Charging Certain People Lots of Money at Tournaments

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No Rules Westbrook
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Charging Certain People Lots of Money at Tournaments

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Okay, so this is an issue that's been stuck in my craw for a little while now. Quite often at collegiate tourneys, especially at higher-end events, there are teams which (through no fault of their own) end up having one or two players and no school or fund to reimburse them for tournament fees. A good example (but not the only one probably) is where you have certain veteran players, let's say a Weiner playing solo or my IO team of Lafer and myself. It's downright silly to charge these people the full advertised tournament fee. With penalties and whatnot, this often adds up to one player having to shell something like 100-200 bucks out of his own pocket to play. That's just too damned much in any situation, even for a superb tourney.

Now, I can understand the basic principle of charging every team the same amount, and not having an elitist "we like you" discount. I can understand that tournaments are major ways that teams (and, to a very limited extent, tournament writers) make money and support qb programs. I can certainly understand why we have significant penalties for people who submit packets late.

But it's both unfair and ineffecient to charge certain people this way. Let's take the example of Weiner coming to play solo at, say, a tourney like MLK (a purely hypothetical example, wink wink) - it probably requires no additional expense to accomadate him and he makes the tournament better by showing up. Why? Well, he submits a good packet (maybe a very late one, sure) and he provides another competitive team to the field. It makes little sense to discourage him from playing by making it prohibitively costly where it would not be so for a Chicago player who will be reimbursed.

The major point is this: at least higher-level collegiate qb is a collaborative effort. It depends upon a limited (hopefully growing, but limited) group of people working together in a fair and equitable way. There's no real money to be made. This collaboration is on display when that group of people pinches in to help finish a tournament which is desperately behind schedule, certainly not on the premise that they'll make any money from doing so. Their premise is more like "this is what's necessary to keep the game viable, and maybe someday I'll need the same type of help." It's also on display when people give others a ride to tournaments which are often quite far away, or offer to split hotel rooms, or whatever. When there's a third party like a university willing to fund our common venture, great, let's bleed them for all they're worth...but, it doesn't make any sense to bleed the very people who are parties to the venture. It doesn't take a socialist hippie to make this argument, and I'm certainly not one.

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Post by grapesmoker »

I endorse the above post.
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Post by Mr. Kwalter »

As do I, wholeheartedly.
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Post by The Time Keeper »

Joining the lovefest.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Ryan Westbrook is my hero.
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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

Hmm. Hate to break with the chorus, but I feel like I'm missing something: Is there a specific instance that has made this especially craw-sticking-worthy, or is it just a general trend? And what, specifically, is your proposed solution?

I read it -- and I may be mistaken -- as saying that tournament hosts should reduce their fees for individuals not on teams or for teams that are not financially backed by their institution, especially if those players/teams "add value" to the tournament. I understand this sentiment, but I have some questions.

I assume the player/team in question calls the host and says, "Hey, I'd love to come, but I can only afford like $40 this time." ... at which point, is there some test a host should apply, or just work it out based on personal relationships and good faith by both parties? (I feel like this is something that probably happens now anyway.)

Even if there is no test, is there some standard? How about college teams whose budget consists only of what they earn through hosting? Or some other fundraising scheme? Even university-supported teams have budgets... At what point is a team considered a charity case?

What about lowering tournament fees across the board? The hosting team is most likely trying to earn money to cover their expenses -- tournament fees being a primary one (though I guess reimbursements for gas, hotel, food, etc., factor in for some lucky teams...). Would a massive deflation across the quizbowl landscape be sustainable?

(Of course, I'm sure some would argue for keeping higher fees "on the record" for schools where receipts, invoices, etc., can be turned in for reimbursement... but that puts schools that don't get reimbursed but that do have other avenues of fundraising [HS tournaments, etc.] in the position of asking for discounts they could certainly use but don't really "need", or else paying inflated fees designed for university expense accounts.)

