Formula to seed H.S. Football playoffs would not be publicized under new plan

When the NJSIAA's Executive Committee approved on a first reading Wednesday a plan to drastically alter the state high school football playoffs and seeding, it paved the way for a formula that would not be available to the general public.

Currently, power point rankings have been used exclusively to determine playoff seeds.  But the new plan would mix in another ranking, the Born Power Index.

According to its website, BPI was created by Bill Born and has been in use for 54 years.  It ranks teams using a proprietary formula that NJSIAA Assistant Director Jack DuBois says would not be made available to anyone but Gridiron New Jersey.  That website is run by Kingpin Broadcasting and is a partner of USA Today Digital Sports Properties.

The website explains, "The Born Power Index is an ever changing mathematical evaluation of a team's relative strength against similar competition."  The only explanation of that "mathematical evaluation" is that, for example, "a team indexed at 60.0 has been consistently 10 points per game stronger than a team indexed at 50.0 leaning more heavily toward most recent encounters.  The index includes a blowout factor that rewards teams for doing well against stronger opponents and discourages running up the score against weaker teams."

But how is that figure calculated?  Reached by email today and asked if he could discuss the formula, Bill Born referred inquiries to the NJSIAA, saying the plan was not yet official.  When further asked if the formula would be revealed if and when the plan becomes official - a final vote is schedule May 9th at the Executive Committee's next meeting - Born again referred inquiries to the NJSIAA.  Assistant Director Jack DuBois said Gridiron New Jersey would be the only organization with knowledge of the formula, since "it's his" - meaning Born's - and it would be up to him to release it.

For the last several years, NJ.com has been handling and calculating power points.  But the formula - though it seemingly gets more complicated each year - has always been printed clearly in black and white in the NJSIAA's football regulations document, updated at the start of each season.

Ultimately, the current plan calls for Gridiron New Jersey to handle all the calculations, with the BPI counting for 60% of the seeding, and an average of power points (all games would now count, not just the first eight, and an average power point ranking would be used - the total divided by the number of games played) counting for 40%.  The power point formula would likely still be public, but the "proprietary" Born Power Index would not.

This means coaches, fans, and the media will not be able to accurately predict or foretell potential playoff scenarios "if this happens" or "if that happens" on a given weekend in high school football.  Nevermind that the power point formula itself would get infinitely more complicated this year.  If it's public, it can be worked out.  That's clearly not the case with the Born Power Index.

And that's bad news for high school football in New Jersey.