Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

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Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by pblessman » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:52 pm

What wonderful news that the Armstrong QB team will be able to operate next year! I'm glad the funding was worked out, and the coach will be able to receive his well-deserved stipend. I think it is essential we strive for quizbowl being treated in an equitable fashion with other school activities. At most public schools coaches receive stipends, and I believe this should be equally true whether these coaches are sports or quizbowl coaches.

I also feel the same should be true of officials- quizbowl moderators dedicate substantial amounts of time to their work, and many moderators are becoming more professional in their approach to the job as standards become more clearly defined and certification programs are being put in place (e.g. in Illinois). I think we should therefore start pushing for reasonable compensation for quizbowl moderators, maybe $4-$5/match, or something like that.

Discuss!
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:56 pm

Uh, no?
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by evilmonkey » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:02 pm

Deesy Does It wrote:Uh, no?
Key word was Discuss there, Dees.

I think coaches do have a right to get a stipend from the school. They ARE, in fact, putting in extra work.

I don't think moderators necessarily should get paid, but I don't think its a bad thing if they do. A mod shouldn't be participating because they are getting money - they should be doing it for the love of quizbowl.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Wall of Ham » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:04 pm

No way.

The point of tournament fees is to help finance the club and pay whatever costs the tournament itself uses. By making the host pay moderators, you're in effect reducing the amount of money the host gets that they can use to go to other tournaments. The point of the Armstrong tournament was to raise money for their broke club, and this would counteract any profit they gained from hosting such a tournament.

Lets say you have 20 teams at a tournament. At 5$ a round for 10 rounds for 10 moderators, that's 500$ right there from the coffers of the host. If you assume each team pays 50$, thats half the tournament revenue. This leaves a lot less money for the club to go to other tournaments.

Besides, I think the current system of volunteer moderators has worked well, and most moderators are paid with a free lunch anyway.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:08 pm

I fail to see how one could observe the near shut-down of an established quizbowl program over funding issues and logically conclude that we should add expenses by paying moderators a sum that would be paltry to each of them but significant to hosting teams. Seriously, moderators don't do it because of money (obviously), and having to pay a bunch of moderators that much money will draw directly from funds that a team could use to attend tournaments, etc.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:16 pm

Barry and Chris are exactly right. For most tournaments, especially fundraising-focused tournaments like Armstrong's, paying moderators is much too large an expense.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:25 pm

I didn't get a stipend for Quiz Bowl (for two years) until the end of this year... because i never signed the paperwork. :oops: Take care of now.

Eh, it's okay, i didn't put hours and hours into it like i have been recently, so i probably didn't deserve it then.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by the return of AHAN » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:27 pm

Hmmm... and here I've been paying $16/hr to get people to moderate. Are you saying if I drop the compensation to nothing, people would STILL come to moderate??
Not a serious consideration, BTW. My school has never asked my activity to be revenue neutral and have been told at least once that having this tournament is a good thing for showcasing our school and getting our name out there, even if the tourney is in the red.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by BuzzerZen » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:34 pm

If you can afford to lose money on your tournament, then you are probably unique among quiz bowl programs. Even at TJ, where we were generously funded by the school's Academic Boosters, our policy of making regular-season tournaments free for everybody would've been unsustainable if we hadn't made $1500-$2000 off of each tournament we ran. As has been said, quiz bowl people are generally willing to moderate for free at quiz bowl tournaments, since that's part of the social contract of the quiz bowl community.

Although, when and where is this tournament that pays $16/hr for moderating? Because that sounds like a good gig to me.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by the return of AHAN » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:54 pm

Evan,
Will you be in Chicagoland (Barrington MS - Station Campus)next March 14th? I'm always looking for moderators, even more so since next year's tourney conflicts with IHSA high school sectional playoffs, thus I'll lose Egan and Laudermith at the very least.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by BuzzerZen » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:59 pm

BarringtonJP wrote:Evan,
Will you be in Chicagoland (Barrington MS - Station Campus)next March 14th? I'm always looking for moderators, even more so since next year's tourney conflicts with IHSA high school sectional playoffs, thus I'll lose Egan and Laudermith at the very least.
Almost certainly not, alas. Man, if all tournaments paid $16/hr to moderators I wouldn't have to worry about getting a job this summer. :-P
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Tegan » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:18 pm

Speaking as a former coach and moderator:

Money is not the end all be all. I have to speak from an Illinois perspective, because that's all I can do.

