A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

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A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Aaron Goldfein » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:38 am

With Masonic sectional assignments just recently posted, I started thinking about the three tournaments we have in Illinois which consider themselves to be "state championships," and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

The IHSA tournament is considered by the most people in the state to be the most important state championship. This is likewise backed by having the greatest number of participating teams. However its poor game format, relatively bad questions, use of single elimination and things which aren't much better, and regional seeding system undermines its legitimacy.

Likewise, the Masonic Bowl is a popular tournament with over 250 teams participating this year. It has better questions than the IHSA tournament (at least this year) and uses a better format than IHSA, featuring round robins and pool play when possible and little single elimination. However, it still uses a bad game format that runs terribly slowly and continues to use a similar regional seeding system that the IHSA tournament uses which prohibits multiple strong teams from the same region from advancing to the state tournament.

The NAQT State Championship is obviously run on good quizbowl practices, but its small scope, generally regionally specific field, and single site characteristic makes it no more legitimate as a state championship in my mind that large regular season tournaments like the New Trier Varsity, Loyola Ultima, and so on.

In the past, the primary method for members of this board to improve these state championships, especially the IHSA and Masonic ones, was to write letters to the directors of those tournaments asking for changes to be made. At best, the progress with this approach has been slow.

Therefore I propose the the supporters of good quizbowl in Illinois create a new 4th Illinois State Championship which addresses all the issues with the other tournaments and can would therefore be considered the only legitimate state championship. As I see, there two ways to go about this.

The first involves a system like the Masonic Bowl uses wherein a series of sectional tournaments are held on some Saturday. Unlike the Masonic Bowl, in this format several teams would advance from each sectional, possibly depending on field size/strength. Obviously it would use a national style format and good questions.

The second system is similar to the PACE NSC. A directing committee would sanction various good regular season tournaments throughout Illinois as qualifiers. Then, the top percentage of those fields would qualify for the championship tournament at the end of the season, which would most likely be held at some large high school preferably towards the middle of the state.

I don't see why implementing such a championship would be much more difficult that organizing a single regular season tournament (or, if the first option is chosen, several regular season tournaments). Thoughts?
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:12 pm

I'm pretty sure Mike Wong can find a post of mine from 3 or 4 years ago when I advocated exactly what you're asking for; it did not, and will not, ever gain traction.

The difference between a "state championship" and a "regular tournament" is the authority of the tournament's organizers to declare the tournament a "statewide" affair and be believed by players, coaches, and school administration. That's all. The IHSA represents the vast majority of high schools in Illinois in the vast majority of competitive sports/games, so the IHSA Scholastic Bowl has authority to make the State Series a State Championship; the IHSA essentially purchases its authority. The Masons have worked to include hundreds of schools throughout all corners of the state, year after year for longer than this year's seniors have been alive, so they've earned authority through attrition. They have been losing some authority thanks to their asinine game structure (with the unearned bonuses and whatnot), but simple changes in game rules - while it might make it illegitimate in our eyes - isn't enough to destroy the authority that the event possesses for coaches/administrators.

NAQT State does not and will not possess such authority, for reasons you've already detailed. The thing is, those reasons immediately get applied to any possible "4th" state championship. Even if the governing body were the IHSSBCA and entry fees were free for IHSSBCA members, you wouldn't get much more than 20 or 30 teams interested.

Growing a new statewide tournament is hard; the fact that the IHSA and Masonics have essentially done all that work already should be respected. It is far easier to work with them, making gradual changes toward progress while respecting their authority and ability to reach teams, than to start from scratch. And we have been making great progress; the Masons respect good question quality, as evidenced by their working with Aegis and David Reinstein; the IHSA has been conducive to some changes, and as a result the IHSA bonus format is well on its way to meshing with the national bonus format. Patience is necessary, and all in good time, it will be rewarded.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by cornfused » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:19 pm

===NOTE: written before Brad's post was visible===

I'd express my thoughts on this with this XKCD comic, but it won't be visible until this SOPA protest is over.


