High Schoolers in College Tournaments

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High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by marnold »

I gestured to this in my post in the scheduling thread, but I think it might be a good idea to have a discussion about high schoolers playing in college tournaments. To my mind, there are a few reasons this is not a particularly good state of affairs - I know there are some people who agree with different reasons and some who disagree entirely, but I'll get the ball rolling.

(1) First, I think there is some merit to the idea that we have college quizbowl and high school quizbowl for a reason: circuits can most naturally form and be justified based on level of education and there's a place for strict rules. If there's a concern marketing the college circuit because there are graduated players hanging around, I think it would be equally confusing why tournaments for college players have high schoolers in them, let alone winning them.

(2) There's a resource allocation question. In two consecutive years there's been a problem where high-attendance college tournaments have had their fields filled and caps imposed with high school teams under the cap (ACF Fall at Chicago last year, UVA this year). I think this should be pretty concerning. Tournaments like ACF Fall allow the college circuit to expand horizontally by encouraging new schools to show up as well as vertically by allowing established programs to bring a hearty contingent of novices. It actively impedes this sort of expansion if high school teams are taking scarce spots.

(3) I would be less concerned about the scarcity argument if there was a stronger justification that the high schoolers playing college tournaments end up as long-term contributing members of the college circuit. I don't get the impression that that transition is overwhelmingly common.

(4) I think it creates a no-win situation for college teams. When a college team plays a high school team, they either win, which is no big deal given the age difference, or they lose and it's embarrassing. I imagine it being particularly unfortunate for new college players. If they get smacked around by Mike Sorice at a tournament (to continue the tried-and-true example of Sorice being the grad student clubbing seals), they can take a forward-looking approach and work to getting to Sorice's level by the time they've played for however-many years. Losing to someone not even in college seems significantly more dispiriting: you can't go back in time and learn the canon during high school.

The no-win effect is magnified for experienced and really good teams. Admittedly, my feeling about this comes from personal experience: at Penn Bowl 2009, Chicago A played a down-to-the-wire game with State College. Unsurprisingly, it seemed like that game was the talk of the tournament. It also goes to show that the conventional response ("You're embarrassed to lose to 17 year-olds? Well read a book and get better!") is not helpful.

Alright, there's some initial thoughts. I know from the IRC there are some responses and other arguments.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by theMoMA »

I agree that what Michael is saying is a problem, and I'll add a couple more problematic effects.

First, the tournaments that high schoolers overwhelmingly want to play are the easier, novice-style tournaments. It makes sense, because these tournaments are a lot like nationals-level high school questions in terms of difficulty. They're good practice, especially considering the more competitive fields that play them. But this only exacerbates the problems marnold is describing. This is where new collegiate teams encounter good high school teams. And it's kind of cruel that our tournaments that are supposedly meant to introduce newer teams to quizbowl are also the ones that high schoolers are most effective playing. Secondarily, a team that may be crowded out of a full field is more likely to be a newer team at these novice events.

Second, I think that there is an essential identity issue here. College quizbowl, to me, means intercollegiate quizbowl. I articulated in the schedule reform thread why I think this intercollegiate requirement is what drives the growth of the game. College teams have empty chairs, which incentivizes established players to teach their newer teammates what it takes to be a productive team member, writer, etc. The fact that established players have a stake in the improvement of their future teammates (and can't just team up with their buddy at another nearby school) is what keeps programs alive and new blood circulating in the game's arteries. Analogously, the fact that tournament fields aren't as big when certain local schools don't attend encourages established teams to help new teams get off the ground. I think we lose some of that when we have easy high school field-fillers.

Finally, I think that regular-season college quizbowl is an activity that should be reserved for college players. Essentially, playing in college tournaments is the reward for sticking with the game. It's no secret that high schoolers are the future of the game, and I understand that we want to integrate them into the circuit as much as possible. But I agree with marnold that high schoolers sticking with quizbowl is the exception, not the rule. I think that our policy of allowing high schoolers to play college events actually contributes to this. It encourages a lot of the deleterious study habits that result in players who are one-dimensional and burned out by the time they reach college. We write college questions to reward the learning that takes place during the college years. Learning those things as a high schooler is a hefty burden. Basically, we're saying that it's okay to become really good at college questions as a high school and never play as a collegian. Instead, I think we should be saying that playing collegiate tournaments is the reward you get for sticking with quizbowl.