I've known outstanding coaches that got paid ... nothing. I've known some of the lousiest coaches that got paid in excess of $10,000 annually just to coach, and in their case, coaching involved hosting a weekly practice, and roughly 13 matches. A good coach is certainly worthy of a salary commensurate with their work. There are some high school programs that could likely function without a coach, and in some cases, the coach just gets in the way, but I suspect they are the minority.

I would have coached for less money. I think I can say that I would have coached for nothing, though that would have limited that I could have done as a coach. I know that there are some people that lack that luxury.

As for officiating, I would officiate for free. I, however, am not necessarily in the majority. Looking at just the Chicago area, there is always a need for good officials. I am not sure that offering money would do it (without offering scads of money).


Not to mention: when offering more money, the people who get attracted to the jobs may not necessarily be the people you want to get into those jobs.

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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by pblessman » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:23 pm

Alrighty, I'll give this my best shot... didn't really expect THAT negative of a reaction... I'll start with some rhetorical questions, just because they're fun:

Where is our game going? Are we going to continue to exist in the nooks and crannies trying to not get stepped on by the "real" student activities, especially athletics? Should we volunteer to coach for free, moderate for free, write questions for free, and construct buzzer systems for free (and provide "TAFT" for free?), all for the love of the game? Should we ask some poor coach to volunteer his time so his QB program can continue to exist when every other coach, activity advisor, and middle school volleyball scoreboard operator in his school disctrict is being compensated for their extra time?

Will we continue to be satisfied with quizbowl being played in less than 10% of all high schools nationally, or do we have a vision of quizbowl being as common (and important) an activity in high schools as basketball? And if this is our vision, do we really think we can find quality volunteer coaches and/or moderators to staff the hundreds of tournaments which will have to happen each in-season weekend? Isn't consistency in moderator quality already an issue today, so if we scale this up by 10 or more, wouldn't these problems be severely exasperated?

How would any athletic acitivity operate if it were to rely on volunteer officials? Would high school volleyball be able to procure two volunteer quality certified officials for every match? Wouldn't we be prone to take volleyball less seriously if they were completely based on volunteer officials? Because if officials are volunteers, can we truly apply the high standards and expectations we have about moderating to them? Can we expect an English teacher who gives up time with his family on a Saturday to read some quizbowl matches to spend time becoming more familiar with the game, maybe even attending a moderator workshop and taking a test to become a certified moderator who meets certain standards in terms of knowledge of the rules of the game as well as skill in keeping a game moving?

Enough rhetorical questions... I am not unaware of the funding issues faced by quizbowl today, not only at Armstrong. I don't want to kill the game by mandating an immediate shift to paying all moderators, but I am suggesting that we start thinking about that as a part of what "good" quizbowl ideally would include.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:29 pm

Paid moderators is just not the situation outside of Illinois, and I don't think it's feasible. We can't just start issuing utopian demands--and if we could, how about we wish for a new set of excellent questions every week, and end to football coaches controlling where people play, and enough serious teams in every region that it's not absolutely necessary to travel out of state multiple times per year in order for a talented team to face real competition, before we worry about paying moderators?
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by pblessman » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:59 pm

A. Not a demand.

B. Not utopian. Average amount of matches plaid at tourneys today: About 8. Additional cost per team therefore would be $16. Average fee paid per team currently: $50-$60. Increase fees to $66-$76- voila, a 25%-30% increase, but not "utopian." If a team attends five tournaments a year, this would add up to $20 a player per year.

C. No connection with football coaches, although I personally would be in support of having excellent question sets available every week... If Mr. Weiner wants to oppose this, I have a hard time understanding this.

D. Indiana ≠ Illinois
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by First Chairman » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:02 pm

It's a little difficult to answer the question Phil brings up. Quiz bowl is not an activity that advertises well for sponsors in the same way sports could. Now, there may be instances where one can pay the debate/speech coaches (which I would consider comparable), but speech and debate I think has separate issues to train people to do officiating duties (but I'm not knowledgable here). On the other hand, where should quiz bowl be in the so-called grand scheme of things? Right now there are certain compromises that occur when this activity is taken over by administrators (Panasonic/Decathlon).
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:05 pm

If being a moderator at a tournament required some sort of certification process to the effect of basketball referee, then it wouldn't be completely out of the question to pay them; however, considering quality moderators are usually not that hard to find, paying them is somewhat excessive. I can honestly say that every moderator I had at NSC was was far more than competent. Granted, it was a national tournament, but even down here in Alabama, most moderators (save a ghastly few) are decent and devote their time for a whole Saturday, promised nothing but a free meal.

