autobid thread split

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Re: autobid thread split

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:54 pm

So maybe this has swiftly degenerated into "argument for argument's sake"--i.e., it has become "a run-of-the-mill hsquizbowl thread"--but if this isn't an argument about fairness, I'm confused as to why it's even an argument at all.

After all, Jeff has already explained that for 2013 we are locked into a 32-team D1 field, due to contracts we have signed that limit us to occupying a fixed number of tournament rooms. He has also explained that we are open to considering a larger field for next year, i.e., "a year in which we are not contractually obligated to limit ourselves to a 32-team field." Given that, it seems as if the logical position to take would be e.g. "it's unfortunate that NAQT's projections for the number of competent teams that would be interested in playing at ICT skewed low this year; you guys should take this year's frustrations into account when making plans for next year." (This is more or less what Matt said below.) Instead, you've taken this as an occasion for revisiting the "clock delenda est" position, which--along with sentences like "autobids from weak hosts and weak SCT winners have pushed out other, better teams"--led me to assume that you were making an argument about fairness, though perhaps my version of your second premise should have read "an ICT with a number of teams that is fixed in advance, rather than an open-field ICT, is unfair."

Frankly, I wonder if this whole argument hasn't been misguided, and whether you might not be better off--given what I understand about your presuppositions--arguing that the problem with ICT isn't the clock, but that NAQT has made a decision to host it at hotels (where we have to sign contracts way in advance specifying exactly how many rooms we can have) rather than at college campuses (where the "number of rooms" situation tends to be more flexible). At some point in the not-so-distant past (after the unfortunate events at Maryland in 2006, I think) NAQT made a conscious decision that the benefits of holding ICT at a hotel outweighed the costs--or, perhaps, that the costs of holding ICT at a college campus outweighed the benefits--though obviously one of the downsides of that decision is that it required us to "lock in" field sizes far before the tournament would be held.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:17 pm

Sure, ICT is locked into the field it has in 2013; I don't think I've ever challenged this, and never meant to suggest a field size change this year. That would obviously be unworkable.

Insofar as fairness is concerned, the relevant question to me is: "does the current setup, autobids and all, give the best teams around the country a chance to play ICT?" It seems like the answer is actually, "no, it does not," or at least "not this year," so yes, that obviously implicates a fairness concern. That concern isn't tied to a specific number but rather to the system as a whole. Fundamentally, what is the point of a qualification system anyway, if it's not to ensure the highest level of competition? If we're not doing that, why not just scrap the qualification system (the same way that ACF tossed out its "you have to play Regionals to play Nationals" a long time ago) and just let in everyone who wants to? This is the option I personally favor, on the grounds that more quizbowl is better than less quizbowl.

The fact that this hasn't happened and that "32 teams" seems to have ossified into a rule rather than just "this is a vaguely plausible cap given what we know about the situation this year," leads me to conjecture that there are logistical limits to the idea of an open field. I've long argued that the clock induces a serious logistical complication, especially at the Sectionals level; as someone who has helped run SCT many times, it's crazy hard for a club with, say, 10-12 members (which by most standards is not small) to run it alone if you're going to have, say, 16 teams. The clock is the only factor responsible for that, because other tournaments run with those numbers all the time and with no problems. If logistical concerns are not an issue, then I don't get why there even needs to be a field cap in the first place.

As for hosting in hotels: it is, honestly, not my favorite decision in the world. It limits your flexibility to respond to changing conditions, it costs more, and hotels are mostly just ugly. I suspect that with advance preparation, you could host ICT on a college campus every year; indeed, it used to be that way, and although 2006 sucked, as I recall the 2 ICTs I attended before that also took place on college campuses and went just fine. If ICT moved back to a college campus in 2014, I think that would be lovely.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:12 pm

grapesmoker wrote:why not just increase the field size? This whole thread could have ended with Jeff going, "Oh, our bad, we didn't think this problem would be that serious. We'll just up the field size next year to solve it." That's it, that's the simplest solution to all of this. It's not being implemented because...?
There are two things we would need to verify before announcing this:

1) Does the site of the 2014 ICT have enough rooms available to host a 72-team tournament?