But basically, I think that creating a fourth state championship isn't the right way to resolve a problem that is basically "there are too many state tournaments". When you say that NAQT State is regionally-specific, I'm not sure what you mean - the good out-of-area teams are usually there, aren't they? I remember playing Carbondale as a senior. I think the regional specificity might just be a combination of a) better teams have a tendency to self-select for NAQT State and b) the better teams, despite the existence of exceptions, do tend to be overly prevalent in the 50-mile radius around O'Hare Airport* relative to the rest of Illinois.

I think your purpose would be better served by arguing for a larger field at NAQT State and having it hosted at, I don't know, Lockport. Or especially for fighting to improve the standards of quizbowl at the Masonic or IHSA series.




*as do, I suppose, fish.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:26 pm

Also -- when UIUC hosted NAQT State a couple years back, they got nine teams. There are some things that central location just won't fix; confusion about timed rounds, bonuses that don't bounceback, negs, etc. will prevent NAQT State from ever gaining authority as a State Championship thanks to never getting the hundreds of "we'll play our conference schedule, Masonics, and IHSA Regionals, but that's all " teams that the Masons/IHSA get. All the more reason to focus our efforts on improving those two tournaments.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by cornfused » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:39 pm

Countersuggestion.

I'm just spitballing here, but hear me out:


The IHSA (institutional legitimacy, sheer number of participating schools), Masonic (cash prizes, teams being sponsored by outside organizations, giant traveling trophy), and NAQT (support of/connection to national organization) state tourneys all have major selling points to them that are completely independent of question quality. So I'd argue in favor of keeping all three tournaments while fixing some problems:

1) IHSA question quality should improve, as should some ways its distribution.
2) IHSA bonuses should go part-at-a-time, even if Masonic bonuses don't necessarily do so. This is because good part-at-a-time bonuses are inherently easier to write than good all-questions-then-all-answers bonuses.
3) IHSA Regionals should go to a double-elimination format or something that doesn't kick out Deveau/St. I's claim to be a top-32 team because they lost to a totally decent Niles West team. Yes, you should have to win. But one loss shouldn't kill your chances two levels before the state championships even begin.
4) Masonic should return to sourcing its questions from a good writer/company. Maybe, if HSAPQ wants to break in to the Illinois market, this would be the place to do it. This could be an opportunity for a VHSL-style set: slightly stranger format does not necessarily mean worse questions.
5) Masonic should reinstate the 15-sectionals-plus-wildcard format from 2006-07 and seed its single-elimination state tournament by team strength, not team location.
6) NAQT should continue to welcome all comers at State, but [receive IHSSBCA support? ... or? ] do whatever it needs to do in order to grow the field to 24 or 32 or something.


If we could achieve those six proposals, we'd have three different state tourneys, all of good quality, all of value - a sort of Triple Crown. IHSA would be a three-tier tourney where you have to win your sectional to get 2nd in state, Masonic would be a two-tier tourney where only the top sectional runner-up advances, and NAQT would be a one-tier tourney where the best teams finish at the top in order. IHSA would have 24-question matches. Masonic would have a slightly quirkier format. NAQT would be timed and have shorter questions, plus powers and negs.

There's nothing WRONG with this, I think - having formats and distributions out there other than mACF. And it might be fun to see a Triple Crown-style situation, with NAQT in February, IHSA in March, and Masonic in early April; and then nationals would happen in May and June.


The other thing I'd note is that 1) is happening, if gradually. As is 6). There's nothing to stop 4) from happening in any given year, and I really do think that we'll see 2) in the next five to ten years. And 3) and 5)? Who knows, that'll be tough.


I'm not going to say that all is well, but I really do think there's cause for both pride at the current situation relative to the past and optimism about the future.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Aaron Goldfein » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:11 pm

