ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

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ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by t-bar » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:46 am

ACF has voted to adopt the following changes to its eligibility rules, taking effect with the 2015-2016 season. These changes do not apply to the 2015 ACF Nationals.

Eligibility changes for everyone:
  • Students at comprehensive universities within a state university system may no longer join the clubs of other schools in the same system. Any school which offers a full course of undergraduate study must field its own team. Students at graduate-only campuses, such as medical schools not attached to a specific undergraduate school, may still play for another school in the system with the approval of the ACF Eligibility Committee.
  • It is no longer permitted to play tournaments in the fall for a school you are "taking a semester off" from or "planning to attend in the spring." You must be a student in the fall, at the college you are playing for, to play in the fall. Conversely, being a student in the fall will continue to provide eligibility for the spring even if you graduate or otherwise leave school after the fall semester.
  • All mixed and exhibition teams are barred from participating in ACF tournaments, even if games against them "do not count."
  • It is no longer necessary to apply for permission to "switch schools" during the year. A student is either eligible to play for a school under the ACF rules, or is not, and may play for any school at which s/he is eligible at any tournament without needing to do anything else besides meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The ACF Eligibility Committee reserves the right to investigate or remove someone's eligibility to play ACF or play for a particular school if the spirit of the rules, which is generally defined as "college quizbowl is for college students," is not met.
Changes to Undergraduate and Division II eligibility:
  • Undergraduate and Division II eligibility will now be based strictly on time elapsed since graduating high school. An Undergraduate player must be a player who has not received a BA (or only received a first BA in the same academic year in which the tournament is taking place) and graduated high school in an academic year four years or fewer prior to the year of the tournament. Players can no longer extend Undergraduate eligibility by taking time off from college or quizbowl.
  • Similarly, Division II eligibility for ACF Nationals will be for players who are Undergraduate eligible and graduated high school in an academic year two years or fewer prior to the year of the tournament. Division II eligibility for ACF Fall and ACF Regionals remains defined as before--anyone who is Undergraduate eligible and has not previously played ACF Nationals--but incorporates the new definition of Undergraduate.
Changes to high school eligibility:
  • High schools are no longer permitted to play official ACF tournaments (Fall, Regionals, and Nationals). The primary reason for this is in relation to the qualification system instituted for ACF Nationals, which wishes to refocus on obtaining good data about college teams.
  • ACF will make the Fall set available for mirroring as a pure high school tournament every year from 2015 forward. It is of lesser difficulty than the current high end of high school quizbowl (it is less difficult than PACE NSC or NAQT HSNCT, for example) and is an appropriate set for moderately experienced high school teams to play in a high school setting. We believe this will be a better use of the questions as far as high schools are concerned.
  • ACF encourages independent college tournaments using the ACF rules for tournaments of regular college difficulty to allow high schools in those events under reasonable eligibility criteria similar to those used for high school tournaments.
  • High school students who are also college students may continue to play for a college team if they meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Like the other rule changes, this does not take effect until 2015-2016. High schools wishing to play 2015 ACF Nationals may do so, subject to the same qualification requirements as other teams.
ACF is continuing to discuss further potential changes to eligibility and will keep the community informed as decisions are made.
Stephen Eltinge
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:06 am

Barring high schools from playing ACF tournaments is a crazy move. Most regions don't have enough high school teams interested in playing Fall to support a full tournament -- much less a combination of that and a host willing to hold the tournament on the same day, as Fall is usually mirrored. The only regions where this is really feasible is Illinois and Texas. For example, by a quick count, 1 HS team played at UMD, 1 HS played at Fall Northeast, 3 HS teams played at OSU, 2 at Berkeley, 8 in Texas, 2 at Claremont, 2 in Canada, 3 in SC. That is a lot of high school interest (and editor's money) that ACF is flushing down the drain for what reason? ACF qualification doesn't involve Fall, and sure shouldn't in the future.

Moreover, how does high schools playing ACF Regionals "spoil" the data for Regionals? This is exactly equivalent to saying that any team that declines to attend ACF Nationals (as very nearly 100% of high schools will) should not play Regionals -- should the VCU B's and Liberty C's of the world just stop attending ACF Regionals in order to not "spoil" your data? Should all the mid-card teams without plans to attend Nationals avoid playing as well? This is what the A value is for, after all, is it not?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cheynem » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:18 am

I have long endorsed not having high school teams at Nationals, so I applaud this move.

I agree with Cody though that making this move for Regionals and Fall may be premature. The switch to making Regionals a Nats qualifier muddles this somewhat; I see the reasoning for not letting HS teams play this if they can't play Nats. However, Fall seems puzzling. Yes, Fall should not be a showcase for good high school teams to run wild on inexperienced college teams. But Cody is correct in saying that some fields and teams have little other options here. I might think that Fall would work best as strongly encouraging the formation of HS only mirrors of Fall IF possible, but in the meantime, allowing some teams with no other options to play Fall.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:33 am

t-bar wrote:Players can no longer extend Undergraduate eligibility by taking time off from college or quizbowl.
I'm fine with keeping the eligibility clock running for students who remain in college without playing quizbowl, but I find it ridiculous that students who take time off from college are going to be punished by this rule change. It's pretty dumb that a graduating high school student who works for a couple years to save money for college will now show up without Division II (or in some cases, Undergraduate) eligibility without ever having played a game of college quizbowl. College is not a linear path for everybody, too often the real world intervenes and forces people to step away from college for a year or longer to tend to personal matters, and this rule change hurts people who find themselves in this situation. I'm not talking about the rare person who takes off after sophomore year to backpack across Europe with their parents' money or whatever, but people with actual real world concerns like paying tuition and still having enough to pay the rent every month. I know sports are irrelevant here, but the eligibility clock doesn't keep ticking in college sports for these exact reasons, even though it's quite possible to get better at sports with a year off and I highly doubt that anybody is taking time off from college to study the lit canon.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by sonstige » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:55 am

Said as someone from a region (Florida) abundant in CC teams, basing undergraduate and Div II eligibility on years removed from high school seems like this will force many novice players into a potentially unfair situation.

That is, I've known a number of people who have taken time off from high school or during college for life events, during which time they were not involved with (or even knowledgeable about) quiz bowl. It seems like this rule change may be interpreted as a sort of punishment for people who don't immediately and expeditiously pursue their BA (or BS) after high school but who are otherwise new to quiz bowl at the collegiate level (or in some cases, any level) by effectively reducing (or eliminating) their undergraduate and/or Div II eligibility.

It seems, IMO, that this rule change presumes people may deliberately try to game the system by postponing the completion of their undergraduate degree to have some kind of extra advantage (i.e. extra time to study for quiz bowl) at the undergraduate and/or Div II level. This might happen in some cases, but my initial thought here is that this rule change will be harmful to certain other players (such as those who took time off for work, for family, for military service, for travel, for financial reasons, etc.) who have little to no quiz bowl background yet will be thrust into Div I competition upon first picking up a buzzer. Yikes.

NOTE: In some cases, I can understand why this rule change is a good idea....such as someone who, say, decides to coach a high school quiz bowl team for a few years, then goes to college to play in novice events. But I see that as more of the exception here. With what seems to be an already low-ish turnout for Florida CCs at ACF events in recent years (submissions from most CCs who are required to write packets do not come easily, as you probably know) --- adding this eligibility change probably will not be helpful, I'm sad to say.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:39 am