2) Will there be enough interest from teams to legitimately fill a 72-team field?

Those are both "summer 2013" projects.

It's worth noting that there have been anomalously few declined invitations in Division I this year.

Recent stats on declined ICT bids:

2010: 9 Division I, 9 Division II
2011: 8 Division I, 7 Division II
2012: 10 Division I, 6 Division II
2013: 4 Division I, 7 or more Division II

If that's the start of a trend rather than a one-year outlier, we will seriously consider expanding the ICT field.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:59 pm

marnold wrote:there seem to be more host- and autobids being accepted in D1 (if you have the exact numbers that would be useful)
Year: SCT sites, host-bid teams in the Division I ICT*

2013: 13, 11
2012: 14, 9
2011: 16, 7
2010: 14, 6
2009: 12, 8
2008: 10, 5
2007: 9, 5
2006: 10, 7
2005: 10, 4

*(counting house-team SCT champions who attended ICT for this purpose, even though that situation officially dissolves the automatic bid for hosting)

(and also counting ICT bids awarded to teams containing SCT set editors)

total 2005-2012: 95 SCT sites and 51 host bids resulting in Division I ICT teams. This year's 13 resulting in 11 is historically unusual.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:24 am

If ICT moved back to a college campus in 2014, I think that would be lovely.
I don't have a position in the field size/autobid discussion happening here, but I would strongly support getting out of that hotel in Chicago for future ICTs (or at least some future ICTs). Though I know it's anathema for many in our community to consider non-QB activities when determining a site, I do enjoy taking my Valencia players, many of whom have little travel experience, around the host city, and though it's great to go the Art Institute etc., it would be nice to change it up sometimes as we did in the early part of this century. And as we all know, the food situation around the current ICT hotel is less than ideal. And I'm sure there are many campus sites that could find the rooms and suitably host.

As I recall, there was much heartache over the travel difficulties and costs associated with the UCLA ICT, but there are plenty of good university cities (Minneapolis? Madison? Columbus?) closer to the center of the country that could be possible hosts. Anyway, sorry for the potential derail.

EDIT: Hmm, so the shortened version of the anatomical term "buttocks" apparently is banned (bringing up some stuff in all caps about liking Anime names???). My goodness!
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by setht » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:08 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote:
If ICT moved back to a college campus in 2014, I think that would be lovely.
I don't have a position in the field size/autobid discussion happening here, but I would strongly support getting out of that hotel in Chicago for future ICTs (or at least some future ICTs). Though I know it's anathema for many in our community to consider non-QB activities when determining a site, I do enjoy taking my Valencia players, many of whom have little travel experience, around the host city, and though it's great to go the Art Institute etc., it would be nice to change it up sometimes as we did in the early part of this century. And as we all know, the food situation around the current ICT hotel is less than ideal. And I'm sure there are many campus sites that could find the rooms and suitably host.

As I recall, there was much heartache over the travel difficulties and costs associated with the UCLA ICT, but there are plenty of good university cities (Minneapolis? Madison? Columbus?) closer to the center of the country that could be possible hosts. Anyway, sorry for the potential derail.
Actually, this reminds me that I was going to respond to Jerry's earlier assertion that holding ICT in a hotel is more expensive for the teams than holding ICT on a college campus. Here is my response: is it? I thought part (in fact, a large part) of the impetus for moving to a "run ICT in a hotel in a city like Chicago" was that it actually reduced total costs for teams, on average, once stuff like airfare and car rental/other ground transportation is factored in. In particular, didn't people complain about the ICT in Minneapolis precisely because the average cost of attending was high?

