Updated January 2017
WELCOME TO "RPI FOR DIVISION I WOMEN'S SOCCER"
This website is a resource for NCAA Division I women's soccer coaches and fans and has a number of purposes:
1. To provide information on what the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is, as used for Division I women's soccer. This includes providing information on how the NCAA's Women's Soccer Committee uses the RPI in making at large selections, in seeding, and in placing teams in the bracket for the NCAA Tournament.
2. To provide Division I women's soccer teams' detailed RPI ratings and RPI-based information over the course of each NCAA season. This allows coaches and fans to see how their teams are doing in the RPI rating process, to see how teams' RPI ratings evolve over the course of the season, and to better understand how the RPI works in real life. RPI ratings current through the previous Sunday's games appear on the "RPI REPORTS" page by Tuesday each week, once the season has gotten through its first three or four weeks. In addition, RPI end-of-regular-season reports for previous years are available on the "Reports Archive" page. [It's important to note that the NCAA, for the past few years, has published detailed RPI ratings and other information on a weekly basis, once the season is well underway. You can find that information in the NCAA RPI Archive
. Much of the information in the weekly RPI reports here also is available at the NCAA RPI Archive. The reports here, however, are in the form of downloadable Excel spreadsheets, which allows you to organize the information in ways you can't using the RPI Archive.]
3. To evaluate how well the RPI measures teams' performance. This includes evaluating the different versions of the RPI as the Women's Soccer Committee has changed it over time. It also includes identifying changes that might improve the RPI's performance. And, it includes comparing how well the RPI measures teams' performance to how well other rating systems measure teams' performance.
4. To provide information on the rules that govern the NCAA Women's Soccer Committee's at large selection, seeding, and bracket formation for the NCAA Tournament; to suggest guidelines for those who want to predict what decisions the Committee will make this year; and to provide team data benchmarks that are consistent with the decisions the Committee has made over time, so that those interested can compare their team's data for the year with the benchmarks as a way of determining whether their team is likely to get an at large selection or seed for this year's NCAA tournament. The website also provides information for coaches to use in scheduling with a view to maximizing their teams' chances of getting NCAA Tournament at large selections and seeds.
This website has a "sister" blog, the "RPI and Bracketology for DI Women's Soccer Blogspace
." I'll be posting there regularly during the soccer season and now and then over the balance of the year. The blog is new as we are leading into the 2016 season and is a place for you to ask questions, grumble about the RPI and the Women's Soccer Committee's decisions, and express your thoughts about the RPI and "bracketology" for the DI Women's Soccer Tournament. I'm envisioning it as a place for those who really want to go back and forth about the ins and outs of how the RPI works and who want to discuss the details of the Women's Soccer Committee's work in forming the NCAA Tournament bracket, including making at large selections and seeds. The Blogspace is open to all. Please check it out and post your thoughts and questions.
I've tried to arrange the webpages in a logical order. Here's a brief description of each page (other than this "Home" page and the "Blog" page):
"Getting the Correct Data": This page describes how the NCAA gathers game data and potential problems in data gathering.
"RPI: Formula": This page shows how the NCAA computes the RPI for Division I women's soccer. It also shows the changes the NCAA Division I women's Soccer Committee has made in the RPI formula during the period beginning with the 2007 season.
"RPI: Measuring the Correlation Between Teams' Performance and Their Ratings": This page describes a system I have developed for measuring how teams in different groups perform in relation to their ratings. I refer to these measurements in a number of the other pages.
"RPI: Non-Conference RPI": This page shows how the NCAA computes the Non-Conference RPI and provides information about the NCAA's rationale for using the NCRPI. It also discusses the problem the RPI has fairly rating teams from different conferences in relation to each other.
"RPI: Regional Issues": This page discusses the problem the RPI has fairly rating teams from different regions in relation to each other.
"RPI: Effect of the 2012 Bonus/Penalty Change": In 2012, the Women's Soccer Committee significantly changed the bonus/penalty adjustment formula for the Adjusted RPI. This page discusses the effects of the change.
"RPI: Element 2 Issues": This page discusses issues related to how the NCAA computes Element 2 (part of "strength of schedule") of the RPI. It also discusses an alternative way the NCAA could compute Element 2.
"RPI: Strength of Schedule Problem": This page discusses a problem the RPI has due to the way it computes strength of schedule.
"RPI: Home/Away/Neutral Issues": This page discusses issues related to home, neutral, and away game locations and the RPI.
"RPI: Modified RPI?": This page provides detailed comparisons of the different versions of the RPI that the Women's Soccer Committee has used since 2007 and also compares those versions to some RPI variations I have developed and to some Elo-based rating systems.
