Southeastern Quizbowl

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Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:13 am

While reading the James Johnson discussion thread, I realized that the rest of the quizbowl community does not view the Southeast as a viable quizbowl region. I completely agree with this, as the community college circuit is many times as active as the high school or collegiate circuit. Do you believe there is causality in this? I know Chris Borglum has produced many excellent Valencia teams in the past 16 or so years and Stan Young at Chipola has had great success recently, but very few continue on to collegiate-level success. Simply put, how can one improve Southeast quizbowl? In my opinion, the Southeast was a fairly respectable region at last year's ICT, with UF finishing 8th in DI and Clemson and Louisville finishing 2nd and 8th in DII, respectively. This is not the case this year, as Alabama is the only DI representative and Duke and Ga. Tech being the only DII representatives. Next year, I know that UF will have at least two active, dedicated quizbowl members in myself and Dallin (with Kay Li being a possible third), but how would we go about improving the landscape? Should we begin working with members from other universities (South Carolina, Clemson, Ga. Tech, Alabama, FSU) to run a single, large high school tournament and bring attention to our schools or run numerous college-level tournaments to boost all of the levels of competition amongst us? I would assume some mixture of the two would be the best option, but that doesn't really seem to be a viable option. I am not attempting to be a savior and I do not want to assume any team or player's participation, I would simply like to garner discussion that I feel would greatly improve the quizbowl scene as a whole.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by cchiego » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:03 am

One year does not a trend make, but you're touching on the right idea- high-quality quizbowl in the Southeast is fragile, despite the large number of teams. My gut feeling from the past is that the lack of top graduate programs hurts the most. What does that mean, you ask? Well dedicated grad students simply last longer. It should be no surprise that some of the best players out of the Southeast in recent years were grad students (Aaron from UF, Matt from Vandy) or undergrads who stayed active after 4 years (Billy, JT). With that as the core of your team and with the wealth of club experience that also comes from grad students who played/hosted in undergrad, it's not too hard to survive a few bad years or rapid turnover amongst the undergrads.

I doubt there's much you can do to change these kinds of structural factors, but I think you can work to foster an increased sense of collaboration amongst Southeastern teams. For instance, many SoCal players are more than willing to help out at other schools' tournaments, allowing us to make the best use of our limited resources. Thus, if Emory wanted to host a HS tournament, I'd hope that UGA and Tech and even Berry and Shorter would be able to pitch in to help. Nothing too formal, but just making sure to look out for each other. Same with say, USF and the Florida schools. Helping new teams feel welcome and get $$ is key.

I doubt that trying to do a pan-Southeastern tournament would be very successful unless you could negotiate with all the major actors far in advance (and even then nothing's assured). Better to just make sure that all college clubs have a good revenue stream and know what they're doing when hosting.

Still, the best way to get more and better college players is to produce more and better high school players at a greater number of institutions. High school quizbowl in the Southeast doesn't need much helping in terms of number of raw teams, but perhaps you could work with local teams to help them improve to nationals-caliber level (and hopefully then more top college players at Southern colleges). It might also help to try to reach some of the untapped pockets of teams left out in the cold, dark regions of Chip or worse (I'm thinking Southern Alabama, the Carolina Coast, Mississippi minus St. Andrews, and my very own dear Mid South). Hosting more tournaments in a variety of non-traditional areas might be useful... some sort of traveling roadshow perhaps? Coordinated outreach efforts might be helpful too, with more experienced teams/players advising new clubs (Ole Miss for instance) on the mechanics of hosting and how to attract new teams. In any case, I wish y'all the best of luck.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:20 am

I'll have more to say on this later, but Chris's point about a lack of grad programs is valid. As a former grad student player myself, I've certainly never complained about the presence of grad students in quizbowl, but it definitely doesn't help the Southern quizbowl scene to have so few grad student players. And it greatly helps lots of teams outside of the Southeast. Like Chris said, some of the better players in the Southeast in recent years were grad students, and they're simply not around anymore in significant numbers. People can (wrongfully) complain about grad students in quizbowl, but the fact is that having lots of good grad students playing quizbowl is GREAT for the game. In addition to upping the competition level and inspiring other players to do better, they provide logistical know-how, help for novice tournaments, leadership in coordinating quizbowl at a regional/national level, and countless other helpful services. I sure wish there were more grad students playing quizbowl in the Southeast, and anyone who wishes this region well should feel the same.

Beyond that, there are other things. There does seem to be a culture among many programs that emphasizes doing well at DII/novice events to the exclusion of everything else. Like, EFT, ACF Fall (in Alabama, at least), and DII SCT always seem to be well-attended in the Southeast (and it looks like NGSU's 2011 MUT mirror will have a sizable field). However, anything above novice level seems to either not happen or have very limited attendance (A happy exception to this is UCF/Valencia's ACF Regionals. Florida's Community College circuit is awesome!). This is despite the presence of many teams in the Southeast that could certainly compete well on regular-level questions and above. And yes, lots of promising freshmen/sophomore players in the Southeast seem to disappear every year once their DII eligibility expires. That mentality must change.

I'll have more to say later....
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by mhayes » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:44 am

I have to leave soon, but I'll definitely add more later.

I've had the experience of founding a quizbowl team at a southern school, and then migrating to a program in the midwest. I agree about the points regarding the lack of graduate programs. But it also seems to me that high school kids in this area are generally more enthusiastic about quizbowl than kids in the south. This is only based on my experiences living in southern Louisiana, and then moving to northeast Ohio, but it seems that this is true in many cases.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:49 am

I, too, will probably produce a lengthy white paper on this topic after class meetings and NEH application-writing sessions today, but I wanted to toss out one theory regarding the drop off from our vibrant CC circuit to the four-year circuit.

The biggest problem is me. And Stan Young of Chipola. And all of us coaches.

95% of the players who walk into our practices have not played HS quiz bowl, so from the start of their playing careers, they've got a coach (or for most teams, a couple coaches) who select packets to read in practice, handle all the soliciting of money from student activities, handle all travel details (down to providing wake-up calls and meet-up times in the morning), keep up with tournament scheduling, contact professors to let them know of potential missed classes on a Friday, tell them what clues in packets come up all the time, and even help focus them on an area of inquiry.

This then goes on for two or three years. And suddenly s/he is at a big university, often with no program or a very loose one, and s/he doesn't have any tools or experience to do this work. And s/he finds out it's mostly no fun at all.

We did okay with some of our players going on when USF and UF (and, to a lesser extent, FSU) all had solid programs with grad-student or upper-class leadership, as the players could be eased into the work of running a student-led team, but now that all of those programs are kind of listing aimlessly, the students who have gone there seem to have faded out of the game. I'm glad I've got a few motivated folks at UCF, but that program has flared and dropped before, so I'm hoping that the players the CCs will send there next year can keep it going.

