NAQT State

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Stained Diviner
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NAQT State

Post by Stained Diviner »

Let's talk about NAQT State. This is the 2nd of 3 in a series.

I think most people agree that the biggest problem with NAQT State is the size of the tournament--it's difficult to consider a tournament to be a state tournament when it draws 24 teams in a state that has over 500 teams in the IHSA tournament, almost 300 teams in Masonics, 82 teams at the Wheaton North Kickoff, etc. The small size of the tournament is generally considered a mystery, since it has been around for several years, has been consistenly well directed, and is recognized by top teams as a legitimate state championship. While it is unrealistic for a single site tournament to compete with IHSA or Masonics, it is realistic for a single site to be more than twice this tournament's current size. As often happens, this is the same date as Math Team Regionals, which are a fairly big deal here in Illinois.

There is a proposal to move this tournament to the Bloomington/Normal area next year which very well may happen. Nobody really knows whether that will help it attract more teams.

This is the only high school tournament in Illinois that uses timed rounds. Because the moderating staff is high quality, this results in more questions per round than the regular 20/20.

This tournament skips the comp math tossups but uses the comp math bonuses, so it is 0/1 comp math.

This tournament includes all the quirks you find in an NAQT IS Set. That includes shorter than average questions, lots of pop culture, not so much fine arts, and a decent number of misc/general knowledge and current events questions.

This thread probably is the place to go for updates during and after the tournament, and nobody should make any comments on individual questions until NAQT gives the OK several months from now. My main purpose in starting this thread is to get people talking about the future of this tournament.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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Re: NAQT State

Post by garciaja »

I saw that the minutes included in the newest Scholastic Visions suggested moving the tournament to a more centralized location. We could host it in Champaign, or perhaps work with UIUC guys to host it on campus, but is this central enough for most? It should be worth noting that none of this is to suggest that we haven't enjoyed having NAQT State at Fenton, who have proven to be great hosts, and wouldn't continue to go there.

I like the idea of perhaps some qualifier tournaments and a discount provided by the IHSSBCA. If Kickoffs and maybe other tournament performances (decided by the IHSSBCA in a fashion similar to PACE-certified tournaments) allowed teams to qualify for NAQT state, there may be a higher turnout and perhaps provide some more legitimacy given to series' like Masonic and IHSA. Of course, there could still be a wildcard application, and other methods to allow more inclusion. And if the IHSSBCA is willing to allow similar pricing as to a Kickoff or Turnabout, perhaps that would help other teams.
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tintinnabulation
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Re: NAQT State

Post by tintinnabulation »

Anything father south is a huge help. The only reason our (self-organized) team couldn't go was the transportation issue. If it was in Bloomington or maybe even Champaign, we might have been able to persuade someone to drive us.
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Re: NAQT State

Post by dtaylor4 »

I have suggested Bloomington as a host because it can pull teams from St. Louis to Springfield to Chicago via 55, Quad Cities to Peoria to Champaign and further east via 74, Rockford via 39, and Carbondale and other southern teams via Hwy 51.

Bloomington can easily host a 24-team tournament, and to my knowledge can easily expand beyond that, barring any major conflicts.

I don't see why we just can't still have the one tournament, and encourage more small schools by advertising the "small school" title. Once teams establish that they will come out in droves to this, then we can talk expansion and qualification.

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Re: NAQT State

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I look at NAQT State sort of differently. Instead of comparing it to the entirety of the districts/sectionals/state series for a whole state, to me, I think it's a lot fairer to compare it to the specific state championship phase of the tournament. In Missouri, MSHSAA state is 8 teams in 4 classes each, so 32 teams total. NAQT State is 36 teams, so pretty similar there. At MSHSAA state, lots of the best teams in the state aren't there, and lots of teams that are very bad are there, and there are some midlevel teams mixed in throughout the classes. NAQT State this year, on the other hand, has basically every single top Missouri team, along with a good number of middling teams, and some bad teams. We have a lot fewer small teams, so we have less representation of the demographics of the state. We do have an infinitely better format, which forces whoever wins to have to play a very strong playoff to make sure they're the absolute best. All in all, the NAQT State tournament offers far more legitimacy to the claim that it provides an opportunity for the best teams in the state to prove themselves. So what if we don't have literally every active team in the state participate in this particular event, the state championship tournament MSHSAA runs is no more inclusive in my opinion, it just happens to have other attached events that more teams play in addition to the state event. I don't think you guys are being fair comparing NAQT State to the entirety of IHSA's Scholastic Bowl Program.
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Re: NAQT State

Post by David Riley »

I agree with much that has been said here. To add: I agree we might want to think of a small school trophy in addition to any small school label we might use to attract teams [and the IHSSBCA should foot the bill for a big honkin' trophy!]. As far as expanding the number of teams, are we going to be able to get a sufficient number of trained moderators to pull this off? And I agree with Donald; keep one tournament and boost our numbers (assuming moderators above) before we start discussing qualifications.
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Re: NAQT State

Post by dtaylor4 »

David Riley wrote:I agree with much that has been said here. To add: I agree we might want to think of a small school trophy in addition to any small school label we might use to attract teams [and the IHSSBCA should foot the bill for a big honkin' trophy!]. As far as expanding the number of teams, are we going to be able to get a sufficient number of trained moderators to pull this off? And I agree with Donald; keep one tournament and boost our numbers (assuming moderators above) before we start discussing qualifications.
Most of yesterday's readers were excellent, and Bloomington is 3 hours from Chicago. If teams need hotels, there is ample supply. For the UIUC guys, it's maybe an hour.