Our school's choral director, who is only at the school half a day (save the week before a performance) and only puts on about 2 or 3 performances a year, receives a stipend of somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000-$2500 on top of being paid a regular teacher's salary. Our quiz bowl coach, at least to my knowledge, still has not obtained a stipend of any kind. Needless to say, I am most certainly in favor of quiz bowl coaches receiving some form of extra payment.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Wall of Ham » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:24 pm

pblessman wrote:Where is our game going? Are we going to continue to exist in the nooks and crannies trying to not get stepped on by the "real" student activities, especially athletics? Should we volunteer to coach for free, moderate for free, write questions for free, and construct buzzer systems for free (and provide "TAFT" for free?), all for the love of the game? Should we ask some poor coach to volunteer his time so his QB program can continue to exist when every other coach, activity advisor, and middle school volleyball scoreboard operator in his school disctrict is being compensated for their extra time?
I sense a logical fallacy. Just because we pay for questions and buzzers doesn't mean we should pay for moderators. Buzzers cost materials, and writing/editing questions takes a heck of a lot more time than moderating. As to coaching compensation, that comes from the school, not the quizbowl community. Take that issue up with your boss. And TAFT has a free alternative, SQBS, so if you dont want to pay, you are welcome to try that program.
pblessman wrote:How would any athletic acitivity operate if it were to rely on volunteer officials? Would high school volleyball be able to procure two volunteer quality certified officials for every match? Wouldn't we be prone to take volleyball less seriously if they were completely based on volunteer officials? Because if officials are volunteers, can we truly apply the high standards and expectations we have about moderating to them? Can we expect an English teacher who gives up time with his family on a Saturday to read some quizbowl matches to spend time becoming more familiar with the game, maybe even attending a moderator workshop and taking a test to become a certified moderator who meets certain standards in terms of knowledge of the rules of the game as well as skill in keeping a game moving?
The argument here is to pay good moderators for their "skill"? The most quality moderators are players and former quizbowl players. Offering payment is not going to get you good moderators (i.e. people with experience with quizbowl) but will probably attract bad moderators (people inexperienced with quizbowl but just there for the money).

If you are talking about paying moderators for their labor time, then its a question of supply and demand. There are plenty of people who will read for free. Former players excluded, there are still plenty of people interested in this game enough to volunteer (like that english teacher). Granted these aren't the best moderators, but in general, you can pluck a moderately intelligent person with no quizbowl experience, teach him/her the rules in 30 minutes before the tournament, and make him/her a -satisfactory- moderator. There is no need to waste his/her time with a hypothetical moderator workshop and certification. I think letting them listen to the "9 minutes" podcast on how to be a good moderator would be fine as "training".

If you're arguing that having paid vs. volunteer moderators somehow hinders quizbowl by people taking it less seriously, well thats just baloney.
pblessman wrote:Will we continue to be satisfied with quizbowl being played in less than 10% of all high schools nationally, or do we have a vision of quizbowl being as common (and important) an activity in high schools as basketball? And if this is our vision, do we really think we can find quality volunteer coaches and/or moderators to staff the hundreds of tournaments which will have to happen each in-season weekend? Isn't consistency in moderator quality already an issue today, so if we scale this up by 10 or more, wouldn't these problems be severely exasperated?
I would love to spread quizbowl across the nation. I do not see how having paid moderators would do this. Certainly getting schools somehow to offer stipends to their quizbowl coaches will help, but thats a different issue. Again volunteers are former/current qb players, so if we get more qb players, we get more (decent) moderators.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by pblessman » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:37 pm

Wall of Ham wrote: I sense a logical fallacy. ... As to coaching compensation, that comes from the school, not the quizbowl community.
Not to get cheeky... but i sn't this money coming from the same pot? In the end schools (should) pay for coaching salaries (or not) as well as tournament entry fees. If you are paying personally for tournament entry fees, I'm sorry. I don't think that's fair and comes back to the the inequity in which teams get generous funding (athletic) and which tend to not (academic).
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Wall of Ham » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:46 pm

pblessman wrote:A, C, D
Not really points, or about the issue being discussed.
pblessman wrote:B. Not utopian. Average amount of matches plaid at tourneys today: About 8. Additional cost per team therefore would be $16. Average fee paid per team currently: $50-$60. Increase fees to $66-$76- voila, a 25%-30% increase, but not "utopian." If a team attends five tournaments a year, this would add up to $20 a player per year.
Ok, we increase the cost per tournament by 16$. Assume we go to five tournaments, thats 80$. Thats one tournament we missed out on because we didn't have the funds + money used for pizza party day or something gone.

pblessman wrote:Not to get cheeky... but i sn't this money coming from the same pot? In the end schools (should) pay for coaching salaries (or not) as well as tournament entry fees. If you are paying personally for tournament entry fees, I'm sorry. I don't think that's fair and comes back to the the inequity in which teams get generous funding (athletic) and which tend to not (academic).
I thought schools paid extracurricular activities coaches separately from the funds they give specifically to that activity. If they are paid from the same pot, No wonder some high school coaches are so bad. I can see a lot of people using the fund to get an extra 50$ as a "coaching" commission instead of sending their team to a tournament.

