EIWA Championships Countdown: Four Days

PHIALDELPHIA – With the 2009 EIWA Championships four days away, Penn Athletics is beginning its countdown to the event with a rundown of the new qualifying procedures for the NCAA Championships.

In the past, the EIWA was allocated automatic qualifiers to the national tournament and then the coaches would meet to select “Wild Card” qualifiers based on their finish at the conference tournament.

The following except from the NCAA Wrestling Manual describes the new procedure for determining the qualifiers – both automatic and at-large – to the NCAA Championships.

Starting with the 2008-09 season, automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Championships will be determined by using the primary criteria formula designed by the NCAA. Approximately 250-300 automatic qualifiers will be assigned based on the formula. The exact amount of automatic qualifiers assigned to each qualifying tournament will be announced on February 26, 2009. The remainder of the field of 330 wrestlers will be selected at an in-person meeting of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee after the qualifying tournaments using a secondary criteria. At-large qualifiers will be announced on March 11, 2008.

The following is the primary criteria for determining automatic qualifiers for each conference. On February 23, 2009, wrestlers in each weight class will be measured on the following: winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI), and coaches’ ranking. Winning percentage is defined as Division I wins divided by Division I total matches. RPI is defined as winning percentage times opponents’ winning percentage times opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. The coaches’ ranking is defined as the weight class specific ranking as determined by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Pre-seed Committee.

Wrestlers that meet or exceed threshold levels for all three measures will be labeled “Gold Standard.” Wrestlers that meet or exceed threshold levels for two of the three measures will be labeled “Silver Standard.” All Gold and Solver Standard wrestlers will earn an automatic qualifying position for their respective weight class at their respective qualifying tournament. If a qualifying tournament does not have any wrestlers that meet Gold or Silver Standard at a weight class, one automatic qualifier will be allocated for that tournament’s champion.

On March 9, 2009, after all qualifying tournaments have been held, wrestlers in each weight class will receive an updated winning percentage and RPI. Wrestlers that meet or exceed any one of the following criteria will be labeled “Bronze Standard”: a .700 winning percentage, Top-33 RPI, Top-33 coaches’ ranking, .700 winning percentage against all competition, one win against a wrestler receiving automatic qualification, or qualifying tournament placement one below automatic qualification.

Only “Bronze Standard” wrestlers will be eligible for selection as an at-large qualifier. A wrestler must have participated in their respective qualifying tournament to be eligible.

When the final calculations were made, the EIWA received 38 automatic qualifiers spread out across the 10 weight classes. The breakdown of each weight is as follows:

125 – Three

133 – Four

141 – Two

149 – Six

157 – Four

165 – Three

174 – Six

184 – Four

197 – Two

285 – Four

Based on the qualification system, Penn contributed five of the automatic qualifying spots for its conference. The wrestlers who hit two of the three marks were: Rollie Peterkin (125), Cesar Grajales (149), Matt Dragon (157), Scott Giffin (174) and Trey McLean (285).

The main point to remember is that no one has qualified yet for the NCAA Championships. All these five men – and the other 33 EIWA wrestlers – have done is assure the EIWA a set number of spots at the NCAA tournament. Anyone who wrestles at the EIWA championships this weekend can claim one of the automatic entries to the national tournament by advancing to the requisite spot.

After each conference has held its qualifying tournament and awarded its automatic qualifying spots, the NCAA Wrestling Committee will convene in Indianapolis to determine the at-large selections at each weight. Those selections will be announced on March 11.

A full video description of the new selection process can be found here.