The purpose of alignment is to ensure the majority of kids who play in the MBA have the opportunity to compete and have fun, while playing in a balanced league (as possible). Our goal is that all teams will be competitive in 50% of the games they play.
The procedures and criteria to align these divisions are as follows:
· After the first three regular league games are played (starting levels are in accordance with the club registration of teams), the coordinators, upon games played, score results and feedback from coaches will tentatively align. The league manager is copied for the record and to oversee the process.
· This is what is explained to the division coordinators; every team should be able to compete in 50% of their league games. In competing, it is intended to apply they shall have an opportunity to win when deciding which teams are placed in what division. The 50% figure was determined by understanding that teams will rise to the top and others will fall to the bottom in a point / percentage based league.
· The coaches now have an opportunity to submit their points, as well, via a web accessed survey. The purpose of this step is merely to identify possible issues within a team that the coordinator is unaware. For example, a tentative alignment is evaluated without possibly knowing internal issues of a specific team; Sally scores half the teams’ points and this team is undefeated in their division after week 3 winning by an average spread of 25 points. However Sally is moving to Toronto in December which will definitely change the face of that particular team. This information needs to be known, but it is merely one factor in the decision process. This is why the coaches input are important, it is not meant for the coach to argue, jockey or insist where they should be.
· During this period of games there will be many cross-over games. It is important to understand why these take place. To begin the season, clubs submitting their teams for "levels of play" is often a calculated guess (sometimes sandbagging), in other words a team place to start in level 3 may in fact be a good level 2 team. Therefore the coordinators are instructed to do as many cross-over games as they deem fit to acquire the information necessary to align equal. In certain cases, teams will play other teams within their own club. Main reason being, clubs may choose a top tier team, while placing the next tier team in a lower division. However that lower tiered team may still fall into criteria of being able to compete in 50% of their games in the higher tier / division. During this time, it is imperative that the coaches who are in lopsided games respect their weaker opponents and not purposely run up the score. We suggest you be creative while ensuring you team still has fun and develops. I.e. Incorporate 5 pass, utilize 30 second clock, no fast breaking, no pressure, no 3 pointers, etc.
The coordinators role, as a possible conflict of interest:
Many coordinators are also coaches and usually coordinate within their respective coordinating divisions. What about their possible conflict of interest when aligning? The reason the League is copied on alignment correspondents is to be the last front before the alignment takes place in case of obvious mistakes or questionable alignment issues. Every single season, the league will intervene and question why these questionable alignments were made. The coordinator or coordinators respond and the process continues. The league executive has reversed decisions of alignment, in the cases where the coordinator(s) have conflicts or missed something. In the majority of cases, alignment will be complete after three weeks of play.
*Note that these first three weeks of play are regular season games with wins and losses counting towards the standings, where two teams play each other and both those teams stay in that division or both are moved to a same division. An example of this is Team “A” plays Team “B” in week one in their registered division, after alignment both these teams are moved to another division of the same, that 1st week’s game will count. Likewise, in the case where they play in the first 3 weeks and do not stay in same division, these games are recorded as exhibition and do not count in the standings.
The only changes made after the three week re-alignment stage will be permitted by the League Manager, in collaboration with the division coordinator, if and when warranted.
The “In-Between Teams”. Reference to this term is important to know because it is a common occurrence from year to year, though very minimal.
Teams will, after alignment or re-alignment, still not fit into a division. In one division they may beat the 2nd place team by 30 points and most others by 40+, when moved up a division, get beat by the last place team by 30. This is an unfortunate occurrence, not much can be done. What we try to do is schedule some cross over games when the two coaches from each division agree, of course these games are classified as exhibition and in most cases the lower level coaches are reluctant. Also, we recommend in these cases that the coach try to arrange exhibition games, during their year’s schedule, against teams from outlining areas, opposite sex teams, etc. to enable the kids to not get down.
**Teams who are aligned, not only another level but a higher division, shall be recognized and awarded merit for their skill. This only happens when it is felt that the team(s) do not have compatible opponents in their respective age group and there was no violation of recruiting or "stacking". When and if these teams move, the league will monitor it very carefully. The age, size and maturity level are something that we must be cognizant of. Usually this works out for all, however, in these cases, each week after and up to the break will give a good indication if the said team(s) can compete and have fun.
***In extenuating circumstances and in lieu of above, where it is felt team(s) of higher level may have safety concerns with playing (being moved to) an older age bracket, will continue to play in age group at highest bracket within their age with a special play-off when and where applicable. This would be contigent on a minimum of 2 - 4 teams identified. Likewise, this could be also applicable to a large division being split (no less than 3-4 teams at the bottom end of the spectrum), come play-off time, to accomodate a clear distinction within the respective division.