Playoff Assignment and Tournament Structure Overview

ALL teams, regardless of regular season win-loss record, advance to the playoffs as long as they have at least a 3.0 sportsmanship average and no outstanding forfeits. To best match-up teams of similar skill and interest level and create more equal divisions in the playoffs, FSU Intramural Sports has implemented a playoff qualification structure that will promote or demote teams among divisions from the regular season to the postseason.

What Teams Make It to the Playoffs?
In FSU Intramural Sports, all teams with the required sportsmanship average of 3.0, advance to the playoffs. Undefeated teams and winless teams. Everyone makes it. A team's assignment to a particular playoff division (or bracket) is what is described on this page.

Teams often do not know their talent level when they register at the start of the season. Some overestimate, but most underestimate. Thus, the program has seen an unbalanced ratio among divisions in recent years, such as 24 division II teams and 48 division III teams. The playoff assignment system is designed to even out those disparities so that we have more even divisions (two 36-team playoff brackets in this example), after teams have a chance to compete and demonstrate their skills in the regular season.

What Divisions are Affected by the Playoff Assignment Method?
The playoff assignment method applies only to teams in divisions II, III, and IV. This includes men's, women's, and co-rec leagues. Teams that start the season in division I will remain in that division for the playoffs, unless specifically requesting and being approved for a demotion to a lower division.

Teams from divisions II, III, and IV are not subject to automatic promotion to division I to reach a predetermined number of teams for that division. Teams may still be promoted to division I based on a the determination of a higher skill level on a case-by-case basis. Essentially, division I will remain a separate division throughout a sport's season with few additions or deletions for the playoffs.

The automatic playoff assignment method applies only to major sports with a playoff draw meeting.

When Are Teams Assigned to a Playoff Division?
Teams that begin the season in divisions II, III, and IV are subject to assignment to a playoff division on the day of the playoff draw meeting for the sport or on the assigned playoff scheduling day for non-draw sports. All regular season games or matches played prior to the draw meeting or scheduling day are factored into the playoff assignments.

Regular season games or matches after the draw meeting (or after the brackets have been set) do not impact playoff assignments, but are considered official regular season games that must be played by the scheduled teams (consider these tune-up games for the playoffs).

How Are Teams Assigned to a Playoff Division?
Three elements of a team's regular season factor into its assignment of a division for the playoffs:
(1) Regular Season Division: Teams receive base standings points (see below) based on the division in which they play during the regular season.
(2) Win-Loss Percentage: Teams receive additional points based on their winning percentage at the time of the playoff draw meeting or scheduling.
(3) Big Wins or Big Losses: Teams receive bonus points for big wins and a deduction for big losses; the "big" margin varies by sport, but is typically just more than the mercy rule.

The idea is that good teams in lower divisions may be bumped up a division while the bad teams in higher divisions may move down. Even after the initial breakdown, Intramural Sports will look for any irregularities or teams that may need to be further promoted or demoted based upon additional information such as game site evaluation of teams.

How Many Teams Are Assigned to Each Playoff Division?
Intramural Sports analyzed regular season records, number of teams per regular season division, and our various playoff brackets across several sports each year since 2010. In addition, Intramural Sports factored in the talent and competitive level of the typical team in each division as some sports are more competitive than others. Target percentages of teams per playoff division were then set for each IM sport. The goal is to balance the number of teams across the available divisions while maintaining the competitiveness and enjoyment associated with each division.

In some sports (flag football, for example), men's teams will be split evenly across 3 divisions (outside of Division I). If there are 75 total registered men's teams in division II, III and IV, regardless of regular season division, the playoffs will have approximately 25 in each of the 3 divisions for the playoffs. The breakdown varies by sport and by league (men's, women's, and co-rec). Note that the numbers per division may not be exact even given ties in the standings and other promotions or demotions.

Can Teams Request to Move to Be Promoted Up or Demoted Down a Division for the Playoffs?
Yes, any team may request a promotion to a higher division or demotion to a lower division for postseason play at any point prior to the playoff draw meeting for the sport. All promotions and demotions must be approved by the Intramural Sports staff.

Can Teams Change Playoff Divisions After the Brackets Have Been Set?
In general, no. Regular season games after the brackets have been set are not factored into the playoff assignments. However, teams may be promoted to a higher division by the Intramural Sports staff at any time to enhance or maintain the competitiveness and enjoyment of participating teams in a particular division.

All the fine print to our playoff system is available in the Involvement principle of the Seven Principles of Intramural Sports.

Questions or Comments? Let us know by emailing us. Otherwise, good luck this season in Intramural Sports!