Sports Scene: What’s wrong with basketball coaches voting for seeds?

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Thursday MaxPreps RPI will be used to determine basketball seeding for tournaments, not the votes of coaches in each sectional/district, as has been done for… forever.

What is MaxPreps RPI?

Well, first the RPI: Ratings Percentage Index. It’s a formula used to rank teams based on teams’ records, the records of opponents, the records of opponents’ opponents, and the size of the school.

RPI is used by several states across the country for tournament seeding. Brayton Martin, an Ayersville alum, began tabulating RPI rankings for all Ohio teams in 2021 and published them on

The Northwest district used RPI rankings to seed teams last year. According to OHSAA director Doug Ute, the state coaches association has wanted to use RPI for seeding “for some time.”

The original plan was to use Martin RPI. But never one to pass up a sponsorship opportunity, the nonprofit OHSAA is instead using RPI by MaxPreps for seeding.

MaxPreps is a national website that aggregates high school sports results and statistics from user-generated input. That means somebody, whether a coach or Joe Blow, uploads almost all the scores and statistics to the site.

The problem for MaxPreps is it’s notorious for incorrect data, or no data at all. Take it from a prep sports journalist: it has been basically useless for finding accurate schedules and records for Ohio teams throughout my career. (That’s to say nothing of statistics.)

It is more dependable in volleyball, in which there is an agreement between MaxPreps and that coaches association; schedules, results and statistics are uploaded by coaches.

An informal email poll of Shelby County basketball coaches revealed the biggest concern is the accuracy of MaxPreps’ information in its RPI ratings. There will have to be some sort of agreement made between the basketball coaches association and MaxPreps similar to volleyball, because that’s the only way you can guarantee the results being added are coming directly from the schools and teams.

The poll revealed an even split among the respondents on whether they liked the move from RPI and away from voting themselves.

There have been shenanigans in some sectional/district seed voting before (and in seed voting in other sports). That seems to be the biggest thing RPI advocates point to: a group of coaches can’t gang up and vote a deserving team lower because of a vendetta or something.

To me, that’s not something that should be a concern. It doesn’t happen often. And in the very few instances I’ve been aware of something like that occurring in over 15 years covering Dayton-area sports, it’s meant a difference of a measly one or two spots: a team that “should” be No. 1 is instead No. 3, or something like that.

In the grand scheme, when you’re going to have to beat strong opponents sooner or later in a long tournament run, being No. 3 vs. 1 in a sectional doesn’t make all that much difference.

Coaches seem to almost always have a good idea of how teams in their sectionals should be ranked. They understand quality of schedules and will rank a 15-7 team over a 18-4 team, if the 15-win team has been competitive against significantly stronger competition.

I don’t understand the move as anything other than a solution in search of a problem… and a sponsorship opportunity. While the OHSAA had a money scare due to crowd restrictions during to the pandemic, this move is the latest that makes it seem, to me, the association has become a little too revenue-focused.

Not one, but two local grads at Toledo

Devan Rogers is no longer the only local graduate on the University of Toledo football team.

Michael Denning, a 2019 Lehman graduate, transferred from Dayton to Toledo in the offseason. He is pursuing an MBA at Toledo, just as Rogers is.

Denning redshirted in 2019. After Dayton didn’t play in 2020 due to the pandemic, Denning handled kickoff duties for the Flyers the next two years and averaged about 60 yards per kickoff both years.

Now a junior (eligibility-wise), he is handling kickoffs for the Rockets. He averaged 56.4 yards on seven kickoffs in the Rockets’ 30-28 loss at Illinois in a season opener, including two touchbacks.

Rogers, a 2018 Sidney graduate, is in his sixth year for the Rockets, thanks to a redshirt year (though he did play in one game as a true freshman) and an extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted athletes who were in school during the pandemic (Rogers played in all six of Toledo’s games in 2020).

Rogers started at Toledo on the defensive line but moved to center last year. He took over as the team’s starting center halfway through the year. He started at center again on Saturday.

The Rockets scored early in the third quarter to take a 19-7 lead, but the Fighting Illini scored the next 20 points. Toledo made a field goal early in the fourth and then scored a TD to take a 28-27 lead with three minutes left, but Illinois finished the game with a 12 play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard, game-winning field goal.