It is ridiculous that I can host Delta Burke in November and have 120-130 players involved, and then three years later something like 3-5 will still be involved in the game. I can't hand over logistics, either, as my college wouldn't permit students to do that work (not to mention I get paid a little for it), so I'm not sure how to retain them as they go forward. The best we can probably do is prepare them for what they'll be in for, and provide as much help in creating and running a team as we can.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:25 pm

mhayes wrote:I've had the experience of founding a quizbowl team at a southern school, and then migrating to a program in the midwest... It also seems to me that high school kids in this area are generally more enthusiastic about quizbowl than kids in the south. This is only based on my experiences living in southern Louisiana, and then moving to northeast Ohio, but it seems that this is true in many cases.
You are dead on here. I am in a somewhat similar situation, where I founded a team at a flagship state school in a state where quizbowl had almost no tradition of playing pyramidal questions. Every single player we got for the first year had absolutely no experience on good questions, and all but 2 of those players (out of something like 8) are no longer involved in the club, and I am sure that at least some of those players quit because they expected the game to have a lot of one-liners. Also, non-pyramidal quizbowl does not foster the same amount of self-motivation to play quizbowl because you really like it, and to work at it because you really want to learn more.

In the meantime, the club here has done a lot of work with a local organization, MOQBA, to create a circuit of pyramidal tournaments. After our second year of operating, teams were finally beginning to really click and become much more dedicated and take good quizbowl really seriously, and suddenly a large group of graduating seniors who went to in-state schools have joined their teams and gotten really involved, including at Mizzou, and are enthusiastically attending all manner of tournaments - we had a freshman play solo at ACF Regionals, not do too hot (you know we love you Chris), and come back to tell me he really enjoyed the set. Over the next couple of years, I'm expecting even greater yield. Ohio is an example of a circuit where good quizbowl is much more entrenched, so there are even more graduates from programs that took it seriously going in-state and continuing to take quizbowl seriously, because I am convinced that pyramidal quizbowl is the kind of quizbowl people like to play the most once they get enough exposure to it, that it breeds greater talent and dedication, and that once high schools are really exposed to it, more and more of their players don't want to quit once they reach college. Lastly, I find that the more good quizbowl there is, the more friendly and interconnected the circuit gets - when I was playing in Missouri, I barely knew who my opponents were, and I'm pretty sure I was one of maybe 3 players who actually was acquainted with the few college people running things I went to. Now that MOQBA has gotten going, I know who tons of high schoolers on the circuit are, and tons of high schoolers know most of our other members as well, and I have seen a tremendous increase in how much the teams interact at tournaments. The teams that take it seriously have a lot more fun at our stuff as a result, and I'm sure it makes going on to college quizbowl seem like an enjoyable way to spend their time socially.

If you are in a region that has a really poor level of quizbowl, and there are a lot of local high schoolers who go to college and don't continue playing, I think the single most important thing you could do is get colleges and other sympathetic people to get together and agree to host lots of tournaments on NAQT, HSAPQ, and other high quality pyramidal sets. Hosting another Chip Beall or CAC style tournament will do nothing to help. It will take some time and a lot of elbow grease (sometimes you have to run a LOT, Mizzou organizes three tournaments as a club and is the host of two other events we play a large hand in running), but if you can get a full season of tournaments going, can talk to local teams and convince them to keep coming to your tournaments (and down the line, hosting some of their own), and then get players to be involved in learning how to improve and take it seriously, that will be the best way you can revitalize your circuit.
Last edited by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) on Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by alexdz » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:31 pm

That. I have never seen so much great stuff come out of the efforts we've put in here in Missouri. Teams who were virtually unheard of on the MSHSAA circuit (I'm looking at you, Jefferson City) are among the best of the best at pyramidal stuff. Having a "fan base" to draw from is a lot easier than trying to start from scratch with freshmen who played a season or two in high school of a local format.

That said, it takes a lot of effort to run good tournaments. Lean on your friends here - help is but a forum post or PM away.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by theMoMA » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:47 pm

Florida's CC players have a great attitude about attending tournaments, even tournaments that are not geared towards community college players. I have no doubt that Chris and Stan have had a big hand in the widespread adoption of that attitude. The problem is finding the student leadership to drive that attitude change at the bigger schools. While grad students are integral to program continuity in many places, the change has happened nearly overnight at several programs, and it's almost always driven by incoming freshmen and younger players. Though this seems to be a down year north of the border, Canada has recently seen this kind of regionwide infusion of enthusiastic younger players, and the change in regional attitude shows up in tournament hosting, attendance, and performance at nationals.

I have no doubt the south can do the same. We already see it in pockets like South Carolina and the Florida CC circuit. Texas has an unbelievable high school circuit and an emerging college one despite geographic challenges. Recent-era Clemson shows how quickly a program can turn around with an influx of young talent (and how quickly it can go back under without continuity).
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Cooper98 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:28 pm

It's really rare for Alabama College Bowl League alums to attend University's that already have a program. Florida's community college system might have the same problem to a lesser degree since Ethan and others are playing on and starting programs. Cord, JT, and myself are among the few. Most of the people play for 2 years then disappear off the grid like Patrick Riley did.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:42 pm

For the coaches in the CC region, perhaps this is a good idea. You do most of the work, true, but perhaps you could find a motivated individual or two in your club that you could take under your respective wings and teach him/her the fundamentals of running the organization. I say this because this is primarily what Matt did with me in the first year of my presidency. Sure, I was the president, but I quite obviously didn't know what the hell I was doing, but I learned for the most part as a sort of intern when it came to learning the ins and outs of being a club president (reserving rooms/getting keys/organizing tournaments, etc.) -- if it weren't for that time I spent learning how to organize events and whatnot, I wouldn't have had such a long tenure running the ULL team. Now I am serving a lesser role somewhat at Alabama but am still capable of running the team if that were ever needed, and I am always trying to give advice to improve the quality of quizbowl here. My point is that quizbowl is not just about scoring points, it's about having people in leadership positions that are capable of running the club in such a way that it can improve. If you take someone and teach them the ins and outs of actually running the club, then when they go to another institution to complete their undergraduate degrees, there will most definitely be people at the four-year schools that know what they are doing because you taught them how to do things. This is especially useful when there are no such people present at the university when they arrive there. This holds true for everyone who is any good at organizing tournaments. If there are people in your club that are interested in learning how to run quizbowl clubs, please do your best to teach them. If there are people that know how to do the dirty work and are willing to do it, then your club will exist. If you convince them of the ways of good quizbowl, they will improve. If we have enough people doing this, the entire region will improve.

