USA Today lays the whole thing out in its majesty here. Well intentioned, overly complicated, flimsy in places, it comes off as something less than the whole of its parts.
The voting process is as follows:
Each committee member will create a list of the 25 teams he or she believes to be the best in the country, in no particular order. Teams listed by more than three members will remain under consideration.
2. Each member will list the best six teams, in no particular order. The six teams receiving the most votes will comprise the pool for the first seeding ballot.
3. In the first seeding ballot, each member will rank those six teams, one through six, with one being the best. The three teams receiving the fewest points will become the top three seeds. The three teams that were not seeded will be held over for the next seeding ballot.
4. Each member will list the six best remaining teams, in no particular order. The three teams receiving the most votes will be added to the three teams held over to comprise the next seeding ballot.
5. Steps No. 3 and 4 will be repeated until 25 teams have been seeded.
It starts out looking like our old friend, approval voting. The first two rounds of the vote aren’t ordered. (And why two rounds, anyway?) Then it gets fussily involved – rank six, separate out the top three, rank the next six, lather, rinse, repeat until a top 25 emerges. That’s a lot of wasted effort for something that you’d think could be more efficiently derived by letting a larger voting pool pick eight or ten top teams and let the order sort itself out… at least that’s what I hope this year’s Mumme Poll will evidence.
As far as recusal goes…
— If a committee member or an immediate family member, e.g., spouse, sibling or child, (a) is compensated by a school, (b) provides professional services for a school, or (c) is on the coaching staff or administrative staff at a school or is a football student-athlete at a school, that member will be recused. Such compensation shall include not only direct employment, but also current paid consulting arrangements, deferred compensation (e.g., contract payments continuing after employment has ended) or other benefits.
— The committee will have the option to add other recusals if special circumstances arise.
— A recused member shall not participate in any votes involving the team from which the individual is recused.
— A recused member is permitted to answer only factual questions about the institution from which the member is recused, but shall not be present during any deliberations regarding that team’s selection or seeding.
… it’s defined in purely personal economic terms and applies to teams and not conferences, which I suspect is by deliberate design. It fails to address bias, which may either be a vote of confidence in the raised level at which the committee members operate or a recognition that it would have been extremely difficult to come up with a working guideline to neutralize bias. The solution here, again, would seem to be a larger selection committee voting pool. With only thirteen voters, recusing people from participating in the seeding pool is going to concentrate the key vote in the hands of a few. Especially when blocks of voters can lobby to have the seedings revoted.
It’s not so much that the process looks corrupt as it does Rube Goldbergian. And the more complicated it appears, the less transparent it will seem.