Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

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Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Susan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 am

Now that Regionals and SCT are behind us, I was hoping we could talk about...Regionals (and, to a lesser extent, SCT). Specifically, the dearth of bids to host Regionals. We received a total of five bids: two bids for the Northeast site, two bids for the West site, and Chris had Maryland hosting the Mid-Atlantic site. Jerry, Chris, and I then had to solicit bids for the remaining sites. While we did eventually succeed in getting a reasonable distribution of sites (I hope; I know we did get complaints about site distribution), we had a very hard time getting people to agree to host. This has not always been the case, and I'm not quite sure why it's gotten so difficult to find sites for Regionals. There are a couple of models for hosting Regionals (and other recurring tournaments) that have worked well in the past. For example, Chicago hosted Regionals for about 10 years running; we had a large team and a decent number of competent alumni in the area, and for the most part we were entirely able to staff the tournament competently and field 2-3 teams every year. In regions that didn't have a large team willing to totally take over Regionals, I know there at least used to be (in some regions) some informal turn-taking so that people would ensure that there would be a Regionals host in their area. Sometimes that meant that the host school couldn't field a team (or at least couldn't field as many teams as they would have wanted to), but that was the price you paid for having a system that kept a Regionals site in your area every year.

Maybe central scheduling will totally solve all our problems here. I don't know. Certainly spending a large amount of time trying to get this sorted out for Regionals (and a smaller amount of time on it for Fall) made me think that centralized scheduling at least wouldn't make the Regionals situation worse. I don't know if people did not bid entirely because they were super-opposed to hosting (I definitely did hear a few "we don't want to host because we want to play" refusals when I started soliciting bids) or if they just thought someone else would bid (in most regions, as you can see, this didn't happen!). If there's anything ACF can be doing to encourage people to bid, I would love to know; it would be much easier for us if we had more bids. So, please--if you can think of anything that we could be doing to get more bids for Regionals (and Fall), I'm all ears.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:24 am

I think you should move the bidding process for Regionals up to earlier in the season, that way teams who rely on tournaments to raise money could have backup plans in case Regionals is awarded to another school. We may have bid to host Regionals had we known that, if our bid were to be denied again, we would have ample time to arrange a mirror of WIT or something similar.

I'm not sure if you can move the bidding for Fall up earlier, considering the volatility of who is able to host tournaments from year to year.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Cheynem » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:28 pm

Could there be some incentive for teams that host? For example, if you host Regionals and do not get to field an appropriate number of house teams, could you get discounts on your Nationals fee?
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by theMoMA » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:39 pm

If Regionals were a qualifying tournament for Nationals, would that impact host behavior at all? I don't want to open a huge can of worms, but it does seem like host bids play a role in NAQT's ability to find enough SCT hosts year after year.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:57 pm

I don't know if this is particularly helpful here, but it's something I've been thinking about doing for some time. I went through the 2013 Regionals and SCT stats and put every team that participated on a Google map, colored by which tournament they attended (Green for both, Blue for SCT only, and Yellow for Regionals only). Then I played around using the totally sweet tool I found at http://www.freemaptools.com/how-far-can-i-travel.htm to figure out how many theoretically existing programs are within a given amount of driving time. The link shows all of the programs that are located withing a four hour drive of UChicago in a car going 65mph. I think something like this would both improve not only bidding but also outreach. My original intent with creating this was to see how many programs within a given area I would trust to host an ACF event and/or have a consistently well-run team that frequently shows up to tournaments. For example, VCU seems to have a reputation for putting on well-run tournaments. If VCU were to decide to host Regionals, you now have an idea of how many schools you might attract. UMCP and UVA are well-established programs within driving distance that almost certainly would attend. You also have Liberty and UNC, which attend tournaments relatively frequently, though not 100% of the time. Then there are Longwood and Roanoke, which as far as I'm aware haven't really gone to anything besides SCT. So, right there you have an idea of who will come, who has a good chance of attending, and who you might contact to gauge interest. I know ACF is limited by having to choose from the schools who submit bids, but it seems that there are often grumblings that the nearest mirror is too far away and this map gives at least some picture of how many teams a host might attract. The map is by no means exhaustive or even indicative of program status. It's only two tournaments and there are probably a bunch of schools that didn't attend either Regionals or SCT this year that would attend something like ACF Fall. If I feel like it, I might go through and compile something similar for Fall or try and measure how active given clubs are.
Here it is:
http://goo.gl/maps/jkHxu
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Susan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:58 pm