cornfused wrote: 1) IHSA question quality should improve, as should some ways its distribution.
Yes, and I do see this happening. I still think we'll be stuck with math/comp math for quite some years, but at least it might become "good" comp math (a la NAQT).
cornfused wrote: 2) IHSA bonuses should go part-at-a-time, even if Masonic bonuses don't necessarily do so. This is because good part-at-a-time bonuses are inherently easier to write than good all-questions-then-all-answers bonuses.
Since Masonic tends to just do whatever IHSA does, I would guess that if IHSA adopted part-by-part bonuses, Masonic would do so in the same year. They might still keep their separate "tossup" and "teamwork" sections, but at least I'm guessing they would go part-by-part.
cornfused wrote: 3) IHSA Regionals should go to a double-elimination format or something that doesn't kick out Deveau/St. I's claim to be a top-32 team because they lost to a totally decent Niles West team. Yes, you should have to win. But one loss shouldn't kill your chances two levels before the state championships even begin.
Having played on that very Niles West team (which, by the way holds a sort of legendary status in the Niles West quizbowl program), even I will admit that we did not deserve to advance over St. Ignatius. However, the solution would not have been a round robin, as NW would have still won given the single upset of Deveau. A better solution would just be some sort of round robin followed by multiple teams advancing.
cornfused wrote: 4) Masonic should return to sourcing its questions from a good writer/company. Maybe, if HSAPQ wants to break in to the Illinois market, this would be the place to do it. This could be an opportunity for a VHSL-style set: slightly stranger format does not necessarily mean worse questions.
This happened. David Reinstein is writing this year's Masonic Bowl.
cornfused wrote: 5) Masonic should reinstate the 15-sectionals-plus-wildcard format from 2006-07 and seed its single-elimination state tournament by team strength, not team location.
Even Masonic no longer uses single elimination for its state tournament. It uses a round robin for the AA, and a bracketed round robin followed by single elimination for the top 4 teams in A.
cornfused wrote:6) NAQT should continue to welcome all comers at State, but [receive IHSSBCA support? ... or? ] do whatever it needs to do in order to grow the field to 24 or 32 or something.
This is where I disagree. The reason NAQT is not a legitimate state championship in my mind is because it has no qualification procedure. Generally, it seems nearby teams treat it as just another Saturday tournament. IHSA state, Masonic state, NSC, HSNCT, (and I guess NAC...), and so on all have a greater appeal and greater claim to being championships because they have qualification procedures. In fact, the NAC may benefit from this the most. When teams perform well and they get Chip's letter in the mail inviting them to the "National Academic Championship!" they feel like they've accomplished a lot. The 4th championship should do the same thing, except then trick downstate teams by using national format and good questions.

There is no doubt on my mind that quizbowl has been improving in Illinois and that it will continue to do so. And too, when I look at other areas I see previously bad tournaments which improved (VHSL most prominently jumps to mind). However, I also see bad tournaments which stayed bad, and were instead supplanted by better tournaments (NAC's demise, for example). What I'm saying, essentially, is that we should consider both options
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:15 pm

(I started writing this after Brad posted. I apologize that it's already a little dated by the standards of this discussion. I think the issues raised by this discussion are important issues, so I am glad it is happening.)

In addition to what Brad has already said, I have to ask why it is so important to have a state championship. Let's say that something like that was in place this year, with over 100 teams participating and a championship that came down to Auburn vs. IMSA. What would be the point?

If the point is to figure out who the best team in Illinois is, then we already have lots of good tournaments, and it would be silly to think that the result of one match would override the results of an entire season. Carbondale, for example, is capable of beating anybody on any given day--if they won the tournament, would that make them the best team in Illinois?

If the point is to set an example of how things should be, then we already have pyramidal questions of varying quality at Kickoffs/Turnabouts, NAQT State, Masonic, and IHSA, and the amount of computational math is low by historical standards at all of them as well (at most 1/1 at Kickoffs/Turnabouts, noneat most 0/1 at NAQT State, only in team questions (which are similar to bonus questions except they are not bonuses) at Masonics, and reduced for this year at IHSA). The fact that question quality is uneven at IHSA is an issue that only impacts the IHSA tournament--nobody decides to use sets that have a few bad questions thrown in because that's what the IHSA does. Furthermore, it is clear at this point that invitationals are not waiting to follow the IHSA's lead when it comes to computation and drivers ed, since a huge number of invitationals have already gotten rid of those things even though IHSA still has them. There is no reason to set an example regarding regional placement and state qualification, since that's not an issue with invitationals and it's one of the issues on which the IHSA will never change.

