The Tiebreaker Margin (TM) was included starting with the 2012-13 season for Sections that use the QRF for seeding. The main reason we have included TM is to allow Head to Head and other "human" tiebreakers be included when seeding using a mathematical formula, something no other formula has ever done.
After the first season of using the QRF for seeding, Coaches in general were unhappy with certain specific scenarios where Head to Head was completely ignored. The end result is a seeding hybrid compromise that combines math and normal "human" parameters to help make the seeding process as fair as possible.
Here is how it works.
The Section/Sub-section decides when the last date to include Statewide games will be. The following morning, the QRF calculates and puts teams in an order from top to bottom.
Also at that time, the average QRF score for every team in each Class is determined. In football, that average is multiplied by 10% to get the TM for football. All other sports are multiplied by 7%. The reason football is higher is because there are fewer games played by each team, creating the need to make the margin larger.
Starting at the top, the #1 QRF team is compared to the #2 QRF team in that Section. If the two teams are within the TM, the QRF rankings are removed and the Tiebreakers are applied. If they are not within the TM, then the QRF ranking holds and we move down the list.
If a team with a lower QRF wins the tiebreaker, it has the opportunity to continue moving up the seeds if it A) is within the TM of the next team above and B) wins the tiebreaker with that team.
The end result will ALWAYS be that the team directly above another team in the seeds is either A) QRF ahead by more than the TM or B) won the Tiebreaker. The only way there is a 3-way tie is if all 3 teams have identical QRF numbers, a highly unlikely statistical event.
These are the Tiebreakers as agreed to by the MSHSL.
*note - on 3/3/18 the below was cleaned up to match the exact verbiage approved by the MSHSL in August 2017:
  1. The first tiebreaker is Head to Head Competition *
  2. Ranking based on either Conference/Sub-District (C/D) winning percentage OR C/D point total based on the by-laws of the C/D * teams must be in the same C/D
  3. Overall winning percentage
  4. Section winning percentage (if at least 25% of the teams competitions are against section opponents - if not met, #4 is skipped)
    • Football - 2
    • Lacrosse - 3
    • Soccer - 4
    • Baseball/Softball - 5
    • Basketball/Hockey/Volleyball - 6
  5. QRF points
  6. Coin Flip
*Beginning with the 2022-23 season, this Tiebreaker will ALWAYS be applied regardless of the Tiebreaker Margin
  • To be seeded when using QRF, a team must play a minimum of 70% of the allowable number of games for that sport. If not, they are seeded last. If more than one team falls into this category, they will be placed at the bottom, in the order of the QRF scores. The number of contests that must be played, by sport: Football 6; Basketball and Hockey 18; Volleyball 17; Baseball and Softball 14; Soccer 11; Lacrosse 9.
Examples - Tiebreaker Margin was 7.4
8AAA Baseball QRF
Alexandria 152.4
Sauk Rapids-Rice 152.2
Big Lake 146.4
Monticello 136.3
Bemidji 131.9
Brainerd 131.8
St. Michael-Albertville 129.9
St. Cloud Tech 126.3
Rocori 125.3
St. Cloud Apollo 122.5
Moorhead 103.5
Sartell-St. Stephen 82.2

This was an unusually close Section and by far the most complicated to apply the tiebreakers to. We technically had a tie for 1st, tie for 2nd, 4-way tie for 4th and 4-way tie for 7th. Hopefully this is a good example of how the TM rules sort even something this complicated out.

***This scenario was completed prior to the addition of Conference Record as a tiebreaker, and prior to applying H2H results no matter what***


  • Alexandria vs Sauk Rapids-Rice (QRF difference = 0.2)
    • Split Head to Head
    • Alexandria has better Overall Percentage (.700 to .600)
  • Sauk Rapids-Rice vs Big Lake (5.8)
    • Sauk Rapids-Rice won Head to Head
      • Alexandria is #1 Seed
      • Sauk Rapids-Rice is #2 Seed
      • Big Lake is #3 Seed
  • Monticello vs Bemidji (4.4)
    • Did not play Head to Head
    • Bemidji has better Overall Percentage (.611 to .600)
  • Monticello vs Brainerd (4.5)
    • Did not play Head to Head
    • Brainerd has better Overall Percentage (.684 to .600)
  • Bemidji vs Brainerd (0.1)
    • Split Head to Head
    • Brainerd has better Overall Percentage (.684 to .611)
  • Monticello vs St. Michael-Albertville (6.4)
    • Split Head to Head
    • Monticello has better Overall Percentage (.600 to .529)
      • Brainerd is #4 Seed
      • Bemidji is #5 Seed
      • Monticello is #6 Seed
  • St. Michael-Albertville vs St. Cloud Tech (3.6)
    • St. Cloud Tech won Head to Head
  • St. Michael-Albertville vs Rocori (4.6)
    • Did not play Head to Head
    • Rocori has better Overall Percentage (.579 to .529)
  • St. Cloud Tech vs Rocori (1.0)
    • Split Head to Head
    • Rocori has better Overall Percentage (.579 to .474)
  • St. Michael-Albertville vs St. Cloud Apollo (7.4)
    • Did not play Head to Head
    • St. Michael-Albertville has better Overall Percentage (.529 to .444)
      • Rocori is #7 Seed
      • St. Cloud Tech is #8 Seed
      • St. Michael-Albertville is #9 Seed
      • St. Cloud Apollo is #10 Seed
      • Moorhead is #11 Seed
      • Sartell-St. Stephen is #12 Seed

Comparison to team below

1. Alexandria won Overall Percentage
2. Sauk Rapids-Rice won Head to Head
3. Big Lake ahead by 14.6
4. Brainerd won Overall Percentage
5. Bemidji won Overall Percentage
6. Monticello ahead by 11.0
7. Rocori won Overall Percentage
8. St. Cloud Tech won Head to Head
9. St. Michael-Albertville won Overall Percentage
10. St. Cloud Apollo ahead by 19.0
11. Moorhead ahead by 21.3
12. Sartell-St. Stephen  

Of note: Rocori lost a doubleheader to Monticello on the last day of the regular season, moving them down from a 4-5 seed to 7. Rocori subsequently won this Section, eventually losing in the AAA Championship game at Target Field.