The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

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The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

Post by the return of AHAN »

All right, so as I'm editing the question set for my tournament, which is a modified IESA format. It occurred to me that everywhere else I look, no one has the set-up that IESA does. And that is, 30 toss-ups, with 20 bonuses. The match is over when you run out of toss-ups OR run out of bonuses OR a team scores >300 points. Can you think of a reason why we have the unbalanced distribution? It's been around for long enough that no one questions it. I can only surmise that someone at some point figured that this would allow toss-ups to go dead and it wouldn't affect the final score, in a sense. In other words, did they do this to allow for some lousy, ungettable questions? Since starting my own tournament in 2000, I've always mimicked the IESA distro by using 20/15 to keep the matches moving.

Penny for your thoughts, and how we might go about correcting this...
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I'd say just propose a resolution to somehow standardize the number of tossups and bonuses each game. I'm pretty sure every state that has some kind of format has pretty rigorous guidelines, as do ACF, NAQT, and PACE. It doesn't even matter whether you choose to have 20 tossups and each tossup has a bonus, timed games, or anything, but just make it a more easily defined end of a game than what you currently have. It seems like there should just be one single criteria for how long a game is instead of 3 potential ways. Also, I would highly recommend removing the 300 points rule, this is more egalitarianism nonsense to make people feel good about themselves even if they aren't succeeding while not allowing those who excel to get recognition.
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Re: The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

Post by Stained Diviner »

To start with the end of your post, the way to correct it is to bring it to the IESA Advisory Committee, point out that it unbalances the distribution when you only use some of the tossups, and hope that the IESA is smart enough to change the rule. I am sure that some people will try to justify the current rules, because change is so scary, by invoking time considerations or slaughter rules, but you never know until you try.

I don't know how the rule came about--you are correct that it's just been like that for a long time and nobody's made a fuss about it as far as I know--but I have a good guess. Back in the olden days, it was very unusual for more than 20 tossups out of 30 to get answered, since each tossup only had one clue, there was no canon, and the questions were horrible. The people writing the questions at some point probably just decided that it was not worth it to write 30 bonuses when they never actually used more than 20 of them.

If you go way back in the olden days back to the mid-1980s or earlier, finding questions was a real problem because vendors did not exist or TDs didn't know about them. For many early tournaments, the rules stated that you had to show up with five or ten index cards with questions on them to be used during the matches, and nobody cared about quality, distributions, or repeats. In the early days of the IHSA Advisory Committee, one of the responsibilities of committee members was to write questions to be used in the IHSA Tournament. They did have a distribution, but they sure as heck didn't care about question quality. I don't know if IESA ever had such a requirement, but, if they did, then it is easy to imagine them passing a rule that would require them to write ten fewer bonus questions per round.
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: The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

Post by the return of AHAN »

Indeed, in a regular 30/20 match, it's highly irregular for my team's games to last 30 TU. We either run out of bonuses, sometimes by the 22nd or 23rd TU, or we hit 300+ by that same point, if not sooner. I usually run in some subs before halftime if it's clear we're about to slaughter (>300) them by TU 15, if for no other reason than to extend the match and let my lesser players get some time. The 'slaughter' rule makes sense in that, with only 20 bonuses, there are a maximum of 600 points in a match. But I believe no one really gets this, because on my own tourney's modified distro of 20/15 (max of 450 points), no one has ever asked why I don't have a slaughter rule of >225. :neutral:
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

Post by Awehrman »

I was not planning on instituting a "slaughter rule" for the Junior Wildcat tournament. Do you think I will get any complaints for that from coaches if I am upfront about it? I'm running 20/20 rounds with 30 point bonuses, so I suppose I could have a 410 point limit. If one team goes up 410-100, the first team will win, sure, but what if the remaining three or four tossups would have been answered by the other team? Is a 410-100 slaughter better than a 410-225 game? That sort of thing would also throw off statistical measures, not to mention messing with the distribution. Also if it is known colloquially as a "slaughter," how is that protecting anyone's fragile self-esteem in the first place?
Andy Wehrman
(formerly of Arkansas and Northwestern)
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Re: The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

Post by the return of AHAN »

Andrew,
I'd make it a point to let the coaches know, on the day of the event, that there will be no 'slaughter' rule, not the least of which due to the 30 point bonuses. Monkeying with the 'slaughter' rule would create confusion.
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: The purpose behind the middle school distribution of IESA

Post by Stephen Colbert »

As someone who is bringing a team (Northlawn) to the Junior Wildcat, I actually appreciate you doing away with the "slaughter rule" for the day. If my team were to be up big in a match (this likely will not be the case), I would see it as my responsibility to make sure the match didn't get out of hand and bring in my subs (if we have any) at the appropriate time. And, if we're on the losing end, I have absolutely no problem if a really good team sticks it to us. In fact, I'd rather my players hear every single toss-up of a match, even if they don't get any of them, then end the match ten questions early because of a little disparity in the score. So, you'll hear no complaints from me. But, as Mr. Price mentioned, I would make sure the other coaches are made aware beforehand, as they may react differently.
Nathan Hollinsaid
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