In years past, regional ties were broken first by looking at conference records, followed by head-to-head match ups and then, if teams were still deadlocked in the standings, settled with a one-game playoff.
CDO, which split the season series with Marana, finished with an overall record of 16-23 and was granted the final spot based on its power rating of 24.0, good enough for 13th in the Class 4A. Marana finished at 16th overall with a power rating of 22.1.
The Class 4A state tournament is a 16-team round robin. Without No. 16 Marana in the playoff picture, that means a team with a lesser power rating could potentially qualify for the state tournament.
A team's power rating is determined by calculating schedule strength, record, conference record and "good wins" and "bad losses." A good win is a victory over a higher ranked opponent while a bad loss is one at the hands of a team with a lesser ranking.
CDO suffered five bad losses this year, one ironically coming at the hands of Marana. The Tigers only had three bad losses.
"If I would have known about power points in advance I would have gone to some different tournaments that I went to," said Meekin. The rule to switch from playoff games to power ratings was voted on last spring by the athletic directors of all 18 Southern Arizona 4A teams.
"It was cleaner by power rating," said Dan Reynolds, Assistant Interscholastic Director of the Tucson Unified School District, which oversees schedules and rules for the three Southern Arizona 4A regions. "It was a lot easier, we didn't have to jam the (playoff) game in."
Meekin says the change was passed after schedules were finalized, leaving no room to add games against formidable 4A opponents. The Arizona Interscholastic Association implements a two-year block for schedules, so Marana will play the same teams next fall as well.
Reynolds disagrees with Meekin.
"There's ways to add games," said Reynolds. "Usually when we schedule all their games we don't give them (schools) the complete compliment of games and that gives them the chance to add a couple if they want to."
Another reason for eliminating the playoff game is to save money. An additional tie-breaking game will need game officials, ticket collectors and security because the game would have to be played on a different night than the region playoffs, said Reynolds.
The new rule changes apply to all team sports with the exception of football.
As for Meekin's squad, the Tigers didn't take the bad news well, the coach said.
"I just feel like there's not a whole lot I can do about it," said Meekin, who said she was given bad information and not told about the power rating system until the season was almost over. In fact, Meekin said, none of the coaches at Marana were aware of the new rule changes. "This won't happen to another coach again if I have anything to say about it. I'm going to do whatever I need to do that this doesn't happen to any other team."