And I am indeed paying personally for entry fees (at the college level), but thats not the point.

EDIT: Mr. Blessman, I agree with you that more funding should be put into academic activities such as quizbowl, as well as given to their hard working coaches, but moderator compensation is not the way to do it.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by STPickrell » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:21 pm

$10,000 just to coach? Wow.

I agree with Andy; if we start wanting certification and the such then yes, we could start offering stipends of $25-$30 or so per certified moderator.

If we just offer $30 to anyone who wants to read, we won't necessarily get any improvement in moderator quality.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Tegan » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:48 pm

STPickrell wrote:$10,000 just to coach? Wow.
Actually, her exact quote was: "I only get paid $10,000 a year to coach; that's not enough to get me up at 7 am and get my team to a tournament."

Said coach said this in front of a room of about 100 coaches, roughly half of which got nothing.

She was lucky to have walked out alive.

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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by cvdwightw » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:04 pm

I do see one instance in which paying moderators does make sense; UCI has used this tactic at least twice, to my knowledge.

At UCI, we generally do not have an issue with obtaining rooms; we usually have many more rooms than necessary, and thus are not limited by the number of rooms. Due to being a small club, however, we are limited by the number and experience of the staff available on the tournament date. Suppose we only have enough staff to run a 16-team tournament. We quickly reach the cap of 16 teams. However, more teams want to play than we have staff for. We can either: (a) tell the teams sorry, but we just don't have space for you, or (b) contact experienced moderators on other clubs and offer them a financial incentive (historically $40) to come down and moderate for us.

In my opinion, option (b) is better for everyone. Teams on the wait list get to play in the tournament. Moderators make some extra money. We make some extra money as well (the extra moderator expense plus any additional expenses for that extra team is still less than the tournament fee). It's a win-win-win situation.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:32 pm

Tegan wrote:
STPickrell wrote:$10,000 just to coach? Wow.
Actually, her exact quote was: "I only get paid $10,000 a year to coach; that's not enough to get me up at 7 am and get my team to a tournament."

Said coach said this in front of a room of about 100 coaches, roughly half of which got nothing.

She was lucky to have walked out alive.
That is almost hard to believe that anyone gets that kind of money... if that was before taxes, that's about 12 times my stipend.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by theMoMA » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:11 pm

How about this: pay moderators when it makes sense to, don't if it doesn't!
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by the return of AHAN » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:13 pm

Tegan wrote:
STPickrell wrote:$10,000 just to coach? Wow.
Actually, her exact quote was: "I only get paid $10,000 a year to coach; that's not enough to get me up at 7 am and get my team to a tournament."

Said coach said this in front of a room of about 100 coaches, roughly half of which got nothing.

She was lucky to have walked out alive.
Oh, come on. I'd bet the woman really doesn't understand her compensation package. Perhaps she meant that, in addition to all the other things she coaches. I could see a top-tier public suburban HS coach getting half that (i.e. Reinstein) but that's it.

BTW, Mr. Blessman, does Culver house any 7th/8th graders? Given I've seen your team at Carmel's tourney in Mundelein and Barrington is nearby...
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by jrbarry » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:18 pm

I coached for 8 years in Louisiana and recveived no stipend. It never occurred to em to ask.

I coached for 10 years at Brookwood (GA) for no stipend. Our fball coach and AD got one for me, so I have had one for 12 years. (At Brookwood, football has helped us numerous times, financially, in the past 20 years.)

We give two large tournaments annually primarily to raise funds to have a team/program. Our moderators/readers volunteer to read at our tournaments to help us raise funds. Paying moderators is not possible in my position.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Matthew D » Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:02 am

Rick,
I salute your football program and wish we had more like them across the nation... I actually ended up getting torpedoed by our football program and AD. As for stipend for coaches, I can understand it if the coach actually puts together a good program and works to keep the program going. (I haven't gotten one and I haven't ever asked though) and I think Andy hit the nail on the head with the comment about a certification if they got paid.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Tegan » Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:39 am

Just to point out: the Illinois coaches association runs a certification program for moderators. The IHSA has refused to make any requirement that their moderators are certified. Most tournaments make no requirement, though some hosts will try and find certified mods to read for their tournaments (or at least the afternoon).

