The WPIAL has a step-by-step system to break ties for spots in its football playoffs:
• Results of head-to-head competition.
• There is a tie among three or more teams and head to head doesn't break the deadlock, then Gardner Points are used.
• There is still a tie, the WPIAL tiebreaker system is used.
For example, if teams A, B and C are tied for two playoff spots and have 1-1 records in head-to-head competition, then Gardner Points will be used to break the tie. If team A has more Gardner Points, it would get one of the playoff spots. The tie between B and C then would be broken by head-to-head competition.
The system reverts back to head-to-head competition whenever possible to break ties among three or more teams.
If head-to-head competition can't break a tie among three or more teams, here is how the Gardner Points and WPIAL tiebreaker system work.
• Only conference games count in either system.
• In the Gardner Points System, the winning team gets 10 points for each of the defeated team's victories. For example, Team A beat Team B. Team B has a 4-2 conference record, so Team A gets 40 points.
• Add up the Gardner Points for tied teams. If there is still a deadlock, the WPIAL tiebreaker system is used.
• Under the tiebreaker system, a maximum of 10 points are earned in a victory and a maximum of 10 points are lost in a defeat. Points are based on comparative scores. (For example, a 9-0 victory is worth nine points. A 14-7 loss is minus-seven.)
• Add up the tiebreaker points to come up with the playoff participant.