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Re: NAQT State

Post by David Riley »

Yes, but will they be available on the date we choose?
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Re: NAQT State

Post by dtaylor4 »

David Riley wrote:Yes, but will they be available on the date we choose?
This reminds me: is it possible that teams are turned off by the date? When you have four of five weekends occupied by Masonic and IHSA State tournaments, are teams choosing to forego that fifth date to compete for another state title?

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Re: NAQT State

Post by David Riley »

Good point. We probably need to choose the date early and then heavily publicize it, making it something to look forward to. It should probably be before the IHSA State Tournament, since most teams in the state look at that as their last hurrah for the season.
David Riley
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Re: NAQT State

Post by jonah »

David Riley wrote:We probably need to choose the date early and then heavily publicize it, making it something to look forward to. It should probably be before the IHSA State Tournament, since most teams in the state look at that as their last hurrah for the season.
We (mostly Mike, really) have/has been trying to do this for a couple of years to only moderate success. The date we've been using is the least awful option, it seems.
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Re: NAQT State

Post by thrillhouse »

Hello from Bloomington (longtime lurker; recent contributor):
First off, congrats to Auburn and all the teams that competed last Saturday, and thanks to Mike and the entire crew who made it (from what I have read), a great tourney.

NAQT State: Date
I do think the date of the tourney is somewhat of an issue, at least I know that was one of the contributing factors for us. I won’t repeat all of the ideas forwarded in the “Overload” thread, but much of this was covered there. Take us, for example: we had meets on 1/7, 1/14, 1/21, 1/26(weekday), 2/4, 2/11, 2/18, with another coming this weekend and the following Monday for Regionals. While this is not anything new or out of the ordinary for most of the people on this board, at some point I need to give my players (and myself) a weekend off – this was that one. January through the beginning of March is just packed. I am sure this is a debate that people who have been around SB much longer than I have discussed and argued before, so I will just leave this as my own personal rationale.
Additionally, I try to avoid conflicts and coordinate with other sponsors and coaches whenever I can. I assume this happens at other schools as well, but our players are usually very involved – with Math and WYSE teams; with band; with drama; with sports. While some others programs may have Scholastic Bowl exclusive teams and players, we don’t. I would have been missing more than a few players if we went this weekend, and would have really put the others in an awkward position of choosing, not to mention hurting both teams. They all have to make choices in the long run, sure, and I would not want Scholastic Bowl to become secondary, but when I can cooperate, I try to.

NAQT Location:
If this meet were to happen in central Illinois, like Champaign or Bloomington-Normal, I do think some other area teams would come. The question is, would teams that have recently attended not come to central Illinois? Essentially, if the meet were moved down here, would you gain a few more teams only to lose others who won’t, or can’t, travel here for a tourney? Also, are most of the teams that prefer (or, more aptly, not virulently opposed) NAQT format already located above the Mason-Dixon Line of I-80 (sorry, Donald; I know you like to use 74). Would moving it down here center the meet for most of the teams interested and willing to come, not just center the tourney to geographically place it closer to the navel of Illinois? (Navel of Illinois just trademarked by me, btw).

NAQT Focus:
I think the location debate bleeds into the focus dilemma. Is it the purpose of NAQT State to become more inclusive of all teams (not to mention, can it handle it?)? If more teams were to come to a meet held wherever, be in Fenton, Champaign, UIUC, or B-N, would that make it a better meet? Would it be more or less of a state championship? Is the goal to get NAQT to be the third championship of the Triple Crown (trademarked) along with IHSA and Masonic? As it stands, geography is the only thing that makes it more exclusive, as the others have Regional or Sectional qualifiers. Any team could have asked to come, but they did not. It was open to state-wide competition, advertised well in advance: big or small school, powerhouse, favorite, or underdogs; all could come. It is a state meet as it stands. I don’t think the price is what drives people away (it is only $20 than Kick-Off and Turnabout), so it must be something else.

Sure it could be location. Maybe more would come to central Illinois. Perhaps more teams would come if it were cheaper as well. It is possible, too, if there were a small school division that registration would be higher. Lower numbers could conceivably have to do with the date, competing activities, and the overload issue.

I don’t think that there is any one thing, though. Most teams are just not going to go. IHSAs are akin to the “required” meets we must attend (as our principals and ADs are notified of our registration); Masonics are close, free, and offer money (which, let’s be fair, ain’t going to be replicated). This leaves NAQT as optional for coaches across the state (some of whom already are opposed to it based on format alone). For the most part, with exceptions of course, the teams at NAQT State were the best, most competitive programs in the Illinois (I think like 5 out of the recent top 20 weren't there). We have to be realistic that, along with all the other possibilities listed above, the elite competition could be yet another reason for lower numbers. Some teams are not going to show up to get trounced by the likes of Auburn and company, especially if they don’t “have” too. This meet, as it is right now, despite its open registration, is more exclusive in nature, based on the expected level of competition, and I think that is okay. Not all teams have to come to make it more legitimate: One tournament to rule them all in and in the darkness bind them.
My three cents.
Tim Coughlan
Scholastic Bowl Coach, Bloomington High School

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