The program allows moderators to be "test" certified (take an open book test on the rules), and then "performance" certified where they must get a minimum of ten coaches to rate their performance favorably.

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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:31 am

My stipend is more than $5000 but less than $10000. I appreciate the fact that I am well-compensated and don't bill the school whenever I spend my own money (even though I could) or charge the school for writing questions (even though I could). I am also fortunate that I can run our two tournaments per year at cost. New Trier is one of a small number of schools in the country that doesn't have legitimate funding gripes (though even we can't afford to be wasteful or just give money away). I raised the entrance fee for Scobol Solo last year so that I could pay the moderators more than minimum wage, and I am strongly considering increasing the fee for our Varsity Tournament so that I can pay the moderators.

I agree with Phil on this one. My experience is that it isn't too difficult to convince former players who are in college to moderate for free. However, if we want them to keep doing it as they get older, then it would help if we paid them $60 in addition to feeding them for spending their Saturday helping out, since it puts it a little higher on their priority list and shows them that their work is respected. At my school, even that amount won't draw teachers, since there is no shortage of students willing to pay $75/hr for a tutor. However, it might keep former players coming back, and that's a good thing. That being said, I understand the economic arguments people are making, and of course you shouldn't pay moderators if you can't pay them.

The IHSSBCA Moderator Certification Program is very small at this time. Taking a test on the rules helps you to learn the rules, and getting feedback from coaches helps you learn if you are doing anything wrong, so it has given a little help to the small number of moderators who have gotten certified. It is also used at the State Finals and has helped us eliminate some old-timers who only moderated once per year at the Finals and didn't keep up with rule changes. Keeping up with changes is important because ten years ago our rules were somewhat shady, so people who haven't kept up since then should not moderate important matches. However, the small number of Certified Moderators has prevented us from insuring high-quality moderators at the Regional and Sectional level. We're still at the point where anybody who wants to do it can do it, and anybody who doesn't want to do it will be begged.
David Reinstein
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:52 am

ReinsteinD wrote:My stipend is more than $5000 but less than $10000.
...
there is no shortage of students willing to pay $75/hr for a tutor.
Wow, you must live in a pretty wealthy area and teach at a pretty amazing school. We don't even have kids show up for tutors when they're free here. And we just had to let go of about 10 educators at the high school because of the state's budget problems. Sometimes it's hard to believe i get a stipend at all, albeit (before taxes) it's at least 1/6th of that.

Anyway, about moderators... i honestly like the fact that quizbowl is the type of thing where you have volunteers (sometimes involuntary volunteers) who are committed to doing something when money isn't involved. Except for national tournaments and televised things, i can't see when moderators really should be compensated at all. They should want to contribute without any monetary incentive.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by the return of AHAN » Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:29 am

Caesar Rodney HS wrote: Anyway, about teachers... i honestly like the fact that teaching is the type of thing where you have volunteers (sometimes involuntary volunteers) who are committed to doing something when money isn't involved. Except for college-level courses and hard to fill subjects like physics, i can't see when teachers really should be compensated at all. They should want to contribute without any monetary incentive.
fixed to show what a ridiculous argument this is.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by cdcarter » Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:18 pm

BarringtonJP wrote:
Caesar Rodney HS wrote: Anyway, about teachers... i honestly like the fact that teaching is the type of thing where you have volunteers (sometimes involuntary volunteers) who are committed to doing something when money isn't involved. Except for college-level courses and hard to fill subjects like physics, i can't see when teachers really should be compensated at all. They should want to contribute without any monetary incentive.
fixed to show what a ridiculous argument this is.
Where I come from, we call that a logical fallacy.

