Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

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Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:12 pm

If your team hasn't bid to host SCT, this is your thread to tell NAQT why not.

What can we do to increase the number of bids to host 2012 SCTs, and avoid another year of "let's extend the deadline after 40% of the country has no bids of any kind submitted"?

Suggestions thus far:

-Set the bid deadline during the fall semester (for instance, September 15th or October 1st, 2011)

-Abolish the clock in favor of untimed SCT/ICT

-Autobid reform making it easier for hosts to qualify multiple teams while hosting
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:20 pm

Not make teams decide the season before or when they are out of session (as most schools are during the bidding deadline) that they want to host SCT. Even with the new deadline, thats five days after we start classes and it effectively prohibits new programs which wont have come together yet from bidding, while ACUI basically gets the hosting bid equivalent of a free throw in half the regions, even though I trust a brand new team to being more open to working with existing structures and people to improve a potentially problematic SCT. Again, the deadline for bidding for ACF Fall (which is three months closer than SCT) is still over a month away. The reason that having a december deadline was problematic was that some schools needed to schedule things before winter break. If you do SCT announcements in mid-November with a late October deadline, you give more teams a chance to talk to themselves and each other and see where the region stands for SCT.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:22 pm

Allow/encourage teams to host SCTs untimed, as it doesn't actually decrease the quality of the data NAQT gets and usually increases it. If this is a non-starter, then don't require hosts to doubly staff rooms. Not all teams are comfortable bidding knowing that more likely than not they'll just have to flout that requirement.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:23 pm

I'm going to update the first post with a running list of suggestions for the 2012 SCT.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Golran » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:30 pm

I don't think we put in a bid because we had hosted the past 2 years and we couldn't be sure we could get enough staff again this year. Also, the deadline snuck up on us and we didn't even think about submitting.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by cornfused » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:33 pm

We didn't put in a bid because of geography - as an outlier among the quizbowl schools in the region, I thought it would be weird if we hosted.

Also the deadline issue - we start school after September 10. If the deadline was the end of October as previously suggested, we would have been able to bid.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Kyle » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:35 pm

The staff and timing issues discussed above are far more important, but there are also probably some very large, experienced teams that could do a great job hosting that do not bid because they want to qualify two Division I teams for the ICT. In order to do so, a team would have to field two competitive teams while staffing an entire tournament. A simple solution would be for such a team to apply to NAQT in advance and say, "You can see from previous stats that these are our four best players. They're going to staff the tournament and use the autobid, while our fifth-through-eighth-best players are going to play and try to earn qualification on their own."
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:42 pm

Harvard's faced situations where it had three total teams that wanted to qualify (possibly one in DII). In that sort of a situation, there's really no way to host unless you throw caution to the wind and have a few solo teams as your sole hope of qualification.

Perhaps hosts could have extra autobids based on performance at other tournaments. Any prospective DII team that puts up over 15ppb at ACF Winter--for example--is almost guaranteed a DII qualification unless the field is abnormally stacked one year; why not just compute an S-value or D-value or DP-value from those tournaments and use it (only for hosts).
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Susan » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:44 pm

I wonder if it might help if NAQT kept tabs on the local people who might be willing to staff each region and emailed them at the start of the year asking how likely they might be to staff SCT that year (where people ought to be encouraged to provide detailed responses so that you could distinguish someone who is up for driving a few hours to the nearest SCT if necessary from one who will only staff if it's in their metro area). That would put NAQT in a position to, say, email Harvard and say, "we have 10 former quizbowlers in your area who are willing to staff; are you up for hosting?"

I do want to echo Andy's note about the clock--eliminating the clock for SCT (or putting in a 20-tossup floor as was discussed earlier, though honestly it might be simplest just to kill the clock) has the dual advantage of encouraging more teams (hopefully more experienced teams) to host and eliminating the possibility of 14-tossup games (which are the worst possible outcome of inexperienced teams hosting, barring bizarro "we will not read the science questions" situations).

As regards the bid deadline--Jeff, I think I recall your saying that part of the reason for setting the deadline so early was to leave some time for staff training for SCTs. How is that going to work? Is NAQT just going to give them some sort of guidelines for novice staffers and encourage them to practice a lot, or will there be anything more involved (listening to podcasts, watching videos of games--now that we have a fair amount of this sort of data it might be useful to have novice staffers look at it--visiting other tournaments to see what they look like, life coaching from R, etc.)?
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:50 pm

myamphigory wrote:I wonder if it might help if NAQT kept tabs on the local people who might be willing to staff each region

Is NAQT just going to give them some sort of guidelines for novice staffers and encourage them to practice a lot, or will there be anything more involved (listening to podcasts, watching videos of games--now that we have a fair amount of this sort of data it might be useful to have novice staffers look at it--visiting other tournaments to see what they look like, life coaching from R, etc.)?
Any and all of this is on the table for moderator training. I hope to have more details within the next six weeks or so.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by MicroEStudent » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:18 pm

Two main reasons why we didn't bid:

1) Location. There's only two other active US teams where this would be a day trip, and it's pushing it for Canadian teams further away than Hamilton, based on experience. Additionally, we are closer to Region 7 than most of Region 2 and would possibly pull teams from Region 4 as well.

