The logistics of future HSNCTs

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The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:31 am

Will there be a chance for public discussion on this forum re: the final set of question on the participant survey, about future HSNCT arrangements and some of the more radical proposals for changing up the event? I imagine that this question is of importance to many people who either weren't present or weren't in a position to fill out said survey.

Split from the 2014 HSNCT thread. --Mgmt
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Re: 2014 NAQT HSNCT: May 31-June 1, Chicago

Post by Aaron Goldfein » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:40 am

Can anybody report what was asked on the survey? I didn't get a good look at it other than seeing some questions on how the distribution should be nerfed.
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Re: 2014 NAQT HSNCT: May 31-June 1, Chicago

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:41 am

The most interesting thing on the survey, to me, was a question of how to organize HSNCT in future years, with options of "a 200-300 team tournament," "a smaller tournament with 4 super-regional qualifying sites," and "a smaller tournament with 16 regional qualifying sites."

Another question asked about the possibility of expanding the schedule to include prelim games on Friday night; another question then asked opinion of scrimmage games, as the former would infringe upon the latter.

Unlike most other years, this survey didn't include a question asking about preferred host cities, likely because next year's HSNCT site's already been announced.
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Re: 2014 NAQT HSNCT: May 31-June 1, Chicago

Post by jonpin » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:33 am

The "4 super-regionals" and "16 regionals" site models seem like straightforward ideas to settle the problem of a geometrically growing HSNCT, but I don't think they would really work.
(1) Qualifying to HSNCT: Presumably, they would use one of two qualification paths to get to the full HSNCT: either a flat percentage, or a D-value calculation. The former creates issues where strong teams from strong regions would be shut out; the latter means bringing a qualification method that not all college quiz bowl people really like into high school.
(2) Planning for HSNCT: I am working from detailed knowledge of but one high school and loose knowledge of some others, but the process of planning trips at high school tends to be a slow one, laden with bureaucracy in some cases. Our case may be an outlier, but I would imagine that in order for teams to plan a late-May, early-June nationals trip, they probably need to know they're going by late-March, so they can book hotel and airfare.
(3) Questions for Regionals: A regional set would have to be a good 15+ rounds to make sure it can adequately rank the teams on the nationals bubble, but you would still need a nationals set of 20+ rounds anyway. I don't know if NAQT is barely making deadlines, but I'd imagine this would have to replace an IS set.
(4) Paying for Regionals: The "4 super-regionals" model would require most teams to travel and spend 1-2 nights. This means teams would now be traveling for as many as 4 weekend-long competitions (NHBB, NAQT HSRCT, HSNCT, NSC) with some students going to 5 (+ NASAT). My kids generally pay about $400/person for NHBB and HSNCT/NSC. Getting more money for an additional trip is asking a lot.
(5) Going to Regionals: On the other hand, the "many regionals" model would in my opinion drive away a lot of your field. A large portion of the HSNCT field presumably goes, knowing they have no chance to win, and attends as a reward for doing well, wherein they get to meet quizbowlers from across the nation and see an exciting city like Rosemont, IL :grin: . If you tell a good but not championship-caliber team from Georgia "Instead of qualifying for HSNCT, you've qualified for the Tallahassee Regional where you will play... mostly the same teams you've already played all season" and you try to charge them an entry fee as if it were a national tournament, I think they're going to pass.

i think taking the SCT/ICT model and applying it to high schools is not going to work as intended.
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Re: 2014 NAQT HSNCT: May 31-June 1, Chicago

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:10 am

Another idea that would be problematic at best to implement, but is worth throwing out there anyway for brainstorming purposes, is to go to the model that the World Series of Poker Main Event did when their field size started getting too large to manage: split the preliminary rounds and lengthen the tournament by a day (half the field plays their 10 preiim games on Saturday, the other half on Sunday, and then the playoff teams come together for Monday double-elimination playoffs).

Since in many of not all states in the northern U.S., at least, school is still in session at this time of year, this plan would practically require the tournament to be held over Memorial Day weekend so that all teams had the Monday available.