I sort of agree with Caesar Rodney Guy, it's really cool how people in the quizbowl community are willing to donate time, questions, etc... for people who want or need it. Quizbowl is a community. But if a school has the extra budget to pay moderators a little bit for their time, besides just a free lunch, that's totally cool.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by BuzzerZen » Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:51 pm

Do we even have a problem, here? Are there competent moderators who aren't volunteering at tournaments because they have no financial incentive? Is anybody having trouble recruiting enough competent people who will moderate for free to run their tournaments? I do not believe that either of these things is the case. I, for one, am happy and willing to moderate without compensation, and I don't see that changing unless the market rate should happen to change. I think, paradoxically, that offering money would result in have worse moderators than one would otherwise have volunteering at a tournament. Generally, only experienced and committed quiz bowl people are willing to moderate a tournament for free, but a paid flunky recruited from a school's population at large is probably lacking in experience. Clearly training someone the mechanics of moderating isn't that complex an affair, but that doesn't mean that people who have never played quiz bowl before don't tend to be poor to awful moderators.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Howard » Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:08 pm

Just like any other job, quiz coaches should be paid. Take my stipend, about $1650 before taxes. Divide by 36 (180 days of school, 5 days per week) to get $45 per week. For the coach who does nothing more than practice for an hour a week, this is a good salary. On the other hand, for a good coach who actually spends the necessary time (in my personal judgment) with the team for them to learn and improve, this amounts to about $5.75 an hour.

Personally, I too, would do this job without pay. In fact, when I volunteered for it, I wasn't even aware I would be paid. But, as another poster pointed out here (can't find it now), this money also allows me to do things I wouldn't be able to do without it. This money is my opportunity to not be concerned when a situation arises that I can remedy by donating money to the team.

As for paying moderators, I am in agreement with those that say moderators should not be paid (when attending school-sponsored tournaments). The purpose of these tournaments is to raise funds. Adding 30% ($16 out of 50 to 60) to the entry fee of each tournament is a significant increase. And in most cases, an active school enters more than 5 team-tourneys (consider a schools team-tourneys to equal the total number of teams entered over all the events it attends) per year. I have a small team, and the last time I checked the numbers, I was averaging about $800 a year in entry fees alone. (I haven't done a historical check in a few years. I suspect the average now may be as high as $900 or $1000 with the inflation of entry fees.) If we had to pay for moderators, by pblessman's formula, that would take us to about $1050 a year. This is not a small increase, and would require more fundraising, probably causing tournament entry fees to rise, helping perpetuate the circle.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by DumbJaques » Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:05 pm

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:
Anyway, about teachers... i honestly like the fact that teaching is the type of thing where you have volunteers (sometimes involuntary volunteers) who are committed to doing something when money isn't involved. Except for college-level courses and hard to fill subjects like physics, i can't see when teachers really should be compensated at all. They should want to contribute without any monetary incentive.

fixed to show what a ridiculous argument this is.
Wow, this is so far from the basic rules of rhetoric that I don't even think they have a single fallacy for it. Please remember to abide by board rules and actually make arguments instead of changing quotes and then proclaiming how "ridiculous" someone else's statement is. . . had they replaced their words with entirely unrelated ones.

Again, perfect world: we'd get money to moderate, coaches would receive appropriate stipends, and teams would be well-funded. In a perfect world quizbowl would be free from all the things it's struggling against right now, education wouldn't be in dire funding situations all over the country, etc. etc. The bottom line is that there are about 1,000 things we need to do before we get around to paying moderators, and right now high school quizbowl is in significant part a volunteer activity for many coaches, moderators, etc. (really, writing doesn't even pay that much). Just because things might be done differently in your neck of the woods doesn't make it all right for you to equate someone saying "quizbowl relies heavily on volunteers" (which is an undeniable statement of fact) with "teachers should be doing it for free."
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Matthew D » Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:12 pm

I don't care if anyone else gets paid for coaching. I like doing it and I don't mind donating my time if my team has some support and occasionally some recognition for what they do.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:18 pm

Yeah i don't really know what the heck you were doing trying to make it seem like i'm equating teachers and moderators. Interesting argument strategy.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Tegan » Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:57 pm

I want to take us back a little to the argument that Coach Blessman was trying to make (and I think I've go this right).

We've all been to tournaments with volunteer moderators, and they have been great! I think, however, we've also had our share of lousy moderators.

In an ideal world, we would expect moderators to prove themselves as being able to read competently, and enforce the rules properly. I wold hope that once a moderator proved that they were unable to do this, they would be politely shown the door.

I think that Coach Blessman is trying to make the point that payment is a way of showing appreciation; that is, if there is a moderator who IS a good moderator, make sure they know that their work is appreciated, so that it is clear that they are wanted back next year (or next tournament).

Is it necessary? No. This is me bragging a bit, I guess, though I am sure this is not unique. When I can fit it into the schedule, I go to Culver to moderate. This usually means driving from the north suburbs of Chicago to north central Indiana (I dunno ...120 miles?), get a hotel room for the night (which Culver generously offers to give me for the night), moderate the whole day, and then drive home.