I do think that there are strong benefits to allowing high schoolers to play harder questions and to integrate with the circuit. It's also good for emerging circuits to have high school teams fill out what would otherwise be insufficient fields. My call isn't for an immediate elimination of high schoolers from the collegiate game. We need to start addressing these issues soon, however. We can start by hosting separate ACF Fall (and perhaps other novice tournaments like MUT) fields for interested high schoolers in regions like the mid-Atlantic and Chicago area. We can also eliminate all open high school teams from collegiate tournaments. These are quick fixes that will eliminate a lot of the biggest problems in the game today.

I hope that some day we'll have healthy and completely distinct collegiate and high school circuits. But I don't think that it's entirely practical to make this happen today. I would like to reiterate that high school players are the future of quizbowl and that even if we do decide to separate the circuits we need to do all we can to include high schoolers in the game and encourage them to keep playing in college.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Matt Weiner »

I don't think anyone capable of rolling over the competition should be playing novice tournaments or ACF Fall, whether they are in high school or not. I suspect that dealing with that issue will go a long way towards making the whole high school question less troublesome to most people.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Whether anyone takes my point of view on these matters seriously or not, I'll continue to register my bewilderment with the way people think about eligibility issues.

I don't understand this whole idea of embarrasment, or discontent, at losing to teams and/or players who are better than you. Yes, a team like State College has the ability to beat lots of collegiate teams, including many which contain players who are pretty good and have been around for a while. I don't see why this is surprising - a high school like State College has logistical advantages over most univerisities (probably all universities) in terms of being able to marshal and train talent. A high school is a smaller environment where you can foster a kind of organized, established team that you can't at a university - at best, the quiz bowl team at a university is going to be something that meets in the basement of a building every so often and posts flyers announcing that it's out there - but then a million other things are also out there at the university, including getting drunk and playing Gears of War at the dorm all night long.

So, a team like State College is going to find it far easier to field a full four-person team of players who are talented and have spent time getting better (probably in a more coordinated way than almost any university). There's a lot of bally-hoo about how shameful it is to lose to 17-year olds. Why? This game isn't rocket science. If you're a smart person and you spend a year or two focused at studying - and especially if you restrict yourself to just a few subjects and let your teammates handle the rest (the way teams like State College do) - you're going to be pretty good. More to the point, you're going to have a full team that's very difficult for most collegiate teams to beat.

Once again, and I don't expect to convince anyone, I would encourage anyone who likes this game to see it as an individual career. Try to be Paul Pierce. Take pride in being a skilled player with a lot of range and depth - regardless of whether you happen to be part of a team that is able to win. Look at Trevor Davis - show up, play good fundamental quizbowl, and compete. If at some point you happen to be part of a team that can win (maybe it's at an open, maybe it's that one year where two or three people show up at your practice aka Garnett and Allen who are willing to get motivated) - then step up and try to win at that time. But, the fact that you may lose to State College says nothing on its own about your skill, nor is it anything to be ashamed or frustrated with. And older players who have not continued to pour energy into the game are going to show rust (some more quickyl than others) - so your bat speed slows down and you can't hit 30 home runs a year - you show up with doubles power, hit .280, and play sound defense. If you're on a team that has the potential to win, you try to help them do that - if you're not, you just keep playing the game you love as best you can.

I continue to implore any younger player reading this that the better way to see this game is as an individual, a potentially lifelong hobby. When you do so, it doesn't matter one whit whether you happen to be playing against players who are 16, 24, or 54. Obviously, there are certain tourneys during the year whose purpose is to determine "who the best collegiate team is" - and the rules for those events need to conform with that purpose. But, there's no logical reason why most tourneys need to have that purpose - at least there isn't if you stop making this game be all about "did Chciago B win this event" or "how well did Ohio State play?" and have it be about "how did I play at this event?"

You can make empirical arguments against my position - you can state that it's just a demonstrated fact that most players don't see the game in this sort of way, and so we need to account for that. If that's your position, fine, I default to you. I'd settle to just convince a few folks (perhaps mainly younger folks) that this is the better way to see the game.