Cody wrote:Moreover, how does high schools playing ACF Regionals "spoil" the data for Regionals? This is exactly equivalent to saying that any team that declines to attend ACF Nationals (as very nearly 100% of high schools will) should not play Regionals -- should the VCU B's and Liberty C's of the world just stop attending ACF Regionals in order to not "spoil" your data? Should all the mid-card teams without plans to attend Nationals avoid playing as well? This is what the A value is for, after all, is it not?
I also do not understand how inviting high school teams taints data. If someone can elaborate on this, it would be nice. In my opinion, the college data is still there - just extract it from the whole of the data, and voila, there it is. Those few high school teams that play Regionals tend to be amongst the elite high school programs more often than not. Of course there are a few outliers, but whatever. The lower end of the high school participants tend to outperform the lower end college teams at Regionals so I don't see any reason why high school teams should be banned from participation when their inclusion typically makes fields stronger. Unfortunately, if high school teams are barred from competing at Regionals, some fields may struggle to exist.
NickConderWKU wrote:
t-bar wrote:Players can no longer extend Undergraduate eligibility by taking time off from college or quizbowl.
I'm fine with keeping the eligibility clock running for students who remain in college without playing quizbowl, but I find it ridiculous that students who take time off from college are going to be punished by this rule change. It's pretty dumb that a graduating high school student who works for a couple years to save money for college will now show up without Division II (or in some cases, Undergraduate) eligibility without ever having played a game of college quizbowl. College is not a linear path for everybody, too often the real world intervenes and forces people to step away from college for a year or longer to tend to personal matters, and this rule change hurts people who find themselves in this situation. I'm not talking about the rare person who takes off after sophomore year to backpack across Europe with their parents' money or whatever, but people with actual real world concerns like paying tuition and still having enough to pay the rent every month. I know sports are irrelevant here, but the eligibility clock doesn't keep ticking in college sports for these exact reasons, even though it's quite possible to get better at sports with a year off and I highly doubt that anybody is taking time off from college to study the lit canon.
This is a fine post. Might I suggest that ACF develop some sort of appeal process to work with players who have financial/personal difficulties while in college?
t-bar wrote: [*] It is no longer permitted to play tournaments in the fall for a school you are "taking a semester off" from or "planning to attend in the spring." You must be a student in the fall, at the college you are playing for, to play in the fall. Conversely, being a student in the fall will continue to provide eligibility for the spring even if you graduate or otherwise leave school after the fall semester.
Again, might I suggest an appeal process or some modification to this rule? I'll use my own circumstances in my last year at Alabama as an example of why I think such is needed. After three years at Alabama, I no longer had funding from the math department and had already signed an apartment lease for the year. Consequently, I chose to stay at Alabama to finish up my masters. Now, theoretically, I could have worked on finishing up my final requirements in the Fall, however I had no idea how long it was going to take for me to finish up. Consequently I didn't enroll for the Fall semester. Come to find out, I had to change advisors because the professor who was in charge of my project decided to retire mid-semester without informing me. Now if I had enrolled in the Fall under the current rules, I almost certainly would not have finished my project on time and would have had to enroll for classes in the Spring, which would have been a waste of money. However, if I just "took the semester off" (my use of the " " is quite facetious) and re-enrolled in the Spring, I would not have been eligible to play in Fall competitions, even though "taking the semester off" was the sensible thing for me to do in my case. As Nick said earlier, college is not a linear path for everyone and there are bumps in the road. While there may be people who abuse the rules, I think that ACF should be aware that there are, in fact, plenty of difficult situations that may arise in one's academic career.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by PreviouslySeenInSF » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:44 am

I have never been one to air grievances with rules to those outside of my quiz bowl "family" (many apologies to Chris Borglum, et al.), but this issue is rather important to me and the community college world.

This, of course, is in regard to the redesign of undergraduate guidelines.

I am a non-traditional student, who like many others, spent time working after high school, only occasionally taking community college classes, paying their own way. I finally decided to begin degree seeking courses in fall 2010 at Valencia College, that semester I was introduced to quizbowl. Just a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I picked up a buzzer for the first time. This was 12 years after I graduated high school.

I typically do not volunteer my age and graduation date freely, as taking so much time to finally start school is not a source of pride. As of last year, due to ACF rules, I have been grilled about my situation by strangers, in crowded rooms, who have judged me and made me feel uncomfortable. I, at this point, am over the humiliation of past experiences, however, for others, wearing the badge of shame of '"hey, didn't you just start here?" "but you're a graduate student?" "Do you have a degree?" (an especially dangerous set of questions if you play the Florida Community College state tournaments),' may be a bitter pill to swallow.

Valencia College quizbowl has provided a welcoming environment to many non-traditional students, many kudos to the amazing humans who have given us an outlet and a chance to enjoy the game. However, this rule maybe very discouraging to community college players, and those players who transfer to four year universities there after. I assure you, there are more non-traditional students than many suspect. I feel judging eligibility based only on prior collegiate quizbowl experience is a far less alienating approach than basing eligibility on age alone.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:14 am

Regarding UG and D2 eligibility, nothing really changes other than:
1) Trophies and titles
2) UG qualification to ACF Nationals
D2, UG, and graduate students can and will still all play the same ACF Fall, Regionals, and Nationals in the same combined field, so in terms of gameplay, nothing is changed, except perhaps a UG or D2 final. That said, if trophies, titles, and UG qualification are important to you, I can sympathize with everyone who has posted so far about this particular issue.
Regarding not requiring to petition to switch schools, if I'm interpreting this correctly, does this mean that if someone goes to School A in the fall and then transfers to School B in the spring, that person has to play for School A in the fall but can play for either A or B in the spring?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by sonstige » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:58 am

Hidehiro Anto wrote:Regarding UG and D2 eligibility, nothing really changes other than:
1) Trophies and titles
2) UG qualification to ACF Nationals
D2, UG, and graduate students can and will still all play the same ACF Fall, Regionals, and Nationals in the same combined field, so in terms of gameplay, nothing is changed, except perhaps a UG or D2 final. That said, if trophies, titles, and UG qualification are important to you, I can sympathize with everyone who has posted so far about this particular issue.
True --- ACF doesn't have a Div I and Div II question set per tournament, so regardless of your classification you'll hear the same questions either way, and would likely play the same field (though the configuration of some teams may be affected by this). But I do think both things you mention are important to some people, and so to deny that to those folks based on a seemingly un-quiz bowl related metric seems incorrect. If there was a correlation between years removed from high school and quiz bowl dominance, it would seem Chris Borglum should be winning Chicago Open solo every year. He's really old, in case you don't know him personally.

In an extreme example, yes: an 8th year undergrad who has switched majors multiple times and who took the minimum course load each semester and even a semester or two off, using all of his spare time to study for quiz bowl is a potential problem here that the rule change solves; but I find such scenarios much less likely than people who have personal reasons for delaying graduation or attending college.

Very much unrelated to this, though as I was considering the number of CCs that have attend ACF in recent years (and this is probably a question for another time and another thread): but does ACF have a thought on relaxing CC participation requirements on their events (that is, no packet submission, if required to write questions, and/or possibly reduced entry fees)? As said, Florida is rich in CC teams (look at the stats for 2014 Delta Burke) --- yet virtually none are playing ACF events here. Seems like lost opportunity to make additional money and to develop players, especially those intending to move to a 4-year institution eventually.

With that, a 2nd thought occurred to me (and this even more off-topic, so I apologize): what if --- ACF plans a CC-only event, similar to NAQT? A source of the questions could come from the salvageable surplus of ACF Fall submissions, for example. Yes, editors would still be needed and the overall number of teams playing an ACF CC set would be much less than those playing ACF Fall; but it seems like this is an area NAQT has pretty well cornered that ACF isn't really tapping. And with the eligibility rule change, it almost appears at the moment as if CCs and their players are not being considered so much by ACF at all.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:58 am

To further question the high school change: what happens if Maggie Walker A decides to play as "VCU A" (or whatever letter) at ACF Regionals, since most to all of their A team is dual-enrolled? By the new rules, this team magically does not taint the data despite being of the same composition and having the same plans wrt attendance at Nats as Maggie Walker A.

(I'll have a sidebar here to note that there is 1 okay-ish reason to ban HSes from ACF Fall [and just Fall], which is that it's meant to be an introduction to college quizbowl for players, and losing to HS teams can be pretty demoralizing. I don't think this is a big enough issue that HSes need to be banned from Fall though)

I agree with most things posted above about D2/UG eligibility as well. This rule change is legislating UG eligibility based on (expected) quizbowl ability, which is wrong. If you're going to bar people because they're too good, why did Matt Bollinger ever get to claim UG eligibility? Shouldn't we also be taking UG eligibility from people who improve too fast? And base it on years of college tournaments played, including HS? That's not far different from >> players taking time off are still improving, so why should they have UG eligibility <<.

There are also 0 examples of anyone taking time off explicitly to extend UG eligibility. The, at best, 2 or 3 (prominent) instances where someone took time off school and therefore had extended UG eligibility were all legitimate! **(edit: and only valid for NAQT in the first place, given that the previous ACF rules start the clock when you play your first college tournament, which includes HS)

It's a shame that some good eligibility rule changes had to be packaged with these extremely bad ones.
sonstige wrote:In an extreme example, yes: an 8th year undergrad who has switched majors multiple times and who took the minimum course load each semester and even a semester or two off, using all of his spare time to study for quiz bowl is a potential problem here that the rule change solves; but I find such scenarios much less likely than people who have personal reasons for delaying graduation or attending college.
This also wouldn't even work under the old rules unless they also didn't play any college tournaments during their first 4 years.
Last edited by Cody on Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:14 am

Cheynem wrote:I have long endorsed not having high school teams at Nationals, so I applaud this move.
While I have more of a vested interest than most in not wanting HSes at Nats, I don't really understand this. The last HS to play ACF Nationals was 2011 State College (where they finished, like, 13th. they were really good). Practically speaking, HSes attending Nats is not a concern now or in the next 5 to 10 years. Theoretically speaking, why should HSes be banned from Nats? You're always allowed to play up -- if a HS is good enough to want to compete at Nats, then by all means let them.
Cheynem wrote:The switch to making Regionals a Nats qualifier muddles this somewhat; I see the reasoning for not letting HS teams play this if they can't play Nats.
This is the argument from ACF that I don't buy. The only justification for saying HSes at Regionals taint the precious data (which is just false) is that they almost certainly won't attend Nationals, as that's the only difference between them and any other team. But that's not a real difference because there are many college teams who played Regionals with no plans to attend Nats. Is Regionals now only a tournament for teams that plan to attend ACF Nationals?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:24 am

I do not speak for ACF, but I can speak for my own opinions on why I voted for all these changes and proposed some of them.