I don't exactly remember what I get paid from Coach Blessman. The exact amount is not important. The fact that he goes through the trouble of offering a hotel room, and that he does offer me something I take as a sign of appreciation. Sadly, I cannot always fit him into the schedule, but when I can, I go ahead and drive to Culver to moderate .... not only because I like it, but because I know my services are appreciated.

As I recall, NAQT reimburses some travel expenses for moderators who travel far. They don't have to .... there are many other moderators of high quality that are within driving distance of the HSNCT, however, NAQT sees a value in getting an experienced, quality moderator, and will pay for travel in those cases. Of course, there is a difference between NAQT, a question provider doing this, and a school that may be in more dire financial straits. Nonetheless, it helps when the tournament director shows their appreciation for plying your trade in a professional and excellent manner.

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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by First Chairman » Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:03 pm

For the record on PACE: what we have done for the past years is reimburse individuals for travel if the distance is beyond reasonable commuting distance (and if I have to define it I will based on the definition GMU uses). Usually it's either mileage (defined rate by the IRS) or gas. We did get a plane ticket this year, but with gas prices and air fare going up 250+%, it is a pain to anticipate that as standard procedure unless we know ahead of time.

However, hotels for most of the staff were covered; if not, they would likely be reimbursed if we anticipated those costs ahead of time.

PACE also put up money for lunches both Saturday and Sunday, and I put up dinner on Saturday night.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Dan Greenstein » Sat Jun 07, 2008 5:00 pm

My main argument against paying moderators for their moderating duties with money for labor at a standard quizbowl tournament is it implies a professionalization of moderation. Professionalization can lead to credentialization, which means bureaucracy, which means paying administrators, which if these administrators are not alumni of the game creates incentives that lead to perverse unintended consequences. Moderators should only be paid for their labor in extraordinary circumstances, which will be detailed at the bottom.

I emphasized "with money for labor" above because I do believe moderators should be compensated by other means. Providing lunch is appreciated, especially if food options require getting in a car. Reimbursing me for gasoline, tolls, parking, and/or airfare is appreciated, especially if they are greater than a certain indifference amount. Providing lodging is appreciated, especially if I need to drive in the night before. A hotel is nice, but being invited into someone's home to sleep on a couch is sufficient and is sometimes welcome more than the hotel due to the company.

However, the biggest draw for most of us is immaterial. It is simply being involved with the activity and associating with other people who enjoy the activity. Many of the people at tournament are good acquaintances, and some of them are even friends. All of them are passionate enough about the game to help out at tournaments on a Saturday rather than watch television or movies, play video games, sleep in, or party.

Given a choice between moderating at Tournament A, where I will be paid $x/hour for my labor, but will be surrounded by strangers, and Tournament B, where I will not be monetarily compensated but will be provided lunch and will be surrounded by familiar and passionate people, I will choose Tournament B, unless x is very large.

The extraordinary circumstances I reference above where it is appropriate to compensate me directly for moderating would require stepping out of the comfort zone of Tournament B and where Tournament A receives in marginal revenue many times their marginal cost of hiring me to moderate, such as being the host of a television game show.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by the return of AHAN » Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:53 pm

My apologies. I overreacted.
In my line of work, I get nervous when people start talking about doing what I do because I love it. The next line of attack is how much we're overpaid, and that if we truly loved what we did, compensation shouldn't be an issue and that no teacher is worth $(fill in dollar amount here) for 9 months work. So, I find the whole notion of working for free to be off-putting, particularly when no high school athletic event is officiated by volunteers, nor are the coaches volunteers, at least in these parts. Perhaps professionalization of moderators is too much to ask, but Barrington can afford to pay, so we pay.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Tegan » Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:21 pm

IMO, these last two posts are pretty well worded thoughts. I really think that Danny G is absolutely correct. You do need to be cautious about the intrusion of bureaucracy.