2) Staff. We don't have much in terms of a team, so we'd be shorthanded for an untimed tournament, let alone one with a clock.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by cvdwightw » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:45 pm

As has been repeatedly echoed on this board, keeping the deadline where it is heavily biases bids in favor of groups with an established infrastructure, no room reservation problems, and a large number of staff within a known range. All of those three criteria apply to just about every student union; it is rare that a quizbowl club meets two of those criteria, let alone all three. Moving the deadline back to at least mid-October gives quizbowl clubs (a) an opportunity to figure out who is able and willing to actually run the tournament, (b) an opportunity to actually re-register with the university and therefore obtain the ability to reserve rooms (lack of problems not guaranteed, but problems guaranteed if the organization can't register), and (c) a month or so to concentrate on recruiting and retaining new players before they have to figure out bidding logistics (note: does not apply to quarter-system schools).

An only semi-facetious suggestion is to send out, with the packets, a CD of R./Jeff/various other competent NAQT moderators reading the packets and instructions on when to pause and switch mp3 files; this would require one staffer who does not need to be a competent reader, merely competent at using a computer media player. This would undoubtedly solve every "14-tossup game" or "I will not read the science questions" issue.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:24 pm

We spent Odin knows how many hours posting about this last year, and this year we're again being asked why more teams don't host?

I hate to seem like I'm taking this out on you, Jeff, but what suggestions on your list haven't already been made 5 times over? We know about the clock; we know about the qualification system; we know about geography. These are not news, it's not 2001. Yes, all those are obviously factors, as people who were actually present at various SCT sites have repeatedly elucidated at great length.

I feel like this is some kind of kabuki that we're all re-enacting for the umpteenth time while whatever goes on behind the scenes at NAQT keeps going on. I just want someone from NAQT to say something that indicates that these suggestions are being taken seriously; right now, it seems like we have the obligatory discussion thread once in a while and then next year the same thing happens. Except now it's even worse because tournaments are being run by places like New Paltz and Moravia College instead of clubs that are geographically convenient and have active programs.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Nick » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:12 pm

Firstly, I think the deadline is the major obstacle- I'm aware of at least two schools not already mentioned who planned/thought of hosting but never had a chance to discuss it with the new team.

On a side note- I dont really understand how the clock prevents established programs from hosting the SCT moreso than tournaments they host without the clock. I understand that rooms need to be staffed with two people (so that the reader doesn't lose time keeping score), but that second person can easily be a non-quizbowl person. Friends, roommates, parents, professors, and girlfriends can all generally be taught to keep score in a quick 5 to 10 minute info session before the tournament. I think some frats require members to log some amount of community service hours each semester. If not, you dish out 10 bucks and free pizza. Then you have just as many rooms with experienced quizbowl-people readers from your club (5-10) as you would for ACF Winter or EFT or whatever. Maybe I'm missing something?
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:16 pm

Nick wrote:On a side note- I dont really understand how the clock prevents established programs from hosting the SCT moreso than tournaments they host without the clock. I understand that rooms need to be staffed with two people (so that the reader doesn't lose time keeping score), but that second person can easily be a non-quizbowl person. Friends, roommates, parents, professors, and girlfriends can all generally be taught to keep score in a quick 5 to 10 minute info session before the tournament. I think some frats require members to log some amount of community service hours each semester. If not, you dish out 10 bucks and free pizza. Then you have just as many rooms with experienced quizbowl-people readers from your club (5-10) as you would for ACF Winter or EFT or whatever. Maybe I'm missing something?
I don't know if the nature of the southern circuit, with many more high school teams, makes it easier to find people to keep score, but it's very hard in other places. I am not making things up when I say that the Northeast SCT last year happened only due to some last-minute staff juggling by several schools. It's hard to find people who will give up a day of their weekend to staff a quizbowl tournament. This is reality as I have seen it over many years.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:49 pm

grapesmoker wrote:We spent Odin knows how many hours posting about this last year, and this year we're again being asked why more teams don't host?