If you are at a four-year institution and you are planning on attending graduate school at an institution which does not have a quizbowl program (and you would like to start one), you should also take this advice and learn what it means to have a quizbowl team and for them to play in quality quizbowl tournaments consistently. Then there will be quizbowl programs in even more places than there are now, and they will play quality quizbowl, which is great for the expansion of our game. Good quizbowl can exist in regions where the conditions are not as nice, where there are not many teams, and where there seems to be a lack of interest, it just takes a passionate individual to drive the quizbowl circuit in the region to succeed, no matter how many failures he or she may encounter along the way. For example, in my five year tenure as ULL president, we attended or hosted more than 7 tournaments per season, despite very few active collegiate programs existing within six hours of our institution. My point is that quizbowl can exist anywhere, you just have to have the right leaders, which means you have to have a leader in the first place, which means you have to teach people to learn how to run clubs efficiently.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by mhayes » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:50 pm

DarkMatter wrote:Good quizbowl can exist in regions where the conditions are not as nice, where there are not many teams, and where there seems to be a lack of interest, it just takes a passionate individual to drive the quizbowl circuit in the region to succeed, no matter how many failures he or she may encounter along the way.
I agree with this. I've told you before that my biggest regret with ULL's club was in not exposing the younger guys to more difficult tournaments (i.e. those above ACF Fall or NAQT IS). I think I was afraid of scaring people away, which was a real concern; we had people quit the team because they could never duplicate their high school scoring average of 95 PPG on non-pyramidal questions. Simply put, it seems that good quizbowl has less of an influence on high school students in many southern states. This is a trend that I would love to see reversed, because those same students will have the same inexperience with good quizbowl when when they join college teams. This will simply perpetuate the vicious cycle.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Sun Devil Student » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:58 am

Just an idea for you guys. What I seem to see, from my very limited vantage point on the other side of the country, is a large skill disparity in the community college circuit mirroring the widening gap between the top and bottom teams in the 4-year collegiate circuit. So how about creating an NAQT Division-type system for the CC's, where the CC SCT's are run with IS series in D2 and SCTD2 questions in "D1" (e.g. CC's D1 equals 4-year-college's D2). Those CC teams which have been to D2 ICT get put in the upper division at CC SCT and can qualify directly from CC SCT to D2 ICT, since they can't play CCCT if it uses questions they've already heard.

Or, have "Division 1 CC" teams leave the CC circuit and attend standard D2 SCT tournaments alongside the 4-year colleges. The CC SCT's are then for the "Division 2 CC" teams which are less experienced. CCCT becomes a tournament that is only open to CC teams with no prior Nationals experience, and lets such teams get an additional competition opportunity before going up to D2 ICT.

Looking at the brilliant high school and CC stats out of the Southeast, I truly did not realize the collegiate circuit was so weak there. It's an interesting contrast with the Rocky Mountains where the collegiate circuit and high school circuit are both weak because they're only 2 and 1 years old, respectively (and they're getting better with time; if Arizona survives my own departure after this year, then you will have seen an entire region built almost from scratch within a three-year period). Truth be told, even I'm quite pleasantly surprised at how much quizbowl I've managed to dig out of my native desert. You guys seem to be in better condition, though, so good luck with your place as well. :)

I have a speculation that some of the attrition between high school and college, in strong high school regions, might be due to some high school players' being motivated more by the pursuit of glory than the love of knowledge for its own sake. Winning is much easier in high school than in college, and even when you win, the lower-scoring games you see at collegiate difficulty levels does somewhat dampen the flush of victory. If you can't have fun until you start winning, you're never going to stick around long enough to enjoy it.

This of course doesn't apply to the very best high school players, who are better than most college teams before they get out of high school. If they leave the game, I'd simply guess they got burned out and/or got bored of it after dominating so much that it wasn't challenging for them anymore.

Since none of this is very applicable in my own region, it's only idle speculation on my part, but you guys might have more insight since you're from a region with a good high school circuit.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:14 am

Sun Devil Student wrote:Just an idea for you guys. What I seem to see, from my very limited vantage point on the other side of the country, is a large skill disparity in the community college circuit mirroring the widening gap between the top and bottom teams in the 4-year collegiate circuit. So how about creating an NAQT Division-type system for the CC's, where the CC SCT's are run with IS series in D2 and SCTD2 questions in "D1" (e.g. CC's D1 equals 4-year-college's D2). Those CC teams which have been to D2 ICT get put in the upper division at CC SCT and can qualify directly from CC SCT to D2 ICT, since they can't play CCCT if it uses questions they've already heard.

Or, have "Division 1 CC" teams leave the CC circuit and attend standard D2 SCT tournaments alongside the 4-year colleges. The CC SCT's are then for the "Division 2 CC" teams which are less experienced. CCCT becomes a tournament that is only open to CC teams with no prior Nationals experience, and lets such teams get an additional competition opportunity before going up to D2 ICT.
Given that Community Colleges play high school questions for their sectional championship, I think it would be pretty silly to split them up even further, since D2 SCT seems to have produced a really appropriate CCCT set. I think your second idea is even worse, because if I were at a community college that does take quizbowl seriously, being told that I'm ineligible to win the national championship of community colleges would be an amazingly infuriating prospect. I have no involvement with community college quizbowl, yet I think I speak for everyone involved when I say that is an atrocious idea that is designed purely to hurt the teams that work the hardest and deserve the highest recognition in their field. Why on earth would you want to reward teams for being less talented than their opponents?
I have a speculation that some of the attrition between high school and college, in strong high school regions, might be due to some high school players' being motivated more by the pursuit of glory than the love of knowledge for its own sake. Winning is much easier in high school than in college, and even when you win, the lower-scoring games you see at collegiate difficulty levels does somewhat dampen the flush of victory. If you can't have fun until you start winning, you're never going to stick around long enough to enjoy it.
I think you don't have the proper historical perspective on this. 5 years ago it would have been fair to say that lots of top player attrition was due to a mix of overbearing coaches, players only doing it to win easy titles, less interaction between the high school and college circuits, and a lack of widespread good quizbowl. Since around 2005 the number of serious high school players coming into the college circuit has been growing exponentially, with those players becoming far more dedicated on average than they were in the past. I outlined the key component above, and that is making good quizbowl the norm in your high school circuit. It breeds self-motivation to have the game be so meritocratic, yet so easy to get good at, which only applies to good quizbowl, and it makes high schoolers feel much more comfortable (or even excited) to move into college events if they are used to playing a season full of good tournaments rather than tournaments in their local one-liner format, which is so prevalent in certain parts of the south (Louisiana, Alabama, I guess Mississippi if they even have an active circuit). I can't emphasize this enough, you reap what you sew when you use your college team's position to help steer the creation of lots of good high school events.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:25 am

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:I think you don't have the proper historical perspective on this. 5 years ago it would have been fair to say that lots of top player attrition was due to a mix of overbearing coaches, players only doing it to win easy titles, less interaction between the high school and college circuits, and a lack of widespread good quizbowl. Since around 2005 the number of serious high school players coming into the college circuit has been growing exponentially, with those players becoming far more dedicated on average than they were in the past.
Some historical perspective: a thread about the transition from high school to college from December 2003.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Sun Devil Student » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:54 am

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:if I were at a community college that does take quizbowl seriously, being told that I'm ineligible to win the national championship of community colleges would be an amazingly infuriating prospect. I have no involvement with community college quizbowl, yet I think I speak for everyone involved when I say that is an atrocious idea that is designed purely to hurt the teams that work the hardest and deserve the highest recognition in their field. Why on earth would you want to reward teams for being less talented than their opponents?
Good point. Although under that second idea, CCCT wouldn't be called the "championship of community colleges" anymore since it obviously wouldn't be.