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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Stephen Colbert » Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:04 am

On paying moderators: If your school/program has the ability to do so, then I don’t really see the big deal with paying moderators. Personally, as someone who moderates occasionally, I would feel really guilty about accepting money, only because it’s something I genuinely enjoy. As a coach, I was fortunate to have access to a pretty large field of capable moderators who felt the same. And I suppose in an ideal world things would always work out this way. However, exceptionally good moderators can be hard to find. They’re people who will often spend a week re-writing, replacing, de-hosing, and perfecting questions; they’re more than just excellent readers, they know how to manage a match; and, most importantly, they’re flexible, from dealing with problem coaches to accepting correct answers that might not always be listed as such. Amazingly, they somehow make it look easy. Now, if someone possessing those qualities is willing to spend a Saturday away from work or family to moderate, I can’t fault a school for paying him/her handsomely. For those of us who can’t, I offer a few suggestions. First off, former players make excellent moderators. Even better, they’re likely indebted to you for years of expert coaching and can only pay off such debt by providing you with years of staffing tournaments. Coaching at the middle school level, I would routinely bring back my old players to moderate. I tried to get them some experience reading at practices or after-school matches, but also paired them up with more experienced moderators or with each other for tournaments. By now most are far better moderators than me, and because they’re so close to the game, they’re usually more up-to-date on rule changes than their veteran counterparts. I also made myself available as a moderator at other levels of play, which was a great opportunity to network with and meet new moderators in the area.

On paying coaches: For coaches who receive any form of reimbursement whatsoever, consider yourself infinitely lucky (not that you don’t deserve it, because you deserve it all and plenty more). I coached at a Catholic school where both I and our team received absolutely zero financial support. As a result, I spent around $1000 out of pocket annually (in hindsight, as a poor college student, this was insanely stupid)! Between our trivia night fundraiser & hosting tournaments, we brought in about $5000 yearly, which was seemingly awesome. However, the school had to approve any purchases, so very little of that actually got spent on the team. And, if the school’s athletic teams didn’t have access to something comparable, the requests were almost always denied. For example, when I asked to use the money to buy team shirts, it was denied because the athletic teams would feel jealous that they didn’t have similar access new uniforms. At this point, I then asked the principal when I could expect our new million dollar practice facility, as the school had just built a new gymnasium for the basketball team. It's possible this is why she disliked me. But, worst-of-all, at the end of each school year the school absorbed the money we had raised into its general fund, at which point we lost any and all claim we had to it. So, the next year we had to start fund-raising all over again. When it comes to truly good coaches, no stipend or reimbursement can be adequate, as it will never come close to making up for the time, energy, and money they will put into their team. For me, it didn’t really matter, because having the privilege to coach such exquisite groups of players year after year was truly priceless. I have always felt that my players taught me more than I could ever offer them in return. That, not any amount of money I could’ve been given, made the experience worthwhile. And I’m pretty sure that most good coaches, paid or not, will agree.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by BuzzerZen » Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:08 am

Stephen Colbert wrote:But, worst-of-all, at the end of each school year the school absorbed the money we had raised into its general fund, at which point we lost any and all claim we had to it. So, the next year we had to start fund-raising all over again.
This is the worst thing I have ever heard and makes me outrageously angry at whatever godawful system produced this state of affairs.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by First Chairman » Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:24 am

BuzzerZen wrote:
Stephen Colbert wrote:But, worst-of-all, at the end of each school year the school absorbed the money we had raised into its general fund, at which point we lost any and all claim we had to it. So, the next year we had to start fund-raising all over again.
This is the worst thing I have ever heard and makes me outrageously angry at whatever godawful system produced this state of affairs.
Welcome to school funding systems. This is why many qb programs (and athletics) have a separate account specifically for fundraising.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:47 am

That's amazing. I would be busting some heads if we didn't get to keep the money we earned at the end of the year for our team. Hard to believe there's at least one school who thinks it's okay to just take that away.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Tegan » Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:45 am

Stephen Colbert wrote:But, worst-of-all, at the end of each school year the school absorbed the money we had raised into its general fund, at which point we lost any and all claim we had to it. So, the next year we had to start fund-raising all over again.
This is bad, and this is what happens in our district.

I finally went to our Assistant Principal after I had been in a room with many onions to induce tears. I explained that it really wasn't fair that athletic teams could fund raise, but that we couldn't (our normal accounts are district controlled and get absorbed at the end of the year. She understood, and arranged for an account to be opened in the bookstore that we could use for our funds, but it had to go under a different name. This single open-minded decision on her part has been a boon to our activity, and while most of the students can't stand her, it has enabled the team to do quite a bit without having to rely on the meager handouts from the district.

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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:30 am

St. Pius in Kansas City did the same thing to their coach when she hosted a tournament, so she quit.
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Re: Stipends for Coaches and Moderators

Post by Matthew D » Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:01 pm

I guess we are lucky then in AL because if I am not mistaken, that would be against the law here. I had to authorize the transfer of funds before I left after getting my pinkslip. I ended up giving back to the school that helped the most, the junior high. I also purchased all 4 sets of buzzers at a deeply discounted price.
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