Board approved several recommendations made by the rankings sub-committee in early June.

Perhaps the biggest change that will affect area schools is the inclusion of out-of-state opponents to a team’s opponent’s winning percentage factor in the RPI formula.

Schools that played teams from different states, like Hermiston routinely does with the Big 9 schools in Washington, weren’t getting credit for the games past a home or an away loss. Most of those schools from Washington were very good and would have boosted Hermiston’s rating, but last season, those opponent’s records were not counted. But this year, and from here on out, they will be counted.

It was a win for not just Hermiston, but other schools along the border that traditionally play many out-of-state high schools to cut down on travel and fill up their preseason schedules. Schools like Ontario, Baker, Vale, Nyssa and Adrian to the east, as well as Astoria, Knappa and St. Helens to the west and southern Oregon schools have been victims of last year’s setup, but no longer.

Schools that play anyone outside Oregon will have to keep track of their non-Oregon opponents’ records and report it on a regular basis to the OSAA ScoreCenter so it can be factored into the RPI formula.

Another factor that hurt Hermiston last season, specifically the baseball team, was the counting of forfeits into opponents’ winning percentage.

After The Dalles Wahtonka’s baseball team has to forfeit 16 baseball games last year due to an ineligible player, Hermiston’s RPI rating went from No. 8 to No. 25 due to all the losses accumulated on TDW’s schedule.

That will change beginning this year. Forfeits will count only for the weighted winning percentage for both teams. Any losses by forfeit will be subtracted from the opponents’ winning percentage factor, thus not having the collateral damage of bringing down other schools.

The school receiving a forfeit will be credited with a win at the schedule site, whether home or away, and the team that forfeits will be hit with a loss.

The final big measure the Board approved was to freeze power ratings before the play-in rounds. There has been an outcry for this to happen since the middle of last year by schools all over the state that cite when they play a terrible play-in opponent, the school’s rating drops too much and they don’t get the playoff draw they actually deserve.

So now, in Classes 4A-6A, the play-in rounds will not count in a school’s RPI number. For football, the Class 4A ratings will freeze at 12 a.m. October 25. Class 5A will be the same time October 28 and Class 6A will be October 27. A full chart on the power rating freeze dates can be seen at  HYPERLINK "http://www.osaa.org" www.osaa.org.

There were a couple issues maybe not quite as big as the aforementioned three that were left unchanged. League champions will not receive any bonus or protection from a first-game road trip and there won’t be any penalty or bonus for playing schools from a different classification.

Something Hermiston did quite a bit last year, with some mild success, was they scheduled games late in the season in order to “boost” its RPI. Some schools didn’t like the fact teams could do that, but the rankings sub-committee couldn’t come up with a way to offset it, so they did not make a recommendation to the board.

The committee’s stance on it, outlined in a press release by the OSAA, said that freezing the power ratings earlier should curb those actions somewhat.

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