"RPI: Effect of Conference Tournaments": This page analyzes whether it is advantageous or disadvantageous, for RPI purposes, for conferences to have end-of-season tournaments.
"RPI: Strong, Large Conferences": This page analyzes whether strong, large conferences should play full conference round robins or not.
"NCAA Tournament: Selection, Seeding, and Bracketing Criteria": This page explains the NCAA rules that apply to the selection of teams to participate in the NCAA Tournament, the seeding of teams in the Tournament, and the placement of teams within the bracket.
"NCAA Tournament: Bracket Procedure": This page explains the procedural steps that the NCAA staff and the Division I Women's Soccer Committee go through in formation of the NCAA Tournament bracket.
"NCAA Tournament: Predicting the Bracket, Interim Ranking Reports": This page provides resource information for those interested, as the season progresses, in trying to predict who will be candidates for at large selections and seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
"NCAA Tournament: Predicting the Bracket, At Large Selections": This page describes a series of data-based standards that all Women's Soccer Committee at large selections have met and also a series of standards that all teams not given at large selections have met. Those interested can use the standards to try to predict the Committee's at large selections. And, the standards provide a system for seeing whether the Committee's decision-making is consistent from year to year.
"NCAA Tournament: Predicting the Bracket, Seeding": This page follows on to the "NCAA Tournament: Predicting the Bracket, At Large Selections" page by describing a series of standards that all Women's Soccer Committee seeds have met and also a series of standards that all teams not receiving seeds have met. It breaks the standards down by the four seed "pods" -- #1 seeds, #2 seeds, #3 seeds, and #4 seeds.
"NCAA Tournament: Scheduling Towards the Tournament": This page is intended as a resource for coaches in setting schedules with a view towards getting an at large selection for, or a seed in, the NCAA Tournament. It includes a link to, and information on, an excellent scheduling resource at the College Women's Soccer Schedule
website maintained by All White Kit.
"RPI: THIS YEAR'S REPORTS": This page contains the weekly RPI reports for the current season.
"RPI: Reports Archive": This page contains an archive of RPI reports for previous years.
PRINTING WEBSITE PAGES
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My name is Chris Thomas. I am a retired attorney who is a nearly life-long soccer fan. I played high school and college soccer in the late 1950s and early 1960s and have played adult soccer occasionally since then. I live in Portland, Oregon and am a University of Portland women's soccer fan and a fan of the NWSL's Portland Thorns. I was head coach of the St. Mary's Academy (Portland, OR) girls tennis team for 19 years, ending with the 2014 season, and have coached U8 through U10 girls rec soccer and futsal teams, manage a group of competitive girls U12 teams, and coached a competitive girls U11 futsal team. I have a US Soccer Federation "E" license.
I began studying the RPI and how the NCAA uses it for Division I women's soccer in 2006, in an attempt to understand why the Women's Soccer Committee did not select the University of Oregon to participate as an at large selection in the NCAA Tournament, notwithstanding its having finished second in the then Pac 10 Conference. I "cloned" the RPI at the beginning of the 2007 season using Excel and have done RPI calculations for Division I women's soccer over the course of the 2007-2015 seasons. I also have done studies of the Women's Soccer Committee's decision making process on seeds and at large selections for the NCAA Tournament, as well as on how teams desiring at large selections and seeds in the Tournament might schedule with a view to maximizing their chances for a seed or at large selection.
I do my RPI work to support women's soccer, to have fun, and to help build understanding, within the Division I women's soccer coaching and fan community, of the RPI and of the Women's Soccer Committee's decision-making process. As part of my support for women's soccer, one of my objectives is to provide for the Division I women's soccer community an RPI information resource that is at least as good as any RPI resource available for other sports, including for men's sports. I believe this website meets that objective.
My approach is to try to provide clear, accurate, and unbiased information about the RPI and how the NCAA uses it, as related to Division I women's soccer. When I want to express my own opinion about the RPI, I try to be clear that is what I am doing. My objective is to provide information in a way that will help readers form their own independent, well-grounded understandings of and opinions about the RPI: I would rather give coaches and fans the tools they need to answer their RPI questions than have them look to me for answers. Thus although I field and answer questions from coaches and fans, in my answers I try to lay out the process I went through in arriving at the answers so that in the future, if possible, the question askers will have the tools to answer their questions themselves. There also is some information about the RPI and how the NCAA uses it that I believe to be true but cannot absolutely verify. When I provide that information, I try to remember to include appropriate disclaimers so readers will be able to make their own judgments about its reliability.