I appreciate the sentiment that exists in the original post. It is frustrating to have three state championships, each of which essentially has an asterisk. (Hopefully Roger Maris references are not lost on today's youth.) I wish I had a solution to that problem. All I've got is what Brad already said--the existing state tournaments will continue to gradually get better, and that may be the best we can do about state tournaments. We should keep encouraging them to get better. (The issue with NAQT State is different than the issue with Masonic and IHSA, since that's just a problem of getting more teams to register.)

I think that the central ways to make improvements in Illinois Quizbowl/Scholastic Bowl at this point are to encourage more teams to make more appearances at good tournaments (including NAQT State) and to get more tournaments and conferences to use good questions. We are fortunate to be in a position where the biggest work is to strengthen trends that are already underway.
Last edited by Deviant Insider on Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by jonah » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:16 pm

Aaron Goldfein wrote:
cornfused wrote:2) IHSA bonuses should go part-at-a-time, even if Masonic bonuses don't necessarily do so. This is because good part-at-a-time bonuses are inherently easier to write than good all-questions-then-all-answers bonuses.
Since Masonic tends to just do whatever IHSA does, I would guess that if IHSA adopted part-by-part bonuses, Masonic would do so in the same year. They might still keep their separate "tossup" and "teamwork" sections, but at least I'm guessing they would go part-by-part.
What? No they don't. In fact, one of the major reasons behind the Masonic format change, I am told, is to be different from IHSA.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:17 pm

Aaron Goldfein wrote:The reason NAQT is not a legitimate state championship in my mind is because it has no qualification procedure. Generally, it seems nearby teams treat it as just another Saturday tournament. IHSA state, Masonic state, NSC, HSNCT, (and I guess NAC...), and so on all have a greater appeal and greater claim to being championships because they have qualification procedures.
For the record, we want our state championships to be open to everyone, and eventually to have much larger numbers of teams playing.

A qualification-based tournament is also a great idea, but could easily exist in parallel to the existing NAQT Illinois qualifier (like what TQBA is doing in Texas this year).
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Aaron Goldfein » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:39 pm

jonah wrote:
Aaron Goldfein wrote:
cornfused wrote:2) IHSA bonuses should go part-at-a-time, even if Masonic bonuses don't necessarily do so. This is because good part-at-a-time bonuses are inherently easier to write than good all-questions-then-all-answers bonuses.
Since Masonic tends to just do whatever IHSA does, I would guess that if IHSA adopted part-by-part bonuses, Masonic would do so in the same year. They might still keep their separate "tossup" and "teamwork" sections, but at least I'm guessing they would go part-by-part.
What? No they don't. In fact, one of the major reasons behind the Masonic format change, I am told, is to be different from IHSA.
In general, the Masonic format is based off of the IHSA format, with a few alterations made here and there. I remember one year when I was at the Masonic Bowl when the tournament director asked everyone if they had any suggestions for next year. One student asked that they modify the distribution [to include more auto questions], and the tournament director claimed they couldn't do that because "they have to go with the distribution that's given to them [presumably, by the IHSA]." I also recall that in the past, the Masonic Bowl website had a section claiming that it used IHSA rules with "permissible modifications." I guess going away from tossup-bonus made it no longer permissible, but nevertheless, the spirit of Masonic is based on IHSA.

To address the point about the value of a state championship, I suppose I never really considered it. In so many places in the state (and beyond), the single end of season tournament is what "matters." Everything else is just a build up to that. But no, if Carbondale won such a tournament they wouldn't necessarily be the best team in the state, but they would be legitimate state champions. I feel this goes back to the example of, when teams show up to a quizbowl tournament, instead of playing games everyone simply votes on who the best team in attendance is. The winner of the vote is then declared the tournament champion. At this point of time, with no legitimate state championship, we are forced to simply vote on who the state champion is, rather than playing quizbowl to decide. Also, teams improve throughout the year, and I am of the opinion that the best team for the year should be the one who is the best at the end (that is, the team that has studied, learned, organized, etc.) rather than the team who was, on average, the best throughout the year.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by jonah » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:17 pm