NOTE: Nothing in this post addresses the situation where there just arent enough spots to accomodate all teams - obviously then you need to make some choices about which teams you'd rather have play your event.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Cheynem »

I think it's admirable to play to the best of your ability at every tournament and try your best. Unfortunately, quizbowl just isn't an individual game, it's a team game--you can go out for ice cream all you like after a tournament, but logically, you are going to be piqued if you lose a tournament instead of win it or if you lose frustrating games. To use your Paul Pierce analogy, I'm sure Paul Pierce would not be satisfied with scoring a lot if his team kept losing to hybrid teams of good players or like some weird college amalgam teams.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by cvdwightw »

Consider the PP20H of the 10-highest scorer and 20th-highest scorer at HSNCT from 2001 (first year PP20H is available) to 2010:

2001: 52.43; 36.76
2002: 49.17; 37.50
2003: 51.53; 38.91
2004: 45.61; 38.46
2005: 53.91; 45.18
2006: 54.19; 45.66
2007: 59.49; 50.22
2008: 60.96; 50.42
2009: 72.61; 56.30
2010: 71.96; 57.73

What I think this is illustrating is that there has been a steady, if step-like, increase in the ability of the high school players at the top end of the spectrum. I think we can attribute this to three things: first, the expansion of quality quizbowl to new markets; second, the standardization and decrease of difficulty at all high school levels; third, the recent increase in the desire and ability of the top players to get better, and the number of such players, leading to a sort of "arms race" among nationally competitive teams and players.

I think the net result of this is that it's created a class of really good high school players that feel they are being underserved by the current high school tournament climate. That class represents a disproportionate number of high school players active in national communication (via the forums, IRC, etc.), which breeds extreme views about the ideal difficulty of high school questions. For a few years now, we've said to these people, "stop complaining about how high school questions are too easy, because you're wrong. If you're desperate for harder questions and better competition, try college tournaments." In fact, this suggestion was repeated just last week in response to inane thread #48074 about high school difficulty.

Now we are proposing telling these teams and players, "stop coming to college tournaments." There are many good reasons for this, and although it wasn't something I was in favor of last week, I think Marnold and Andrew have convinced me that it's a policy that we need to implement. However, at the same time, we need to have some idea of the ramifications of such an abrupt change. I think that Andrew's suggestion is the right course of action: one, we need to eliminate open teams at college tournaments, regardless of their high school status; two, we should expand the number of high school tournaments on college questions (e.g. the many tournaments that use D2 SCT) in areas where such expansion is justified; and three (my personal suggestion), we should provide at least one college-novice-difficulty open that would allow the co-mingling of good high school teams, college teams, and former players whose skills have perhaps rusted but who still want to contribute to the circuit. We need to get it to a point where the separation of the high school, college, and open circuits is well-defined and acceptable to most parties. We're not there yet, but if we don't start now, it may soon be too late to make any progress.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen »

geekjohnson wrote:As it is beginning to be unacceptable for retired players or anyone else unaffiliated with a college program to play at anything other Open events, I think the same should be so for high-school teams and players. If they would like to play at college events, then wait until they are college players. Just because high-players are good enough to compete with collegiate-level competition does no justify such happening, just as College Jeopardy does not allow people not in college to participate; the example of high-school basketball teams trying to play in the field of 64 (or 68, or whatever crappy number they have now) cannot do so...because they are not college teams, ergo they cannot qualify.
Two can play at the analogy game! So, at Cornell, we have a quite excellent double-bass player from the local high school who plays in one of the university orchestras. He's conservatory-bound, and probably finds the musical opportunities that are available to him in high school pretty unsatisfying (heck, I didn't feel sufficiently challenged by my high-school music program alone, and I didn't even go on in performance). Cornell doesn't say "you're not in college, therefore we will not even let you audition" to the talented high-school students from the area who want to play in the ensembles here. They're quite willing to let these kids participate! And this is something that students who are enrolled at Cornell can take as a class, for credit!

