Students as tournament directors?

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Vathrain
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Students as tournament directors?

Post by Vathrain » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:00 pm

How acceptable would it be for me, the captain of a high school team, to direct an NAQT tournament? As there are relatively few tournaments in my area of the country, and my school, which has historically been relatively strong, has had some recent difficulty recruiting new players, I would like for us to host a tournament. I'm essentially the only one here who would be qualified and/or interested in directing the tournament. Because it's planned to be an introductory tournament meant to encourage more people to join quiz bowl, teams from my school would be competing, thought I will, of course, not be doing so. I'd just like to hear some input from you folks to see what you think about this scenario.

Oh, also, I know it's generally not good practice for the school that hosts the tournament to compete, but with how few tournaments we have in the area, I feel that it should be okay. Plus there's at least one other tournament in the state that competes at their own tournaments, and I plan on taking plenty of measures to be sure it's clear there is no bias in the the direction of the tournament.
Henry Sanders
Grinnell College
Iowa

Former Captain
St. Andrew's Episcopal School
Ridgeland, Mississippi

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cchiego
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Re: Students as tournament directors?

Post by cchiego » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:04 pm

Vathrain wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:00 pm
How acceptable would it be for me, the captain of a high school team, to direct an NAQT tournament? As there are relatively few tournaments in my area of the country, and my school, which has historically been relatively strong, has had some recent difficulty recruiting new players, I would like for us to host a tournament. I'm essentially the only one here who would be qualified and/or interested in directing the tournament.
It's great that you're interested and I'm excited to see another Mississippi team interested in hosting on good questions. In general, yes, students can direct tournaments, but there have been issues in the past with some that you should be aware of and make sure that y'all won't fall victim to in this case.

The biggest issues I've seen with student-run tournaments tend to be:
a. Over-ambition: too big of a field, too many side events (ANY side events are probably a bad idea!), too-challenging questions, too many rounds. Keep it simple. Set a realistic field cap, pick an appropriate question set for the teams who will likely be attending, stick to 8-9 rounds total, and view this more as an inaugural event that your team can use to build on for next year than an extravaganza with lots of bells and whistles.

b. Issues with communicating with adults: You have to work with your school's admin and team sponsor on this. Start now because deadlines are everywhere. Even if they don't do much of the logistical work, you need to nail down a date, room reservations, and whatever other bureaucratic barriers there might be well in advance. See some of the Tournament Hosting guide's before-the-tournament sections for things to consider.

c. Issues communicating with other club members: This happens surprisingly often. Even if you're taking the lead on this, you need to make sure your club is committed to at the very least helping on the day of the tournament. I would also strongly recommend picking an "assistant TD" to talk things through with and show the ropes of how you're running the tournament. Ideally, this would be frosh/soph who will be around for awhile. You should probably also be sure to CC your team sponsor on emails to make sure they're aware of what's happening.
Vathrain wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:00 pm
Because it's planned to be an introductory tournament meant to encourage more people to join quiz bowl, teams from my school would be competing, thought I will, of course, not be doing so. I'd just like to hear some input from you folks to see what you think about this scenario.

Oh, also, I know it's generally not good practice for the school that hosts the tournament to compete, but with how few tournaments we have in the area, I feel that it should be okay. Plus there's at least one other tournament in the state that competes at their own tournaments, and I plan on taking plenty of measures to be sure it's clear there is no bias in the the direction of the tournament.
If you're intending this as a way to recruit new players from among your student body, then that's fine. Ideally though you want your experienced A-team members and anyone who's already had quizbowl experience to be reading since nothing looks worse than to have your A-team play while a bunch of newbie mods stumble over pronounciation and flub game rules. You might also want to make sure that as much as possible your house teams would have outside readers.

