Girls Basketball Tournament Format Information

CHESHIRE, Conn. – With the announcement of the CIAC Girls Basketball Tournament pairings there is an understanding there may be questions about decisions leading to the five-division format and other structures for this year’s Tournament.

Below are some bullet points explaining the various decisions by the CIAC Girls Basketball Committee that ultimately determined the format for this year’s tournaments. The Girls Basketball Committee itself is made up of school administrators, athletic directors, coaches, and official’s representatives. The coach and athletic director representatives are appointed by their respective leadership associations.

  • The initial decision was to approve moving from a four-division format to a five-division format to mirror the number of divisions in boys basketball. This change had wide support among member school coaches and ADs.
  • The members voted to have the tournament divisions be determined by enrollment with a success factor applying to schools of choice as designated by CIAC policy, rather than by a similar formula to the one used to determine the boys basketball divisions.
  • The committee members considered several options in regard to the qualification standard for the tournament. A primary consideration was how the tournament schedule would impact participating teams considering the CIAC Girls Basketball Tournament runs over three weeks instead of the two-week calendar for the Boys Tournament.
  • The 3-week calendar is due to the earlier start to the girls basketball season, which has been previously supported by the membership because it allows for the girls teams to begin the season without sharing a gym, and creates more schedule flexibility and availability of officials while the basketball tournaments run concurrently. Altering the 3-week calendar was not an option for the Committee during this decision, but will be looked at in the future.
  • Given the tournament calendar, there was significant concern with fewer teams spread across five divisions that teams might have as many as 10 or more days between its last game and its first CIAC Tournament games.
  • There was also a concern that with a qualifying threshold of a winning percentage there was the possibility of double-byes for some highly-ranked teams.
  • For those reasons the committee members voted to fill all five brackets to 32 teams and err on the side of giving teams the opportunity for a CIAC postseason experience. Teams will also still retain the option of opting out of the tournament, at which point their spot will not be filled.
  • The committee approved this format on a one-year trial basis.

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