Likewise, high-school students who enjoy playing quizbowl but don't find high-school quizbowl challenging enough can find things that are challenging enough by playing at the college level (if they're lucky enough to live close to quizbowl-rich areas, or to be able to drive places if they're not). And I think this ties in with what Ryan said about quizbowl as an "individual career" – as my bass-playing acquaintance wants to seek out experiences that will contribute to his growth as a bassist, quizbowl players should be able to seek out experiences that will contribute to their growth as quizbowl players, and as intellectually-curious individuals in general after they stop playing quizbowl.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

we should expand the number of high school tournaments on college questions (e.g. the many tournaments that use D2 SCT) in areas where such expansion is justified
In practice, this would be a terrible idea that could only really be feasible in, say, Illinois and Washington D.C. On top of that, I think that the places where this would perhaps work would have a certain amount of risk of having a small part of the circuit break off and just run a bunch of 6 team tournaments on college stuff all year in favor of playing high school. In any case, the reality is that most circuits have 1 or 2 excellent teams who would maybe derive some benefit from playing a regular college event, and then nobody else that would really care about those questions for a few hundred miles, so it would be really hard for those teams to make something like this work ever. Just look at State College's location.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by kayli »

I agree with Ryan here for the most part. I think that if high schoolers want to play higher then they should be allowed to do so. I feel that the getting your feelings hurt by being beaten by a high school team argument isn't very strong here because I don't think we should be making decisions based on people's feelings. I understand that it might be a little embarrassing to lose to a high school team, but in quizbowl you're supposed to try to get better with every loss. That's one of the arguments we've used for playing the entire game even when you're up by a lot. Additionally, I think most college students aren't too bummed out after losing to a high school team. I think if you ask those same people who were beaten they'd probably say the same thing too. After all, there's nothing embarrassing about losing to a team that's better than yours, and however old they are shouldn't make a difference either. Besides, the difference in age between a college students and a high schooler who plays at these tournaments is very slim so if you go by age there's even less to be embarrassed about.

The problem with just playing high school events is that often times teams want to play harder tournaments to challenge themselves and to learn (which I don't think should be discouraged), and a lot of high school tournaments don't give that extra kick that harder tournaments do. Additionally, harder tournaments for high schoolers is not always feasible due to strength in geographic region or whatever but there are usually a couple of regions where certain college tournaments are played. Going to harder difficulty college tournaments is usually more feasible than going to harder difficulty high school tournaments of which there are very few and, as Charlie points out, the creation of more would not be feasible in regions outside the mid-Atlantic and Illinois (and I'd throw Georgia in here as well).

There are exceptions of course such as certain novice tournaments like ACF Autumn and nationals level tournaments which are supposed to show the best college team in whichever division, and I don't think that high schoolers should be allowed to form open teams either because if they play a college event they should have to abide by the same rules that colleges do. Additionally, if space and resources are limited, I think that colleges should get priority over high school teams. However, I don't really see the harm in having high schoolers compete in most collegiate events. I think that if we're going to have a rule of thumb it should be to allow teams to play above their level but not below (that is, high schoolers can play high school above but not middle school and college can play college and above and not high school et cetera).

Overall, I think we should welcome high schoolers into college tournaments instead of shunning them.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant »

Yeah, I don't have much to add here except to voice my support for high school teams playing in college tournaments. I don't see how losing to, say, Dorman is somehow more embarrassing than losing to USC, and I definitely don't see how encouraging high schoolers to play on challenging questions in a more competitive field somehow makes playing down a level (i.e., clubbing baby seals) okay.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Crimson Rosella »

Repulse class ship of the line wrote:Two can play at the analogy game! So, at Cornell, we have a quite excellent double-bass player from the local high school who plays in one of the university orchestras. He's conservatory-bound, and probably finds the musical opportunities that are available to him in high school pretty unsatisfying (heck, I didn't feel sufficiently challenged by my high-school music program alone, and I didn't even go on in performance). Cornell doesn't say "you're not in college, therefore we will not even let you audition" to the talented high-school students from the area who want to play in the ensembles here. They're quite willing to let these kids participate! And this is something that students who are enrolled at Cornell can take as a class, for credit!
Strangely enough, I've actually been in a reverse situation where an individual who'd recently graduated from a high school percussion ensemble I'd just started teaching barged into a late summer rehearsal and asked if he could join in. We'd had people come and go all day, so I assumed he was a current student and assigned him an instrument. I think eventually one of the more senior staff members asked him to leave.
Matt Weiner wrote:I don't think anyone capable of rolling over the competition should be playing novice tournaments or ACF Fall, whether they are in high school or not. I suspect that dealing with that issue will go a long way towards making the whole high school question less troublesome to most people.
In all seriousness though, I think this is a really good rule of thumb for high school eligibility. I recall losing several games to high schools (not to mention being blown out by State College at ACF Nats 2009), and I never felt particularly upset that we'd lost to those teams as long as I felt like we were competitive with them. In fact, while it may have been a little embarrassing to lose to Dorman and Southside, I remember really enjoying some of the closer matches we lost to those teams, even as a new player. I certainly never felt so perturbed by those losses that I would have considered quitting. So, aside from maybe one or two tournaments set aside as those specifically designed to attract new college players, I think we should be flexible with hosts to determine whether allowing high schools to play would benefit or detract from the experience of any potential fledgling teams. Perhaps have any high schools who want to compete in a given tournament seek approval from the editors or somebody who knows the circuit well enough to make an informed decision. On the flip side, I think it would be good if some of the top-tier high schools clubbing baby seals at college tournaments put more consideration into whether or not attending a given college tournament is a worthwhile endeavor, in terms of developing their program.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by marnold »

