"Coaches poll" for NCAA sports?

<p>I am trying to understand the significance and importance of a "Coaches Poll" ranking for a div III sport.</p>

<p>Does anyone know how the coaches poll is done and the significance of the resulting ranking?</p>

<p>A certain number of the coaches have a vote. Each coach ranks from 1-25 with teams getting a number of points corresponding to the position in the ranking. The final ranking is based on the total number of points each team has.</p>

<p>If the sport uses playoffs then the rankings have no real importance. It's nice to be ranked though, and it's an indication of probable seeding in the tournament.</p>

<p>So how do the coaches decide the ranking?</p>

<p>And does this mean that the higher a team remains in the rankings over time the more points the team has in the end?</p>

<p>The coaches are supposed to choose based on who they think are the best teams. In theory they would do this objectively. More practically, reputation probably plays a big role, since coaches can't watch every teams' games.</p>

<p>The rankings are only based on that week's votes, so there's no boost over the course of a season apart from reputation.</p>

<p>Depending on the sport, a ranking could be used at the end of the season for an at-large bid to the national/regional tournament. If there is more than one school in a conference ranked, only one gets an auto bid, but another ranked school may also be able to play.</p>

<p>Also, depending on the sport, at some point during the season regional rankings are put out. In the case of softball, the body doing this is NFCA.</p>

<p>at a lot of schools, the coaches don't actually do the poll. Someone in the athletic department does.</p>

<p>it's just supposed to be the best teams "right now"... they come out each season, and generally weekly.</p>