I was trying to think of a way to split the CC's without forcing NAQT to make another whole packet set. It just seems to me like there is enough of a skill difference within the CC circuit to have divisions at a tournament, if you wanted.

How about this third idea: Have CC SCT's split into divisions playing on either SCT D2 or IS-set, then the CCCT splits into divisions playing on either SCT D1 or SCT D2 (the upper-division of CCSCT becomes the lower-division of CCCT), and only the upper division feeds into D2 ICT. (This only works if an SCT D1 set can be modified to take out any repeats of the SCT D2 set, so this might be farfetched to start with, but they have 1/3 non-overlapping already, so it should be only 2/3 as much work as writing a brand new set?)

Or have CC SCT's lower divisions be IS-A sets. Since some CC teams put up stats that do indeed resemble novice high school teams, and struggle severely with IS-sets, maybe an IS-A set would even be more appropriate for those CC teams. On the other hand, we should really encourage those teams to play normal IS-sets too.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:04 am

How about people with only a couple years' involvement with quizbowl and 0 involvement in community college quizbowl not try to come up with systems to "fix" community college quizbowl (without any real provocation or good reasoning behind it) that involve people literally qualifying to a national championship playing questions geared towards high school underclassmen.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:11 am

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
It breeds self-motivation to have the game be so meritocratic, yet so easy to get good at, which only applies to good quizbowl, and it makes high schoolers feel much more comfortable (or even excited) to move into college events if they are used to playing a season full of good tournaments rather than tournaments in their local one-liner format, which is so prevalent in certain parts of the south (Louisiana, Alabama, I guess Mississippi if they even have an active circuit). I can't emphasize this enough, you reap what you sew when you use your college team's position to help steer the creation of lots of good high school events.
I'll provide my own experiences with formats in Louisiana just so people can get an idea of what goes on. By the way, Charlie, I commend you heavily for bringing good quizbowl to the state of Missouri, as I understand what it is like to try to change a quizbowl culture myself.

Yes, if we could convince high schools that these formats do not promote good quizbowl, then surely quizbowl would be in a better state in Louisiana, at least. For a long time ULL hosted what was known as Cajun Quiz Bowl which resembled your typical tossup/bonus format with lightning rounds. The main problem was that the questions were of lower quality (even though from what I remember they were "sort of" pyramidal) but still, did not reward players with knowledge anywhere near the way NAQT or ACF/mACF questions do. For example, a multitude of the players who would score 100+ ppg on the format and were not introduced to quality pyramidal questions in high school would usually be good for about 10-15 ppg on a D2 SCT set, say, unless they put in some extra work to improve. So it's not that they weren't capable of being as good as your typical high school player in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic given the proper work ethic, it's that the local formats did not help them to improve as they did not even know how, and those were the competitions that were available to them, and besides a few high school NAQT events put on by ULL and Caddo Magnet during the early to mid-2000's (and I may be missing someone, please forgive me) there was practically nothing there in terms of good quizbowl. So the club president (Matt) had the option of keeping Cajun Quiz Bowl alive when the previous regime in charge of CQB decided to call it quits, and instead of keeping the format alive, he banished it to the underrealm. Of course the format had some graduates that went on to play good quizbowl, including but not limited to Matt Hayes, Chris Romero, and myself, but one cannot help but develop bad habits from playing on such questions.

Once not too long ago, I was asked to host one of :chip: 's tournaments, but politely declined, as of course there is obviously nothing good that comes out of a :chip: tournament, even though multitudes of teams in our region will attend :chip: tournaments and tournaments on local formats. Perhaps for some reason they view winning on the local formats as more prestigious because the tournaments have a tradition in the state and so they value those above the good quizbowl tournaments. Perhaps they view :chip: 's tournaments as fun instead of funn as they tend to draw pretty well whenever they happen. I don't think there are a lot of :chip: tournaments in Louisiana to my knowledge, which is a good thing. Go away, :chip: . Maybe the kids just need something to do and so they go to the :chip: tournament because it's something to do. Who knows. (Is this the record for most :chip: pictures in a paragraph on the forums?)

Unfortunately, ULL wasn't in a good position to host any NAQT tournaments this year, so I don't know how much good quizbowl, if any, the teams in the state got this year. But teams do show up to them when they happen, but numbers show that they will show up for more NAQT tournaments in the Fall as they tend to be busy with other academic competitions in the Spring. ULL's annual Fall high school tournament drew 30-40 teams in most years, so it's not like teams are opposed to playing good quizbowl, they just need to be influenced to conduct such tournaments. If any of you would be interested in trying to get teams in Louisiana to host good high school quizbowl events I will provide a link to a list of member institutions of LAAC. Maybe some of the high school teams that are on this list would in fact be interested in hosting good high school quizbowl tournaments, maybe they just need to be pushed in the right direction. If you are in charge of editing of such a tournament that you think would be appropriate for them to play in, be more than free to contact them regarding hosting.

Here is the link: http://library.nsula.edu/assets/Uploads ... ectory.pdf
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Sun Devil Student » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:17 am

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:How about people with only a couple years' involvement with quizbowl and 0 involvement in community college quizbowl not try to come up with systems to "fix" community college quizbowl (without any real provocation or good reasoning behind it) that involve people literally qualifying to a national championship playing questions geared towards high school underclassmen.
Fair enough. I only offered some quick ideas, those of you actually there are much more suited to judge whether they might be useful to you.

I will also admit that there is one thing even harder than building a circuit from scratch, and that's building a good circuit on top of a bad one. So I have to tip my hat to those of you who work in regions that have established "bad" formats which you are always struggling to pull teams away from.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Cooper98 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:07 am

I played Alabama's ASCA format from when I was in 6th grade til my senior year when I finally played in an NAQT Tournament. Most teams in Alabama don't particularly care about going to many tournaments. In fact when I was in high school until my senior year we went to only like 2 tournaments a year. Jake is right it really was a rough transition I didn't like NAQT format the first time I played it (though I've learned to love it). I then played ACBL 2 years and played nothing but NAQT IS sets. Most of the people in ACBL short of the Brindlee Mountain and others had never played NAQT. The good news is there are coaches in Alabama that care like Matt, Josh and Lee that are really making an effort to get teams to play on decent questions. So people won't end up as I did playing crappy questions and being good only to end up being mediocre on questions actually worth a damn.
Last edited by Cooper98 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:30 am

Speaking as one of the aforementioned "Brindlee Mountain" people in the past, I will have to say being introduced to pyramidal quizbowl was definitely something we weren't initially fans of, but we stuck with it and had great success. Lee Henry started us on NAQT questions when we were in 8th grade because ASCA-wise we were the best team in the state, finishing 68-2 that year. He even took us to the NAQT High School State tournament that year as well, which we came in 7th place beating a solid Russellville team led by Slade Gilmer. Starting us early paid off with the state championships and such, but it also gave some of us desire to compete past high school. Sadly none of the Brindlee Mountain diaspora from 2008 competes much other than myself. Andy has seemingly quit at Alabama, Casey got married, and Justin Decker is in the process of attempting to start a team at Montevallo, which has had programs in the past. As for me, I plan to continue playing after Snead, assuming I read NAQT's Eligibility Rule 8.a correctly. If I'm not cleared to play with the AAQT while going to UAH, I plan to attempt to start up a team myself while there. Some of the kids from DAR/Hoover I'm sure will make an effort to play once graduating, but that will all depend on where they go.

