We are currently in the process of verifying bids and processing confirmations for the 2017 NPTE. Jim Hanson will be sending those confirmations, and I will be working on the seeding tomorrow. Based on the number of bids requested, we anticipate a field of 50 teams at the tournament. This has caused us to consider possible changes to our elimination round procedures, linked below. We want to be proactive and make any such adjustments earlier rather than later, and we also want our decisions to have input from the NPTE membership.
Our current rule states:
The top 32 teams that do not have losing records shall advance to elimination rounds. Breaks to elimination rounds shall be based on:
(a) Total number of ballots won.
(b) ZplusWinLossQuality score. The ZplusWLQ score is derived from a tied team's Z-score plus ballots won by the teams that the tied team took a ballot against minus 1/2 of ballots lost by the teams that the tied team lost a ballot against.
(c) Z score.
With a field of 50 teams, I anticipate that there will be 28-32 teams that have a 6-6 record or better. However, most of our elimination round procedures are written under the assumption that 32 teams will participate in elimination rounds. 32 has been the standard because it guarantees a stable elimination round process. The process has 8 elimination rounds, with the 7th elim either a true semifinal or a round where the undefeated team byes to finals with a semifinal between the two remaining 1-loss teams.
We have several options and we wanted to get feedback on which of the options the membership prefers.
Option 1: Break 32 teams regardless
This option would break 32 teams regardless of record. So, if 30 teams have a 6-6 record or better, two teams with 5-7 records would advance to elimination rounds. This would require no further changes in our elimination round procedure.
Option 2: Break 24, 25, or some other number of teams
This option would return the procedure to a similar place to where it was prior to 2009 when only 7-5 teams were guaranteed to advance. I mention 24 or 25 as they are roughly half the field. This option would require extensive rewriting of the elimination round ruleset and the tabulation program for the tournament, and could lead to some bizarre situations in quarterfinals and semifinals. It also will have byes spread throughout the elimination rounds, and in some cases will require tab to make decisions about the composition of the round.
Option 3: Make the first two elimination rounds partial elim
This option would keep the basic structure of the current elimination round procedure, but would break all teams with a 6-6 record. It would call for partial elims in Elim 1 (giving byes to the top seeds) and in Elim 2 (giving byes to the top seeds in the 1-loss bracket). By the end of Elim 2, the byes would be “eliminated”, and elims 3-8 would proceed in the same manner as they have over the past 8 years.
As we consider these options, please also comment on the following rule:
b. For purposes of seeding, teams receiving a bye in elimination rounds shall be deemed to have received a win with the minimum majority of ballots sufficient to win the round had it been debated.
In either option 2 or 3, we would be granting byes in rounds other than the semifinal round, so this old rule (a holdover from the old elimination round system) would come back into effect. If we should we have byes in elim rounds, should the teams that advance earn 3-0 decisions or 2-1 decisions?
Thank you in advance for your input. Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, as we are debating the issue this week. I look forward to seeing you all in Pueblo.