RQS Explained

If we’ve reached a certain point in the NCAA season, you might have started to wonder what the mother of crap RQS is, so here you go.

RQS stands for Regional Qualifying Score. This score determines which 36 teams advance to the regional championships, which is the first elimination round in the NCAA gymnastics postseason.

The RQS is calculated by taking a team’s top six scores from the season, of which at least three must have been scored on the road, removing the high score, and averaging the remaining five. So yes, of all the 10-13 meets from the regular season, only five actually end up counting while the rest are rendered entirely pointless. Now you know why we need psychiatrists.

For 2018, RQS will officially begin with the rankings on February 26.

Here’s an example of calculating RQS using Oklahoma’s 2016 season.

OKLAHOMA 2016 Home/Away Score
Meet 1  A 196.725
Meet 2  H 197.125
Meet 3  A 197.050
Meet 4  H 197.475
Meet 5  A 197.550
Meet 6  A 197.925
Meet 7  H 197.900
Meet 8  A 197.675
Meet 9  A 197.375
Meet 10  H 198.075
Meet 11  H 197.775
Meet 12  A 197.950
Meet 13  A 198.050

In bold are the six highest scores achieved by Oklahoma during the season. Three of them were scored on the road, so that requirement is fulfilled. (When it’s not, a lower road score must be used in place of one of the higher home scores).

So now, all we have to do is drop the highest score—the 198.075 from meet 10—and average the remaining five bold scores. That leaves Oklahoma with a season RQS of 197.920. This is done for each team, they are ranked, and the top 36 continue their seasons at one of 6 regional championships.

The top 6 teams overall receive a #1 seeding at the various regional championships, the 7-12 teams receive #2 seedings, and the 13-18 teams receive #3 seedings. The remaining teams are assigned to the regional host that is closest geographically—as much as is possible.

For reasons that remain stupid, a snake system is used to place the seeds in the following order (unless hosting conflicts arise).

Regional 1: #1, #12, #13
Regional 2: #2, #11, #14
Regional 3: #3, #10, #15
Regional 4: #4, #9, #16
Regional 5: #5, #8, #17
Regional 6: #6, #7, #18

Because two teams advance from each regional, the #1 seed receives the most difficult draw (having to defeat the #13 team to advance) and the #6 seed receives the easiest draw (having to defeat the #18 team to advance). See above re: psychiatrists.

The ultimate function of RQS is to maintain the status quo. It allows teams that started the season poorly (or had a weird horrendous meet) to drop all their bad scores and maintain a ranking more befitting their quality at the best of times, rewarding peak ability and by effect punishing those teams that were more consistent but had lower ceilings. It also prevents teams with one random giant score—or extremely fictional home scoring—from using those scores to pad their ranking.


Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

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