Cody is getting at a key issue, which is that any high school team that wishes to play ACF Fall against college teams is definitionally too good to be playing against the sort of college teams that should be playing ACF Fall. Between that and the desire to legitimate ACF as a broad-based college quizbowl endeavor, rather than something for only the "hardcore" that until disturbingly recently allowed de-facto open teams to affect the results of Nationals, it was apparent that high school teams needed to go from the official tournament series. I fought to keep high school teams included for years when it made sense for the conditions at the time, and I voted against them this time because conditions have changed. NAQT has never allowed high schools at Sectionals, and this is the same thinking -- this is a premiere college quizbowl event and not the right forum for elite high school teams to test their mettle. I specifically proposed the inclusion of the line about encouraging non-ACF college tournaments (of regular difficulty, not novice events) to continue allowing high school teams, as I believe that those are much more appropriate venues for daring high school teams.

As far as the UG/D2 issue, I think it's important to realize a few things. First off, no one is being prevented from playing by their age or academic path -- this is simply a matter of who wins subsidiary titles which are set aside for undergrad players, and does not make anyone ineligible to play ACF who previously was so. The main thrust of this rule was to repeal a now-obsolete provision that said that College Bowl and trash don't count for "starting your tournament clock." Since College Bowl doesn't exist anymore and the phenomenon of college quizbowl players going a whole year participating only in trash is effectively dead, we wanted to simplify the rule to its intent, which is that you have four years to play college-level quizbowl before you are no longer considered an undergraduate. ACF's rule has always been that the "clock" starts when you play any kind of real college tournament and doesn't stop if you take a break, which I think better recognizes the fact that people who take time off of school in the midst of active quizbowl participation almost always continue to participate in open tournaments, writing/staffing, and other venues which accumulate college quizbowl experience. Most CC players did in fact start their four-year period under the old rule the first time they played CCCT or Delta Burke, and not much has changed for them with this rule. I see the point about people who simply don't get involved in quizbowl until starting college at a non-traditional age, but again -- the undergraduate division kind of is for "traditional" college students, and exists basically to make sure there is something to win for people who consider the presence of older or graduate students weird. It seems that people have forgotten that even as recently as 2010 we were still fighting off stereotypes about how quizbowl is dominated by "dinosaurs" and that "no other activity allows grad students to compete," and that making sure we have an Undergraduate title was one way that such objections were put to rest. I hope that the clear benefits to all sides here (continuing to allow nontraditional students to compete in ACF but making a firm demarcation on the Undergraduate title) will, among other benefits, encourage two-year schools in Florida to participate in more ACF tournaments, with both kinds of students.

I have far less sympathy for Jake's post. You weren't a student that semester. I understand that you would have liked to be, but you weren't. College quizbowl is for college teams, which are composed of people who actually attend that college. We were forced into doing something about this loophole by the fact that MULTIPLE people (three that I know of) played ACF Fall this year for schools they didn't go to, because they said "I plan to attend this school in the spring" and we were bound by the old rule to accept this. At that point, we're effectively just running an open tournament where people can play on whatever team they want. This is not in line with quizbowl taking itself seriously and trying to expand from the 200 four-year schools that play now to the other 2600 such schools in North America (not to mention the community colleges!) Every step ACF has taken over the last eight years to be more rational, professional, and standardized has met with initial opposition followed by enormous success at its goals (expanding participation) and eventual uncontroversial acceptance. I believe these changes will soon be looked upon in the same way.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Milhouse » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:41 am

Cody wrote: I'll have a sidebar here to note that there is 1 okay-ish reason to ban HSes from ACF Fall [and just Fall], which is that it's meant to be an introduction to college quizbowl for players, and losing to HS teams can be pretty demoralizing.
Isn't that the purpose of Fall Novice/ICCS?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:09 am

Matt Weiner wrote:Cody is getting at a key issue, which is that any high school team that wishes to play ACF Fall against college teams is definitionally too good to be playing against the sort of college teams that should be playing ACF Fall.
The reason I don't support banning HSes from ACF Fall is that this argument also applies to college teams. In fact, college players playing Fall when they probably shouldn't has been a far bigger “problem” than HSes (if you want to call it such) for a long time, even if there are no longer cases like a Neil Gurram-led MIT beating Matt Jackson in the finals of ACF Fall, in the same year MJ is the leading scorer on the winning team at the 2nd-hardest ACF Nationals ever. It’s easy to target HS teams because they fit in a neat category, but what about players like Lloyd Sy (who is D2 eligible!), Ankit Aggarwal, and Andrew Wang (just to pull some leading scorers on 23 - 25 PPB teams)? Aren't they too good to play Fall if all HSes are? Is ACF going to stop them from playing Fall? If so, how?

Moreover, I don’t believe that all HS teams wanting to play ACF Fall are definitionally too good. The following is a site breakdown that includes any college teams that finished above the highest finishing HS team:

Maryland (24 teams, 1 HS team @ 9)
  • UVA B (since vacated, but easily would’ve finished in this group w/o Eric Xu)
  • W&M
  • UVA A
  • VT A
  • Georgetown A
  • VCU A
  • GWU
  • Johns Hopkins A
Yale (33 teams, 1 HS team @ 6)
  • Brown A
  • MIT B
  • Cornell A
  • Penn B
  • Princeton
Berkeley (14 teams, 2 HS teams @ 2,7)
  • Berkeley A
Claremont (10 teams, 2 HS teams @ 2,4)
  • UCLA
Canada (13 teams, 2 HS teams @ 1,12)
N/A

Florida (12 teams, 3 HS teams @ 2,3,8)
  • UCF A
Texas (18 teams, 8 HS teams – unknown placement beyond 1st place)
N/A

OSU (21 teams, 2 HS teams @ 1,5)
N/A

Sites w/o HS teams: WUSTL (16 teams), Minnesota (8 teams), Alabama(16 teams), UK (11 teams).

Will ACF ban all such teams going forward, since they are definitionally too good?
Matt Weiner wrote:Every step ACF has taken over the last eight years to be more rational, professional, and standardized has met with initial opposition followed by enormous success at its goals (expanding participation) and eventual uncontroversial acceptance. I believe these changes will soon be looked upon in the same way.
I don't. The changes people are rightfully up in arms about in this thread (UG/D2 eligibility, HSes) defy common sense, and the slim/absent justifications present in the initial post only indicate that these new rules are predicated on misunderstandings.
Jonathan Franzen wrote:Isn't that the purpose of Fall Novice/ICCS?
EACN/ICCS are introductions to quizbowl for college players, not college quizbowl.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cheynem » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:26 am

I don't deny that high schools that want to play Nats are good; they are in fact usually quite good, which is where the issue lies. If a competitive activity is meant to crown the top college program, then muddying the waters with letting very good non college teams play is unsatisfying. In an institutional sense, having them win the "DII" award is also particularly galling because I believe the intent of such awards is to honor new and younger programs, not established high school teams, many of whose players will become blue chip college freshmen soon after. Since as Cody points out, many good high school teams are also dual enrolled anyway, I would imagine HS players/teams who truly wish to play Nats can find some opportunity to play.

I generally agree with most people's stances on high school teams playing Fall or Regionals.

Regarding Cody's last point about "is Regionals only for teams playing Nationals?" This is a worthwhile implication to consider. I would note though that the difference between Maryland B, a weak team who would have no chance of qualifying for Nationals and no interest in going, and a high school, is that under the new rule system, Maryland B is still eligible to attend if they qualify or if there's room or whatever. ACF Nationals has historically included many teams who are not "elite" or would probably not have qualified traditionally (I should know, I was on a few). Under the new rules, as good as a high school is, they aren't eligible to attend, so their playing would be somewhat superfluous. However, that line of thinking does seem a bit unsatisfactory to me as well--Regionals should be a tournament played by as many teams as possible (the most quality regular tournament of the year). It's the sort of tournament we want motivated, very good high school teams to be playing, I would guess--challenging questions, frequently challenging competition.

