Levels of Recognition in Quizbowl

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Levels of Recognition in Quizbowl

Postby cchiego » Mon May 29, 2017 5:45 pm

With the increased number of teams coming to nationals and the limiting factor of only one team being able to win, I wanted to throw out some ways to help increase the number of recognition opportunities in quizbowl to encourage teams of all levels to keep coming and competing. The ideal here is to make sure that there are many opportunities for worthy recognition and incentives to keep playing and improving even without the chance of a national title in the picture.

Local:
Ideally some kind of city or county-level competition should exist in every part of the country. This could be a league with matches over a series of weeks or a tournament (or series of tournaments), but in general some kind of "winning county!" or "winning city!" would be ideal to have pretty much everywhere. Districts or Conferences might also work here too. Even if you can't get every school in your county/district/conference, running some kind of championship for it has the advantage of built-in local recognition and a more accessible field for teams. Well-done TV tournaments would also be a good idea as well.

State:
Every state needs a state-level good quizbowl championship. One way to do this is to have divisions based on school classifications like in athletics (Georgia does this well) so that schools can compete against other schools of similar sizes (sometimes there's also a private school championship or a small-school-only championship, like how Alabama does it). But it's also good to have a competition that's open to all teams at all levels too (like Illinois' state NAQT championship). The connection of state = bigtime is natural for principals and other admins, so it's a good goal to work towards in every state.

At nationals:
Making the playoffs at HSNCT is a big deal that should be emphasized, though it's probably not by itself trophy-worthy (perhaps there's some snappy designation out there that we could give teams who do? A pennant or certificate or something?). This year's HSNCT seemed to do a number of things right including giving trophies to all top 25 teams (a very nice number)) and increasing the size of the trophies. Perhaps something that makes consolation tournaments a bit bigger/more serious and also giving the winners of those some kind of award would be neat as well.

It's tougher with PACE because there's such a clear final ranking and relatively fewer teams, but something like an award to the winner of each consolation bracket (this is something that ACE Camp does well I think) would be neat. Since the rebracketing in theory allows for the final round of playoffs for most teams to be against evenly matched teams, honoring the group winner would be a good idea and give teams a nice thing to play for when they have to come back Sunday morning.

In general:
Novice-level tournaments and JV-level tournaments and/or divisions are also a good idea, though they do need to be approached with some caution to ensure that true novices of all levels have a chance to compete and that there's not an incentive for a school to try to be a perpetual novice team.

I'm not the biggest fan or neg prizes or power-rate awards because they tend to lead to a bit too much gimmickry (i.e. a "C" team deciding to neg 12 TUs every round, someone not buzzing much again after getting powers, etc.).

More recognition opportunities would be a win-win for all teams in quizbowl, spreading out some of the spoils and increasing the overall public profile of quizbowl without resorting to gimmicks and unfair formats or arbitrary limits to hamstring the top teams. I would, however, urge some of the top teams to consider not playing as many local invitationals (including tournaments that they host themselves). This shouldn't be a regulation, but rather a norm--stick to the high-level invitationals (and college tournaments) as much as possible rather than trying to go win a tournament every weekend against mostly overmatched fields.

Any other ideas for opportunities for more worthy recognition?
Chris C.
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Re: Levels of Recognition in Quizbowl

Postby setophaga » Tue May 30, 2017 11:50 pm

I just wanted to emphasize Chris's point of really good high school teams finding a balance between involving themselves in their local community and still letting other schools achieve recognition. As a frequent staffer in the Pittsburgh area, I've talked to teams who send their full-strength teams to A-set novice-in-all-but-name tournaments and blow everyone out of the water with 27 PPB. Obviously, they have every right to do so, but it's not fun to teams who are starting their programs to be blown out by a local or regional powerhouse on an easy set like that. Sending a less-than-full-strength team, or mixing in more inexperienced players with a veteran captain, would be a great way to increase recognition of younger players on a powerhouse team, as well as providing more competitive matches for other teams in the tournament. Of course, teams should compete in tournaments held on IS sets, but should do so consciously at sites where competition will be appropriate for their level.
Also, as Chris points out, the college community has tournaments that are certainly of HSNCT or PACE level, such as EFT and MUT, that are usually open to high-caliber high school teams that can play meaningful games at that level.
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Re: Levels of Recognition in Quizbowl