Aaron Goldfein wrote:
jonah wrote:
Aaron Goldfein wrote:
cornfused wrote:2) IHSA bonuses should go part-at-a-time, even if Masonic bonuses don't necessarily do so. This is because good part-at-a-time bonuses are inherently easier to write than good all-questions-then-all-answers bonuses.
Since Masonic tends to just do whatever IHSA does, I would guess that if IHSA adopted part-by-part bonuses, Masonic would do so in the same year. They might still keep their separate "tossup" and "teamwork" sections, but at least I'm guessing they would go part-by-part.
What? No they don't. In fact, one of the major reasons behind the Masonic format change, I am told, is to be different from IHSA.
In general, the Masonic format is based off of the IHSA format, with a few alterations made here and there. I remember one year when I was at the Masonic Bowl when the tournament director asked everyone if they had any suggestions for next year. One student asked that they modify the distribution [to include more auto questions], and the tournament director claimed they couldn't do that because "they have to go with the distribution that's given to them [presumably, by the IHSA]." I also recall that in the past, the Masonic Bowl website had a section claiming that it used IHSA rules with "permissible modifications." I guess going away from tossup-bonus made it no longer permissible, but nevertheless, the spirit of Masonic is based on IHSA.
This was once true, but it hasn't been true in a few years. It sounds to me like the "given to them" the tournament director you heard from was talking about "from the Masonic Bowl committee", that is, that they cannot change the questions onsite. Keep in mind that the Masons running the committee know almost nothing about scholastic bowl/quizbowl, let alone the ones running individual sectionals. As you acknowledged, the "permissible modifications" wording is gone; that referred to things like their differing rules about dress code and needing (or not) 5 players to start a match, which are examples laid out in the IHSA rules (or Terms & Conditions—I don't remember) of rules that individual tournaments might change. The current Masonic format bears almost no relation to IHSA format or any other quizbowl format, other than the Richards format on which it is loosely based.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Dominator » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:06 pm

I think this talk of "illegitimate" State Championships is absurd. Yes, all of the tournaments could be made better, but no one should feel the slightest bit illegitimate or ashamed to win one of them. I cannot think of a team in recent memory who won any state championship who absolutely did not deserve it. Does IMSA's winning IHSA State last year mean we were the best team in Illinois? Absolutely not; we weren't. However, we were good enough that we could beat anyone in the state, and on that day, we did. I am very proud of that Championship, and we earned it.

I mean, compare this to NFL football. I don't think I've ever heard people complain about the Super Bowl crowning an illegitimate champion even though that's single elimination the whole way. To win a Super Bowl, you don't have to be the best team, you just have to be pretty darn good and play your :capybara: off (a recent Wisconsin-based team comes to mind).
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Dominator » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:27 pm

By the way, I do like the idea of making the NAQT State Championship based on some sort of qualification. Since the IHSSBCA oversees more NAQT tournaments than anyone else in Illinois, maybe it can take a leadership role.

Also, I think we run the risk of flooding the market with too many state championships. It becomes really hard to communicate with non-quizbowlers about our activity if we crown six different state champions in one year in a two-class activity. We want newsmedia and school administration to be able to appreciate our event, and I think this suggestion makes quizbowl less generally relatable.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by tintinnabulation » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:59 pm

Going back to the "IHSA has huge numbers, etc." thing: the only reason my school does any sort of state championship (let's not talk about Masonic now--we all know everybody does it for the money) is because it's IHSA. Unless there's some way you can force all teams to join this hypothetical new championship or the NAQT championship, there's no way that some perfectly deserving *ahem*southern*ahem* teams such as my own can convince their coaches and teammates to go play some good competition and good questions. The best bet for the greatest amount of Illinois teams (and, in my opinion, the most doable option) is to try to improve the IHSA. Good things have been done for the format this year...the only major thing left to do is get rid of the more ridiculous miscellaneous categories and the language arts questions that take up valuable literature space. And, you know, fix the way they do qualifiers. Masonic (I lied, let's talk about it now) is improving by hiring David Reinstein and may eventually get rid of their ridiculous quarters format, so who knows? Maybe the future for Illinois is looking up more than everybody thinks it is is.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:00 pm

Masonic and IHSA have sucked for a long time. They still suck, but they suck less.