Also, Chris Borglum is really old! He voted for Eisenhower.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:31 am

Cheynem wrote:I don't deny that high schools that want to play Nats are good; they are in fact usually quite good, which is where the issue lies. If a competitive activity is meant to crown the top college program, then muddying the waters with letting very good non college teams play is unsatisfying.
I can agree with this.
Cheynem wrote:In an institutional sense, having them win the "DII" award is also particularly galling because I believe the intent of such awards is to honor new and younger programs, not established high school teams, many of whose players will become blue chip college freshmen soon after.
I believe this was fixed a couple of years ago and HSes are no longer considered D2 (but are considered UG).
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:53 am

If UG and D2 titles weren't important there would be no point in having them in the first place. My understanding is that these titles exist to give less experienced players time in quizbowl so they can adjust to how hard it is to actually win things, and allow new teams to have more reasonable paths to titles, trophies, and Nationals qualifications in their first few years of existence. I think part of the issue here is that "taking time off from college but still participating in the community in some way" is what most current quizbowl players would do, but I doubt this is the case for a lot of the potential future players that we would like to expand the game to. If people think that UG and D2 classifications aren't for people who graduate high school and only go back to college after five years in the workforce then that's really unfortunate. If people think those classifications aren't for people who drop out of college after one year because they ran out of money and come back when they're 30, then that's also unfortunate. If this standard is all based on ridiculous community stereotypes about what a college quizbowl player should look like, then the community should maybe get over itself.

We've had 40 year old students show up to our practices, and while it would be awesome to transition them into quizbowl the regular way, this means we can't develop those players at the same rate as younger undergraduates. If we want our B team or whatever to compete for UG and D2 titles, we would have to split players based not on ability but on age. I get that at some of the schools that play quizbowl, students all fit whatever stereotypes of college students you want them to, and you don't have to sully your teams with older people or people with jobs. That's not the case universally however, and I think it hurts some schools way more than it does others.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:25 pm

NickConderWKU wrote:I think part of the issue here is that "taking time off from college but still participating in the community in some way" is what most current quizbowl players would do, but I doubt this is the case for a lot of the potential future players that we would like to expand the game to.
The real key is why does it matter that "taking time off from college but still participating in the community in some way" occurs? If you really want to determine eligibility based on how good at quizbowl people, this is a woefully inadequate measure (same for the previous rules on this subject). For all the many loopholes of the NAQT eligibility rules, they do a better job of determining UG than the previous ACF rules, which were:
ACF Rules C.11 wrote:For collegiate tournaments which recognize high-finishing teams and/or individuals of “undergraduate” status, an “undergraduate” player is a player who did not receive a BA or equivalent or higher degree prior to the academic year in which the tournament is taking place, and meets EITHER or BOTH of the following conditions:

.1. The player graduated from high school in an academic year four or fewer years prior to the year in which the tournament is taking place

.2. The player did not participate in any collegiate or open academic quizbowl tournaments before the fall semester of the academic year three years prior to the year in which the tournament is taking place
If anything, these eligibility rules are actually too strict, but they are certainly fine for stopping pretty much any possible shenanigans. So what in the world do these new eligibility rules fix?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:31 pm

Cody wrote: In fact, college players playing Fall when they probably shouldn't has been a far bigger “problem” than HSes (if you want to call it such) for a long time, even if there are no longer cases like a Neil Gurram-led MIT beating Matt Jackson in the finals of ACF Fall, in the same year MJ is the leading scorer on the winning team at the 2nd-hardest ACF Nationals ever.
Well TECHNICALLY we only lost to Neil's team in the game before the final, tying up our records prior to an expected one-game final match, and then they had to leave to catch a commuter train, causing the TD (whose general indifference and inexperience led the tournament to drag out 11 rounds till 7:45 PM already) to declare MIT the overall winners based on that head-to-head result instead of declaring us the winners by forfeit...

I don't believe (anymore) that there has ever been an ex-high-schooler so good that they "break" ACF Fall by playing it their first semester of freshman year. Certainly neither Neil nor I fit that bill in 2010, when our teams averaged about 23.5 PPB to State College High School's 26.99, and of course we didn't play it again the year after. I don't think it's wrong that Lloyd Sy or Andrew Wang chose to play Fall this year, and the "gentleman's agreement" system, by which especially dominant players choose to sit out on Fall after playing it once, has functioned pretty well in recent years to allow new and up-and-coming teams a shot at success there.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:33 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:I don't believe (anymore) that there has ever been an ex-high-schooler so good that they "break" ACF Fall by playing it their first semester of freshman year. Certainly neither Neil nor I fit that bill in 2010, when our teams averaged about 23.5 PPB to State College High School's 26.99, and of course we didn't play it again the year after. I don't think it's wrong that Lloyd Sy or Andrew Wang chose to play Fall this year, and the "gentleman's agreement" system, by which especially dominant players choose to sit out on Fall after playing it once, has functioned pretty well in recent years to allow new and up-and-coming teams a shot at success there.
But if we're taking formal steps to keep out high school teams that are almost universally too good for ACF Fall, why shouldn't formal steps also be taken to keep out current collegiate players who are too good for ACF Fall?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:13 pm

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
Matthew Jackson wrote:I don't believe (anymore) that there has ever been an ex-high-schooler so good that they "break" ACF Fall by playing it their first semester of freshman year. Certainly neither Neil nor I fit that bill in 2010, when our teams averaged about 23.5 PPB to State College High School's 26.99, and of course we didn't play it again the year after. I don't think it's wrong that Lloyd Sy or Andrew Wang chose to play Fall this year, and the "gentleman's agreement" system, by which especially dominant players choose to sit out on Fall after playing it once, has functioned pretty well in recent years to allow new and up-and-coming teams a shot at success there.
But if we're taking formal steps to keep out high school teams that are almost universally too good for ACF Fall, why shouldn't formal steps also be taken to keep out current collegiate players who are too good for ACF Fall?
Until such time as my performance editing ACF Regionals is judged by the current full membership to have been satisfactory or not satisfactory, I am only a provisional member and thus did not get to vote on these provisions. As such, I do not agree with all of, and am not bound to agree with or defend, the proposals which just passed.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by theMoMA » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:16 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Cody is getting at a key issue, which is that any high school team that wishes to play ACF Fall against college teams is definitionally too good to be playing against the sort of college teams that should be playing ACF Fall. Between that and the desire to legitimate ACF as a broad-based college quizbowl endeavor, rather than something for only the "hardcore" that until disturbingly recently allowed de-facto open teams to affect the results of Nationals, it was apparent that high school teams needed to go from the official tournament series. I fought to keep high school teams included for years when it made sense for the conditions at the time, and I voted against them this time because conditions have changed. NAQT has never allowed high schools at Sectionals, and this is the same thinking -- this is a premiere college quizbowl event and not the right forum for elite high school teams to test their mettle. I specifically proposed the inclusion of the line about encouraging non-ACF college tournaments (of regular difficulty, not novice events) to continue allowing high school teams, as I believe that those are much more appropriate venues for daring high school teams.
I am in 100% agreement with Matt. The issues of high schoolers playing Fall and Regionals are separate but related.

At Fall, the circuit's premier introductory tournament, high school teams contravene that introductory purpose. The teams that play are often elite, and are often tuning up for elite high school competition by whomping on newer college players who don't understand why high schools are there to begin with. Yes, there are some very good college players and teams at Fall, but there's no existential crisis with them: they're college players playing a college tournament.

At Regionals, now a qualifying tournament, it's not fair to force teams attempting to qualify for Nationals to play elite high schoolers. My reasoning about "unfairness" boils down to what Mike said--"If a competitive activity is meant to crown the top college program, then muddying the waters with letting very good non college teams play is unsatisfying." I think Mike's reasoning also applies to qualification. That is, "If a competitive activity is meant to [pick the right college teams to send to college nationals], then muddying the waters with letting very good non college teams play is unsatisfying." To me, it's not about whether the team is allowed (or likely) to play Nationals, but whether it's of a kind that should be playing the season's marquee college events at all.

