MPSF commissioner Beaird criticizes new men’s volleyball RPI system

Add MPSF commissioner Al Beaird to the growing list of people unhappy with the college men’s volleyball RPI.

Beaird in an email sent to the NCAA men’s volleyball committee called the new ranking system flawed and criticized its use to analyze a team’s strength of schedule.


Despite a MPSF team winning the NCAA championship in May and having 10 teams finish in the top 15 national coaches poll, the conference finished in second place behind the MIVA in the final RPI rankings.

Beaird announced at the MPSF’s most recent league meeting in late September that he submitted the protest email to the NCAA, according to meeting’s minutes. The full content of the email was not released, but Beaird said at the meeting the email was lengthy and argued that the MPSF should have been No. 1 based on its strength of schedule.

With the MPSF playing a 24 conference match schedule, each team traditionally plays a majority of its regular season matches against nationally ranked team. In addition, the increased conference schedule leaves each MPSF school with limited opportunities for non-conference matches.

The metrics used to determine the RPI has become of increased concern for coaches and conference officials given the consequences of a conference’s low ranking.

The men’s volleyball committee during the summer announced it would begin to use the conference RPI system to determine the two conferences with the lowest rankings that would be required to play in the newly created NCAA Tournament play-in match. The NCAA Tournament starting in 2014 is expanding to five teams to include the Conference Carolinas, a Division II conference that became eligible for an automatic bid following four years as an emerging conference.

The Conference Carolinas and the EIVA champions will play in the upcoming play-in match after finishing No. 3 and No. 4 in the 2013 final RPI rankings.

Beaird is not the first high profile member of college men’s volleyball to criticize the RPI.

Penn State coach Mark Pavlik when the rankings were first unveiled during the summer was critical of the EIVA finishing behind the Conference Carolinas. In addition, former men’s volleyball committee chairman Brian Santiago said in April the current NCAA Tournament format is not ideal but necessary because of the NCAA’s decision to not increase the tournament field beyond five teams.