Seriously, bring the NAQT tournament back down here. Springfield or Bloomington are more than capable of hosting, and the drive is fairly simple (55/155/72 for the former, 55/74/39/Hwy 51 for the latter). The teams that want to come will come. I'd be willing to bet a significant amount of money that you'd get more than NINE teams. Also, Brad, 2008 isn't a couple of years ago, and in terms of the Illinois circuit, it's a LONG time.

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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by No Electricity Required » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:32 pm

dtaylor4 wrote: Seriously, bring the NAQT tournament back down here. Springfield or Bloomington are more than capable of hosting, and the drive is fairly simple (55/155/72 for the former, 55/74/39/Hwy 51 for the latter). The teams that want to come will come. I'd be willing to bet a significant amount of money that you'd get more than NINE teams. Also, Brad, 2008 isn't a couple of years ago, and in terms of the Illinois circuit, it's a LONG time.
I agree that moving NAQT state south to something like Springfield/Bloomington would be one of the best things to get more people playing it. If we want it to be a good third state championship (which I think would be good), then getting more teams from the central to southern portions of the state needs to happen (right now it's just Greenville and Carbondale). Looking at the field for that tournament, I imagine that most, if not all, of the teams already signed up would still attend; in addition, teams like mine, Springfield, Bloomington, PORTA, Centennial, Glenwood, etc. would almost certainly show up. This could potentially add 10+ teams to the tournament. It wouldn't be close to participation IHSA or Masonics, but it would be closer to looking like something that coaches can see as a "state championship."
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by MLaudermith » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:07 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:Seriously, bring the NAQT tournament back down here. Springfield or Bloomington are more than capable of hosting, and the drive is fairly simple (55/155/72 for the former, 55/74/39/Hwy 51 for the latter). The teams that want to come will come.
I'm all for seeing greater participation in NAQT State. I'm hoping to get 24 teams this year, but that isn't assured yet. If a central IL school wants to host the tournament in 2013, I wouldn't bid against them.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by David Riley » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:11 pm

Donald has a point. When I used to host NAQT State, the only teams remotely interested in NAQT questions for the most part were north of the Illinois Mason-Dixon line ( :grin: ). But we have come a long way; as Donald points out, more and more teams from central and southern Illinois have embraced good quizbowl and NAQT into the bargain.

Now, in case it wasn't implied in several of the above posts, NAQT State has NEVER been nor claimed to be a regional championship. No doubt at the end of the year, many people have already shot their travel budgets and can't afford to attend, so maybe multiple sites a la Kickoffs might be worth considering.

And to echo several of the above posts, we have grown tremendously. If you had been around when I began to coach (1993), you'd be surprised how far we've come! One reason for that is former players such as you, Donald, Jonah Greenthal, Matt Laird, and Mike Laudermith staying involved after high school graduation. Let's hope this trend continues!
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:40 pm

I know Coughlan lurks, I don't know about Adkins. If either were willing to bid, I'd be more than willing to TD. I'm going to be severely limiting my travels next year, but would make an exception in this case.

Riley, take your Mason-Dixon line and shove it. You northern folk scoff at driving 2-3 hours for a tournament, time to spread the travel a bit more evenly.

EDIT: Typing on a phone is hard.

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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by David Riley » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:13 pm

Now hey, in all fairness, I always put the Mason-Dixon line at I-72, not I-80 like most of us northern folk. :grin:
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:44 pm

It doesn't sound like a new championship is going to happen. The people who would have to be excited about it, including me, aren't excited about it. If we are able to expand NAQT State, that might be the same thing anyways. (To clarify--If somebody starts a good tournament, IHSSBCA as an organization and I personally will help get the word out and will certainly not stand in the way.)

IHSSBCA is having its annual open meeting on February 12 at UIUC, and everybody is invited. I was already planning on putting several Kickoff/Turnabout policies on the agenda, and after reading this discussion I think it is good to also talk about the three state tournaments that have been the focus of this thread.