Definitely reach out to other experienced tournament hosts in the area like Murrah and Itawamba and stay in touch with them; they'll likely have plenty of advice and region-specific knowledge of specific teams and potential moderators. Also feel free to ask any and all questions as you plan the tournament to the quizbowl community either on a thread like this or in the Discord. It's totally fine to have lots of questions and it's much better to deal with potential issues now rather than 8:59 AM on the morning of the tournament (definitely check out the TD Guide and this list of common TDing mistakes too). Good luck!
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

Vathrain
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Re: Students as tournament directors?

Post by Vathrain » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:21 pm

cchiego wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:04 pm

It's great that you're interested and I'm excited to see another Mississippi team interested in hosting on good questions. In general, yes, students can direct tournaments, but there have been issues in the past with some that you should be aware of and make sure that y'all won't fall victim to in this case.
Thanks so much for such an extensive and prompt reply! I'll definitely be sure to take into account all of your advice. I certainly don't plan on overreaching myself if I can at all help it; I'm also planning on asking for assistance from the speech and debate coach, both for advice with running tournaments and for the provision of experienced readers. Ideally, I'd like to make this as self-sustaining as possible, as I'll be graduating next year, and there's been no one who's expressed an equivalent amount of interest in keeping the team going strong. Thus the goal to raise interest.

Anywho, thanks again! I take it you used to play in the MS area?
Henry Sanders
Grinnell College
Iowa

Former Captain
St. Andrew's Episcopal School
Ridgeland, Mississippi

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Re: Students as tournament directors?

Post by Illinois Admin » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:00 am

Chris did a very good job outlining everything I would've said so I won't go over it again. However, I did want to just say if you need/want any help designing a format or any other TD'ing questions, I am more than happy to help you out (I benefited greatly from having multiple people show me the ropes for TD'ing and would be happy to pay that forward). Just shoot me an email at bamclai2 AT illinois.edu
Bradley McLain
Rockford Auburn High School - 2015
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - 2019
University of Texas at Austin - 2021

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i never see pigeons in wheeling
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Re: Students as tournament directors?

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:51 am

Vathrain wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:21 pm
cchiego wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:04 pm

It's great that you're interested and I'm excited to see another Mississippi team interested in hosting on good questions. In general, yes, students can direct tournaments, but there have been issues in the past with some that you should be aware of and make sure that y'all won't fall victim to in this case.
Thanks so much for such an extensive and prompt reply! I'll definitely be sure to take into account all of your advice. I certainly don't plan on overreaching myself if I can at all help it; I'm also planning on asking for assistance from the speech and debate coach, both for advice with running tournaments and for the provision of experienced readers. Ideally, I'd like to make this as self-sustaining as possible, as I'll be graduating next year, and there's been no one who's expressed an equivalent amount of interest in keeping the team going strong. Thus the goal to raise interest.

Anywho, thanks again! I take it you used to play in the MS area?
Another thing that I’m going to add is that if you do decide to run the tournament (which I commend you for), you may have to prevent yourself from being pushed over by the complaints of coaches and parents, adults to whom high schoolers would normally be deferential. Give them a fair hearing, but if the rules warrant dismissing their complaint, you will have to politely but firmly do so.
Ankit
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Bellarmine College Preparatory '12

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Re: Students as tournament directors?

Post by cchiego » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:58 am

i never see pigeons in wheeling wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:51 am
Another thing that I’m going to add is that if you do decide to run the tournament (which I commend you for), you may have to prevent yourself from being pushed over by the complaints of coaches and parents, adults to whom high schoolers would normally be deferential. Give them a fair hearing, but if the rules warrant dismissing their complaint, you will have to politely but firmly do so.
This is a good point and something to consider too as you send out invitations--it's more unusual in the South to have students run tournaments like this and coaches might view a student emailing them as somewhat odd. Be as formal and as polite as possible; if you can use a team account or your adviser is willing to send them from their account, that might help.

Also, not from MS but just over the border in TN. Would love to see more quizbowl action up and down I-55 between Jackson and Memphis!
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

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