I was willing to pay out of pocket when I was UC Berkeley, and I personally liked going to different cities for ICT, so I'm sympathetic with Chris's interest in breaking free of the Rosemont Hyatt's clutches, but I thought the community consensus was "finances trump variety" (and, again, that moving from a rotating campus hosting model to a relatively fixed hotel hosting model was at least partly a response to that consensus).

Am I wrong about that history? Has the community consensus (or the financial reality) shifted?
ValenciaQBowl wrote:EDIT: Hmm, so the shortened version of the anatomical term "buttocks" apparently is banned (bringing up some stuff in all caps about liking Anime names???). My goodness!
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by grapesmoker » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:34 pm

Actually, I meant to say that holding ICT in a hotel is more expensive for NAQT; that does translate to some extra expense for teams, presumably, since a cheaper ICT would, hopefully, have lower registration fees. I'm not sure how much savings you really get in terms of hotel rooms or car rental; presumably airfare savings are courtesy of it being in Chicago rather than Rosemont per se.

A national tournament is going to, by definition, attract teams from all over the country. To me, it makes the most sense to host such events in cities with reasonably-priced airfare and at least a modicum of public transportation to accomodate those who can't rent a car for whatever reason.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by bradleykirksey » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:57 am

Wendish Crusade wrote:
Sulawesi Myzomela wrote:Would programs who qualified teams via autobid (Minnesota, Buffalo, Central Florida, Truman State, Texas A&M, Delaware, McMaster, Ohio State) have hosted SCT without that opportunity?
I'm not Bradley, but I don't believe Central Florida would have bid to host without an autobid in place. In hindsight, with the field we actually had we could potentially have fielded a DI team and a DII team, still staffed the tournament appropriately, and qualified both teams, but we couldn't know that when bidding—I think the assumption was we might see more of region 6 than just the Florida schools plus Mercer.
Sulawesi Myzomela wrote:Are there other teams in those regions who would have hosted otherwise?
As far as I know, ours was the only region 6 bid even with the autobid present. I don't know the region well enough to know who might have been goaded into hosting were no bids submitted; my suspicion is that, as many schools would have found an SCT to attend anyway (judging by the fact that they attended the region 5 SCT in Knoxville), goading would also have been unsuccessful.
I'm a week late on this one.

But, if we had known we could have sent a team to DI and DII and hosted,(which, with our field, I think we could have) then I would have still been interested in hosting even without the automatic bid. The money isn't a lot, but it's a lot to us, especially when you consider we didn't have to pay for gasoline or a hotel. It's probably the only reason we can afford ICT this year.

And not just hindsight. I thought that morning that we could have thrown Mickey and Ian B onto a DI team, gotten a DI, DII, and autobid if we really felt like it. The problem is that then we'd be throwing people into ICT who don't need to be there and couldn't compete in DI at all next year. In other words, the autobid really didn't help us out, I don't think.

With all of that said, Sam is right that we didn't expect our field to be as thin as it was. No Dallin Kelson, no GT, no Bama. No Auburn or USF or any of the good CC players at UF in DII either. At the time, hosting seemed like the only sure way to get to ICT. It was a large motivating factor, though I still think we'd have done it if it weren't for the autobid. Or at least, I'd have wanted to. I'd have to check with everyone else in the club first.

I also think Sam's right again that I'm pretty sure no one else made a bid. I'm not too keen on what happened, but I didn't hear anything from anyone else about making a bid.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:52 am

bradleykirksey wrote: I thought that morning that we could have thrown Mickey and Ian B onto a DI team, gotten a DI, DII, and autobid if we really felt like it.
SCT Automatic Bids wrote: If an SCT host did not also host an SCT in the previous year, then it is given the same number of Division I automatic bids as it had Division I teams that earned invitations to--and attended--the previous year's ICT (not counting standby teams). Each Division I team that earns an invitation by competing at an SCT dissolves one of those automatic bids. If the school wishes to send teams to Division II, it must field teams at an SCT that qualify by their play.
bradleykirksey wrote: With all of that said, Sam is right that we didn't expect our field to be as thin as it was.
Mapquest shows the following (shortest times):