After seeing Coach Laudermith's comment upthread, I think it's accurate to say that this community has a fair amount of control over NAQT State. If that grows to hundreds of teams starting at a few sites over the next few years, of course that would be awesome. There aren't enough rounds in the set to handle that, but I'm pretty sure something could be worked out.

As to IHSA and Masonics, it's important to keep in mind that progress with them is very unpredictable. At this time a year ago, I had absolutely no idea that both tournaments would make significant improvements for this year. I have no idea whether those improvements are as good as it gets or one step of many, even though key decisions will be made in the next four months and I have several inside tracks. I have seen some things recently that are encouraging. One of the reasons that people like me and Riley are patient, for better or for worse, is that we can remember when every single question was bad and nobody cared what students or coaches thought--the improvement that has already occurred is obvious to us. If nobody else does it, I will start threads when those tournaments are happening so we can talk about where they are now and what should be at the top of the agenda--what would it take to get to the point where those tournaments don't leave us asking for more.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by mrgsmath » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:34 pm

I know I am a little late to the thread, but it should be noted that a brief review of tournaments in and around Springfield would show that 56 Schools, not teams but individual schools, participated in meets run on question sets that would be deemed acceptable by most people reading these this thread. I did not even count Macomb, not because of the quality, which was great, but due to the possiblity that some of the teams may not have been fully prepared for the experience. Otherwise the numbers would be higher. This would indicate that teams are not as uninformed or resistant to the idea as many would think. I would suggest that :
1) Some do not see the need for another State series on a third format that many are not all that sold on.
2) Entry into both the Masonic and IHSA is free, so why pay to enter a third one.
3) Without any real qualifing process it seems that the top teams are self ordained and therefore why bother to enter. With a playoff format such as both IHSA and Masonic, the possibility of advance from one level to another is sometimes a good attraction. Teams that qualifiy for State can at least have some bragging rights for making it there, where as the NAQT State meet lacks such a reward.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:43 pm

Your third note there is important - one thing I only somewhat understood as a player, but now more fully realize as an assistant coach, is how powerful phrases like "regional champion" or "IHSA Sectional champion" are to administrators because you don't have to explain a single thing about quizbowl to get the point across.

One of the important sticking points in a hypothetical "good quizbowl" third state championship would be not using any sort of geographical consideration. Unfortunately, it's hard to reconcile this benefit with the mutually exclusive benefit of saying "we're the best team in our region," and that's gonna be a hurdle for any third state championship.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:12 pm

Wait, back the **** up. Inherent unfairness is a good thing? I can see using it to crown a "small school" state champ, but come on.

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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:29 pm

Why couldn't a good championship have regional qualifiers and champions?
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:33 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:Wait, back the **** up. Inherent unfairness is a good thing? I can see using it to crown a "small school" state champ, but come on.
Using geographic lines to determine sections to determine who advances to compete in a tournament is bad. That's why I don't want to do that in any hypothetical good quizbowl third state championship.

One side-effect of this bad thing, however, is a concept that is easily expressible to school administrators -- we won Sectionals, ergo we're the best team in our neck of the woods. If you're telling this to an AD, they know exactly what "IHSA Sectional champ" means as a general rule, and they also probably have a good idea of how impressive that is based on other schools that they can assume you competed against. Example - whoever wins the Loyola/Latin/New Trier/etc. sectional of death this year will have a plaque to show to their principal and AD, who will immediately realize "our Scholastic Bowl team beat (pick three) noted intelligent people Loyola/New Trier/Latin/etc.!" and be summarily and appropriately impressed for a few seconds.

It would be wonderful if this hypothetical championship were able to recognize such accomplishments; the geographical tiers of advancement is not a good way of doing it. As Matt says above, there's no reason we can't have Regional/Sectional titles as currently done AND also let everyone/more than just regional champs/something register for the State Championship, so that's one idea. Another idea--we play some standard tournament -seed 'em, pool play 'em, rebracket 'em, more pool play, ACF Finals, go home - BUT we also, prior to the tournament, label the teams based on 4 geographic regions (Chicago, Northern, Central, Southern) that have NOTHING to do with the seeding/pools/etc. At the awards ceremony, there are trophies for "BEST TEAM IN REGION (pick one of four)," and geographic recognition is preserved without having an effect on the fairness of the tourney.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by tintinnabulation » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:21 pm

