Ontario Advocates Eliminating Colley Ranking

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ONTARIOOntario Athletic Director Josh Mink wants teams to not be penalized for playing out of state games when it comes to state rankings in all high school sports.

On Thursday, March 30, Mink submitted a letter to the Oregon School Activities Association asking the governing body of Oregon high school athletics to rank teams based solely on RPI (Rating Percentage Index). Mink states the current ranking system using RPI combined with Colley Bias Free Mating Method (typically referred to as Colley) penalizes eastern Oregon teams due to playing Idaho teams to fill out a schedule.

There actually exists on the OSAA website a mathematical calculation for determining a team’s ranking. The calculation is OSAA rank = (1/2 X RPI rank) + (1/2 X Colley rank). https://www.osaa.org/help/rankings. If you hold an advanced degree in mathematics, visit this page for a full explanation of the ranking system. We at easternoregonsports.com prefer to provide a simplified version after seeing the system in place for years.

Mink argues numerous schools on the eastern side of the state have limited options when filling out a sport’s season. One, and the most cost-effective option, is to play teams across the state border. The second option is to extend travel and expenses and play teams within the state. Citing Ontario teams as an example, Mink argues finding opponents to complete a season ranges from 18 games (basketball) to six games (football).

He also breaks down travel time and costs when staying within the state as well as time out of the classroom for student athletes. Mink also provides recent examples of extended travel and time for Tiger teams.

The problems Mink addresses is seen in the recent boys’ soccer season. Ontario finished the season with a record of 7-6-3 with four games played against Idaho teams. After a RPI ranking of 16th combined with a Colley ranking of 21st, the Tigers were ranked overall at 19th. North Valley finished the season with a record of 3-7-2 with all their games played within Oregon versus either 4A or 5A opponents. With four fewer victories, North Valley finished the year with a RPI ranking of 18th, a Colley ranking of 17th and overall, was ranked higher than Ontario at 18th. Mink also cites the soccer teams of Newport and Cascade to prove his claim of inequity.

Mink’s solution to the problem is simple. “Eliminate the Colley system and go to a straight RPI system,” advises Mink.

Coaches of athletic teams in eastern Oregon regularly beg athletic directors to find Oregon teams as opponents. Making the trip across the river and taking on an Idaho team will result in a drop in the rankings even if the contest is met with a win. The same is true for teams when, in filling out a sport’s schedule, jump to California or Washington due to decreased travel costs and time and decreased time way from the classroom. The Honkers of Lakeview make the trip to California often.

In eastern Oregon, opponents are not always a 45-minute drive away.

The following is a copy of Mink’s letter:


                                                                                RE: Coley Ranking System

To the OSAA Ranking Committee:

                I am writing the committee today to ask for consideration of the impact the current ranking system has on Eastern Oregon schools. Schools like Ontario, Baker, Vale, Nyssa, McLoughlin, Pendleton and La Grande rely on two options for non-league opponents. Option one, is to play out of state opponents. Option two is to play other Oregon schools, however that requires a significant amount of travel and time out of school for our student athletes. Let us consider some information from the GOL and what impacts that has on teams like Ontario.  

Greater Oregon League – Ontario, Baker, La Grande, Pendleton

                                Open Games to try to schedule per sport:

  • Football (6 Non-League play dates) – This is if it returns to a 4 team league
  • Volleyball ( 12 non-league play dates)
  • Soccer (8 non-league play dates)
  • Basketball (18 non-league play dates)
  • Baseball / Softball (14 non-league matches) – Double Header play helps with this, if those are available.

                   Travel for league play

  • OntarioBaker – 148 miles round trip (Out of school 1-2 hours / return 10pm – midnight) Cost – Bus $335 / Driver $168 = $503
  • OntarioLa Grande – 232 miles round trip (Out of School 2-5 hrs. / Return 11pm – 1am) Cost – Bus $525 / Driver $210 = $735
  • OntarioPendleton – 332 miles round trip (Out of School 3-6 hours / Return Midnight – 2am) – Whenever possible, games are scheduled for Saturdays due to the impact in time out of school.  Cost – Bus $750 / Driver $252 = $1002
  • BakerLa Grande – 88 miles round trip
  • BakerPendleton – 180 miles round trip
  • La GrandePendleton 108 miles round trip

Cost Per year for League Play Only (Team Sports): Roughly $15,000 a year for team sports to play league schedules. This cost is simply bus and driver. Again, this is for League ONLY! In order to stay competitive under the current ranking system, Ontario needs to triple this travel budget to accommodate for non-league games that are several hours away.

