Another thing that gets old is the way that the buzzers were done. We got gypped out of several questions because they had to say your school, then your name, and our new player waited for the school, but not his name, and he was marked non-responsive two or three times.
Recognizing players goes back a good twenty-five years, and it presumably has game-show roots. It is stated in the NAC rules, with the caveat that it is the single biggest thing that has cost players points over the years. I've had the opposite happen at NAQT-style tournaments: players ruled too late because they were waiting to be recognized. The bottom line is that you follow the rules at a particular tournament and weigh in with your dissatisfaction later to the organizers so as to get the rule changed.
NAQT puts on a much, much more impressive tournament now, given that they have something like 60-70 matches going at the same time on Saturday, essentially without any major tie-ups.
I believe this is largely due to better prior research on the questions/answers, so that the judges are making nowhere near as many judgment calls on the fly. For example, NAQT puts "Accept x... Do not accept y" notes. That way, it's easier to have people other than the question writer doing the reading.
Only playing seven matches over four days was also tougher, as you get less for the money at NAC compared to NAQT, where you play at least ten, usually 12-14 if you're any good.
I'll put in a plug for the more byes/fewer rooms format here. The argument will have some holes in it, I imagine.
Playing at NAQT was draining. Although we got to play a lot of matches, the constant thundering of tossup/bonus with no variety wore out my players. (Of course, it didn't help that we didn't win a lot. Nothing energizes players like success.)
In addition, there were at least two other Indiana teams that I would liked to have rooted for, plus several elite teams that I would have liked to see because they are things of beauty. I didn't get adequate chance to do this at NAQT because we were always playing, and it would have been difficult to locate them because of the card system. (Never mind that I probably wouldn't have been able to spectate because of the tiny rooms anyway.)
With more byes and fewer rooms, the matches are a little more player-friendly and a lot more spectator-friendly.
Not to say that NAC is the ideal on this. Three rooms is too few for a hundred teams, as the byes become way too far apart.
Chip also had his bracket manipulation, so his stories could be brought up time and time again in matches.
Did I miss you giving some evidence on this one? Chip's been set in a pattern of pairing by standard NCAA bracket seeding for a few years now. (Gone are the days since he paired Dorman versus Irmo in Round 1 of the playoffs because he wanted the TV rounds to be as geographically diverse as possible.)
Can we get an argument from someone that gives reasons why NAC events are good? Every response so far in this thread that has been pro-Chip in tone has addressed the issue of politeness of Chip critics, but nothing that actually makes an argument that Chip runs good tournaments. If someone likes these events, please post a reasoned argument as to why they are of quality.
Aside from the obvious "oldest game in town" argument, since that's how St. Joe started in national quiz bowl (one brief diversion in 1994 to ASCN didn't grab us), the issue year to year comes down to two points:
(1) My players prefer the QU format over tossup/bonus because of the variety. Our league plays on it, and NAQT provides the questions in QU format. It provides for straight tossup rounds (NAQT, PACE do not), category rounds (NAQT does not, PACE does a worksheet, I believe), and stolen bonuses (NAQT does not, PACE does).
(2) My players pretty much demand the choice of weekends. My best player made the choice to bypass NAQT and Dallas NAC this year because it was the weekend before finals. In fact, we've never attended NAQT before because of this very reason. The only thing that made us attend it this year was that we had enough money to do two national tournaments as long as they were both in Chicago. If we had chosen only one tournament out of town, we might have chosen PACE. [Note: I was pleased as punch that they chose two, though, because I wanted to see NAQT for myself so as to better compare it to NAC.] I've gone on record before as saying that NAQT and/or PACE could make great inroads into NAC's share by doing the multiple-weekend-city thing.
Okay, maybe the above isn't an argument for quality at NAC :>
if Maggie can be brought back to the forum, she will give her reasons.
BTW, I'll try to talk to Maggie at Chicago this weekend to see just how traumatized she is by this board. I've taken my share of shots here about continuing to go to NAC and I'm still around, but she's not a teacher who's used to criticism :)