I wish we could approach this issue on more honest ground than a bunch of posts made in bad faith coming from such great secret motives as "I don't like dealing with annoying Illinois high schoolers," "I'm such a doomed affair that it pissed me off that I almost lost to a great high school team,"
I'm not quite sure why these are "secret" motives given that, uh, I've talked about both of them - e.g., in that Illinois thread last year and in the post at the start of this very thread, respectively. Also, "bad faith" is a HSQB-ism that has gotten bizarrely out of hand: arguments that come from personal experience or might affect the individual making them are not per se bad faith. Given that I acknowledge the extent to which these positions come from my experience and then use that as no more than evidence for independent, principled reasons not drawn purely from that experience, that's pretty much by definition not bad faith.

Anyway, the rest of your post argues for some sort a middle-ground solution, which seems to be a fairly common viewpoint. Given that even Ryan Westbrook (!) acknowledges the scarcity prong, it seems that at least the circuit should change the policy towards high schoolers for high-demand events that are designed to expand the college circuit. It doesn't even have to be complete exclusion - not treating them first-come-first-serve and putting them at a lower, contingent priority than college teams seems like a good idea. While I personally would prefer a total ban, I don't think this is an all-or-nothing situation, especially since a transition period is necessary for the reasons Dwight explains.

To everyone else, the responses of "but I love losing to high schoolers" is fine (more power to you), but I can assert confidently that the attitude I describe exists and is relatively common with people I've talked to. Given your posts I'll readily concede that the sentiment definitely isn't universal, and maybe my sample is skewed, but I know it's been there among the two college teams I associate with. I'll also reiterate that I don't think the "well, learn more" rejoinder makes much sense for the reasons I alluded to in the first post.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Stained Diviner »

It seems to me that there should be a solution to all of this. For areas with several good high school teams that want to play harder questions (and there are more than two such areas), it would be helpful if the high school and collegiate circuits could work out a way for those areas to have maybe up to three mirrors during the year at which high school teams play college questions. Some of the isolated good high school teams probably would travel to such tournaments.

Also, it would help if this issue got resolved in some way in the next few months, so that by the time school starts somebody could tell high school teams/students which tournaments they are welcome at. It would be nice if every active region had at least one such tournament that's not aimed at masters.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