                                Football – @ Baker = $503 / @ Pendleton $1002 (If two league games are away)

                                Volleyball = @ Baker $503 / @ La Grande $735 / @ Pendleton $1002

                                Boys Soccer= @ Baker $503 / @ La Grande $735 / @ Pendleton $1002

                                Girls Soccer= @ Baker $503 / @ La Grande $735 / @ Pendleton $1002

                                Basketball = @ Baker $503 / @ La Grande $735 / @ Pendleton $1002

                                Baseball = @ Baker $503 / @ La Grande $735 / @ Pendleton $1002

                                Softball = @ Baker $503 / @ La Grande $735 / @ Pendleton $1002

Time out of the classroom for League Play Only (Team Sports):

                Many of our athletes are 2-3 sport athletes at Ontario High School. These athletes if they play all three seasons in a team sport will have missed approx. 35 hours of instruction for just league play. In order to have an equitable OSAA Rank, Ontario needs to schedule contests at the 3A or 5A levels with Oregon Schools. Outside of Nyssa and Vale, our next closest opponent is Burns at 130 miles one way. If I fill Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Softball, Baseball with those schools (Vale & Burns do not offer soccer) then my student athletes will have missed roughly 40 hours of instruction. Ontario would still need to fill several more non-league opponents that would require possible overnight stays, and daylong travel. Only adding to the time out of school. 


As you can see, the Eastern Oregon Schools travel a lot for league play. We understand that and we offer options to our students and families to help with that. Such as excused absences the next school day when returning home after midnight. However, we also must travel extensively for non-league play if we want to have an equal playing field in the OSAA Rankings. Ontario has tried setting up both scenarios. One, travel extensively for non-league and two, stay local to help with time out of school and cost.                            

Ontario has policies that also allow students who arrive back to school after midnight on a school night to come late the next day excused. Which in turn is more time out of the classroom. Ontario policy is they are excused first & second period. Therefore, a trip to Pendleton on a weeknight, a student would leave after lunch (Miss 5th & 6th period) then be excused the next day for 1st and 2nd period. We try to book these games on Saturdays for that reason. However, that does not always work. Basketball games to La Grande will have a similar time out of school for those athletes. Playing at EOU is an amazing experience for our Football and Soccer players, but also results in late night return for league games.

Thinking about time out of school and playing non-league contests with schools that are in close proximity to Ontario. Nyssa and Vale for example; Ontario tries to play them as much as we can. However, there are scenarios where competitive balance is not appropriate for us to play them. Soccer & Softball are two excellent examples of this. Both Boys & Girls Soccer teams for Ontario compete at a high level of play. Our boys will schedule Nyssa, but it is mostly our JV squad that will play. Vale does not have soccer. So Ontario is forced to either travel extensively requiring more time out of the classroom or play local schools in Idaho, but risk our rank dropping due to losing the Colley calculations and possibly a less RPI calculation as demonstrated below.

Let us examine Ontario Boys Soccer for the 2021 season. We traveled to play a game with Phoenix. Ontario to Medford is 413 miles one way. We have to stay the night. If we are going to invest in the time away from school and the money to travel that far, we definitely want to play as many games as we can on that trip. However, those options are limited as teams fill schedules as well and lining up matches on any particular weekend is tough. We were able to schedule South Medford. With South Medford being 6A, we again gained no advantage by playing that team. Ontario played Fruitland Idaho twice in a Home/Home series, with mercy rule victories both times. Ontario Boys also played Weiser Idaho in a Home/Home series, both games ending in a tie. Weiser was ranked #5 in 3A Idaho for a majority of the season, before being knocked out of the playoffs by their league opponent McCall/Donley. When the out of state records were entered for Ontario, our overall OSAA Rank dropped by 2 points.