Bone seeker wrote:One side-effect of this bad thing, however, is a concept that is easily expressible to school administrators -- we won Sectionals, ergo we're the best team in our neck of the woods. If you're telling this to an AD, they know exactly what "IHSA Sectional champ" means as a general rule, and they also probably have a good idea of how impressive that is based on other schools that they can assume you competed against. Example - whoever wins the Loyola/Latin/New Trier/etc. sectional of death this year will have a plaque to show to their principal and AD, who will immediately realize "our Scholastic Bowl team beat (pick three) noted intelligent people Loyola/New Trier/Latin/etc.!" and be summarily and appropriately impressed for a few seconds.

Wait, so you're telling me that your administrator is aware of the conditions in the sectional and how hard out would be to make it out? Or am I missing the point?

EDIT: typo
Last edited by tintinnabulation on Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:53 pm

tintinnabulation wrote:
Bone seeker wrote:One side-effect of this bad thing, however, is a concept that is easily expressible to school administrators -- we won Sectionals, ergo we're the best team in our neck of the woods. If you're telling this to an AD, they know exactly what "IHSA Sectional champ" means as a general rule, and they also probably have a good idea of how impressive that is based on other schools that they can assume you competed against. Example - whoever wins the Loyola/Latin/New Trier/etc. sectional of death this year will have a plaque to show to their principal and AD, who will immediately realize "our Scholastic Bowl team beat (pick three) noted intelligent people Loyola/New Trier/Latin/etc.!" and be summarily and appropriately impressed for a few seconds.

Wait, so you're telling me that your administrator is aware of the conditions in the sectional and how hard out would be to make it out? Or m I missing the point?
Kind of--they wouldn't necessarily know that Loyola, Latin, and New Trier are all top 10 in the most recent IHSSBCA Members Poll or top 100 in the Frankings, but they would know that Loyola, Latin, and New Trier are all really good schools, and are, therefore, probably really good at "winning Scholastic Bowls."

Another example. Winnebago and Byron have a whole slew of rivalries, one of them being in general school quality--when I was in high school, our principal actually went to some of our games and our AD didn't, but both of them knew that a Scholastic Bowl sectional title meant you were smarter than Byron that year and recognized that that was a notable thing.

It doesn't have to be the North Shore sectional of death; any AD or principal loves to see an IHSA Sectional plaque in the halls, no matter the sport; make it Scholastic Bowl and you get some teachers interested too, I'm sure, seeing their work partially pay off.
Brad Fischer
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by David Riley » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:59 pm

Mark, I disagree with your statement that "top teams are self-ordained". Teams that work toward becoming one of the top teams are eventually recognized by the community at large (few people had heard of Lisle a few years ago, and Keith Country Day established themselves pretty quickly).

I'll admit there were TD's who often seeded on reputation, and this may still go on, but to a much lesser extent than previously.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:43 pm

My "self ordained" was intended to refer to the process of entering the meet not an attitude of the teams or schools themselves. While IHSA and Masonic does require you to enter the preliminary rounds, there is a well defined process for advancement to the State Finals that seems lacking in the NAQT State Championship. With the NAQT the Qualification for advancement is focused on the desire to enter with some presumed process for weeding out weaker teams if the limit is reached.
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Re: A Hypothetical Illinois State Championship

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:11 am

Since I am fighting a head cold this may only make since to me. But what if the structure ran counter to the present system. Start with 16 District Qualifier tournaments with the winner gaining entrance to the State Championship. The Next tier would be 8 Regional Qualifiers where 2 District feed into each and again one team, excluding Regional winners, would advance. 2 regionals would then feed 4 Sectionals with the same set up and 4 advancers. Finally 2 Super Sectionals would be formed out of 2 Sectionals with the top two from each advancing. This would allow 32 teams to compete in the State Finals and every team would have 4 shots at qualifying. Existing Tournaments would apply to be a qualifying site at any or all levels so the disruption to the normal tournament structure would not change and might even increase attendance. With certain criteria for hosting being put in place, it might also cause some existing meets to change to become a qualifier.
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