I hate to seem like I'm taking this out on you, Jeff, but what suggestions on your list haven't already been made 5 times over? We know about the clock; we know about the qualification system; we know about geography. These are not news, it's not 2001. Yes, all those are obviously factors, as people who were actually present at various SCT sites have repeatedly elucidated at great length.

I feel like this is some kind of kabuki that we're all re-enacting for the umpteenth time while whatever goes on behind the scenes at NAQT keeps going on. I just want someone from NAQT to say something that indicates that these suggestions are being taken seriously; right now, it seems like we have the obligatory discussion thread once in a while and then next year the same thing happens. Except now it's even worse because tournaments are being run by places like New Paltz and Moravia College instead of clubs that are geographically convenient and have active programs.
Jerry, this thread isn't meant to convince me that the clock needs to go; I've been convinced of that beyond all reasonable doubt by last year's discussion. I'm trying to convince other people within NAQT, in this case by pointing to a thread full of potential hosts discouraged by the continued presence of timed rounds.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:07 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Nick wrote:On a side note- I dont really understand how the clock prevents established programs from hosting the SCT moreso than tournaments they host without the clock. I understand that rooms need to be staffed with two people (so that the reader doesn't lose time keeping score), but that second person can easily be a non-quizbowl person. Friends, roommates, parents, professors, and girlfriends can all generally be taught to keep score in a quick 5 to 10 minute info session before the tournament. I think some frats require members to log some amount of community service hours each semester. If not, you dish out 10 bucks and free pizza. Then you have just as many rooms with experienced quizbowl-people readers from your club (5-10) as you would for ACF Winter or EFT or whatever. Maybe I'm missing something?
It's hard to find people who will give up a day of their weekend to staff a quizbowl tournament. This is reality as I have seen it over many years.
I've tried recruiting friends and roommates (although I'd never imagine attempting to subject a professor to a day of scorekeeping, not if I wanted to keep my GPA), to varying levels of success in terms of how well reading went and to invariably poor outcome in terms of how much those friends enjoyed their day and how willing they would be to come back. It's not a viable long-term or large-scale solution, which it needs to be, especially in a region like the Northeast.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by fleurdelivre » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:21 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Nick wrote:I understand that rooms need to be staffed with two people (so that the reader doesn't lose time keeping score), but that second person can easily be a non-quizbowl person. Friends, roommates, parents, professors, and girlfriends can all generally be taught to keep score in a quick 5 to 10 minute info session before the tournament. Maybe I'm missing something?
I don't know if the nature of the southern circuit, with many more high school teams, makes it easier to find people to keep score, but it's very hard in other places. I am not making things up when I say that the Northeast SCT last year happened only due to some last-minute staff juggling by several schools. It's hard to find people who will give up a day of their weekend to staff a quizbowl tournament. This is reality as I have seen it over many years.
Just seconding Jerry - the Vandy team was always able to leverage the community service groups' need to offer projects, but the Harvard team doesn't seem to have a similar pool of free, unskilled quiz bowl labor. What's more, it's frankly silly to assign a separate scorekeeper in my room - it makes my life marginally easier, but its impact on game play in minimal. At least in the Northeast, easing the staff numbers requirements makes real sense, if perhaps only on a case-by-case basis.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Gautam » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:22 pm

Nick wrote:
but that second person can easily be a non-quizbowl person. Friends, roommates, parents, professors, and girlfriends can all generally be taught to keep score in a quick 5 to 10 minute info session before the tournament.
I don't think it's as easy as you make it out to be. The first thing is that we never really know how long tournaments are going to take. I can't ask people to commit to staffing and tell them, "we think the tournament will go from 9-4, but there's a 50% chance that we'll end at 6." I guess the timed format makes things less uncertain, but we hosted 3 12-round tournaments that ended at pretty varying times (we had a fire alarm go off at one, but I can't exactly pinpoint the causes for variation in the others.) The second is that the score keeper's role shouldn't be limited to addition, subtraction, and multiplication... it's 100% more useful to have a scorekeeper who's played a few rounds of quizbowl before, because presumably such folks know how to keep track of protests, can keep an eye on the moderator in case he/she commits an error, and so on.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Nick » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:38 pm

Jerry, you're probably right that my situation is different with that access to high school people to call on for those last few readers. And I'll just say that I understand that people aren't always willing to give up saturdays "for the good of quizbowl" and while perhaps understandable for them, it's still kind of a bummer. And while I still think that roommates and buddies can be called on for help, they're probably closer to a last-minute kind of luxury and not a long-term always-available kind of solution, as Hannah mentioned.

Gautam, I think that not knowing an hour (or so) window for when a tournament will end is a real but totally separate issue with tournaments today, but as you mentioned, probably not as significant with SCT if the rounds are timed. And yes, the ideal would probably be two quizbowl-familiar staffers in a room, but when a club doesn't have 20+ people, as it wouldn't for any tournament the school might host, that second person (per room) probably doesn't have to be as familiar.

