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BAMF Rankings Explained!

Updated: Jan 3, 2022

Rankings Explained…

Rankings are some of the most captivating headlines in sports. Wrestling, and Division III Wrestling, are not exempt. Rankings are hot-button topics that often get message boards and forums buzzing, while teams love them to promote their program’s projected success. Each and every one of us loves to scour hot off the press rankings for our favorite teams, wrestlers, sons and daughters. Rankings are a great way to recognize those who are, seemingly, the highest-level wrestlers and teams in the country.

D3Wrestling is about to educate you on everything you wanted to know about wrestling rankings… And we are doing it in strictly a statistical manner. Have we piqued your interest yet? Read on to find out how you can get ranked and claim the title of “BAMF” for your weight!!

The Traditional Method:

Rankings have always been a cumulative effort of one individual’s, or a small group’s, opinions of people, where the rankers use the “eye-test” and more currently per NCAA rule the same criteria as seeding:

NCAA Wrestling Rule 3.19 Seeding: Consideration for determining seeded wrestlers, but not necessarily in this order, is given to: (a) head-to-head competition, (b) common opponents, (c) returning All-Americans and, (d) a contestant’s won-loss record (defined as the wins and losses on an individual record form, not winning percentage – evaluation) Also consider previous credentials (returning NCAA qualifier or Regional Placer)

Common practice is to use the previous season’s NCAA Championships results, remove the graduating seniors, and boom… Your first set of rankings are established.

Once new results become available, decisions are then made based on seemingly one thing – Did that ranked person lose. No? Okay then they do not drop. Yes? Okay well then, they should fall, unless they lost to someone who was already above them.

“Don’t lose or you will be punished,” is often the impression given off by decisions made by nearly every ranking committee that exists in the sport. Most value not losing versus actually winning and examining the quality of competition. This old methodology of ranking gives off the vibe that wrestlers have something to protect and that competing against high-level competition could hurt them. Under this methodology, wrestling – at all levels – has seen a new tendency to “avoid” tougher match ups. Think the finals of Regional tournaments across the country. How often have we seen “medical” forfeits in the finals or in the back half of tournament brackets?

Or think about it this way… If you’re ranked #2 at your weight class, your upward mobility is limited. The only ways you can seemingly overtake the #1 ranked person is if you beat them, or they lose. So, what is the added benefit to wrestling 40+ matches in a season and putting yourself at risk for a slip up and dropping a match? Afterall, it could only hurt your ranking…

For those reasons (and more), it can be increasingly difficult for someone younger or on the outside looking in, to break into a set of opinion-based ranking. They must go and wrestle someone in the rankings already and beat them. And lately… Those match ups can be hard to find.

So, what is the solution…? Enter D3Wrestling’s BAMF Rankings!

The New Era:

Simply put, BAMF Rankings are statistically based rankings where you EARN your ranking. Our goal is to remove nearly any bias or opinion that goes into ranking the best wrestlers at each weight in the country.


BAMF stands for Basic Analytic Mathematical Formula. These formulas also help us statistically reveal who the BAMF is (Bad A$& Mother Trucker) …. is at each weight (statistically speaking). Our unique formula incorporates the following components for every single wrestler in the nation: Win Percentage, RPI, Quality Win Points, Tiers, Coach’s Rank. Let’s investigate what each of these are in more depth.

Win Percentage:

Most know this one. Yes, it is important. To be ranked, you should be winning the majority of your matches. BUT, as we will find in the other components, wins and losses are not the be all, end all in BAMF Rankings.

Example: Wrestler A is 9-1, they have a 90% win percentage.


Calculating each wrestler’s RPI is a lengthy, complicated process. Luckily for you, you don’t have to do it! We have done it for you. RPI stands for Rating Percentage Index. It is a commonly used metric across many collegiate sports to determine the strength of someone’s schedule.

Due to the individual nature of the sport, wrestler’s strength of schedule is evaluated based on who THEY wrestle, not just who the team wrestles. RPI is a mathematical formula that accounts for opponent’s win percentage (how successful your opponent is), and your opponent’s opponents win percentage (how successful your opponent’s competition is). It is a tertiary level of examining strength of schedule.

We reward wrestlers for competing against high quality competition, which is determined by having a high RPI.

Quality Wins:

Branching off RPI and Win Percentage, wrestling high quality competition will help you, but you still need to do the deed. For those reasons, each time you beat a “quality” opponent, you are rewarded with quality win points.

So, what qualifies as a quality win…


Quality wins and the number of points you receive for them are determined by your opponent’s tier. What is a tier? Each wrestler will be mathematically assigned a tier, ranging 0-5 based off other components. Tier 1 is the highest, most valuable tier, down to 5, which signifies a solid win over good competition. A 0-tier simply means that the individual did not qualify for quality win points based off their performance up to that point in the season.

However, keep in mind, just because someone qualifies as a Tier-1 wrestler today, does not necessarily mean they will be a Tier-1 tomorrow. Like win percentages and RPI’s, this number is always fluid based on current data…

Coaches Rank:

Yes, the opinion of the coaching body does matter… Somewhat! Coaches, while biased (as is everyone!), are still the experts in the field. Who they determine pass the “eye test” will hold slight weight in determining our BAMF Rankings.

How Continued:

Our rankings use periodic sets of data, so the rankings are the most up-to-date and include all wrestled bouts that occurred since the prior editions. That way it is strictly based on stats. We hope our Basic Analytical Mathematic Formula rankings level the playing field…The quest for #1 is earned, not given. GO EARN IT!


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