Relating to ASCA, Coach Rutsky is trying hard to take steps on switching from ASCA's poorly written hose-filled one liners to a more pyramidal type scheme, or so I'm told. Unfortunately there aren't many supporters on the issue yet, but I think with time it will garner enough to change the format. Personally, I don't like ASCA since being introduced to NAQT. The only time I ever play anything close to ASCA is when we have to play-test questions for District or Small Schools during Snead practices.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Matthew D » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:38 am

Actually Mark there are a core of us that are attempting make that change to a more "normal" style of question. Josh gets to spearhead a bunch because of his position on the board.
I have been told that Joey is going to try to start a team at Auburn which I know would be one that will end up at the ACF tournaments.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Cooper98 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:52 am

Come to think of it Eric, hasn't the idea of a southeastern college bowl championship tournament been thrown around in the past?
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by mhayes » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:19 pm

DarkMatter wrote:
Unfortunately, ULL wasn't in a good position to host any NAQT tournaments this year, so I don't know how much good quizbowl, if any, the teams in the state got this year. But teams do show up to them when they happen, but numbers show that they will show up for more NAQT tournaments in the Fall as they tend to be busy with other academic competitions in the Spring. ULL's annual Fall high school tournament drew 30-40 teams in most years, so it's not like teams are opposed to playing good quizbowl, they just need to be influenced to conduct such tournaments. If any of you would be interested in trying to get teams in Louisiana to host good high school quizbowl events I will provide a link to a list of member institutions of LAAC. Maybe some of the high school teams that are on this list would in fact be interested in hosting good high school quizbowl tournaments, maybe they just need to be pushed in the right direction. If you are in charge of editing of such a tournament that you think would be appropriate for them to play in, be more than free to contact them regarding hosting.

Here is the link: http://library.nsula.edu/assets/Uploads ... ectory.pdf
LAAC still has a strong hold on Louisiana high school quiz bowl. While it is much better than Cajun Quiz Bowl, it is still a one-liner format.

If anyone at LSU, Tulane, or ULL's clubs are reading this, PLEASE host more high school tournaments (NAQT, HSAPQ).
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:01 pm

With the exception of gaining a large amount of grad students, would you guys agree that aiming for a tournament whose difficulty would be around the same difficulty as DII SCT appeal to: 1.) DI teams looking for an early season tournament, 2.) DII teams looking for more practice, 3.) high school teams looking to play on a hard-ish set, and 4.) community colleges, which generally have good attendance at tournaments in Florida. As I type this, I feel as if I may be attempting to appeal to too many distinct groups of quizbowl players. The first step to improving Southeasthern quizbowl is running a good tournament on good questions, so trying to please every group while pleasing none of them is the worst possible scenario.

Just to make it more clear, I am not planning on some huge tournament next year, but I must admit that it would be nice to play in or host. I am sure that Chris Borglum can attest to the emergence of Delta Burke as a key factor in the vast improvement of the community college circuit. Tournaments such as HFT, TIT and MUT are all annual tournaments that are hosted in hotbeds of quizbowl activity, which I feel could be duplicated by teams in the Southeast.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Matthew D » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:27 pm

Well if I could find enough staff for my early tournament, I would actually think about adding a CC or DII division to our early tournament. I would have to check to see if I could find questions that would be a good span for both novice college and also some of the better high school teams.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by kayli » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:38 pm

I think that that's definitely a good level to start off with in the circuit. I think as we try to build up the circuit, we need to try to host as many novice and novice-plus tournaments as possible (by novice to novice-plus, I'm thinking ACF Early Autumn Collegiate Novice up to MUT). We can add in a few regular and up tournaments throughout the rest of the year, but I would very much like to see more novice sets being used. Novice to novice-plus sets will give teams a taste of what good quizbowl is like without scaring them off too much. The circuit is a bit weak right now, and I think we need to support novice teams with more novice sets. We can't really afford to only have novice tournaments running only through the first 3 months or so then have significantly harder sets being run the rest of the year. They should be interspersed throughout the year so that teams are consistently involved in quizbowl throughout the year.

Another thing I think we have to do is to spread around the use of sets. The Southeast is a big region, and I think it's often difficult for teams to get around to tournaments due to distance. Thus, I think we should do something similar to what NAQT does with the ACUI regions with sets except with a couple modifications such that travel times are all resonable (for instance, non-Panhandle Florida can get its own tournament since it's so far away from the population centers of other states). (EDIT: of course we wouldn't restrict the traveling for teams not in this or that region. Teams should travel to wherever is closest).

Also, one thing I think would be really good for collegiate quizbowl in the south is high schools playing on college sets. If colleges could try to get more high schools involved in harder tournaments (relative to normal high school) on good questions that reward knowledge, I see this as a positive for the collegiate circuit. For one, college tournaments are really fun. Everyone I went to ACF Fall with enjoyed it a lot and were really eager to play it next year. Additionally, having high school kids familiar with collegiate quizbowl is good since when they matriculate they will probably join collegiate quizbowl and be more passionate about it. All of the great collegiate quizbowl hotbeds have high school kids playing on college sets for good reason. Having impassioned, experienced high schoolers matriculating into Southeastern universities will definitely help.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:22 am

Ar$oni$t$ Get All the Girl$ wrote:I think that that's definitely a good level to start off with in the circuit. I think as we try to build up the circuit, we need to try to host as many novice and novice-plus tournaments as possible (by novice to novice-plus, I'm thinking ACF Early Autumn Collegiate Novice up to MUT). We can add in a few regular and up tournaments throughout the rest of the year, but I would very much like to see more novice sets being used. Novice to novice-plus sets will give teams a taste of what good quizbowl is like without scaring them off too much. The circuit is a bit weak right now, and I think we need to support novice teams with more novice sets. We can't really afford to only have novice tournaments running only through the first 3 months or so then have significantly harder sets being run the rest of the year. They should be interspersed throughout the year so that teams are consistently involved in quizbowl throughout the year.
Fall Novice/Plus Sets in the Southeast: Early Autumn, EFT, ACF Fall, Delta Burke
Spring Novice/Plus Sets in the Southeast: DII SCT, MUT, Moon Pie (sort of)

I think another Novice plus set (something around the difficulty of EFT) could possibly be thrown into spring, although theoretically the idea of having less novice sets in the spring is that teams that start out in the fall should improve a bit and be able to make the jump to a higher difficulty by spring. That's not always the case, but it's not a bad thing for novice teams to play both easier and harder sets just like other teams. It would be in the best interest of the Southeastern circuit to prop up something like Moon Pie (and do it in terms of good quizbowl) that is between Fall and Regionals in difficulty and hosted near the end of the year. Having four novice/plus sets in the fall (and only three for a lot of teams due to Early Autumn eligibility restrictions) and three in the spring should be able to provide a suitable base of tournaments that new teams and players can attend.