marnold wrote:(1) First, I think there is some merit to the idea that we have college quizbowl and high school quizbowl for a reason: circuits can most naturally form and be justified based on level of education and there's a place for strict rules. If there's a concern marketing the college circuit because there are graduated players hanging around, I think it would be equally confusing why tournaments for college players have high schoolers in them, let alone winning them.
I can see the marketing angle from, say, NAQT's perspective as they seem to market their product to schools that don't currently have regularly active quizbowl teams. The same holds true for the Fall Novice tournament. But most regular circuit teams develop organically due to grassroots student interest from people (usually former high school or undergraduate/CC players) who already understand the nuances of college quizbowl eligibility.
marnold wrote:(2) There's a resource allocation question. In two consecutive years there's been a problem where high-attendance college tournaments have had their fields filled and caps imposed with high school teams under the cap (ACF Fall at Chicago last year, UVA this year). I think this should be pretty concerning. Tournaments like ACF Fall allow the college circuit to expand horizontally by encouraging new schools to show up as well as vertically by allowing established programs to bring a hearty contingent of novices. It actively impedes this sort of expansion if high school teams are taking scarce spots.
The resource allocation thing is concerning when it happens, but it seems to me that high school participation does not have such an impact in many instances. For example, in contrast to the UVA ACF Fall, our USC version of ACF Fall had only 1 non-USC college sign up. Fortunately, Dorman brought 2 teams and prevented the tournament from being UNC versus USC house teams. Dorman's presence helped the tournament in terms of the quality of competition and the tournament's bottom line. I've seen a few other events like that. So this is definitely an issue that cuts both ways.
marnold wrote:(3) I would be less concerned about the scarcity argument if there was a stronger justification that the high schoolers playing college tournaments end up as long-term contributing members of the college circuit. I don't get the impression that that transition is overwhelmingly common.
How have we determined that folks who played college quizbowl in high school have not become long-term contributors to the college game in sufficient numbers? I mean, I saw plenty of people playing at ACF Nats this year who I know played in college tournaments as high schoolers. I'm sure that most high schoolers who play in college events don't end up being long-term contributors to college quizbowl, but it seems that several are.
marnold wrote:(4) I think it creates a no-win situation for college teams. When a college team plays a high school team, they either win, which is no big deal given the age difference, or they lose and it's embarrassing. I imagine it being particularly unfortunate for new college players. If they get smacked around by Mike Sorice at a tournament (to continue the tried-and-true example of Sorice being the grad student clubbing seals), they can take a forward-looking approach and work to getting to Sorice's level by the time they've played for however-many years. Losing to someone not even in college seems significantly more dispiriting: you can't go back in time and learn the canon during high school.
This is a pretty good argument against having high school teams play college quizbowl. I've seen this demoralization from at least one team. But most college teams don't seem to mind, in my experience. Still, losing potential college programs because they didn't like getting beaten by high schoolers is bad.

Anyway, it's a complicated issue that might have to be solved on a tournament-by-tournament, provider-by-provider, or region-by-region basis.
Last edited by Important Bird Area on Tue May 03, 2011 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by Cheynem »

I think I am okay with allowing some participation from high schoolers.

1. I personally do not think that NAQT should allow high schools to compete at SCT or ICT. For that matter, I am opposed to high schools playing in ACF Nationals as well because I think in each case there are attempts to crown a collegiate champion.

2. I agree with attempts to sort of treat high schools like colleges if they play collegiate tournaments. For instance, establishing packet writing requirements, eliminating open teams (If not done for actual privacy reasons)--these close some loopholes that could give high schools advantages over colleges and also plug them more into being part of the circuit.

3. I think from there, it's more of a case by case instance. Sometimes there are legitimate resource questions, and then I'm perfectly happy to put high schools on like a waitlist. Sometimes a high school makes the field infinitely better. Sometimes there are enough schools that a separate tournament on college questions for high schools is not out of the question. I'm okay with flexibility here.

4. Finally, in regards to colleges having a no-win situation when playing high schools, I can see why this is annoying. However, I don't see it in and of itself as a reason to ban high schools. One thing that I might suggest though is for high schools to show some restraint in deciding tournament attendance. Quite frankly, there are a number of high schools that are far better than new/middling college programs. Is ACF Fall the best tournament to play as a full A team and demolish these college teams? (I mean, maybe it is, who knows) I would suggest that since ACF Fall is not for every college team, it isn't for every high school either.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by MLafer »

The 'embarrassment' argument is nonsense. Should we also ban people playing solo because one person beating four can be embarrassing?
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by kayli »

Perhaps a good solution to the problem of resource allocation is to establish a date by which no high school teams can register. Then after that, it can open up to high school teams. That way, college teams will get an advantage in registration over high schools. Also, if there is a large enough number of high school teams who want to play (and if allowing them to play would disrupt college play), then a solution might be to let high schools mirror that set for that area or to create an exclusive high school tournament on that set. Other than that, I agree with treating high school teams like college teams. Let them write packets to enter and pay the same price. I think that's only fair.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by grapesmoker »

Except in the event that something happens to keep a collegiate team out of a college tournament due to high school participation, I support high schools playing college tournaments. You should always be able to play up. Having different deadlines for registration is going to just complicate a TD's life because of the volatile nature of collegiate QB attendance.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by AKKOLADE »

I think Matt's idea is the correct one: teams that will roll the field shouldn't play at events intended to serve as introductions to high school quiz bowl for newer college teams/players. That said, there's also a benefit for teams like Treasure Valley Math & Science in Idaho and DAR in Alabama to play good questions if they're in regions that don't have good high school quiz bowl as readily available as Illinois/Virginia/etc.

