The Selection Committee is a group of ten individuals who are responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field for March Madness. The Selection Committee also plays a critical role in the College Football Playoff (CFP). The committee’s chair leads their deliberations, cultivates an environment for members to cooperatively evaluate teams and create rankings, and shares spokesperson duties with CFP Executive Director Mark Hollis.
Members of the Selection Committee are selected by their cities to represent them on Boards, Commissions and Agencies within the city. Upon nomination by the member, the Selection Committee vets the nominee and their references using a robust vetting process. Once vetted, top nominations are recommended to the City’s Management Committee for appointment.
The committee’s deliberations begin even before the season starts. Selection Committee members are assigned conferences and watch those conference games closely throughout the regular season in an attempt to gain a thorough understanding of the conference’s programs. They also watch other teams to broaden their perspective and supplement the statistical data they examine with their own opinions based on experience.
During the deliberations, members consider several factors, including winning percentage, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, and comparisons of conference champions and other top teams. The committee also discusses the overall record of each team and its place in the league’s hierarchy. The committee evaluates the teams’ performances in both the regular and postseason. The committee also takes into account a team’s reputation and the number of fans it sells to help it determine its overall strength.
While the committee’s deliberations are confidential, a few of its members have discussed their methodology publicly in recent years. Reinig and Horowitz (RH) published an academic paper in 2018 that proposes a mathematical programming (MP) approach to evaluating the factors that should be considered in the committee’s deliberations. The MP model assigns weights to the pertinent factors and uses a linear optimization framework to determine the best combination of those factors for both the at-large and overall selections.
In addition to their scholarly research, RH conducted an ex post analysis of the Committee’s decisions from 2012 through 2016. They found that their model accurately forecasted the at-large and overall Selection Committee choices with respect to both the seeds and the tournament field, with the only significant mismatch between their choice and the actual seeding involving Marquette.
While the benefits of a hiring committee are numerous, it is important to consider the time commitment required for committee members. This can significantly reduce the number of potential candidates, as well as increase the length of time to make a decision. To avoid these problems, it is important to select the right people for the committee. This should include members with the requisite knowledge and integrity to be successful in their roles. This includes former coaches, athletics directors and sitting presidents of colleges and universities. It is also important to consider the varying priorities of each department when choosing members for your selection committee.