Which brings me to the overarching issue: as Matt put it, "the desire to legitimate ACF as a broad-based college quizbowl endeavor." College and high school quizbowl are both rapidly expanding. But when it comes to premier, official events, I think there's a huge intangible benefit to having them run on parallel tracks. For a time, those tracks could intersect and benefit both parties. That time is over, because the message that these are our most important college tournaments, and we take seriously who can play and how we give out our titles and awards, is now of overriding importance as we work to expand and legitimize college quizbowl.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:42 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
Matthew Jackson wrote:I don't believe (anymore) that there has ever been an ex-high-schooler so good that they "break" ACF Fall by playing it their first semester of freshman year. Certainly neither Neil nor I fit that bill in 2010, when our teams averaged about 23.5 PPB to State College High School's 26.99, and of course we didn't play it again the year after. I don't think it's wrong that Lloyd Sy or Andrew Wang chose to play Fall this year, and the "gentleman's agreement" system, by which especially dominant players choose to sit out on Fall after playing it once, has functioned pretty well in recent years to allow new and up-and-coming teams a shot at success there.
But if we're taking formal steps to keep out high school teams that are almost universally too good for ACF Fall, why shouldn't formal steps also be taken to keep out current collegiate players who are too good for ACF Fall?
Until such time as my performance editing ACF Regionals is judged by the current full membership to have been satisfactory or not satisfactory, I am only a provisional member and thus did not get to vote on these provisions. As such, I do not agree with all of, and am not bound to agree with or defend, the proposals which just passed.
This wasn't really directed at you, I was just raising the question in general.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Ndg » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:04 pm

Cody wrote: Most regions don't have enough high school teams interested in playing Fall to support a full tournament.
I think more high school teams would play this set if a high school-only mirror were nearby. Having to play college teams is likely a deterrent for many high school teams. So this change could turn out to be better for the high school circuit if it resulted in more teams playing a high-quality, high-difficulty set.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:58 pm

theMoMA wrote:At Fall, the circuit's premier introductory tournament, high school teams contravene that introductory purpose. The teams that play are often elite, and are often tuning up for elite high school competition by whomping on newer college players who don't understand why high schools are there to begin with. Yes, there are some very good college players and teams at Fall, but there's no existential crisis with them: they're college players playing a college tournament.
So, it would’ve been no problem at all if Matt Weiner and Matt Bollinger had played Fall last year? As long as a player is in college, it doesn’t matter how good they are and it’s totally fine? Because that is completely antithetical to the “introductory purpose” of Fall – where do you draw the line on who is “too good”?

I have a particular hatred of losing to high school teams, but I’ve never encountered any team – even in the bottom bracket of a tournament – that is confused about the presence of high schools. Nor a team that has left quizbowl because they lost to a high school. If you want to have a real conversation about keeping people in quizbowl, let’s talk about how “regular difficulty” is too hard. Making quizbowl more accessible would do some actual good towards keeping teams.
theMoMA wrote:At Regionals, now a qualifying tournament, it's not fair to force teams attempting to qualify for Nationals to play elite high schoolers. My reasoning about "unfairness" boils down to what Mike said--"If a competitive activity is meant to crown the top college program, then muddying the waters with letting very good non college teams play is unsatisfying." I think Mike's reasoning also applies to qualification. That is, "If a competitive activity is meant to [pick the right college teams to send to college nationals], then muddying the waters with letting very good non college teams play is unsatisfying." To me, it's not about whether the team is allowed (or likely) to play Nationals, but whether it's of a kind that should be playing the season's marquee college events at all.
How? If high schools playing ACF Regionals "muddies the water", then anyone not planning to play Nationals is muddying the water because that's the only difference between a high school and college team. And it's not substantive – there’s nothing different about a high school and a college team from the point of view of a statistic like the A-value, nor a college team planning to attend Nats and one planning not to attend Nats.
theMoMA wrote:Which brings me to the overarching issue: as Matt put it, "the desire to legitimate ACF as a broad-based college quizbowl endeavor." College and high school quizbowl are both rapidly expanding. But when it comes to premier, official events, I think there's a huge intangible benefit to having them run on parallel tracks. For a time, those tracks could intersect and benefit both parties. That time is over, because the message that these are our most important college tournaments, and we take seriously who can play and how we give out our titles and awards, is now of overriding importance as we work to expand and legitimize college quizbowl.
So, for example this year, you’d rather have had: 86 college teams and 15 high school teams played Regionals this year. 87 college teams and 4 high school teams in 2014 (plus 3 and 15 at Texas Invitational). 65 and 1 in 2013 (plus 2 and 14 at Texas Invitational). 63 and 1 in 2012 (plus 2 and 16 at Texas Invitational).

With the shutdown of Texas Invitational using the Regs set (a very good move), the high schools that do play Regs have scattered across the country and contributed to a better field in many areas. This is a good thing.

Why does appropriately awarding titles and awards involve banning high schools from ACF events? Cannot rules for awards and titles be tweaked without outright banning HSes from ACF tournaments? Is there a current problem with HSes and the awarding of titles and other awards?

I fail to see how these changes contribute to expanding college quizbowl, and refer you to my note above about the difficulty of “regular difficulty”. There’s a reason ~121 college teams and 8 high school teams played MUT last year (less high school teams than played the more-difficult Regionals in each of the past 4 years, I might add). In fact, I think that high schools playing ACF Regionals actually works to expand college quizbowl – who better to start a team than a high schooler who’s played regular-difficulty college events and liked it? Compare to the numbers for PADAWAN: 5 high school teams (of 96 total). Penn Bowl: 6 high school teams (4 at the main site). DEES: 4 high school teams.
Ndg wrote:I think more high school teams would play this set if a high school-only mirror were nearby. Having to play college teams is likely a deterrent for many high school teams. So this change could turn out to be better for the high school circuit if it resulted in more teams playing a high-quality, high-difficulty set.
The primary difficulties are (a) travel, (b) date conflicts, (c) cost, and (d) any possible packet writing requirements. “Having to play college teams” is pretty far down the list for any team that’s going to score >15 PPB on Fall (a lot more than currently play Fall). Yes, a high school only mirror would be better attended, but it wouldn't be possible if the above conditions weren't also remedied.
Last edited by Cody on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Mewto55555 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:11 pm

Ndg wrote:
Cody wrote: Most regions don't have enough high school teams interested in playing Fall to support a full tournament.
I think more high school teams would play this set if a high school-only mirror were nearby. Having to play college teams is likely a deterrent for many high school teams. So this change could turn out to be better for the high school circuit if it resulted in more teams playing a high-quality, high-difficulty set.
This might be true for Fall (certainly in some places where there are enough teams for a field, but, like Cody said, in areas which can't support an all-high school field it seems unlikely), but it definitely isn't true for Regionals-level tournaments. In fact, getting to play college teams on hard questions is by far the most attractive thing about college tournaments for upper-echelon teams; with all due respect to the other teams from my region, 100 games of beating other Missouri high schoolers on hard sets would have been nowhere near as valuable as the 2 games we got to play against Ike and Billy at a WashU mirror of PENN-ance my senior year.

And I know ACF's mission isn't at all to cater to the needs/wants of elite high school teams, but it's not so easy to just wave your hands and say "good high schoolers can play at the other tournaments." It's much easier for a team of college students to do the things required to schlep to a far-off tournament than it is for a bunch of 17-year-olds (not to mention someone's parent is inevitably going to veto their going), so if you're a high school team in a small circuit you might only have 1 or 2 tournaments reasonably within reach -- and if one of those is Regionals, the amount of really challenging competition before nationals you're going to get that year just got halved.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:40 pm

I don't particularly have a dog in this fight, though I certainly endorse Virginia's post above. Community Colleges are great havens for the "non-traditionally" aged student, and I've had players over 50 (even older than I--but it's close!). My team this year is unusual in having only two players who are 25 or older. And in every single case of an older student I've ever had join the team, s/he had not been in college (in any significant, degree-seeking way) or played (really even heard of) quiz bowl before showing up at a practice.

I understand the basis for the rule and Matt W's point about it: indeed, if my team next year had, say, a 30-year-old freshman playing with three 18-year-olds, I understand that that team would be welcomed at ACF Fall; it just wouldn't be eligible for the UG or DII titles (right?).

In the grand scheme of things, that's fine, as most of my teams (or Chipola's, or whatever CC's) probably wouldn't win at a Florida or South ACF Fall (or maybe Regionals--we'd never play Nats)sites anyway. So no biggie. But indeed the implication that a 30-year-old would have some competitive advantage is flawed, at least in our example.