theMoMA wrote:If Regionals were a qualifying tournament for Nationals, would that impact host behavior at all? I don't want to open a huge can of worms, but it does seem like host bids play a role in NAQT's ability to find enough SCT hosts year after year.
My sense is that NAQT still had a really hard time getting viable bids for all its sites this year, AND having a qualifier/host bid setup creates a whole other set of issues (see the NAQT/ACUI thread!). I can't say I have a lot of enthusiasm for this idea, but if people have thoughts about it, I'm interested in hearing them.

I absolutely agree that we should start the bid process earlier, and I hope we can get that going on next year (when we won't be dealing with the challenges of launching a centralized payment/registration system and incorporating and all that jazz. (Edited to add: if centralized scheduling does happen and we get most tournaments scheduled over the summer, that would take care of this.) Offering discounts off the Nats fee certainly seems like it could be a possibility--this is definitely something for ACF to think about.

Nolan, that map is AWESOME. I think this could be a fantastic outreach tool. Thank you for putting it together!
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Windows ME » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:17 pm

theMoMA wrote:If Regionals were a qualifying tournament for Nationals.
Oh god. No.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Cody » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:01 pm

theMoMA wrote:If Regionals were a qualifying tournament for Nationals, would that impact host behavior at all? I don't want to open a huge can of worms, but it does seem like host bids play a role in NAQT's ability to find enough SCT hosts year after year.
My impression is that NAQT has just as much trouble finding host sites for SCT as ACF does for Regionals. One can just look at when SCT sites were announced this year to see this. Also, considering how 'poorly' attended Nationals is, I'm not sure presenting another barrier to attendance is going to help (though I guess you could argue that requiring people to qualify would lend some 'legitimacy' and perhaps boost attendance, but I'm not sure how likely that is).

Plus, to make qualifying mean anything you'd have to have a field cap on the tournament that you can hit, which means teams who want to play Nationals can't.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Cody » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:09 pm

Hey, look! I made a spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... mFCdWgyY1E . No Regionals site was announced less than 6 weeks in advance; 6 of 13 SCT sites were less than 6 weeks in advance. I matched up Regionals sites to ACUI regions for easier display; this data also excludes the canceled Washington mirror, but it was also announced at least 6 weeks before the tournament.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:13 pm

To be fair, most people knew where some of those SCT sites were gonna be months before anything was posted on HSQB. I've known UT-Knoxville was hosting our SCT site since the beginning of the season, to provide one example.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Cody » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:44 am

Sulawesi Myzomela wrote:To be fair, most people knew where some of those SCT sites were gonna be months before anything was posted on HSQB. I've known UT-Knoxville was hosting our SCT site since the beginning of the season, to provide one example.
Sure, all the more reason NAQT is stupid for announcing sites the way it did. As far as I know, all the SCT sites announced less than 3 weeks before the tournament were not obtained until close to then, and I assume the same of UIC & Washington. (granted, one of these was in the perenially-incompetent-at-having-people-choose-to-host-a-tournament Northeast [distinguished from actually running a tournament, which they seem to have no trouble with], though somehow ACF figured that out this time around.)
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:23 am

SirT wrote:My impression is that NAQT has just as much trouble finding host sites for SCT as ACF does for Regionals.
This is accurate; having a qualification system does not make it any easier to find hosts.

There is no excuse for the lateness of this year's SCT announcements.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by theMoMA » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:26 am

That's fair. I was just curious if the qualification scheme had any correlation to NAQT's apparent historical ability to have more SCT sites announced earlier than ACF. As it apparently has no bearing, it's obviously not a productive avenue of discussion.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Kyle » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:23 am

Regarding the Northeast, I have long thought that some order could be imposed fairly easily long in advance. Realistically, there are four New England colleges that have access to the rooms and staff necessary to host the SCT: Harvard, Brown, Yale, and MIT. Why don't you just come up with a four-year rotation in which each of these colleges will host the SCT once? That was more or less how it worked when I was a student, although there was no advance planning to make it happen (Yale 2006, Harvard 2007, Brown 2008, MIT 2009). That way, in one person's undergraduate career, he or she has the responsibility of hosting the SCT once...and only once.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:13 am

