Saturday, October 15, 2011

An attempt at ranking Midwest collegiate sailing teams

The ranking of U.S. collegiate sailing teams is not something that makes front page press or garners anticipation for future regatta match-ups. But is that due to a lake of interest in the sport or the lack of coverage of the ranking process?  Currently, collegiate rankings are provided by Sailing World at In addition to reporting on collegiate sailing on a national level, Sailing World conducts a open coaches poll consisting of self-nominated coaches from U.S. collegiate programs. On a bi-weekly basis, the coaches supply their top 20 choices for co-ed teams and top 15 for women's teams. Interestingly, despite an active sailing schedule, Midwest teams are conspicuously underrepresented. The only MCSA (Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association) member currently ranked is Wisconsin (at position 10 of the Oct. 13 Co-ed rankings). The rankings are typically dominated by Northeast U.S. teams.

This has led us to wonder if an independent ranking system can be established, based on actual school performance, which can be used to rank MCSA teams. Such a system would allow for better recognition of strong Midwest sailing programs, and could potentially be used nationally when the process is further vetted. Accordingly, SailMichigan would like to introduce our attempt at such a system and our rankings for regatta performance through Oct. 2, 2011.

The ranking below uses the following criteria:
  1. To be ranked, a college/university must be a member of the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association have participated in at least 2 MCSA sanctioned regattas in the 2011-2012 season.
  2. Multiple teams from a single college participating in a single regatta are evaluated based on the performance of the strongest team in that regatta.
  3. Numerical calculations take into consideration 1) the breadth of the field (number of competing institutions, not teams) for each regatta evaluated, 2) overall college performance in that regatta, and 3) number of regattas participated in.
  4. Round-robin format regattas were not evaluated in the ranking

Rankings are independent of 1) the type of boat used in the regatta (FJ, 420, etc.),  2) co-ed status of the competition or 3) the perceived strength of the field. The results (MCSA posted) for the following regattas were considered in the following rankings: Boiler Cup, Fall Fury, Acton Up, Davis Cup, MCSA Sloop Championship, Denison, Cedarfest, and the Cary-Price Intersectional (data from

SailMichigan Rankings of Midwest Collegiate Teams as of Oct. 15, 2011
Presented as : Ranking -  School - (Score)
1. University of Wisconsin (11)
2. University of Minnesota (21)
3. University of Notre Dame (23)
4. Northwestern University (31)
5. Michigan State University (34)
6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (36)
7. Bowling Green University (47)
8. Michigan Technological University (51)
9. University of Michigan (53)
9. Ohio State University (53)
11. University of Toledo (56)
12. Denison University (64)
13. Miami University (65)
14. Purdue University (68)
15. Marquette University (70)
16. University of Iowa (75)
17. University of Akron (82)
18. Northern Michigan University (85)
19. Indiana University (100)

Other MCSA teams which only have competed in one evaluated regatta thus far: Hope College, University of Illinois, University of Illinois-Chicago, John Carroll University, Robert Morris University, Washington University, Wittenberg University

Although only MCSA member schools are considered for the above rankings, the SailMichigan rankings are not-endorsed or affiliated with the Intercollegiate Sailing Association of North America or the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association. The rankings are for informational and discussion purposes only and are not warranted for any other purpose than to serve as a topic of discussion for this blog.

Now for the discussion portion of this blog..... Do you perceive such a ranking to be a useful tool for the promotion of collegiate sailing in the Midwest? Do you perceive that the current national ranking system may overlook qualified Midwest teams? Based on your experience with collegiate sailing, do you believe the current ranking to be representative of the true quality of the sailing programs? If, not, what criteria would you add to the process?


  1. interesting, a new viewpoint but needless to say, the Northeast teams are varsity and recruit away most of the good sailors.

  2. This is a fine service. It will add to the schools' and adult sailing community's realization that club sailing is alive and well in the Midwest.