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Re: 2014 NAQT HSNCT: May 31-June 1, Chicago

Post by jonah » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:40 am

in on these shenanigans wrote:Unlike most other years, this survey didn't include a question asking about preferred host cities, likely because next year's HSNCT site's already been announced.
Well, we still have to contract for 2017 and beyond. The question was omitted more because we are at the point where there are very, very few sites that could possibly host the HSNCT, so there's not much point in asking for preferences many of which could never be accommodated.
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Re: 2014 NAQT HSNCT: May 31-June 1, Chicago

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:46 am

in on these shenanigans wrote: "a smaller tournament with 4 super-regional qualifying sites," and "a smaller tournament with 16 regional qualifying sites."
I don't know about other schools, but my alma mater certainly could not pull off all the paperwork required for the board needed for HSNCT in less than two months time. I know of other schools in Canada that have a 3-month before the trip hard deadline on overnight trips. Money was a factor that meant Colonel By, a Morlan top 50 team, couldn't attend HSNCT this year. A two night trip to the New York City area wouldn't help the players and school's budget.

I don't know about NAQT's staffing resources, but this may mean another weekend between SCT/Regionals and ICT/Nationals that regional collegiate staffers have to take off during their academic year.
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Re: 2014 NAQT HSNCT: May 31-June 1, Chicago

Post by jonpin » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:34 pm

Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Another idea that would be problematic at best to implement, but is worth throwing out there anyway for brainstorming purposes, is to go to the model that the World Series of Poker Main Event did when their field size started getting too large to manage: split the preliminary rounds and lengthen the tournament by a day (half the field plays their 10 preiim games on Saturday, the other half on Sunday, and then the playoff teams come together for Monday double-elimination playoffs).

Since in many of not all states in the northern U.S., at least, school is still in session at this time of year, this plan would practically require the tournament to be held over Memorial Day weekend so that all teams had the Monday available.

--Scott
Once the field is split, you don't really need to have so many byes, so that'd mean a whole lot of downtime Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Something similar but not quite this can be accomplished by splitting into "early Saturday" and "late Saturday". These shifts could run 8:30am - 1:30pm and 3:00pm - 8:00pm and each play 10 rounds straight through. You still need to have a large lunch break so that the people reading the questions can eat. That's basically the extent of how much you could do in one day.
Or, just throwing this out there. Flight A runs 9:00am - 2:00pm. Flight B begins at 4:00pm and plays 6 games Saturday night, then reconvenes at 9:00am Sunday morning for the last four. Then there's a lunch break to set the bracket, which begins at 1:00pm and runs straight through the rest of Sunday (ending maybe 6 or 7pm).
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by cchiego » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:03 pm

Listen to Pinyan here. It is an enormous logistical undertaking to have to fly or travel 8+ hours for most schools. I'm sure some schools have the experience and flexibility with admin to do it, but I'm pretty sure most of the field would not. Keep it as one site (or, split it up between sites in the Chicagoland area), but there's definitely a lot more you can do with that one site during a weekend.

Reforming the HSNCT qualification system might also help manage the logistics better. I think a new system (a la Pace's regular, gold, and platinum) of awarding HSNCT bids from tournaments could still reward top teams within isolated regions while helping increase the overall strength of the field. All tournaments qualify say, the top 5%, but better-run ones with more diverse/stronger fields could qualify more.

Whatever new format is decided on needs to have more differentiation between teams in "the middle" of the card system. The top 5-5 teams are very, very different from bottom 5-5 teams and there seemed to be plenty of 5-5 teams statistically similar to 6-4 teams who simply got easier schedules. I don't think a move to a PACE-style schedule of rebracketing would be right (since that has its own issues), but perhaps there could be more rounds for teams in the 5-5/6-5 range to better distinguish between them?
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:23 pm

