How Are the PIAA Brackets Determined?

How Are the PIAA Brackets Determined?

Brackets for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state-level tournaments in team sports are determined every two years. District committees in each sport seed teams in brackets to select the state qualifiers.

The PIAA awards each of its 12 districts representation in state tournaments based on the number of schools within each of four groups. Sixteen teams are selected in most sports; wrestling has 20 or 21 teams, and boys and girls basketball have 32 teams. A school's placement in a group is based on its separate male and female student population.

As an example, with the largest number of Pennsylvania's Class AAAA schools in its district during the 2014-15 school year, District 1, which surrounds Philadelphia, receives 10 positions in the state boys basketball tournament while four districts receive only one slot.

District tournaments usually are contested in a single-elimination format. In the District 1 example above, a consolation bracket is required to fill the ninth and 10th positions for the state tournament.

For the state tournament, six districts are grouped into an East Region and the other six in a West Region for the early rounds. Brackets are determined every two years and teams are placed based on their district result. For example, the winner of the District 3 AAAA baseball tournament plays the fifth-placed finisher in District 1, and the third-placed team in the District 7 AA tournament meets the District 6 champion during the 2015 and 2016 state tournaments.