Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

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Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by nfinn14 » Wed May 13, 2015 10:19 pm

So my quizbowl team qualifed for the 2015 MSNCT, but unfortunantly we weren't able to go due to conflicting schedules. However, we jumped on the idea of going the National Academic Championship run by Questions Unlimited. We normally use their questions for our local league (Bergen County) But the Tournament we "qualified" for the NAC uses NAQT Pyramidial Questions. I have read other things on the forum abotu them scamming teams and writing bad questions, but can you guys (and girls) elaborate on why they are so bad?
Nathan Finn
Leonia HS 18'

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Re: Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by Kouign Amann » Wed May 13, 2015 10:27 pm

Hey Nathan, welcome to the forums. Here's a good place to start reading up on NAC's various issues. I'm sure others will jump in to expand as well.
Aidan Mehigan
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Re: Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by cchiego » Wed May 13, 2015 11:12 pm

That QB Wiki article hasn't been updated with some of the more recent shenanigans. Here's what one of the moderators at the 2013 NAC had to say:
After my experience at the DC phase of the NAC this weekend, as well as some thoughtful contemplation of the sentiments and arguments that I have read on this board and other places, and conversations that I have had with people in this community whose opinions and input I greatly respect, I would like this board, and the good quizbowl community at large, to consider this as a complete and public disavowal of NAC and Chip Beall on my part. I will not staff this tournament in future years, and will continue my efforts to get teams in my region of upstate New York and Pennsylvania's Northern Tier to play as much pyramidal quizbowl as possible, and to attempt to qualify for the NAQT MSNCT and HSNCT and PACE NSC (as well as the single-subject and all-star tournaments NHBB and NASAT) rather than waste any more money, time and effort with this organization.
There was also a nice snippet by another team of typical Chip behavior showing he hasn't changed much.

If you can get your money back, don't bother going. If you're stuck attending this year, use it as a chance to talk to the other teams there about good quizbowl and make plans to attend the MSNCT and other pyramidal tournaments (or even host one yourself) next year.

Also, like Aidan said, welcome to the boards! There's a very active pyramidal quizbowl circuit in New Jersey and in the surrounding area so if you want to play on quality questions there are plenty of opportunities. We also have a bunch of useful resources over at Greater Philadelphia Quizbowl that might be helpful to peruse on organizing and improving a team.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
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Re: Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by jonpin » Thu May 14, 2015 12:10 am

Allow me to welcome you to the boards as well. If you can't get your money back, well at least you're going in knowing what to expect and if it lives up to expectations, your coach will know never to waste money with them in the future.
When you say your local league, is this Bergen BrainBusters? There's always hope that if another organization (like NAQT) contacts the people who run that competition, they could upgrade to better questions. NAQT writes a few middle school sets a year, so they should have something available without jeopardizing the tournament we host at Bergen Academies. At various times in recent years I've wanted to get in touch with someone involved in BrainBusters both to see how it runs now and to get contact info to advertise our tournament; if you or your coach could contact me with any information you have, that'd be appreciated.

Lastly, hopefully now that you're moving into high school you'll continue to be interested. There are several tournaments within a 30-45 minute drive of Bergen County each year, and within a short time, I'll create a post for the 2015-16 calendar so you can see what's available. Even if you don't have official school standing, most tournaments will be happy to allow a team of students (from the same school) to register.
Jon Pinyan
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Re: Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by nfinn14 » Thu May 14, 2015 6:46 am

jonpin wrote:Allow me to welcome you to the boards as well. If you can't get your money back, well at least you're going in knowing what to expect and if it lives up to expectations, your coach will know never to waste money with them in the future.
When you say your local league, is this Bergen BrainBusters? There's always hope that if another organization (like NAQT) contacts the people who run that competition, they could upgrade to better questions. NAQT writes a few middle school sets a year, so they should have something available without jeopardizing the tournament we host at Bergen Academies. At various times in recent years I've wanted to get in touch with someone involved in BrainBusters both to see how it runs now and to get contact info to advertise our tournament; if you or your coach could contact me with any information you have, that'd be appreciated.

Lastly, hopefully now that you're moving into high school you'll continue to be interested. There are several tournaments within a 30-45 minute drive of Bergen County each year, and within a short time, I'll create a post for the 2015-16 calendar so you can see what's available. Even if you don't have official school standing, most tournaments will be happy to allow a team of students (from the same school) to register.

The local league is Bergen BrainBusters. We usually do well in our division (Undefeated this year!) but the games are always low scoring and the questions sometimes confusing. We use outdated questions, which have current event questions from 1998 (Like, "last year Bill Clinton was impeached by which house of congress?"). I'll try to see what I can do to change his mind, but my coach has said that the team will likely not change over to NAQT, merely because it is too expensive. I'll try having him contact NAQT to see about their questions. Hopefully the NAC isn't as bad as I expected, and we actually may "win".
Nathan Finn
Leonia HS 18'

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Re: Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Sat May 16, 2015 10:09 pm

My team went to the 2009 NAC. Being "worried" is a strong term, but I was surprised at how badly we did. This was definitely the worst season in the last 13 years of RM quizbowl as far as I can tell, but we definitely would have done better against that field on pyramidal questions. It's a weird environment, especially when you spend the whole time thinking about how, for most of these people, this is all they know. All in all it was a decidedly unfun experience but it wasn't scarring or anything.
Raynell Cooper
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Richard Montgomery HS '11
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Re: Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sat May 16, 2015 10:25 pm

I'll take any opportunity to post my "humorous" account of a 2011 :chip: regional.
Farrah Bilimoria
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Re: Team Going to 2015 NAC, Should I Be Worried?

Post by High Dependency Unit » Sat May 16, 2015 10:51 pm

So I was at NAC as recently as two years ago. While it was a bad tournament, some of the questions were god-awful, and there were multiple issues with answerlines leading to protests, we managed to have fun. You need to know what you're getting into, and if you're having any issues you've got to push to get it resolved in your favor. Also-make sure the scores are put on their website correctly - we had an instance where they gave us an extra win, and we corrected them, and you don't want to be on the other side of that.

Try to get your team to do more pyramidal quiz bowl. We were able to convince our coach, who at that point knew little more but KMO and Chip, to take us to 2013 MSNCT as well, and Middlesex has attended MSNCT instead of NAC ever since. And it's not as much that we didn't like NAC, but that MSNCT was the absolute best tournament we've ever been to.

Finally, try to look on the bright side of things a little. It's a relatively unique format, and it's able to ask about things you would never hear asked about on pyramidal sets. It's a unique experience, in both good and bad ways.
Michael Borecki
Middlesex Middle '13,
Darien (co-captain) '17,
Bowdoin College (club president) '21
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