But whatever--as Travis noted, for lots of reasons not on topic for this thread, ACF isn't going to get many CCs to play anyway. And I would still enter a team if it was convenient schedule-wise even if we weren't eligible for UG or DII titles, as our purpose would just be to play.
Also, Chris Borglum is really old! He voted for Eisenhower.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Maury Island incident » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:45 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:
Ndg wrote:
Cody wrote: Most regions don't have enough high school teams interested in playing Fall to support a full tournament.
I think more high school teams would play this set if a high school-only mirror were nearby. Having to play college teams is likely a deterrent for many high school teams. So this change could turn out to be better for the high school circuit if it resulted in more teams playing a high-quality, high-difficulty set.
This might be true for Fall (certainly in some places where there are enough teams for a field, but, like Cody said, in areas which can't support an all-high school field it seems unlikely), but it definitely isn't true for Regionals-level tournaments. In fact, getting to play college teams on hard questions is by far the most attractive thing about college tournaments for upper-echelon teams; with all due respect to the other teams from my region, 100 games of beating other Missouri high schoolers on hard sets would have been nowhere near as valuable as the 2 games we got to play against Ike and Billy at a WashU mirror of PENN-ance my senior year.

And I know ACF's mission isn't at all to cater to the needs/wants of elite high school teams, but it's not so easy to just wave your hands and say "good high schoolers can play at the other tournaments." It's much easier for a team of college students to do the things required to schlep to a far-off tournament than it is for a bunch of 17-year-olds (not to mention someone's parent is inevitably going to veto their going), so if you're a high school team in a small circuit you might only have 1 or 2 tournaments reasonably within reach -- and if one of those is Regionals, the amount of really challenging competition before nationals you're going to get that year just got halved.
I totally agree with what Max just said. I think, for the casual high school team and/or player, facing college teams might be a barrier, and might make high school-only mirrors a possibility in some regions (though probably not in New England, since we have HFT around the same difficulty and same time of year.) However, once you get to be one of the top teams in your region, you want more of a challenge and get that in facing college teams. I think playing college regular-difficulty sets is a valuable experience for us high school players and one that will make us more likely to see that college quizbowl is accessible, not impossible. It is an experience that makes us more likely to compete at the college level and grow the game. In circuits like Texas and Illinois, where there are enough elite high school teams to run high school tournaments on college sets, they can do that. But in many circuits, most of the teams are not on that level of competition and are simply not ready to play a college set. Yes, we can do that for the independent tournaments every year, but the two ACF regular-season events provide advantages of their own, with typically larger fields than other events.

Like Max said, high school teams are not able to travel as easily as college teams. For example, this year's ACF Fall Northeast was at Yale, about 2.5 hours from Lexington. That is an easy drive for most college teams. However, getting parents to drive to Yale twice a year for high school tournaments is difficult enough, and we could not attend. We are not the worst-case scenario either. There are more isolated high school circuits that have fewer high school tournaments per year, and have very little choice in what tournaments to attend and have to drive farther to attend them.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Vainamoinen » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:50 pm

As a current high school player, I have to say this is beyond disappointing. ACF Fall and especially ACF Regionals are two of our most anticipated tournaments of the year. We rely on ACF regionals as one of the best gauges to the question difficulty we’ll experience in June. It also provides some of the best competition we see until nationals, and I expect this is even truer in regions with less activity than the Mid-Atlantic.

Additionally, the idea that these sets could run at high-school only events is ridiculous. ACF regionals could never be run as a local high school tournament; the only way it would work is if all the top high school teams paid thousands of dollars to go to Texas and play it together. In the grand scheme of things, do the “benefits” of this decision for the college circuit really outweigh the harm that this will cause to us high school teams?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Ndg » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:10 pm

Mewto55555 wrote: This might be true for Fall (certainly in some places where there are enough teams for a field, but, like Cody said, in areas which can't support an all-high school field it seems unlikely), but it definitely isn't true for Regionals-level tournaments.
To be clear, I was not attempting to make this argument for anything above Fall difficulty. High school only sites for Regionals are definitely not feasible. Also, I wouldn't advocate for them even if they were, since they could actually hurt the college circuit because, as Cody noted, they would be taking teams away from sites that barely have enough teams to run as it is.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:12 pm

Vainamoinen wrote:As a current high school player, I have to say this is beyond disappointing. ACF Fall and especially ACF Regionals are two of our most anticipated tournaments of the year. We rely on ACF regionals as one of the best gauges to the question difficulty we’ll experience in June. It also provides some of the best competition we see until nationals, and I expect this is even truer in regions with less activity than the Mid-Atlantic.
I applaud high school teams that want to challenge themselves in this way. I just think it would be more appropriate for you to do so on PADAWAN, DEES, Penn Bowl, STIMPY, Oxford Open, MUT, George Oppen, etc -- any set besides Regionals, which is an officially designated college qualifier tournament with an outreach program.
Additionally, the idea that these sets could run at high-school only events is ridiculous. ACF regionals could never be run as a local high school tournament; the only way it would work is if all the top high school teams paid thousands of dollars to go to Texas and play it together. In the grand scheme of things, do the “benefits” of this decision for the college circuit really outweigh the harm that this will cause to us high school teams?
This is true, though it's equally true of any of the sets listed above. Again, I think high school teams definitely SHOULD be allowed at independent regular-difficulty college events, just not at ACF Regionals (or NAQT SCT, where they have never been allowed, for identical reasons to what ACF is stating now).
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:24 pm

It has never been easier than it is today for ambitious high school students (or middle school students, or college students, or anyone else) to expose themselves to large numbers of excellent quizbowl questions at all levels of difficulty. There are packets all over the internet, there are good tournaments all over the country, and there are literally robots who will read questions to you and an infinite number of your friends online, 24 hours a day.

I think eligibility rules in quizbowl have become too strict over the last few years (though ACF is much more justified in imposing strict rules than some random housewrite tournament, IMO). But I'm skeptical that high school students are actually harmed all that much by not being able to play Regionals.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by vinteuil » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:38 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:(or NAQT SCT, where they have never been allowed, for identical reasons to what ACF is stating now).
I fully support this part of the eligibility change for precisely this reason.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by CaseyB » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:08 am

I certainly agree with the decision to bar HS teams from playing Nationals, and by extension, Regionals. Since Nationals is a tournament meant to crown a national collegiate champion, high school teams should not play there. Since Regionals is the means of qualifying for Nationals, it must also be off-limits to high school teams. While it may be debatable as to whether or not the presence of HS teams affects A-values (I would argue that it probably does, even if only in a small way, though I have no way of backing up this statement statistically), there should not have to be a debate over whether a team's A-value was affected. The statistic is meant to see how collegiate teams compare with one another as a means of providing a ranking order for invitations to Nationals, and if HS teams are present at the event which is used as the basis for this statistic, the data will be affected. In addition to this, there is the issue of high school teams affecting the ability to award a qualification to Nationals as an undergraduate champion (i.e. high school teams contributing to having the minimum of four teams needed for this to occur). Look no further than the Stanford Regionals site for an example of this; there were 6 UG teams at the tournament, allowing a UG title to be awarded and thus a bid to Nationals on that basis, but 4 of those teams were HS teams. (I realize that the UG champion, Berkeley A, would have qualified based on A-values anyway, but I feel this point is still valid.) In addition, there is the case of a high school team winning the UG title at the Michigan State site.

With regards to HS teams playing at ACF Fall, while I am sympathetic to those high school players who are affected by this change in policy, I still support the decision made by ACF. I recognize that distance is a bigger challenge when it comes to attending tournaments for high school teams than for college teams, and that teams want to play whatever tournaments they can, which usually means the ones closest to them. However, ultimately one must recognize that ACF is an organization that exists for the purpose of holding collegiate events, and thus it is the college teams that the organization must be concerned with when making these kinds of decisions.

As far as the rules regarding UG and DII eligibility, much has been made of the issue of students who entered college years after graduating from high school who are affected by this rule, and I must say that I agree with the previous replies expressing concern in this matter. I don't see why the number of years since high school graduation matters at all when it comes to quiz bowl; to me, what matters is quiz bowl experience, and this is why there is value in awarding UG and DII titles in addition to the overall title. So I ask, why is being UG eligible a requirement for being DII eligible in the first place? I have never understood this. It seems to me that removing this requirement for DII eligibility would alleviate most of the concerns raised in this thread regarding college students who may not have gone straight from high school to college but who are new to quiz bowl. If, as was alluded to earlier, there is concern over 19 year olds competing with 30 year olds for a title, then having a UG title that takes into account the number of years since high graduation would still address this concern of a possible age disparity. Meanwhile, since the point of DII is to address the possible disparity in skill-level, not age, separating the eligibility for UG from that of DII would allow those with less quiz bowl experience, regardless of age, to compete for a title against one another, thus removing any disadvantage that such students might have simply because they entered college later than others.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:40 am

CaseyB wrote:Look no further than the Stanford Regionals site for an example of this; there were 6 UG teams at the tournament, allowing a UG title to be awarded and thus a bid to Nationals on that basis, but 4 of those teams were HS teams.
Just to clarify, D2 teams count as UG, and there were 4 D2 teams at Stanford, so Berkeley still would've gotten a UG title without the presence of high schools.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by CaseyB » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:43 am

Thank you for that clarification.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:38 am

Casey:

There are very easy solutions to those problems. 1 - high schools aren't eligible to be invited to ACF Nationals.* 2 - high schools don't count as UG ("you must be a college team / playing for a college to claim UG or D2 status"). Just like the D2 change to HSes, the UG change is something that should happen anyway for any other tournaments that would like to consider such things in the future.

