The WIAA began an experiment two years ago when it approved the use of seeding committees to rank teams for state tournament matches, and it has generally been seen as a success in that time.
A total of 18 amendments were passed and then announced by the WIAA late last week, but one of the biggest changes is the approval of seeding committees for each classification and gender in each team sport.
“Based on that success, the RPI committee recommended and the WIAA executive board approved that seeding committees would be used in all team sports beginning next year,” said Cindy Adsit, the WIAA Assistant Executive Director.
Each league in Washington will have the responsibility to nominate committee members — typically coaches, athletic directors, principals and superintendents. The WIAA is hoping to move quickly on committees for fall sports. Applications are due by May 27 and committee members will be selected by June 15.
Basketball, which previously used the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) formula to seed regional rounds, will also switch over to committees. The district tournaments will still decide which teams make it through to the state tournament, and RPI will still be maintained for informational purposes for the committee.
The WIAA also approved several other impactful changes at its last meeting. Boys basketball will now have a 30-second shot clock, which matches both the girls games in Washington and changes made at the college level. The boys have had a 35-second shot clock since 2009, when it was first implemented.
Volleyball teams will have additional room to add more non-league matches or in-season tournaments with the approval of an 18-match schedule beginning in 2020. Teams in the Olympic League play a minimum of 12 regular season matches while the South Sound Conference (Central Kitsap) play at least 14, as both leagues had room to follow the double round-robin format.
Students considered to be transfers heading to private schools will not have automatic eligibility at its new school unless their residence is outside of the school’s designated 50-mile radius, implemented in order to help keep private schools from siphoning off athletes from nearby public schools.
The South Puget Sound League (South Kitsap) has had to go to single round-robin in order to play non-league matches. With Bethel increasing the league’s membership to ten teams in 2020, the previous maximum number of matches would have made a double round-robin impossible.
The WIAA has also passed an exemption to the National High School Federation rule book, allowing wrestlers to participate in six matches per day, instead of five.
The full list of amendments can be found here.