Tuscaloosa to Orlando: 9 hours, 38 minutes
Tuscaloosa to Knoxville: 4 hours, 57 minutes

Auburn to Orlando: 7 hours, 5 minutes
Auburn to Knoxville: 5 hours, 7 minutes

Atlanta to Orlando: 6 hours, 44 minutes
Atlanta to Knoxville: 3 hours, 29 minutes

I can go on and on with this list, however I think I've made my point with travel times here. A big factor in whether or not you can draw a lot of teams in is how close you are to other quizbowl-playing schools. Unfortunately, UCF is very far out of the way for most of the Southeast circuit. Hence, some Region 6 teams chose to travel to the Region 5 SCT. I'm sure this same phenomenon affects UCF's ability to travel outside of Florida on a regular basis. It's disappointing that you don't attend some of the tournaments in the Southeast as well however you, like other teams in the region, seem to be a little low on funds. A lot of teams in the Southeast have to manage their budgets very carefully, and often times a closer tournament means not having to stay two nights in a hotel and saving on gas. That means a lot to some teams. This is a problem encountered in the Southeast quite a bit just because the region is so large. While you're disappointed that a lot of teams chose to attend the Region 5 SCT it's hard for me to see where the surprise factor comes in.

There is also the issue of our team not wanting to play in another combined field SCT. From Alabama D1's point of view it certainly does not help seeding and it absolutely does not benefit any other team in the field to play against us on D2 questions. In addition, I don't think Georgia Tech had the option of playing your sectional without applying for exemption given that they're neither in your ACUI region nor are the closest SCT.

I surely sympathize with you regarding the relative thinness of your field, given that I dealt with that myself for years on end, however when your campus is far away from others you should come to expect that things like this will happen. Quizbowl is a game in which most teams to tournaments that are as close to their home base as possible.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:05 am

The Ununtiable Twine wrote:In addition, I don't think Georgia Tech had the option of playing your sectional without applying for exemption given that they're neither in your ACUI region nor are the closest SCT.
Georgia and Florida are in the same ACUI region, so Georgia Tech could have attended either SCT site.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:28 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:
The Ununtiable Twine wrote:In addition, I don't think Georgia Tech had the option of playing your sectional without applying for exemption given that they're neither in your ACUI region nor are the closest SCT.
Georgia and Florida are in the same ACUI region, so Georgia Tech could have attended either SCT site.
Ah, I stand corrected. I thought they were in Region 5 for some reason.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by bradleykirksey » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:58 pm

Jake, I'm not faulting anyone who did that. I'd have jumped on the chance to save money and time. Just, when we made the bid, I didn't think that that would happen. That was more me not thinking it through than anything else.

And for the record, the UCF quiz bowl operating budget is $1500 this whole year, or triple what we had last year. No matter how you slice it, ICT is a huge chunk out of the players' pockets, and SCT is the only reason that I (and I assume others) could have afforded it. I still may not have put in the bid if I realized it was going to be us and St. Leo.

I'm sorry if I looked like I was accusing Alabama and Auburn and the rest of something. I see where they’re coming from and would have done the same thing if given the chance.
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Re: autobid thread split

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:13 pm

bradleykirksey wrote: I'm sorry if I looked like I was accusing Alabama and Auburn and the rest of something. I see where they’re coming from and would have done the same thing if given the chance.
It's an unfortunate side effect of the relative distance between schools in the region that we cannot support each other more than we do. I wasn't accusing you of accusing anyone of anything, just stating reasons why it shouldn't be surprising that certain schools don't get higher attendance at tournaments than others. It's not your fault, however there is no easy solution to increase your attendance as much as you would like to. Small budgets and travel issues for other teams plagued my administration at ULL - trust me, I know trying to get money and high attendance at tournaments can be frustrating.
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