I have no issue if (insert good h.s. team here) plays a regular difficulty event, though. When you're at that point, you've gotta prepare yourself to face the better teams and players, and when that includes a State College or a Maggie Walker, that's fine in my eyes.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by marnold »

MLafer wrote:The 'embarrassment' argument is nonsense. Should we also ban people playing solo because one person beating four can be embarrassing?
As I explained, the difference between the situations is that losing to a good, usually older individual can be spun to new teams as "work hard going forward and when you're in year 4 you'll be this good" while losing to high schoolers tells brand new players "lol, should have been reading packets in 3rd period study hall two years ago." Also, one-man teams go back into the dark ages of quizbowl; I'm not speaking confidently, but I get the impression high schoolers playing college tournaments first happened maybe 5 years ago and didn't become relatively common until the last 3 years (anyone please correct me if I'm wrong).

Anyway, whatever - this particular argument was last because it's the weakest and if people think those that share the sentiment I describe are just over-sensitive, that may very well be right (though I will point out that if Eric has seen it actually drive schools away, that seems pretty bad even if it is from over-sensitivity).
I think Matt's idea is the correct one: teams that will roll the field shouldn't play at events intended to serve as introductions to high school quiz bowl for newer college teams/players.
But as Andrew pointed out, these are precisely the events they most frequently want to play. If it was just State College showing up to Penn Bowl, that would be fine since there's no particularly pressing resource allocation question and the more likely harm is the (very minor!) issue of Chicago A's potential slight embarrassment rather than the significantly more important concern of Fresh Face State getting driven away after their first tournament.

The basic problem seems to be that there are no particularly good general principles that pick out the right solutions for all situations (any combination of dense v. sparse high school circuits; dense v. sparse college circuits; easy v. hard tournaments). I guess I'm not terribly optimistic if the takeaway from this is that the issue will be settled ad hoc and be driven in part by people exercising good judgment about what tournaments they host and attend.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by grapesmoker »

marnold wrote:The basic problem seems to be that there are no particularly good general principles that pick out the right solutions for all situations (any combination of dense v. sparse high school circuits; dense v. sparse college circuits; easy v. hard tournaments). I guess I'm not terribly optimistic if the takeaway from this is that the issue will be settled ad hoc and be driven in part by people exercising good judgment about what tournaments they host and attend.
That's pretty much the magic of local knowledge; a TD in some specific region probably knows what kind of field is likely to show up at their tournament. There might not be any general principles but there is certainly some experiential basis for deciding such things. The same is true when evaluating who is going to "roll the field." We know today that State College A can roll the field at ACF Fall but we didn't know that 2 or 3 years ago. Obviously, you can only evaluate things like this after the fact; the one general principle I would put forth is that if you've won ACF Fall once or twice, it's probably time to volunteer your services as a staffer or something.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by cvdwightw »

marnold wrote: I'm not speaking confidently, but I get the impression high schoolers playing college tournaments first happened maybe 5 years ago and didn't become relatively common until the last 3 years (anyone please correct me if I'm wrong).
I think State College 1998(?) played one or two college tournaments. I know that combined high school/college fields were relatively common in the early 2000's in Southern California and perhaps even before that, though the ones I participated in were usually not explicitly college tournaments and usually had only a few college teams. The death of this idea in the region, of course, was the 2002 fiasco at Irvine when, in addition to other major problems, only one college team (ASU?) showed up. That said, perhaps the idea of an explicitly combined field is something worth re-exploring. The way things usually were set up, there was supposed to be one division for college teams (perhaps with some eligibility restrictions?) and high schoolers "playing up," and another division for high school teams that didn't mind playing the more difficult questions (or weren't told about the difficulty) but didn't want that high level of competition; practically, those tournaments got about 11 or 12 teams combined and so just played a full RR. I could definitely see something like this set of eligibility rules ("If you all attend the same school and are not grad students you are eligible to play") at MUT mirrors in areas that don't necessarily have the same glut of teams as the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.
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Re: High Schoolers in College Tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Even the most radical participant in these discussions (probably me) heartily agrees that it's not good for quizbowl or any tournament to have teams that can "roll the field." That's an easily defensible position, and it's a better way to approach this problem than engaging in "rulemaking for the sake of rulemaking."
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