Before I get started on the OBA (optimized bracket adjustment) a few (more) words on yesterday's classification post. I want to demonstrate in real numbers the difference in the current method for moving down and my suggested alternative.
Let's say a player earns 4200 points during the 2010 season. The player is ranked semi-pro as a result. In the current system (assuming no higher scores are received) the player's scores remain the same in 2011 and 2012. For 2013 the score is reduced from 4200 to 3150 dropping the player's rank to D1. And in 2014 the score drops again to 2100 where it stays, leaving the player ranked D1.
Using my alternative take the same player and the same 4200 points earned in 2010. The score remains the same in 2011. In 2012 (assuming no new qualifying scores are received) the player's score drops to 3360 and the player is ranked D1. In 2013 the score drops to 2520 and player remains D1. In 2014 the score drops to 1680 with the player assigned a D2 rank and in 2015 it would drop to the D2 floor of 984 where it would remain--until sufficient new scores were earned to start the climb up the ladder over again.
The larger point is simply that any player who rises to semi-pro (or pro) status but is unable for whatever reason to maintain it is no longer a semi-pro (or pro) player by demonstrated ability and shouldn't remain one by rank. That player may retain semi-pro potential but that is very different than playing at a semi-pro level and their classification rank ought to reflect the fact.
The Optimized Bracket Adjustment modifies scores earned in sub-optimal brackets. In a bracket of 8 teams 50% of the field end up in the top 4. In a bracket of 20 teams 20% of the field end up in the top 4. Clearly the larger bracket has a higher degree of difficulty in achieving a top 4 result. In the 8 team bracket the winner receives a 100. Second gets a 77 and third gets a 64. (All numbers rounded.) Eighth place gets 10, seventh gets 23 and sixth gets 36. In the bracket of 20 teams the winner receives 100, second gets 85, third gets 80. Twentieth gets 10, nineteenth gets 15 and eighteenth gets 19. All scores revert toward the mean except the polar scores of 100 and 10.
My contention is that a win in a bracket of eight is not equivalent to a win in a bracket of twenty (or more.) All results aren't created equally and shouldn't be valued equally for the purpose of determining a player's classification. The OBA takes into account the disparity in the relative degree of difficulty between random bracket population sets. The OBA would assign an optimum number of participants to a bracket and any number less than the optimum would modify the final event scores received by the participating teams. It would NOT alter their place of finish and the purpose of the modified score is as it relates to the ratings that impact classification only. Any number of teams below the optimum is then recognized as being competitively insufficient to award maximum points. It would also be relatively easy to do. It could be accomplished at least 3 ways, 2 of which are; by altering the range of scores from the top down (meaning the max score would be less than 100) or by changing the mean score (by moving both the high and low score possible.) In either case it would only require a simple numeric change to the equation generating raw event scores. And depending on the program structure it probably wouldn't be all that difficult to include. (Easy for me to say.)
But, again, this is more of a quibble than an absolutely necessary modification. The OBA would be most useful in under-populated brackets that displayed little or no parity. The fact that the high score is removed from consideration goes a long way towards assuring only players who legitimately earn their rank receive it--particularly in under-populated brackets--and as I said in the first post the new system is a substantial improvement over the old one. Any perceived or real inequities in the system are unlikely to affect any significant number of players. All it really needs is a little more flexibility in allowing downward player movement.