Accommodating for player needs

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Accommodating for player needs

Postby bmccauley » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:18 am

A few days ago, we got a request for our middle school event about a player that cannot use electronics on the day of our event for religious reasons. As a result, I surveyed other coaches about possible suggestions/accommodations we could make to keep the player in the game and involved without violating their religious rights. I believe, as do most of the coaches I've talked to, that we can find a solution to allow the player to player and experience quiz bowl. It seems like we are either going to have the player use a bell (such as one you would see at a receptionist desk) or have the player essentially "share" a buzzer with a teammate, allowing the player to indicate to a teammate to buzz on his/her behalf.

However, this got me thinking about a few broader questions about this event and the idea of accommodation itself:

(1) What kinds of unique situations regarding religious observances/special needs/etc. have you seen before and how did the event accommodate them? I know I've seen posts about questions on screen for deaf players and things like that, but has anyone encountered other examples of individual or team needs that had you adapt your event or game format?
(2) How do we create a system that is open for opportunity to all without sacrificing the fairness and equality of the game for others, both on their team and beyond?
(3) Has any major organization--NAQT, PACE, etc. set a framework for these types of issues if they would arise at a nationals level event or national-qualifying event?

My thoughts are that we should have these discussions to make sure everyone feels welcome and share experiences so that we can not have different events doing a ton of different things. Likewise, in terms of legality, school events largely need to be ready for accommodating needs and best serving students.

If others don't agree, I'd love to hear why.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby alexdz » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:53 am

In this particular situation, I think the bell seems like a reasonable accommodation. There needs to be a clear policy on perceived ties/"buzzer" races laid out, even if that is simply "at the moderator's sole discretion and non-protestable."

More broadly, I agree that we should look at how we can best accommodate specific needs that aren't addressed currently. Several years ago, I remember getting an inquiry from a coach about a student who had a speech condition that limited his ability to quickly begin answers (more or less, a stutter). She asked whether there was anything we could do to make sure he was not penalized for attempting to begin an answer but not getting it out in time. After speaking with him personally, she wrote back and said that he did not want any kind of accommodation, so we dropped it, but it left me thinking about how we might deal with that situation. After all, not every moderator may be able to tell when someone with a stutter is beginning a substantive answer versus simply muttering or vocalizing non-substantive words.

Your fellow coaches are doing the right thing by trying to come up with a simple, common-sense accommodation to allow this student to participate in quizbowl. It's time for us to codify some reasonable accommodations in the rules so that everyone can have access to the game.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:01 pm

I've seen Orthodox Jews simply say "buzz" instead of pressing a buzzer. It's then up to the moderator to figure out if the verbal "buzz" came before or after another player rang in with a buzzer.

NAQT rules explicitly allow a player to "signal in an appropriate manner" if they cannot use a buzzer (or at least they did the last time I read them, about 7 years ago). In my opinion saying "buzz" is faster than slapping the table and may actually put the player at a bit of an advantage over buzzer-users.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby bmccauley » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:26 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I've seen Orthodox Jews simply say "buzz" instead of pressing a buzzer. It's then up to the moderator to figure out if the verbal "buzz" came before or after another player rang in with a buzzer.

NAQT rules explicitly allow a player to "signal in an appropriate manner" if they cannot use a buzzer (or at least they did the last time I read them, about 7 years ago). In my opinion saying "buzz" is faster than slapping the table and may actually put the player at a bit of an advantage over buzzer-users.


This is one of the reasons we were leaning toward the bell. That would require the same coordination as actually buzzing.

Also, we were planning on adding that the decision is moderator discretion and non-protestable.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:38 pm

bmccauley wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I've seen Orthodox Jews simply say "buzz" instead of pressing a buzzer. It's then up to the moderator to figure out if the verbal "buzz" came before or after another player rang in with a buzzer.

NAQT rules explicitly allow a player to "signal in an appropriate manner" if they cannot use a buzzer (or at least they did the last time I read them, about 7 years ago). In my opinion saying "buzz" is faster than slapping the table and may actually put the player at a bit of an advantage over buzzer-users.


This is one of the reasons we were leaning toward the bell. That would require the same coordination as actually buzzing.

Also, we were planning on adding that the decision is moderator discretion and non-protestable.


You wouldn't be "adding" anything - recognition has always been non-protestable in mainstream quizbowl.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby jonah » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:58 pm

Here is NAQT's relevant rule (currently designated C.4):
If a player objects to using a lockout system because of religious or other reasons, the player and the tournament director may jointly devise an alternate method of signaling for that player. A designated official (who might be the moderator) will be the final judge of which player signaled first. These determinations are not protestable.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby bmccauley » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:20 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
bmccauley wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I've seen Orthodox Jews simply say "buzz" instead of pressing a buzzer. It's then up to the moderator to figure out if the verbal "buzz" came before or after another player rang in with a buzzer.

NAQT rules explicitly allow a player to "signal in an appropriate manner" if they cannot use a buzzer (or at least they did the last time I read them, about 7 years ago). In my opinion saying "buzz" is faster than slapping the table and may actually put the player at a bit of an advantage over buzzer-users.


This is one of the reasons we were leaning toward the bell. That would require the same coordination as actually buzzing.

Also, we were planning on adding that the decision is moderator discretion and non-protestable.


You wouldn't be "adding" anything - recognition has always been non-protestable in mainstream quizbowl.


I'm aware...to clarify, as this is a middle school event, many players and teams are newer...I meant to state it'll be explicitly stated in the brief rules reviewed with teams/coaches as a reference to Alex's point.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby bmccauley » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:21 pm

jonah wrote:Here is NAQT's relevant rule (currently designated C.4):
If a player objects to using a lockout system because of religious or other reasons, the player and the tournament director may jointly devise an alternate method of signaling for that player. A designated official (who might be the moderator) will be the final judge of which player signaled first. These determinations are not protestable.


Thanks, Jonah. I missed this when I re-read the full rules for guidance. I appreciate you posting that so quickly.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby Joshua Rutsky » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:44 pm

This is very interesting to me. I just started a small QB club at my son's elementary/middle school, which is a Jewish Day School. Since basically every event in MS quizbowl in our state is held on Saturday, and since we have several Chabad and Orthodox Jews in the school, we are basically prohibited by school policy from competing as a team from the school--the school does not participate in events on Shabbat. It's basically unreasonable for us to request that the rest of the state make the state events Sunday afternoon events or Friday events for the sake of a single school, so we are limited to trying to find "scrimmage" events to attend or play.

In Alabama, we have a rule that says that we encourage students of all abilities and needs to participate in QB:
4. Special Needs Players: ASCA encourages participation by all students. It is the responsibility of coaches to notify tournament directors in advance of players who have special needs. Provided that said notification is made, the tournament director shall have leeway to make accommodations as he or she deems appropriate to meet the needs of the player in question. The tournament director shall be the arbiter of the necessity and scope of such changes, which may not be protested.


This has resulted in the need to provide Braille worksheets, for example. We also had a student with a stammering issue, and we handled it by telling the coach that it was her responsibility to notify each TD of an event they were attending of the student's issue, and for the TD to then communicate it to readers at that event in order to ensure that a "stall" would not be called due to this problem. We had no complaints or problems with this.
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Re: Accommodating for player needs

Postby Ent » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:44 am

Several years ago, the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) fielded a team for the IHSA playoffs. To accommodate, the questions were displayed on an overhead, and were simultaneously read aloud (the thought being that visual display alone might be a great advantage to the hearing impaired team). As I understand it, this worked, though ISD has not fielded a team in a long time.
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