At some point the field is going to have to stop expanding, yes? The already-mentioned space constraints (you're already down to pretty much the largest hotels around, unless you can get the massive participant insurance policies and such convention spaces require you to have) plus the staff constraints have got to create a hard cap for the field sooner or later.
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by quizbowllee » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:02 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:At some point the field is going to have to stop expanding, yes? The already-mentioned space constraints (you're already down to pretty much the largest hotels around, unless you can get the massive participant insurance policies and such convention spaces require you to have) plus the staff constraints have got to create a hard cap for the field sooner or later.
It's also worth noting, though, that they had to add 15+ standby teams in order to reach 272 this year. We might have hit the supply/demand sweet spot for now.
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:28 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:At some point the field is going to have to stop expanding, yes? The already-mentioned space constraints (you're already down to pretty much the largest hotels around, unless you can get the massive participant insurance policies and such convention spaces require you to have) plus the staff constraints have got to create a hard cap for the field sooner or later.
I heard that NAQT was turning away staffers this year, so staff doesn't seem to be an immediate concern. That being said, regional qualifiers would not only create the aforementioned hurdles for teams, but would add quite a bit of burden on NAQT's writers and stretch the staff pool.

Has NAQT considered making it harder to qualify for HSNCT? There are a lot of teams who qualify through sports leagues and/or on A sets, and then are not prepared for the difficulty or competition. While I realize NAQT is trying to do outreach, these teams just see HSNCT as something they have to do in order to get a team vacation to Chicago, and I don't think that that's particularly helpful or something that NAQT needs to cater to. There's no reason that it can't be harder (i.e. only winner/top 2/top 10%/top 5%) to qualify from A sets, conferences, or TV shows than from normal IS set tournaments.
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by High Dependency Unit » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:27 pm

I also think NAQT should make it harder to qualify for HSNCT, but I think it should be based on the quality of the field at a tournament and the quality of teams in the region in which the tournament is held, rather than the set the tournament uses. Of the two A-set tournaments my team attended this year, three teams that finished outside the top 15% went at least 5-5 at HSNCT, and a different team finished 2nd at SSNCT. Meanwhile teams that get just over 13 ppb on an IS set are able to qualify for and attend nationals.

Also, as someone else mentioned, HSNCT had 256 teams in the field before standby teams were added this year (the same size as last year's field), so it may be that HSNCT does not need further expansion or restricted qualification.
Last edited by High Dependency Unit on Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:46 pm

Keep in mind that if qualification is based on which question set is used, then it creates an incentive for TDs to use an IS set when they maybe should use an A set based on the overall field quality.
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:12 pm

Is there a pressing reason something needs to change? It seems like right now the HSNCT is officially meeting all of its demand, is running a logistically astounding product, and is providing a one-of-a-kind experience for high school teams. There is NOTHING like the HSNCT and I feel like that's a large part of the draw. As others point out, cutting it down to a few relatively large (but probably not even as big as PACE) "regional fields" is far less of an experience than seeing 272 teams cram into a hotel and run through the card system.

I would be curious to know, how large is the list of qualified teams by the end of May? One of my long-held theories is that, as we are expanding the reach of pyramidal quizbowl, teams are going to get better and better (that's pretty indisputable at this point), but as a byproduct of that, it will automatically get more difficult to qualify for nationals even if no rules are changed. There will be fewer and fewer tournaments where teams without much talent will be able to crack the top 15%, and teams in the 4-6/3-7 range will get progressively tougher (assuming HSNCT is maxed out from expanding). NAQT already got rid of the main way that bad teams got to bypass the usual procedure by separating small schools, so I honestly don't think that the qualification procedure needs to be modified anytime soon. I feel like they have successfully laid the groundwork for a method to far surpass anything Chip or anybody else could hope to do, and that right now, the rest of the circuit is in the process of catching up. I have faith that in a decade, an otherwise identical HSNCT will be infinitely more competitive from the 7-3 teams downward.

Lastly, I will shoehorn my own niche issue into this, which is that I don't see how this would be workable for Missouri teams given MSHSAA's strict rules about nationals attendance. Would the tournaments ALL be held after Memorial day, or would they be run earlier, with the national championship final component run after Memorial Day?
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Re: The logistics of future HSNCTs

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:25 pm

I'm definitely still in favor of the one-big-tournament approach--among other things, as Dees notes, it's a unique, awesome experience. As for the field size capping, I'm no card system expert but I'm under the impression that 256, being the highest power of 2 supportable as a field, is probably the ideal number of teams to have, so that might be a good number to shoot for.
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