Tuesday, February 2, 2010

PSP Classification System: Moving Down

Picking up on yesterday's post on the PSP's new classification system I want to nit-pick the details a little bit in the areas where this system retains some of the old system's problems. Hereafter a "problem" is something I would like to see handled differently or better--not a problem in a design or structural sense. So, my problems with the system may not be yours--until I convince you otherwise.

Yesterday I mentioned there was a floor in each division where the event rating (raw score times multiplier) was insufficient alone or cumulatively to push a player (team) up a rank and that it was roughly the bottom third that wouldn't change their rank assuming consistent scores. (If you are D3 playing in D2 and routinely at the bottom of the results you stay D3.) Well, there is also a threshold for moving up and it is approx. at the 23rd percentile so that if your accumulated average event ratings put you (your team) in the top 25% percent or so consistently the numbers will move you up a rank at season's end. My quibble here is only at the margins--what is the appropriate amount of teams (players) to gain the next rank--and does this threshold do that? Ideally I'm not sure it ought to be a standardized value across the divisions but despite that reservation I think the new system serves the interests of the lower divisions quite capably.

Now all of this is a little fuzzy partly on account of dropping the high score and only counting scores 2, 3 and 4 as determinative. As I noted yesterday this keeps an aberrational score (or one received in a less populated bracket--more on this coming tomorrow) from dominating the results. But the fuzziness is advantageous to the players as it also creates boundaries that aren't as hard and fast as before and helps make the overall system one that sees players earn their rank while simultaneously being less likely to push wholesale advancements. This is particularly so in the lower divisions with more populous brackets. [Despite the fact all the calculations up and down the divisions are computed consistently the size of the sample--the number of competing teams--has an impact in increasing potential opportunities for movement. For example the boundary between D2 and D1 is more fluid than the boundary between D1 and Semi-pro. One might argue the differences are small but they become readily apparent as sample sizes increase.]

Despite these improvements and despite the standardization of how a player's rank goes down I think it's still too restrictive. (Once again my problem may not be yours.) In the lower divisions with the focus on moving up dropping ranks has little to no priority but nonetheless remains a function of this system. From the upper divisions however movement down has greater urgency because there are both practical and artificial limitations on opportunity. This system, like the last one, is heavily biased toward the notion that once a rank is achieved the player is not subject to significant change or loss of skills and/or game-playing ability. For example any, let me repeat that, any player who achieves a pro rank cannot, in this system, ever drop below semi-pro.

Flatly, that's ridiculous. The system continues to judge players on team results--there's little option on that count--but all players aren't equal and some player gain ranks with teams their ability doesn't merit. Players may like to think once a high-ranked player always a high-ranked player but it simply isn't true. Most players, regardless of rank, have to work at keeping up their skill level and that is more true the higher a player gets. The new system drops scores 25% after 2 years and 50% (total) after 3 years which results in a player dropping one rank. Instead, drop a player's score 20% a year after the first year with a maximum 80% for all players ranked higher than D2 while using D2 as the floor with no higher-ranked player ever dropping below that level. The result would prioritize recent performances and scores and good players would continue to accumulate scores that keep them in the upper levels.

Tomorrow: Part 3 (The Big Finish): The Optimized Bracket Adjustment


houdini said...

Looking forward to your solution... an interesting topic indeed

Joe R said...


The problem I see with your proposed D2 floor and 20% off per year is that you could then potentially have a former pro player playing on a D3 team.

Arguments about sandbagging aside, I think that that, in most cases, is a bit too much of a stretch for former pro players. I would submit that major health issues aside, a former pro (or even semi pro) would retain a significant amount of their knowledge of the game. Though they may be rusty, and the likely wouldn't immediately start playing at their former level of skill and athleticism, they would still compete at a level higher than your average D3 player. In my mind, after warming up for a handful of practices, a former pro player would comfortably fit into a D1 category, which is precisely where the current system would let them play down to.

If I were a league promoter, I would have a difficult time trying to justify to other D3 teams why I had a former pro player allowed to play on a D3 team. Would you, for example, want to play against a team of Jeremy Salm, Bryon Benini, Greg Pozzi, Todd Adamson, and Billy Ceranski in D3? Doubtful. If they were playing D1? Little easier to explain.


Baca Loco said...

While I appreciate the feedback and I take your concern regarding D3 teams you have not crunched the numbers or have anything like firsthand knowledge of the players or the actual skills involved. Using my system the lowest ranking pro score possible falls to about the mid-point in D2 after five years. Five years. Take any one of my current players and assign them a score in the new system and using my movement down formula none of them will fall below the upper half of D1. There is a difference between being a successful pro player and a temporary and marginal pro player that my system distinguishes and the new one doesn't.
As for your hypothetical team, it's silly. They wouldn't ever choose to play D3 and they'd get killed in D1.
Somehow I doubt and ex-semi-pro player who hasn't managed to lift his scores in five years is going to pose a real threat or competitive imbalance to much of anyone on the national level.