Kyle wrote:Regarding the Northeast, I have long thought that some order could be imposed fairly easily long in advance. Realistically, there are four New England colleges that have access to the rooms and staff necessary to host the SCT: Harvard, Brown, Yale, and MIT. Why don't you just come up with a four-year rotation in which each of these colleges will host the SCT once? That was more or less how it worked when I was a student, although there was no advance planning to make it happen (Yale 2006, Harvard 2007, Brown 2008, MIT 2009). That way, in one person's undergraduate career, he or she has the responsibility of hosting the SCT once...and only once.
This is a good idea, but the main barrier to the implementation of this system is the fact that the timer requires very efficient readers, and due to ever-changing rosters as members graduate, there is no guarantee that when it is time for each school to host SCT, it actually has enough competent readers to see this through.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by gyre and gimble » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:24 am

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
Kyle wrote:Regarding the Northeast, I have long thought that some order could be imposed fairly easily long in advance. Realistically, there are four New England colleges that have access to the rooms and staff necessary to host the SCT: Harvard, Brown, Yale, and MIT. Why don't you just come up with a four-year rotation in which each of these colleges will host the SCT once? That was more or less how it worked when I was a student, although there was no advance planning to make it happen (Yale 2006, Harvard 2007, Brown 2008, MIT 2009). That way, in one person's undergraduate career, he or she has the responsibility of hosting the SCT once...and only once.
This is a good idea, but the main barrier to the implementation of this system is the fact that the timer requires very efficient readers, and due to ever-changing rosters as members graduate, there is no guarantee that when it is time for each school to host SCT, it actually has enough competent readers to see this through.
We hosted SCT for the three years before this year, and though I wasn't here for 2010, I don't think there was a big problem in the Northeast for hosting SCT; Andy and Dallas just kind of signed us up (I could be wrong but that was the impression I got). Neither of the two iterations I was present for had huge fields but I don't think there was an issue with getting at least a few volunteer staffers from other teams. For example, I think last year it was just me, Ted, Dallas, and a couple of freshmen for Harvard staffers. The reason we didn't host this year, causing the huge delay in finding a site (I think Dartmouth put in a bid but NAQT was reluctant due to travel difficulties up to Hanover), was because I wanted to be able to field a DI team and because a lot of our younger players had not had a chance to play an easy event all year because we hosted Fall.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:39 pm

I like the idea of incentives to host (beyond straight up money). Like, a Nats discount (or packet-writing waiver). Or a discount for ACF Fall for teams who agree to bid on regionals (with a penalty for teams who fail to live up to their end of the bargain). All pretty half-baked ideas with potentially disasterous side-effects I didn't consider that will and should be roundly mocked.

I will say that South Carolina should have bid this year (it was certainly our time to host) and it shouldn't have come down to a solicitation for us. Sorry. We'll probably bid on it more in the future.

I will note that, in the Southeast, ACF Regionals has had pretty low attendance for a while. Here are the following active, non-high schools that have attended ACF regionals at non-Florida sites in the Southeast over the last 5 years (if I omitted everyone, sorry):

Alabama
South Carolina (hosted 2013)
GT (hosted 2009, 2012)
Clemson (hosted 2010)
Duke
Virginia Tech
WKU

It should be noted that Duke only attended once, and Virginia Tech normally goes to Mid-Atlantic events and would have this year had the Maryland regionals been on a Saturday. With that few teams in the Southeast even attending regionals, it's unlikely that there'll be too many teams interested enough in bidding. Also, it's my understanding that Georgia Tech doesn't plan on hosting tournaments in the foreseeable future because their administration charges them for rooms.

Anyway, increasing the number of teams that attend regionals would be a great way to get potential hosts in the Southeast (and elsewhere), obviously. As the USC regional TD, I tried to get more folks interested this past season, with limited success. Maybe in the future!