*I'll walk back my previously posted position and state that I don't think high schools should be eligible to attend ACF Nationals because all college teams should get a chance to attend before HS teams.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by cvdwightw » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:21 pm

This post will hopefully provide some data to answer Casey's question about how A-values would have been affected by banning the HS teams from this year's Regionals. Obviously the sites with high school teams would have changed their schedules, but we can approximate the A-values by removing the results of every game played against a high school team.

This Google Spreadsheet compares the actual A-values of every college team to the hypothetical A-values excluding the results of all games against high school teams. Its order-of-finish corrections assume that the order of college teams would have remained the same.

Incomplete list of major changes to the A-value list by eliminating HS teams:
  • Washington's final A-value would have increased by more than 50 points, although their raw A-value only increased by 2 points, because the order-of-finish correction averaging it with Saratoga HS would have been eliminated. The three teams behind them also would have seen major jumps in their final A-values.
  • Similarly, Duke and Penn B's final A-values would have dropped almost 13 points because of eliminating the order-of-finish correction that averaged those values with Maggie Walker's.
  • Notre Dame A played poorly against the three DCC teams compared to their performance against the rest of the MSU field. Their TPTH would have jumped by over 0.8 against a comparable strength of schedule, resulting in an increase of 34 points to its raw A-value (and over 36 to its final due to eliminating another order-of-finish correction). They would have jumped up 11 slots among college teams, from deep on the waitlist to clearly in the qualification zone.
  • Conversely, Ohio State played much better against the three DCC teams compared to their performance against the rest of the field. Their raw A-value would have dropped by over 35 points, dropping 12 slots on the waitlist (among college teams) compared to their current position.
All of these situations (teams losing to much-statistically-worse teams to drop their A-value, getting an A-value boost from a lower-bracket team, or playing well/poorly against a particular group of teams) would almost certainly happen in future years regardless of HS participation, so I'm not sure that this actually tells us anything.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by vinteuil » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:00 pm

cvdwightw wrote:This post will hopefully provide some data to answer Casey's question about how A-values would have been affected by banning the HS teams from this year's Regionals. Obviously the sites with high school teams would have changed their schedules, but we can approximate the A-values by removing the results of every game played against a high school team.

This Google Spreadsheet compares the actual A-values of every college team to the hypothetical A-values excluding the results of all games against high school teams. Its order-of-finish corrections assume that the order of college teams would have remained the same.

Incomplete list of major changes to the A-value list by eliminating HS teams:
  • Washington's final A-value would have increased by more than 50 points, although their raw A-value only increased by 2 points, because the order-of-finish correction averaging it with Saratoga HS would have been eliminated. The three teams behind them also would have seen major jumps in their final A-values.
  • Similarly, Duke and Penn B's final A-values would have dropped almost 13 points because of eliminating the order-of-finish correction that averaged those values with Maggie Walker's.
  • Notre Dame A played poorly against the three DCC teams compared to their performance against the rest of the MSU field. Their TPTH would have jumped by over 0.8 against a comparable strength of schedule, resulting in an increase of 34 points to its raw A-value (and over 36 to its final due to eliminating another order-of-finish correction). They would have jumped up 11 slots among college teams, from deep on the waitlist to clearly in the qualification zone.
  • Conversely, Ohio State played much better against the three DCC teams compared to their performance against the rest of the field. Their raw A-value would have dropped by over 35 points, dropping 12 slots on the waitlist (among college teams) compared to their current position.
All of these situations (teams losing to much-statistically-worse teams to drop their A-value, getting an A-value boost from a lower-bracket team, or playing well/poorly against a particular group of teams) would almost certainly happen in future years regardless of HS participation, so I'm not sure that this actually tells us anything.
Just making sure: you took into account possible changes in "strength of site"?
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by cvdwightw » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:19 pm

vinteuil wrote:Just making sure: you took into account possible changes in "strength of site"?
If by this you mean things like "Georgia A's SOS factor went from 1.06 to above the maximum cutoff of 1.25 because all of a sudden half of their games are against Vanderbilt," then yes.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by vinteuil » Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:20 pm

cvdwightw wrote:
vinteuil wrote:Just making sure: you took into account possible changes in "strength of site"?
If by this you mean things like "Georgia A's SOS factor went from 1.06 to above the maximum cutoff of 1.25 because all of a sudden half of their games are against Vanderbilt," then yes.
My bad.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:38 pm

CaseyB wrote:I don't see why the number of years since high school graduation matters at all when it comes to quiz bowl; to me, what matters is quiz bowl experience, and this is why there is value in awarding UG and DII titles in addition to the overall title.
I think this is an important point that has, quite frankly, gotten lost in the back and forth about whether or not high school teams can play in college tournaments.

What ACF has done with their changes to these rules is show a complete disregard for how actual college students approach school and life. ACF has adopted rules that disadvantages anybody that needs time off from school to work a few years, to take care of family members, to battle health problems, to have children, to serve in the military, or to go on a prolonged religious mission. One of the great things about quizbowl is the concept that when somebody picks up a buzzer for their first time in college, they have time to adjust to a really difficult game. It doesn't matter where you come from, what life has dealt you so far, and indeed it doesn't matter if you graduated high school 3 months ago or 20 years ago. College quizbowl is pretty hard, and yet with some skill, effort, and time, anybody can develop into a good player.

These rule changes take away real opportunities for quizbowl to recognize these people, and also the important opportunity for teams to develop their newer players alongside one another despite their age. These rule changes tell non-traditional students that, when it comes to quizbowl, they aren't really like the other students and other players. They have to learn faster, get better faster, or they are going to quickly see their ability to play tournaments close. Maybe they can't right away delve into the daunting task of competing on the A team at every significant tournament, but no longer can they join younger players in an effort to win titles developed specifically for players of their equal skill level and expereince. A 30 year old playing quizbowl for the first time can join a team with three 18 year old players and contribute while they win a D2 title. That opportunity still exists in NAQT tournaments, but ACF has deemed this illegitimate because...why exactly? This comes close to it...
Matt Weiner wrote:people who consider the presence of older or graduate students weird.
Welcome to the goddamn world, you overly sensitive little flowers! Older students can sit in classes with a bunch of with traditional college age students every day, but it's not OK for them to win a D2 ACF title because some people think it's weird. I assume these are people at the types of schools where older students don't exist, but those schools are in the minority and it really doesn't do ACF any good to cave to the pressures of closed-minded little fucks who don't have think it's OK to share their space with people different than themselves.

We hear all the time about how organizations like ACF once rose up against the evil organizations of the old days, and were by the players, for the players. ACF (and for that matter, similar organizations like PACE) isn't really something that I think truly represents every part of the community, but it does serve key functions that I am very thankful are fulfilled. But now we have ACF making a CBI-level screwup with assurances that everything will be just fine in the long run, and I begin to wonder if we're starting to see it progress into a new part of its life cycle. Time will tell how well all of these changes play out, and in fact I expect most of them to go quite well. I just don't know if I like where we're heading now that ACF has declared that older people, veterans, people with children, working people, and others who follow a non-traditional path to get an education should all go to hell.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:03 am

NickConderWKU wrote:They have to learn faster, get better faster, or they are going to quickly see their ability to play tournaments close.
Nobody who was previously eligible has been made ineligible to play ACF by this rule change. Furthermore, the only person posting in this thread about Undergraduate status would have already been ineligible under an age-blind rule, as it is her fifth year in college quizbowl (and will be her sixth when the rule takes effect next year). What is actually being fought for is the weird NAQT principle that time in community college, even time in community college playing multiple quizbowl tournaments per year and making a concerted effort to get better at quizbowl, somehow should not count against a "you have four years before you are considered a graduate student" rule that applies to everyone else.
I just don't know if I like where we're heading now that ACF has declared that older people, veterans, people with children, working people, and others who follow a non-traditional path to get an education should all go to hell.
I will say that I personally am open to amending the rule such that it starts the clock upon the first time someone plays a college tournament, at least for UG status if not D2, and gets rid of the time-since-high-school provision. But let's be realistic about who we're talking about here -- the people who have taken advantage of the more liberal NAQT Undergraduate rule recently are, to name some names, Ted Gioia, Dan Puma, George Berry, and if you want to go back to a long time ago, myself, who won an NAQT UG title in my fifth year after starting college quizbowl. What you have are people who take some time off school for various reasons, and spend a HUGE amount of time in their gap semesters on playing open tournaments and writing/editing quizbowl, or people who were elite community college players continuing to be highly active quizbowl participants into their fifth or sixth year of college quizbowl and beyond. Saying "you can still play every tournament that you did before, but you can no longer win titles reserved for people in their first four years of education" to those actual people is fine. Saying it to "older people, veterans, people with children, working people, and others who follow a non-traditional path to get an education" is also fine. I am one of those people, I've been attacked by people in quizbowl for taking that path, and I still support this rule change.