Postby Deviant Insider » Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:28 pm

Chris' basic point here is very important. If you are in a region that does not have a quality state and/or local championship in addition to quality tournaments during the season, please reach out to this community so we can talk about how we can help you. This forum is a great place to do so, though you have to be a bit careful because you are posting stuff where anybody can read it. If you would rather have a more private conversation, feel free to reach out to me about whether I personally or PACE as an organization can help, and there are other good people and organizations as well.

IHSSBCA has All-Sectional and All-State Teams, and qualifying to play at NASAT is also treated as an honor. We also have a Coaches Hall of Fame and a Friend of Scholastic Bowl that goes to adults who are not coaches. Starting next year, we are likely to have a Coach of the Year. All of these awards are fairly common in state athletic organizations, and they help get publicity, give people goals to shoot for, and get people to think highly of the organization giving the award. On the other hand, there is a fair amount of work involved, depending to some extent on how such awards are decided and given out.

I don't see elite teams showing up at tournaments beneath them as a major problem, both because it is rare and because it's not that big a deal when it happens. (A team getting blown out in one match isn't a serious problem like a team getting blown out in eight matches.) If a TD wants a tournament to be geared to a specific audience, then the TD needs to take steps to do that. Teams, even elite teams, have a limited supply of time, money, and energy, and so they are going to spend most of the year playing whatever tournaments are nearby as long as those tournaments aren't egregious.
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Re: Levels of Recognition in Quizbowl

Postby cchiego » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:21 pm

Big Y wrote: IHSSBCA has All-Sectional and All-State Teams, and qualifying to play at NASAT is also treated as an honor. We also have a Coaches Hall of Fame and a Friend of Scholastic Bowl that goes to adults who are not coaches. Starting next year, we are likely to have a Coach of the Year. All of these awards are fairly common in state athletic organizations, and they help get publicity, give people goals to shoot for, and get people to think highly of the organization giving the award. On the other hand, there is a fair amount of work involved, depending to some extent on how such awards are decided and given out.

This is all true and a great example of all of the opportunities for recognition that are already out there in most states, even if they aren't directly awarded (although such subjective awards can also lead to people sending OUTRAGED emails if they aren't selected and there are real issues of regional biases and such).

Big Y wrote:I don't see elite teams showing up at tournaments beneath them as a major problem, both because it is rare and because it's not that big a deal when it happens. (A team getting blown out in one match isn't a serious problem like a team getting blown out in eight matches.) If a TD wants a tournament to be geared to a specific audience, then the TD needs to take steps to do that. Teams, even elite teams, have a limited supply of time, money, and energy, and so they are going to spend most of the year playing whatever tournaments are nearby as long as those tournaments aren't egregious.

My issue is less with blowouts here (blowouts will happen at any level in QB) but rather the fairly limited pool of top-X finishes/trophies/recognition out there at tournaments that could be taken back to one's school to lobby for support. Given the limited supply of hardware, if a single school is winning pretty much every tournament in a region, that's likely going to have a bit of a crowding-out effect. Of course, I get that teams want to get as much match experience as possible, but if you're a top-25 national team then avoiding, say, IS-A level sets or smaller local tournaments might make sense. Like I said above, state and national-level events are definitely no-holding-back territory. But a 16 team local tournament on an IS-A set? Call off the dogs (and/or have your A and B teams work as staffers instead and they still get to see the questions while perhaps helping a newer host).

Again, I want to stress that I'm not saying there should be restrictions or rules, only that a norm like this might be ideal for all (after all, if you win 6 tournaments in a year, there's likely a declining marginal benefit to winning 8 or 9).
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