There are a few places that I'd like to see host. I don't want to “volunteer” schools, but the following sites make good sense as regionals hosts for a variety of reasons:

UT-Knoxville (no team, but they host SCT pretty regularly)
Emory (did a nice job hosting VCU Closed mirror)
Wofford and North Greenville (have hosted high school events and regularly attend other tourneys)
Vandy (hosted ACF Fall)
Auburn (near Atlanta and fairly active)
Kentucky (promising new program)

Anyway, definite challenges to growing ACF Regs in the Southeast. But with the large number of teams attending the Knoxville SCT and ACF Fall at Vandy, there are definitely teams in the area that enjoy easy-difficulty events, at least.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by setht » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:I like the idea of incentives to host (beyond straight up money). Like, a Nats discount (or packet-writing waiver). Or a discount for ACF Fall for teams who agree to bid on regionals (with a penalty for teams who fail to live up to their end of the bargain). All pretty half-baked ideas with potentially disasterous side-effects I didn't consider that will and should be roundly mocked.
I think some of these half-baked ideas warrant further consideration. In particular, I think non-monetary incentives are something that should be looked at further. Getting money for hosting is nice, but I suspect that something like a reduction in packet writing duties for a subsequent tournament might be more attractive to prospective hosts than keeping slightly more money--maybe something like "host Fall/Regionals, get to send 2 teams to Regionals/Nationals that only have to write 16/16." Hopefully something like that wouldn't be too great a burden on the editors.

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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Susan » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:34 pm

I agree that packet reductions sound like a potentially cool idea. Would this be something people would be interested in?
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Cody » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:44 pm

I think those are interesting ideas. Perhaps most interesting is the idea of monetary discounts, as those are a big incentive (at least for us--it's why we almost always submit at the earliest packet deadline, after all).

I'm not sure it would work at Fall or Regionals since that would be taking money out of the host school's pocket, but it might work at Nationals--a $120 (or so?) discount on your entry fee for hosting Regionals [does Fall have trouble finding hosts?]. It's a significant discount (but not too significant), but it would also mean you'd have to submit a packet at the earliest deadline to play completely for free.

Of course, packet writing incentives are also kind of interesting, but I'm not sure how you could give any reduction that would be very attractive that wasn't basically not writing a packet at all. Perhaps shifting the packet deadlines (in terms of discounts) for teams? That's basically just a worse version of the above, though.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Susan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:03 am

SirT wrote: I'm not sure it would work at Fall or Regionals since that would be taking money out of the host school's pocket, but it might work at Nationals--a $120 (or so?) discount on your entry fee for hosting Regionals [does Fall have trouble finding hosts?]. It's a significant discount (but not too significant), but it would also mean you'd have to submit a packet at the earliest deadline to play completely for free.
Fall did not have as much trouble finding hosts as Regionals did, but it still wasn't completely straightforward. Also, discounts wouldn't necessarily be taking money out of the host school's pocket; if, say, you received $50 off the admission fee for two Regionals teams from hosting Fall, that could come out of ACF's rather than the host's share of your fee.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Cody » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:10 am

Susan wrote:Fall did not have as much trouble finding hosts as Regionals did, but it still wasn't completely straightforward. Also, discounts wouldn't necessarily be taking money out of the host school's pocket; if, say, you received $50 off the admission fee for two Regionals teams from hosting Fall, that could come out of ACF's rather than the host's share of your fee.
Is this still the case if you submitted a packet penalty at the -$50 for both teams, though? Maybe I don't quite understand the ACF fee structure, but I thought it was a $50 mirror fee modified by any packet discounts?
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Susan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:38 am

SirT wrote:
Susan wrote:Fall did not have as much trouble finding hosts as Regionals did, but it still wasn't completely straightforward. Also, discounts wouldn't necessarily be taking money out of the host school's pocket; if, say, you received $50 off the admission fee for two Regionals teams from hosting Fall, that could come out of ACF's rather than the host's share of your fee.
Is this still the case if you submitted a packet penalty at the -$50 for both teams, though? Maybe I don't quite understand the ACF fee structure, but I thought it was a $50 mirror fee modified by any packet discounts?
Yes, if we went with that particular discount we'd have to decide what we were going to do if people wanted to stack it with packet discounts (which is why the "get out of writing a (whole?) packet free" discount appeals to me a bit more).
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Cody » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:53 am

In that case, perhaps something like -$50 for submitting a packet at the +$0 deadline (or maybe even +$50 deadline, I guess?) and +$0 for not writing a packet at all, applied to one team in exchange for hosting? That would be somewhat interesting. Still, I don't know how great it is for people to be able to get out of writing packets entirely.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Susan » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:46 pm