RPI v Colley v Overall Rank – 2021/2022 Boys Soccer

  • OntarioRecord 7-6-3 (4 out of state games 3A Idaho / one 6A game due to travel)
    • League Finish – 3rd
    • Overall Rank – 19th (16 seed in playoffs due to play in)
    • RPI Rank – 16th (500.679) 5-5-3 Record for the RPI Calculation
    • Colley Rank – 21st (426.139) 3-4-1 Record for the Colley Calculation
  • North Valley – Record 3-7-2 (No out of state opponents, all either 4A/5A)
    • League Finish 4th
    • Overall Rank – 18th
    • RPI Rank – 18th 3-6-2 Record for RPI Calculation
    • Colley Rank -17th 3-6-2 record for Colley Calculation
  • Newport – Record 5-8-2 (No out of state opponents, all either 3A/4A)
    • League Finish 5th
    • Overall Rank – 15th
    • RPI Rank – 18th 5-7-2 Record for RPI Calculation
    • Colley Rank 13th  5-7-2 Record for Colley Calculation
  • Cascade – Record 5-7-2 (No out of state opponents, all 4A)
    • League Finish 4th
    • Overall Rank – 11th
    • RPI Rank – 10th 5-6-2 Record for RPI Calculation
    • Colley Rank – 12th 5-6-2 Record for Colley Calculation

Ontario Football in the 2019 season is an exact opposite reflection of the Boys Soccer experience. Ontario played only Oregon teams for non-league and the GOL played each other twice in conference play. Ontario played Mazama at Mazama that year and played Marshfield at Marshfield that same year. Ontario to Mazama is 358 miles one way and required an overnight stay in Klamath Falls. Coos Bay is 497 miles one-way and required a two-day trip. Leaving in the afternoon of a Thursday after school. Staying in Bend that evening, then driving to Coos Bay on Friday to play a 7pm game. Staying overnight in Coos Bay, to travel 10 hours home on Saturday. Ontario Football was 0-8 that season and was eligible for a play in game due to strength of schedule (Both RPI & Colley Rankings).

I would ask you to also consider the 2023 Softball Rankings. Looking at strength of schedule for the top 20 teams. Looking closely at opponents, runs allowed; runs scored and then how the Colley is affecting those top 20 schools. I am already seeing potential issues that could affect the rankings as the season progresses. I am happy to visit with the committee to show you some of those concerns as well. Especially as the season progresses.

Twenty-five Idaho schools in the Treasure Valley alone are similar size to Ontario. Having the ability to play those schools without sacrificing our Colley Ranking would be beneficial. Mostly to help keep students in schools. As you all know, students across Oregon have lost a significant amount of instructional time due to the impacts from COVID-19. Now is the perfect time to look at some inequalities and think openly about changes that will benefit all schools in the membership.

My proposal to the ranking committee is a simple one. Eliminate the Colley system and go to a straight RPI system. Many states have gone to that system alone. Idaho is one of those states. After speaking to some athletic directors in Idaho, playing the Oregon schools works to their advantage so they are excited to play schools like Ontario, Nyssa, Vale and Baker. They are awarded RPI points, the state association pulls directly from MaxPreps and their RPI is calculated from them. The one state that stands out to me is Colorado. They are very similar to Oregon in many ways. One is the population distribution. The I-25 corridor from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, approximately 133 miles, holds the majority of the population. Very similar to the I-5 Corridor from Portland to Eugene. The rest of Colorado is rural and spread out. They are a Maxpreps state and so are the surrounding states. This allows for CHSAA to pull data easily from Maxpreps and allows for a fair and equitable ranking system for all CHSAA schools regardless of geographic location.

I am not proposing OSAA become a Maxpreps state in anyway. I am simply using two states as examples of how they work to make sure the rankings are fair and equitable regardless of geographic location.  If the Ranking Committee does not want to change from the Colley System, then I would ask that the OSAA require contracts for Home/Home two year cycles in order to ensure that opponents live up to promises or deals made for traveling to outlying areas of Oregon.

Here is a link to the CHSAA ranking system:


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