How Does This Work?
The IM.com Director & Staff Poll is similar to that of a college football or basketball Associated Press (AP) poll which many of you may be familiar with. It consists of rankings for 10 bands in each ISSMA class decided upon by a panel of 10 Total Voting Members (read below for details on who comprises these votes).
This poll should be used as a guide for any marching band fan, parent, alumni, staff, or member to utilize while enjoying a performance during the season. This poll is not meant to be strictly competitive, nor is it meant to influence adjudication panels at a particular contest.
In other words, it is meant to be a celebration for those groups who display a consistent high level of performance, and which deserve to be recognized on a weekly basis and throughout the course of an entire season based on their body of work as a whole.
The Director & Staff Poll is never meant to "pick" or "choose" State Finalists or who is even most worthy of advancing. We obviously are very lucky to have some of the finest marching bands in the country in our state. And by comparing it to strictly to results or to who advances and who doesn't would be contradictory to the philosophy of why we do this. Additionally, it would negate the fact that there are a significantly high number of groups competing that are all deserving of recognition above and beyond the core "40" State Finalists.
But most importantly, it is meant to be FUN and to add excitement to the Indiana Marching activity!
Who votes in the poll each week?
6 Staff Members + 16 Active Band Directors*
*The 16 directors are comprised of 4 from each ISSMA Class: A, B, C, and D, respectively. The directors who are already an active part of the IM.com Staff are not included in this count. Directors vote for their class only, totaling 40% of the total vote in each class (4 of 10 total voters).
*Directors are queried prior to the season for their participation in the polls. They all agree to remain anonymous for the integrity of the process, and also agree to vote under a rule that disallows the vote for their own band to be higher than any other voter on the panel. For example, if they place their own band as #5 on their ballot, but the highest any other panel member has that group is at slot #7, then their vote shall slide down 2 placements, while the other groups will move up one slot each. This is to ensure that director bias does not affect the outcome of the vote.
How are the rankings determined?
Each voting member submits his/her top 15 bands. The first place band receives 15 votes, the second place band receives 14 votes, the third place band receives 13 votes, and so on and so forth. Voting for 15 bands ensures proper representation of groups otherwise not listed within the Top 10 of the rankings, yet outstanding enough to still be recognized.
What are some factors the panel considers when ranking a band?
- Weekly video reviews
- Contest scores and results
- Regarding the above: Competency/experience of listed adjudication panel (if available)
- Consideration of scheduling
- Head-to-head, particularly vs. other ranked bands
- Recent performance trends: i.e. are we seeing continual improvement? leveling off? etc.
- Show concepts, also including selections and arrangements within a show
- Potential of a show musically, visually, and the effectiveness of each
- Difficulty weighted vs. execution
Other aesthetic considerations are taken into account as needed. Each voter may have additional methodology to their vote selections that are not included in the list above. But those listed above are a general rule of thumb and stressed upon each and every voting member, including directors.
What happens during the actual voting process?
All 10 vote submissions are combined and calculated accordingly to produce rankings for the top 10 bands in each class. First place votes are shown in red between parentheses, and a rank including a "P" signifies a "Perfect" vote count, or in other words, that band received every first place vote from our panel. All remaining votes are also given recognition beneath each poll as "Others Receiving Votes". Each week the staff will vote after the competitions conclude, allowing time on Sunday and Monday to review any performance videos as needed (directors are given access to review these as well). A new official poll will be issued every Tuesday morning with consideration given to the above mentioned.
What happens in the case of a tie?
Any ties which result will remain a tie unless the particular tie is for first place. In this case, the unit which has more first place votes overall will be ranked first. Generally, the likelihood of a top spot tie is minimal, however, if a circumstance such as this occurs and the number of first place votes does not break the tie (i.e. 5, 5, or 4, 4, 2), then the rankings from past weeks will be taken into consideration on order starting from the most recent prior poll release, moving along to head-to-head competition, and finally last years final ranking on the Poll will be used if all of the above do not break the tie. Any rule changes in regards to the above procedures may be made by a general consensus agreed upon by the voting panel at any time. Keep updated with this page for any changes to this information.
Why are there more bands from one Regional than another?
It is especially important to realize the bands selected for the poll will not always result in even Regional distribution. The poll represents the top 10 overall strongest groups within the state. Since Regional lineups vary each season, it is impossible to choose "5 and 5" from the North and South. The same is true for Semi-State. Also, we will modify the poll format slightly for the Semi-State weekend, and further information on this will be available when that specific poll is released.
What gives!? Why is my band never ranked?
While we will attempt to include as many bands as possible in our polls, please understand if we do not include a particular group or performing unit as you may feel should be given recognition. These polls are determined by an entire voting panel, including staff, directors, and other individuals who have decades of experience being involved with the marching activity. This is not unlike an adjudication panel at a particular contest. We also understand that not everybody will agree with our polls, so we do encourage you to express your opinions in a positive manner each week during our poll release sessions, as well as within our Community. Thank you for always bringing constructive and positive participation to IM.com!
How accurate are these polls anyway?
Taking into consideration all previous seasons dating to 2001 when the poll first debuted (The poll did not exist during the first few years of our site's existence), the poll averages out to have just above a 90% cumulative accuracy rating if utilizing results across ALL weeks and applicable events.