If you want to point out that some people have a head start in high school or lots of people in a four-year undergraduate path are in fact better than people in their 15th year of quizbowl, fine; but you're making an argument against awarding undergraduate titles at all. If you acknowledge that we are going to have the UG title, then it's necessary to have a single rule -- four years of accumulating college quizbowl experience for everyone -- and not forcing every TD to make value judgments in every tournament as to how "military service" compares to "Peace Corps time" compares to "working while attending community college at night" in terms of holding back someone's quizbowl development.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Citizen Snips » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:23 am

Hi, quizbowl!

I'm a student with a physical disability, who chose to take a gap year for medical reasons. I have not yet entered college, and I have not played a regular-season collegiate tournament. I will admit that I am planning to play one open tournament next month, but, other than that, I haven't had much involvement with the college quiz bowl community. I understand that nothing is preventing me from playing during my four years of undergrad, but I would still like to compete for an undergraduate title in each of those four years.

As Nick said above, this rule change does not take into account the fact that people have lives outside of our beloved game that sometimes don't follow well trodden paths.

In my mind, this rule change constitutes discrimination on the basis of physical, mental, and financial ability.

Edit: Using more forceful words
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by PreviouslySeenInSF » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:57 am

I think, perhaps, the initial spirit of my post was lost in translation, so I have returned to clarify.

I am not fighting for MY right to undergrad or DII eligibility.
I understand it is easy to be myopic and see the world singularly through the lens of self-interest, but my initial point was that this could be a deterrent to other potential players.

It is humiliating to be grilled about your age. It is humiliating to be grilled about your high school graduation year. I feel this information is irrelevant to the game. How many years you have played quizbowl is fair.

I do not want any special community college rule. That was not mentioned, nor was it even considered. I understand that each organization reserves the rights to write their own rules, I was merely pointing out a potential weakness.

I was cautious and deliberate while writing my initial post, instead of quoting my post in it’s entirety, please scroll up.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Cody » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:15 am

cvdwightw wrote:This post will hopefully provide some data to answer Casey's question about how A-values would have been affected by banning the HS teams from this year's Regionals. Obviously the sites with high school teams would have changed their schedules, but we can approximate the A-values by removing the results of every game played against a high school team.

This Google Spreadsheet compares the actual A-values of every college team to the hypothetical A-values excluding the results of all games against high school teams. Its order-of-finish corrections assume that the order of college teams would have remained the same.

Incomplete list of major changes to the A-value list by eliminating HS teams:
  • Washington's final A-value would have increased by more than 50 points, although their raw A-value only increased by 2 points, because the order-of-finish correction averaging it with Saratoga HS would have been eliminated. The three teams behind them also would have seen major jumps in their final A-values.
  • Similarly, Duke and Penn B's final A-values would have dropped almost 13 points because of eliminating the order-of-finish correction that averaged those values with Maggie Walker's.
  • Notre Dame A played poorly against the three DCC teams compared to their performance against the rest of the MSU field. Their TPTH would have jumped by over 0.8 against a comparable strength of schedule, resulting in an increase of 34 points to its raw A-value (and over 36 to its final due to eliminating another order-of-finish correction). They would have jumped up 11 slots among college teams, from deep on the waitlist to clearly in the qualification zone.
  • Conversely, Ohio State played much better against the three DCC teams compared to their performance against the rest of the field. Their raw A-value would have dropped by over 35 points, dropping 12 slots on the waitlist (among college teams) compared to their current position.
All of these situations (teams losing to much-statistically-worse teams to drop their A-value, getting an A-value boost from a lower-bracket team, or playing well/poorly against a particular group of teams) would almost certainly happen in future years regardless of HS participation, so I'm not sure that this actually tells us anything.
This analysis completely misses the point though -- of course removing games from consideration in the A-value affects the A-value.

The question is what makes high schools different from any other team when considering the data offered? Nothing. The only thing separating high school teams from college teams is in their likelihood to attend ACF Nationals. Once college teams beginning dropping from Nationals, what happens when you remove their data? What about the numerous college teams that won't be attending ACF Nationals even if invited? You can't justify the exclusion of high schools based on "we want better data".
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Alejandro » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:32 am

cvdwightw wrote: Incomplete list of major changes to the A-value list by eliminating HS teams:
  • Washington's final A-value would have increased by more than 50 points, although their raw A-value only increased by 2 points, because the order-of-finish correction averaging it with Saratoga HS would have been eliminated. The three teams behind them also would have seen major jumps in their final A-values.
For what it's worth only the upper bracket results were used to determine placement, i.e. prelim results were discarded. With a more traditional placement method (PPG or PPB used as a tiebreaker for all rounds) we would be ahead of Saratoga, though Saratoga would be ahead of other teams based on making the top bracket.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:43 am

PreviouslySeenInSF wrote:It is humiliating to be grilled about your age.
I can completely understand this--however, it's never been ACF's business what your age is, and there neither has been nor (as of these amendments) will be any ACF-rule-based reason for a tournament director to inquire about it.

Incidentally, I am with Matt W. in (now if not before) being open to amending the rule such that UG (and possibly D2) eligibility clocks begin at the first college tournament, rather than on high school graduation.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by sonstige » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:48 am

NOTE: This is on the topic of "years since high school" rule change. Having a HS attend ACF doesn't matter to me as a player (to me a team is a team is a team, I'll either win or I won't), but I can appreciate the concept of the sanctity of "college-only" events...and that there is some complication in how a HS might affect A-value.

Incidentally, I am an opponent of the D2 rule that NAQT has, where CC players that play D2 ICT should get to retain their D2 status.

I also understand why that complicates CCCT (and SCT), since schools would have to manage which players can qualify for D2 ICT via CCCT, and which would need to attend SCT to qualify for D1 ICT.

Still, having a Kelson in D2 ICT multiple years in a row reigning terror on teams during those teams' first (and only!) D2 appearance was probably a bit unfortunate but nonetheless within the rules of NAQT.

But! --- I don't think that argument is being made here, that time in CC should not count towards the ACF D2/UG eligibility.

Instead, time at a CC playing quiz bowl should count against a person's overall eligibility. I think the "clock starts ticking" approach addresses that, and is independent of a person's age (or years since graduating high school). As previously said in this thread, this would be less "alienating."

Now, as I see it --- the difficulty is figuring out what starts a clock.

Should this be playing any ACF, NAQT, or similar event at the collegiate level (open or closed), or would this be simply any college event where a person sits behind a buzzer to answer questions against another team (including trash, Honda, some regional specific thing that no reasonable human would ever call "real" quiz bowl)?

The 4-years since high school rule doesn't care about the above question. For that, I can appreciate its simplicity and universality.

Yet, as is established in this thread: that rule doesn't sit well with many folks in its current wording due to people with non-traditional paths to college.

I think a good rule amendment would be to specifically establish what determines a person's quiz bowl clock starting, then setting the eligibility based on some period (4 years?) that has elapsed since that clock started.

EDIT: Minor typo. It's late.
Last edited by sonstige on Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF eligibility rule changes for 2015-2016

Post by sonstige » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:54 am

Ukonvasara wrote:
PreviouslySeenInSF wrote:It is humiliating to be grilled about your age.
I can completely understand this--however, it's never been ACF's business what your age is, and there neither has been nor (as of these amendments) will be any ACF-rule-based reason for a tournament director to inquire about it.

Incidentally, I am with Matt W. in (now if not before) being open to amending the rule such that UG (and possibly D2) eligibility clocks begin at the first college tournament, rather than on high school graduation.
This actually happened. A certain TD (without naming names, but looking strongly at somebody currently attending the school I did my undergrad) did this in order to establish HS graduation year (and consequently establish D2/UG eligibility).

A simple "did you graduate HS more than 4 years ago?" would be enough to establish eligibility without needing to admit personal details like specific age. In this example, that didn't happen.
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