I wonder if some teams might consider examining their budgets and determining the impact of, say, halving tournament fees -- at those they attend AND those they host for other colleges -- and see if such a system could work. It will only work, however, if there's an across-the-board commitment to doing it; I can't lower my fees if you're going to charge me full price.

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Post by Mr. Kwalter »

I think the entirety of the argument Ryan presented is based on good faith/TD discretion. Many of us have run into TDs who try to charge us exorbitant amounts of money to play qb even if we're not backed by a school with a large budget, and Ryan is rightfully crusading against that. I think the post simply urges TDs to be a little more lenient with teams/players that have financial difficulties but still want to play.

Clearly the solution is to have Chicago host every tournament, as their budget of infinity dollars would allow them to charge only what is necessary to reimburse the tournament editor(s) for his troubles.
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Post by No Rules Westbrook »

What I'm arguing for is simply that we charge individuals who have to pay out of their own pocket a reasonably fair amount of money, based on a handful of factors. It has nothing to do with charity or financial difficulty or creating exceptions and loopholes...it's about a pricing system that makes sense. I can imagine some fuzzy standard: I think it's reasonable to ask an individual to fork over around 40 bucks from their own wallet to play, not 100 bucks. Discretion on the part of the TD is key, yes, since there may be mitigating or aggravating factors...but that seems about right for a tentative standard.

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Post by Mike Bentley »

$40 isn't very far removed from the $50 fee most tournaments give for getting your packet in by the first deadline. If you're playing by yourself and are having trouble coming up with the $100 base fee, presumably you have time to write a packet and get it in by the early deadline. I don't really see why people who write better packets should get an added discount if their packet comes in late.

Granted, if the tournament fee structure is such that it's significantly more than $50 if someone doesn't turn in a packet by the first deadline, then I'm all for reducing their fees. But I very much do not like this idea of giving some people discounts for getting packets in late, regardless of the quality.
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Post by No Rules Westbrook »

What people should do and what they do are two different things. By all means, turn in your packets early, timely submission is a key brick in the edifice of good qb...most of us know this all too well, and we understand the need to deter people from flouting this demand. However, the fact is that often this doesn't happen, for a lot of reasons...and we need a more careful balancing of equities when it doesn't.

Also, what I meant to suggest is that I think it's very rarely okay - no matter what type of player you're talking about or how well they can write a packet - to ask someone to come up with more than about 40 bucks out of their own pocket. Now, I talk about discretion because I can imagine a situation where some person just exhibits bad faith, contributes nothing, and in general makes a nuisance out of himself - it's fine in that situation to say "it's not worth the bother, if you want to play this tourney, pay me 100 bucks."

I want to emphasize again that this has nothing to do with financial difficulty - I would think it equally wrong to charge Bill Gates this way if he were part of the community. Again, I think the appropriate metaphor is the common business venture - where people input different resources roughly equally in order to obtain a common desired benefit. There is an implied assumption of rough equity among the partners in what they're contributing.

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Post by First Chairman »

In my opinion the TD has discretion to charge whatever is a fair price to compensate individuals who are unable to pay or do enough to warrant such a reasonable award. I wouldn't make it policy because there are some people who may not be as reliable, but if there is a track record, it's your TD discretion and your budget. Just make sure about your logistics.
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Post by ArloLyle »

This may be a stupid idea but I thought I would throw it out there. What if instead of charging one amount per team no matter how many people are on that team you instead you took that amount divided by four and multiplied by the number of people on the team.

One big downside I could see to this is asshole team captains or whoever is in charge of money decisions forcing weaker players to stay home in order to save money. I don't think I would forsee this happening too much, but it could happen.

On the other side of the token, I have witnessed cases where say there are 10 people who want to go to a tournament, but only money enough for two teams, such a pricing scheme might allow all ten to go to the tournament.

Like I said I haven't really thought this out a whole lot and there are probably other disadvantages, but I just wanted to throw it out there.

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Post by Mike Bentley »

One issue with doing this is that more teams may elect to divide their teams up a lot. Then you'd need to have more moderators and rooms for your tournament, which could be a problem.
Mike Bentley
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