Also, the South can't just rest on having a novice/plus circuit, there needs to be mirrors of every regular difficulty tournament (THUNDER, Penn Bowl, Regionals, etc.) possible. And even novice teams who are used to easier tournaments need to be willing to go to these tournaments and get stomped by good teams. The best way to get better at quizbowl is, shockingly, to play a lot of quizbowl. Hearing good questions and clues on a regular basis makes players familiar with what comes up and in what ways these things are asked, and even though it's difficult, you get better every time you go to a tournament because you learn more and learn better ways to study.

EDIT: Should also mention that more packet-submission tournaments means teams have to write questions which is also one of the best ways of expanding one's knowledge of the canon.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:23 am

Hilltopper22 wrote:
Also, the South can't just rest on having a novice/plus circuit, there needs to be mirrors of every regular difficulty tournament (THUNDER, Penn Bowl, Regionals, etc.) possible.
I attribute this to very few teams actually stepping up to host as many of these events as they should. If two or three teams hosted four or five events a year (given that we want to actually have mirrors of every event), that's nice, but it's a bit unfair to make them host everything. Here's a good idea. If your team has the capabilities to host, then it should host at least one college tournament per semester, especially if your organization has been around for some time. If the folks in the region ACTUALLY want to attend regular difficulty tournaments, then people should step up and host them. Props to Tulane and NGCSU for hosting/trying to host mirrors of IO and ACF Regionals, respectively, and props to ULL for letting me come in and recreate/TD/play in a mirror of Terrapin that had fallen apart the day before. People are hearing these questions, just not enough people. Two regular-plus difficulty tournaments will take place in Louisiana, but I wouldn't expect you to drive to Lafayette or New Orleans, Nick. That's a general problem in Louisiana. We like to host tournaments, but driving over is a pain in the ass.
And even novice teams who are used to easier tournaments need to be willing to go to these tournaments and get stomped by good teams. The best way to get better at quizbowl is, shockingly, to play a lot of quizbowl. Hearing good questions and clues on a regular basis makes players familiar with what comes up and in what ways these things are asked, and even though it's difficult, you get better every time you go to a tournament because you learn more and learn better ways to study.
Yup. I remember getting my ass handed to me by E. Eric Kwartler and company when I was a little tyke. I didn't quit, did I? Now I'm a lot better. Why? Because I wanted to be better. Good attitude to have, but make sure you don't get frustrated when you don't get results right away. That's the thing novices have to remember. It takes time to get better. Time and dedication. You have time and dedication, you get better. You lose your dedication, you start to play worse, even when you are good. I learned this the hard way -- I'm still trying to come back from it. Retain your dedication to the game and the results will follow. I like it when I hear players that my team beat say that their goal is to defeat my team. It shows that the potential for such dedication is there. WKU, Ole Miss, and other young teams have to utilize their potential if the region is to have the depth necessary to be as competitive as the other regions.

EDIT: grammatical error in first line, oops.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by kayli » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:38 am

Well, my idea with more novice to novice plus tournaments was that since the circuit is so weak right now, we need a way to start to strengthen it first. Then, we can work towards harder difficulties. I suppose we have a lot of novice to novice plus tournaments, but the Southeast is a big region, and they always seem to be so far from everyone.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Scipio » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:00 am

Hilltopper22 wrote:Should also mention that more packet-submission tournaments means teams have to write questions which is also one of the best ways of expanding one's knowledge of the canon.
Does that mean I should be expecting a packet from you for Moon Pie? Because that would be, you know, awesome.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:51 pm

Scipio wrote:
Hilltopper22 wrote:Should also mention that more packet-submission tournaments means teams have to write questions which is also one of the best ways of expanding one's knowledge of the canon.
Does that mean I should be expecting a packet from you for Moon Pie? Because that would be, you know, awesome.
Yes. I don't know how good it'll be since it will be our first, but we are currently working on one.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:02 am

So, having just run an ACF Regionals at Valencia which featured seven (of 12) CC teams, I think I can say that the difficulty of tournaments, or the need for more transitional tournaments (e.g. harder than Delta Burke but easier than Regionals or whatever), is really a very tiny part of the reason behind the decline in the four-year programs in the Southeast. If you check out our stats, you'll see that we had six teams which averaged 50 ppg or less (8 ppb or less), including two teams in the single digits!

And yet, I didn't get the sense that CC players/teams like Lake Sumter or South Florida CC were discouraged or having a bad time or anything like that. Further, both of those schools are such gluttons for punishment that in the past they've regularly sent teams to the summer masters' tournaments (like Sun n Fun and MO and Mill). Though one reader quite reasonably asked "Why do these teams come to play tournaments like this?, I think the answer is they enjoy each others' company, and they like getting the questions they do get. So they don't necessarily need more tournaments with easy questions (though more tournaments of any type down here is a good idea), but rather more impetus for players to take charge of programs when they move on.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:44 pm

This whole thread is obviously because I have moved to NYC. Admins feel free to delete this post for its lack of constructiveness, if you so decide.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:31 pm

Certainly the dearth of toss-ups on "Can the Subaltern Speak" here in the South since Ahmad's northward migration has led some to become disenchanted with the game overall.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:02 pm

I'm sure this couldn't possibly have anything to do with why quizbowl in the Southeast sucks.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:51 pm

Quiz bowl in the Southeast doesn't completely suck, dude. Note the CC teams which came and happily took beatings from South Carolina, Dallin, and Toronto this past weekend at ACF Regionals, as well as the regular summer mirrors of very hard tournaments here. It's a growth and transition issue. I don't think there's any general clamor for simplified versions of national tournaments.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:41 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:Quiz bowl in the Southeast doesn't completely suck, dude. Note the CC teams which came and happily took beatings from South Carolina, Dallin, and Toronto this past weekend at ACF Regionals, as well as the regular summer mirrors of very hard tournaments here. It's a growth and transition issue. I don't think there's any general clamor for simplified versions of national tournaments.
I didn't say it completely sucked. There are certainly bright spots and the Florida circuit with its high CC participation is certainly one of them. But this is an example of something that only happens in places like Alabama; it wouldn't even be under discussion anywhere else.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Matthew D » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:03 pm

Jerry this isn't happening in Alabama this time. It is happening in Georgia. And as Chris said I haven't heard any clamor about not having harder sets from the actual teams that are active.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:24 pm

I mean, trashing an entire region based on one tournament seems a little much. The Southeast has hosted several good tournaments this year, and this thread clearly has people from the Southeast posting who are more or less interested in making this region better. Out-of-region guys like Charlie Dees and Andrew Hart already posted helpful advice. More helpful advice would be appreciated.

Anyway, I think some good things have been said in this thread. Hopefully those programs that do exist will host some quality high school and college events next year. That is the best thing we can do for the Southeast.