I've thought a bit more about partial packet waivers as a host incentive, and this is what I've come up with:

I'd propose offering hosts one half-packet off their total packet-writing load for the next ACF tournament (i.e., half-packet off Regionals if you host Fall, half-packet off Nats if you host Regionals) for every N teams they have at the tournament they host (I'd say 0-10 teams = one team gets to submit a half packet instead of a full one, 11-20 teams = two teams get to submit half-packets, and so on). I've chosen 10-team bins because our average Regionals field in 2012 and 2013 was a little over 10 teams (usually including at least one house team); I would love to offer teams incentives to recruit larger-than-average fields. If two teams wanted to co-host something, I'd be willing to let them split the packet discount however we could work that out.

I would want to see this happening in conjunction with a public conversation (on the boards) each year over the summer about who was hosting Fall and Regionals (and SCT, and any other recurring tournaments people thought should be part of the picture) for each region in the coming year. I think no matter what else we decide to do to try to get more bids, this needs to happen. I LOVE what Eric did in his post earlier in this thread where he talked about who'd recently hosted in the Southeast and who he would like to see hosting--I think that's a model for the conversations we need to be having.

Things I'm curious about:
-Would this incentive system motivate anyone?
-Are there changes you can think of to make it more appealing?
-Would people be willing to follow some guidelines on what the half-packet had to contain (anything from "here is our 12/12 distribution that you must follow" to "make sure your packet contains 2/2 of each big 3 category"), or do people strongly prefer being able to write whichever half of the packet they choose?
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:55 pm

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet that is going to impact if Kentucky hosts is the availability of staff. We hopefully will continue to grow in size, but as is, we probably wouldn't have enough in-house staff to host ACF Fall, ad we don't want to get a reputation for hosting disasters. I think if ACF or NAQT made a concerted effort to keep a list of available staffers and ask if they can help at various areas and help prospective hosts get sufficient experienced staff, it'd increase the number of viable hosts.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Susan » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:12 pm

Fred wrote:One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet that is going to impact if Kentucky hosts is the availability of staff. We hopefully will continue to grow in size, but as is, we probably wouldn't have enough in-house staff to host ACF Fall, ad we don't want to get a reputation for hosting disasters. I think if ACF or NAQT made a concerted effort to keep a list of available staffers and ask if they can help at various areas and help prospective hosts get sufficient experienced staff, it'd increase the number of viable hosts.
As discussed in the ACUI thread, some sort of master list of staffers would make a lot of planning-tournaments issues a lot easier. I know Jeff does some of this with schools after they've already volunteered to host, so this is a matter of organizing and publicizing information that's already being used. I do think that public discussions of bidding over the summer will help with this issue somewhat--I can see, say, Kentucky posting "We'd like to host Fall but are concerned about having enough staff," encouraging people who want to go to Fall at Kentucky to help KY come up with local staffers.
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:40 pm

Fred wrote:One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet that is going to impact if Kentucky hosts is the availability of staff. We hopefully will continue to grow in size, but as is, we probably wouldn't have enough in-house staff to host ACF Fall, ad we don't want to get a reputation for hosting disasters. I think if ACF or NAQT made a concerted effort to keep a list of available staffers and ask if they can help at various areas and help prospective hosts get sufficient experienced staff, it'd increase the number of viable hosts.
If UK were to host ACF Fall, I think we (assuming I'm not actually at UK next year anyway) would perhaps be able to provide a few staffers, or at least I can talk to alumni, former HS teammates, etc. who aren't too far from Lexington.

On a somewhat related note, WKU will probably bid to host Regionals next year. I regret not doing so this year, but I didn't think ACF would select us so I decided not to. I think the lessons learned from large fields being drawn by Vanderbilt and UT-Knoxville (and the increased participation from Kentucky schools) would make us a very good choice in the future however.

We would also be very interested in co-hosting something with Vanderbilt in the future, if people feel like that would be a good idea.
Nick Conder
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Re: Bidding: how can we get you to do it?

Post by evilmonkey » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:37 pm

Although I will most likely not have any say in such decisions next year, lightening the packet-writing load would be an incentive to me.
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