July 21,
2009
Proposal for Changes in
Computing RPI  Part 1
Greg
Van Zant, the head coach at West Virginia University, recently
sent the following recommendation to the NCAA Division I
Baseball Committee to change the formula for calculating the
Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).
Overview
As you know, the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI)
is a very important tool that ranks NCAA Division I Baseball
teams from 1 to 302. This RPI ranking aids the NCAA Division I
Baseball Committee in a very difficult job of selecting atlarge
teams for the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Therefore, it is
extremely critical that the RPI formula produces the most
accurate ranking possible.
The RPI was first used for baseball in 1984 and
was then slightly modified in 1994. Fifteen years later, it is
now time to reevaluate the RPI formula for baseball so that it
can be strengthened for our sport.
There are four different facets of the RPI that
need to be examined:
1. The weighting of the three RPI components
or factors.
2. The weighting of home wins and road wins.
3. The four exempted contests against
nonDivision I opponents.
4. The bonus and penalty system.
My proposal is as follows:
1. Change the weighting of the three RPI
factors to 503515.
2. Count a road win as 1.25, a neutral win as
1.0 and a home win as 0.83333333.
3. Penalize teams for playing nonDivision I
opponents.
4. Eliminate the bonus and penalty system.
The following pages will explain my proposed
changes to strengthen the RPI.
Accurately ranking 302 Division I college
baseball teams from top to bottom is not easy. It would be easy
if each team could play each of the other teams once at home and
once away in the same season for a total of 602 regular season
games. Then we could simply use winning percentage for the
standings, since each team's schedule would be identical.
Obviously this is not possible. Ranking the teams from 1 to 302
over a 56 game schedule based on winning percentage does not
work because of the differences in each team's strength of
schedule. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is a mathematical
formula used to rank the teams that factors in each team's
strength of schedule.
Part
2  The Weighting of Three RPI Factors
Part
3  The Weighting of Home Wins and Road Wins
Part
4  Exempt Contests vs. NonDivision I Teams; Bonus
& Penalty System
(photo by Jimmy Jones)