The CC presence at the Valencia regionals was impressive. Yeah, I didn’t notice any bellyaching over the questions either; the teams seemed to be enjoying themselves. Like Borglum said, I don’t think the thing keeping the Southeast behind is a lack of novice tournaments. EAT, ACF Fall, MUT, Division II, and EFT all provide good opportunities for inexperienced teams to play on accessible questions.

One huge reason why the South isn’t terribly competitive this year that people are forgetting is the loss of key programs in the region. Like, a year and a half ago at the 2009 ACF Fall in Atlanta, I really thought that the Southeast was going to produce some national contenders in the near future. The whole field was chock full of young college teams that were putting up big points; Clemson, Vandy, and Georgia were stocked with good, young players who had definite potential to really compete at the top level. A year and a half later, Clemson and Vandy no longer appear to have programs and Georgia seems to have only one dedicated player who has only been able to attend a couple tournaments this year. Additionally, USF (Ahmad) has disbanded and FSU has greatly curtailed its activity. I mean, I know that teams disband every year and stuff, but the Southeast really took it on the chin this year in terms of folding programs. To those in the Southeast posting in this thread asking how you can make the region better, I will say that losing those programs has been tough for our region. There’s nothing any of us did wrong or could have done differently to have prevented that.

Another thing some folks have noted is that the South is a really, really big region. It’s more like 3 mini circuits, so speaking of the Southeast in monolithic terms is a bit misleading. Alabama/Louisiana schools don’t compete in South Carolina tournaments and vice-versa. It’s just too far. Atlanta-area tournaments are the one time you really get to see the Southeast as a united circuit. It would be nice if there were at least 2 events a year in that area.

People put down the Southeast on occasion on these boards. Sometimes it’s warranted, but sometimes I think it’s unnecessary and hurtful. Like, as someone who actually attends, hosts, and reads at tournaments throughout the region, I know we have a ways to go to be really competitive, but there are good things here too. I’m really proud of the South Carolina team. Robert Harden is someone who played next to no quizbowl in high school and is now a legitimately excellent player, especially when trash, geography, and current events aren’t involved. Him and Phong are a good duo. People can say what they want about Alabama, but I wish we had several more Alabamas around here. That is, I wish there were lots more schools in our region who, like Bama, host lots of tournaments, attend lots tournaments, and occasionally travel out of the region to play against the best. And much has been said in this thread about the CC circuit. Dallin and Ethan at UF next year should be fun to watch. Hopefully the talented Georgia Tech team will step into the regular difficulty events next year. And South Carolina (granted, without Robert) and Bama will still be around. There will be a circuit. Barring an influx of grad students, there won’t likely be any national contenders, but you will have lots of schools who attend and host tournaments and individuals who love the game. It’s not something to ridicule; hopefully, it will be the makings of a more competitive region in the future.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Cheynem » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:35 pm

Yeah, Mr. Douglass (who continually deserves much props for his efforts in promoting good quizbowl in the Southeast) is right about a lot of things here--the tragic defunct-inization of some young promising clubs, not helped by graduations or transferrals really hurt the South. I'm sad to see about UGA's problems--I provided feedback on their pretty capable HS set they wrote last year and thought they were a team to note. I'm happy to see NGSU start to do some things like mirroring MUT and trying to mirror Regionals.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:59 pm

Thanks to Eric for saying better and more respectfully all I was thinking. Also, I want to echo his recognition of Phong and Robert. They were both really hitting some questions early on difficult clues, and I was impressed (and I should note that their teammate Taylor got at least a toss-up in all three rounds I read for them). Besides, anyone beating Dallin by over 250 points is very impressive, solo sophomore or not.

South'll rise again! Whooo!

(Sorry).
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Cooper98 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:05 pm

Thanks for giving Bama some love Eric I do appreciate it!
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:12 pm

To shift into "helpful advice" gear:

If there's one thing I notice missing in a lot of schools in the South, it's institutional memory. Look at the schools that have been a success: Florida, Valencia CC, Vanderbilt, USC. What do those schools have in common? It's the fact that they had a culture of quizbowl that kept them going. And in order to have that culture, you need to have people who are going to perpetuate it which means they have to be there for the long term. In other words, grad students. Look what happened after Matt Keller left Vanderbilt: the team folded within a year. What will happen when Eric Douglass is no longer around to motivate USC? Or if Chris Borglum (honorary grad student) decides that quizbowl is more of a commitment than he'd like to make (like that'll ever happen)?

All the people mentioned above, and others, are doing what they can to keep the game alive, and that's great. I don't think we can ask any more of them. But for whatever reason, when those people move on, as we all do, there's no one left to keep the fire burning. Berkeley ran into some lean years after I graduated in terms of undergrad participation, but people like Juliana Froggatt and Paul Lujan and Jeff Hoppes kept the club alive. And now Berkeley has a club again and people who want to play tournaments, so yay.

All clubs ultimately depend on this kind of institutional memory for their lifeblood. And for some reason, a lot of clubs in the Southeast haven't built that up. There could be many reasons for this, but I think the prevalence of some really bad quizbowl practices at places like Alabama and Georgia as recently as two or three years ago has kept that memory from being built. If some guy like Robin Richards trash-captures your club or you show up to practices where you're only read NAQT IS sets and that's also what you play at tournaments, how are you going to know to get better? In a way, those people have been the institutional memory of Southern quizbowl in many places, and because they've been around and in one place for so long, that's kept a healthy quizbowl culture from springing up at those clubs.

A few years ago, we've started seeing that people who have bad ideas about quizbowl have been moving on. This can only be good for the game. What's needed now is for others to step in and build a continuous culture of quizbowl that revolves around practices, tournament attendance, and packet writing. In too many places there's still this idea that quizbowl is just about mashing a buzzer once in a while. But it's not; it's about learning, and it's a competitive activity, and there needs to be an expectation in place that as a member of the team, that's what you're interested in. That way, the system becomes self-perpetuating; if people have an interest in improvement, that will lead naturally to the sorts of activities that promote club longevity.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:45 pm

Super-mega-dittoes, Jerry. The same collapse in the wake of the leaving of institutional memory has been seen here recently with Florida State and South Florida.

I still think our best immediate strategy is getting 25% or more of the multitudinous CC players in Alabama and Florida to continue or start programs at the four-year school they move on to. Dallin and Ethan will be a good addition at UF, and I'm hoping we've got a foundation at UCF. I'll bring this up at our CC State meeting next weekend and try to get all the CC coaches more aware of the need to keep up with their grads and encourage them to keep up with the game.