I think the list of local quizbowl friendlies who'd be willing to help staff is a decent idea.

A general issue for me is that I think this discussion brings to light some of the weakness/smallness (for lack of better words) of the circuit (NE/SE/and beyond) in general. Like the clock or not, NAQT has to consider abolishing their "version" of the game because there aren't enough people willing and able to staff the tournaments- and thats just kind of a bummer. Do we wait until 5-10 years from now when maybe theres twice or three times as many active programs and hosting with clocks is (from a practical standpoint) no big deal? If somehow every reader was quite competant and could get through 21-23 tossups a game- would people mind it as much? Manpower seems, from my perspective, such a weak reason to change the game. Although I understand and can respect that this is sometimes reality. Maybe I'm just being silly.
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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by WHAudenPr0xy » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:24 pm

I wrote:Stop all the clocks...

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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by dtaylor4 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:44 pm

Nick wrote:A general issue for me is that I think this discussion brings to light some of the weakness/smallness (for lack of better words) of the circuit (NE/SE/and beyond) in general. Like the clock or not, NAQT has to consider abolishing their "version" of the game because there aren't enough people willing and able to staff the tournaments- and thats just kind of a bummer. Do we wait until 5-10 years from now when maybe theres twice or three times as many active programs and hosting with clocks is (from a practical standpoint) no big deal? If somehow every reader was quite competant and could get through 21-23 tossups a game- would people mind it as much? Manpower seems, from my perspective, such a weak reason to change the game. Although I understand and can respect that this is sometimes reality. Maybe I'm just being silly.
The cause, as I see it, stems from the circuit-wide attempt to grow the game, which has succeeded to an extent. Look at the teams that are competing for national titles now that weren't in 2005 or 2006 (Minnesota and UCSD come to mind for me).

At the same time, the pool of former players who still staff tournaments has not grown as much, and in some cases may have shrunk.

In brief, we're trying to do more, but with the same amount (and in some cases fewer) resources. NAQT has tried to expand the resource pool by pushing for "non-traditional" hosts for SCT, but the returns are clearly marginal, if even positive.

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Re: Why don't more teams bid to host SCT?

Post by Sun Devil Student » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:24 pm

In ASU's case, a few issues prevented us from bidding, even though we were probably the most suitable host site from a transportation/logistical standpoint.

1) None of ASU Quizbowl's regular members have ever tried, much less succeeded in, reading a 26/26 packet *and* keeping score simultaneously all within 20 minutes. I don't think we have anyone who could even reach 20/20 within 20 minutes.

2) Given the above constraint (which untimed matches would obviate), I wanted to make sure ASU would have 2 staff per room. However, the bid deadline being before school started (Aug. 19 in ASU's case) simply did not give my team a chance to meet and figure out whether we would have enough staff to host. We expect a huge influx of novices during the first few weeks of the year, but cannot predict how many will remain by February.

3) A fall-semester deadline (definitely no earlier than Sept. 15) would help with #2. However, I also felt that ASU Quizbowl needed to meet to decide whether we *wanted* to host. It would be the best for our region if we did, since we *are* more than half (if not even three-quarters) of our entire region's quizbowl population, but some of my leading players were disinclined to host again this year and I wanted to make sure our whole team, especially the D1 members, was willing to put in the effort to host before submitting a bid. The early deadline prevents this.

4) I assume that NAQT is still debating internally on the grievance which I transmitted to R. Hentzel last year on behalf of my top players (last year's D2 team, who are this year's D1 team), so I shall see no need to elaborate publicly, other than that I hope NAQT will ensure no team ever has to go through what they did. Nevertheless, I still believe NAQT has been good for quizbowl generally and I will try to persuade my team to host when we start up again for the fall.

5) If my D1 team were to be willing to host SCT again, would NAQT still be willing to consider their hosting bid at this point? Taking into account the logistical superiority of Phoenix over Tucson, the fact that 60-80% of the potential field will consist of ASU D2 players, and that ASU Quizbowl could work closely with any avilable ACUI people (we can even share the bid, I just think Phoenix would be the best physical location to have the tournament).

There is also a quizbowl-development reason ASU should host - namely, that my D1 team is the only D1 team in the Rocky Mountains and I think it would be a better tournament more conducive to growing quizbowl in our region if this D1 team hosted the SCT rather than playing in it and being forced to club baby seals by near-unsportsmanlike margins in pursuit of a D-value qualification. However, I think the logistical issues alone would make a strong case for having the SCT held in Phoenix regardless of who is listed as the official host.
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