I'm quite happy R. took the time to respond to this thread; I'll do my best to explain my concerns more concretely:
As far as I can tell, the tournament would have had sufficient staff (including moderators) were it not for the bad weather; had everybody been there, I think there would not have been a problem accommodating the Maryland team's Friday-night request to switch one of its teams to Division I to avoid byes. As it is, I think any tournament director is well within her rights when faced with a lack of staff to decline such a change.
I do too, and don't think I mentioned anything about that in my post, though I do think it's a little silly for NAQT to insist on a "no scab teams ever, for any reason" policy that's distinct from pretty much every other event, which was what I was actually somewhat vexed by on Friday night.
I also think that it's entirely reasonable for hosts, NAQT, and ACUI to consider the expected number of moderators that teams will bring when assessing their ability to staff a tournament; it's true that teams brought a significant fraction of the staffers, but I see that as a tribute to region's overall quiz bowl quality (and enthusiasm) rather than a failing on the part of Moravian. In fact, I might go so far as to say that Moravian should be commended for using team moderators (something NAQT has heavily emphasized that they should so) rather than insisting on giving their own (less experienced) people the more interesting and prestigious jobs.
NAQT and ACUI knew that staffing a site like Moravian would be more difficult, but our calculations back during the bid evaluation process suggested that it could be done. And it was. It is lucky that, given the weather, Mike Bentley became available. But in the absence of the weather the tournament would have had more moderators from Pittsburgh.
I don't think this follows. For one thing, I certainly didn't note this problem as any sort of failing on the part of Moravian; in fact, I said just the opposite, and I too and pleased Moravian utilized the more experienced staffers as moderators. However, I find framing that as something that's particularly commendable to be a bit concerning, as it pretty much meets the bare minimum threshold of competence I'd demand from any tournament staff. If NAQT isn't confident an SCT host will use their best moderators to moderate, then I don't think we really need to be debating whether a site was a good hosting choice.
More importantly, these points do not particularly address what I brought up. For instance, you can say that a weather emergency is a fluke thing that shouldn't be taken into account, but I don't buy that; this was not really a "weather emergency" as we had last year. The problem wasn't the weather - I had no problem at all moving along 95 or around the DC/Baltimore/Wilmington/Philly metro areas. What teams found difficult was making there way to Moravian's rather remote location, and that's easily something you should factor in consistently when planning for a tournament that's always held in February.
I'm not sure what calculations you're referring to, but if you mean staffer planning, then I'd say there were in fact major errors on NAQT's side of things. Most of the original staff planned for the event seemed to be UPitt people - whether or not that constitutes a good moderating corps to begin with I couldn't speak to, but it seems like this tournament's location is what necessitated relying on Pitt area staffers (as opposed to Philly/DC area people), and as such the consequences of even moderate weather issues should have been predictable.
It would be easy for me to say something like, "Well, we had to go with Moravian because nobody else bid," but I have no interest in doing that because it's not true. The site selection committee reserves the right to reject all bids in a region and go in search of more; we chose not to do that in this case because we believed that Moravian had enthusiastic folks from Region 4 and because we believed we could effectively staff it. I don't regret that decision. The decision was made before it became clear that we had no Region 3 host, but after that occurred, it was nice to have a site relatively close to those teams as well.
I think that's fine, though it seems like some other sites demonstrated that the person making decisions like who'll staff in what capacity and everything needs to have the experience to prevent the CBI dude debacle in New York or all the best mods reading in DII or something like that. Again, I'm not inherently bothered by the choice of a site with no particular quizbowl program, nor do I think Moravian dropped the ball on stuff - it seems like most of your post tries to respond to that sentiment, and I don't believe it's one I really expressed.
What I am challenging is NAQT's assumption that Moravian would not have any staffing issues, and that such a tournament can just assume the 4 moderators brought by Maryland/Delaware will be on hand. I mean, that's probably a pretty safe assumption if the Region 3/4 SCT is going to be held in the DC area or even Philly/Wilmington, but for reasons I already brought up applying that logic in this situation is problematic. Even if it wasn't, in NAQT's position I think I would have, after choosing Moravian, have actually worked to make sure those moderators were secured. Nothing remotely like that happened, at least with regards to our staffers. The moderators we brought aren't even the people we most often rely on, because those people couldn't or didn't wish to drive out to Moravian. Jeff is almost never available for stuff like this. Jordan wasn't even on the roster until a few days before the tournament, and is generally even less available. Mike Bentley could not have been more last minute, and was only able to be picked up because Dan Puma happened to bring his van along; additionally, I'm pretty sure Dwight/Moravian had no idea whatsoever he was coming until we showed up.
The circumstances surrounding these staffers are the flukiest of flukes, no matter how you slice it. Sure, I guess you're arguing that the lack of staff that necessitated their presence to begin with was a fluke, but I don't at all think that's a sound argument - this tournament's location pretty much accounted for that problem, in a rather foreseeable way that I in fact brought up several months ago (among other concerns that, as you point out, were not realized).
Finally, since it was brought up, I'd like to state for the record that NAQT cares very deeply about the quality of its sectionals; I'm pretty sure that, on an hours-invested-per-team-involved basis, we do more work planning, writing, and editing for Sectionals than for any other tournament that we produce. Sectionals (and the ICT) get a disproportionate amount of work relative to the number of teams participating (and the revenue generated) because we remain personally invested in seeing the country's most experienced and most sophisticated consumers of quiz bowl playing in our championship series.
Well, I actually didn't bring that up, and do not personally hold the opinion that NAQT doesn't care about SCT or ICT. What I doubted NAQT cared about was responding to my post, or returning my earlier emails, or to responding appropriately to the atrocious behavior of that dude in New York. I'm not one of those people who just writes off NAQT as phoning it in with every college set, and in fact I thought this SCT was pretty good, just like the last couple of years.
I mean, I concluded that NAQT doesn't really care about the issues I brought up several months ago because nobody ever responded to them, including to multiple emails I sent expressing concern on behalf of the Maryland team. I don't think that's an unreasonable conclusion to draw, whether it's actually the case or not. I also think NAQT's lack of a formal "wow, we're really sorry this lunatic was allowed to staff/treat teams like that, he won't be doing that again" post regarding the CBI guy constitutes not caring enough about how big a problem that kind of thing actually is. Neither of those things makes me think NAQT doesn't care about Sectionals, though since I know you DO care, I plead with you to consider placing an experienced staffer in the actual TD position as the standard SCT policy going forward.
Actually, that's something I'd like to hear NAQT's position on: Why is it that situations like this result in Gretchen Symons being the TD and Dwight Kidder being the adviser? Why not the other way around, since one person knows how to TD and one person can advise the other on site-specific issues? I suspect it's because NAQT is concerned that some ACUI people might bristle at playing second fiddle for an event held at their school; if that's the case, I think NAQT should acknowledge it, and even more strongly, I think that policy should be promptly discarded as something that will inevitably cause problems. I'm happy to expand quizbowl, but people who would really get upset at something like that are not going to help us expand quizbowl anyway (and honestly, it doesn't seem to me like I'm more likely in the slightest to see Moravian on the circuit because of this SCT).