And yes, I will be coaching at Valencia till I retire or die, and, if possible, after either/both of those events.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:33 pm

I know once Anthony graduates Snead we will try to start up a team at UA-Huntsville. Until then, I'm going to play with the AAQT at tournaments. There are alot of former Brindlee and DAR players, and others I'm sure who currently go to UAH and might be interested in starting a team.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by cchiego » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:05 am

There's a danger too if you try to institutionalize too much in an effort to keep things going after the most active players leave. We worked very hard at UGA to try to build up a strong quizbowl organization to help make up for the fact the best players would all soon be graduating. We had 3-5 teams at tournaments, practices with over a dozen players, assorted social events, and even a source of funding. Unfortunately, when you start to institutionalize, people who aren't serious about quizbowl can take over and run things into the ground. I hear things are getting better now thanks to the indefatigable Wes Austin and co., but I wish the program could get back to the days when we sent 6 teams to ACF Fall. Nothing can replace dedicated students as players AND administrators willing to take care of the institutional details and funding.

The ideal is someone like Chris Borglum or Eric Douglass who supports good quizbowl and can stay in the area as a mentor and source of such knowledge (not to mention a moderator, driver, etc.) to informally direct the club. The problem is like Jerry pointed out there are a number of people like that who aren't big fans of good quizbowl and prefer to maintain their idiosyncratic ways. Other the other hand, those schools might not even have a team without them and actually do attend a number of good tournaments. The fact schools like Berry, Shorter, UTC, many of the CCs, and several of the other small schools even regularly compete in quizbowl is a pretty neat achievement and good for the circuit overall. Would it be ideal if they wrote more packets, showed up to more good QB tournaments, and didn't occasionally run IS sets/badly edited tournaments? Sure. But it's not like their numbers are increasing against the number of good QB teams. I'd be more worried about the decline/lack of existence of teams at the top schools in the area (Vandy, Emory, Clemson, Auburn, UTKnox, etc.) than anything else.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:14 am

I'm most curious as to what happened to the program at Vanderbilt. I would be doing backflips if Vandy hosted even one collegiate tournament per year, because going to a tournament so close means we could save transportation and lodging money and possibly go to one extra tournament (somewhere further away) every year. Not just that, but the existing good high school quizbowl circuit in Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky (not to mention other places) owes a lot to the Vanderbilt ABC Tournaments over the years.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by vandyhawk » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:11 pm

Hilltopper22 wrote:I'm most curious as to what happened to the program at Vanderbilt. I would be doing backflips if Vandy hosted even one collegiate tournament per year, because going to a tournament so close means we could save transportation and lodging money and possibly go to one extra tournament (somewhere further away) every year. Not just that, but the existing good high school quizbowl circuit in Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky (not to mention other places) owes a lot to the Vanderbilt ABC Tournaments over the years.
I've been thinking about what I could add to this thread, and this post finally got me to click reply. I am also wondering what happened at Vandy. As far as I know, there should still be at least a couple people there who were pretty heavily involved as freshmen/sophomores during my last year at Vandy ('08-'09), even though I wasn't really involved with the program past ACF Nats '08. They seem to have kept hosting ABC, at least through last fall, but stopped attending any tournaments after Daichi transferred. With the talk about institutionalization and such, this appears to be a confounding example, as Vandy has had an active team since at least 1991, when the first ABC was hosted. Granted, there is no faculty advisor or anything, but the team has managed to survive on its own for at least 20 years. Perhaps it was just fortunate that there have been a string of long-time leaders of the club. Recognizing that things could easily fall apart if I went from being a 5 year "dictator" to not involved at all, I tried with probably 4-5 different people over my last couple years to get them to take on more responsibility. It seemed at first that it had worked, but now I guess they will need another new person to step up and lead. If anyone from Vandy is reading this and you never received all of my old files (including a ~20 page document about how to run all aspects of the club), send me a message and I'll be happy to provide them to you.

To address some other thoughts people have expressed, I think the distance one is a huge factor. In a region with, on average, fewer grad students and such to be drivers, it's just hard to make an 8+ hour drive on a consistent basis. Even with a very active team and plenty of drivers, we never really drove farther than the 4-5 hour drive to Atlanta, Athens, or St. Louis. We were more likely to fly to other regions (we fortunately had plenty of money due to large HS tournaments, but lack of funds could be another shortcoming for many regional schools) than drive 12 hours to Florida, for example.

Related to that...whatever opinions people have of house-written / packet submission tournaments at UT-Chattanooga, the recent decline in Southeastern quiz bowl (from the point a few years ago with multiple teams in the top 1-2 brackets at nationals, larger fields at most tournaments, etc.) seems to coincide with the decline in UTC hosting tournaments. I remember some years going to UTC at least 4, if not more times a year for tournaments, including things like ACF Fall, Regionals, NAQT SCT, etc. For whatever reason, be it geography, contacts, perceptions, Charlie could get a lot more teams to come to ACF Regionals at UTC than someone like Vandy ever did. At local-only tournaments, he always strongly promoted other circuit events as well. Now, I will say UTC unfairly shouldered the burden of hosting tournaments for a long time, so this shouldn't be taken as any kind of negative; it's just an observation about how UTC really did do a lot of good for Southeastern quizbowl while they were able to keep up an insanely packed hosting schedule.

My last thought is the one about "good" high school quizbowl. I really don't think there is a big enough lack of "good" quizbowl in the region to have an impact. The Southeastern circuit is very active and competitive, and for many years now, teams from all over the region get to play on good, pyramidal questions at Vandy, Brookwood, Dorman, and many others. While some of the state formats are kind of wonky, I think most of the states also have NAQT championships now, or at least have enough tournaments hosted on NAQT IS questions such that playing pyramidal questions in college shouldn't be a huge shock and deterrent.
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:25 pm

I disagree about your analysis of the high school circuit - just because Georgia and Kentucky are really active on good questions doesn't make up for the rest of the circuit. Louisiana, Mississippi, a lot of Alabama, South Carolina teams that aren't Dorman, most of Tennessee, and Florida have nowhere near enough participation in good high school quizbowl. Even teams in lots of these places that do attend IS-sets occasionally only get out to them a few times a year, presumably don't take it all that seriously, and don't necessarily know that college quizbowl is a worthwhile activity. Can you name teams that aren't from Georgia, Kentucky, the few that are really serious in Alabama, or Dorman that routinely attend 10 high quality tournaments a year in the southeast?
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Re: Southeastern Quizbowl

Post by kayli » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:38 pm

Not having a very active good high school quizbowl circuit is definitely a big problem. There's not a lot of hosting going on in the area.

Geography is definitely an issue when going to tournaments. Out of the 6-8 or so tournaments we attend every year, only 1 or 2 are trips where we don't have to stay the night (and leaving at ~3:00 to attend ACF at Alabama was definitely a bad idea, and I'm glad I'm alive). I know there are similar issues all around Florida. Ransom Everglades pops into my head as a team with a lot of potential not having enough competitive events to attend, but there are many others including teams in Tallahassee like Rickards, Chiles, and Maclay who also show a lot of potential.

The only real way to remedy this is for places to start hosting more. I think certain colleges especially should try to host more high school tournaments (looking at you Chipola, Valencia CC, UF, FSU, and others). Then, whenever a high school team wants to host a tournament, the college students can help the high schools with it. This all ties in with having a good leadership at universities, but hopefully if the practice of hosting more high school tournaments is perpetuated by universities and CCs, they'll find that the leadership will come in the form of a nice feedback loop.
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