Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

This forum is for anyone seeking advice on starting a collegiate team, branching out into new types of tournaments, or other "how-to" aspects of collegiate quizbowl.
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StuartJohnson
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Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by StuartJohnson » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:29 pm

Hi, I'm currently a freshman at the University of Cincinnati looking to start a quiz team here by next year. I'm looking for a faculty adviser and rounding up potential recruits at the moment. Aside from the NAQT advice, does anyone have suggestions for starting a team?
Stuart Johnson
University of Cincinnati

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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by alexdz » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:31 pm

One thing you'll need to keep in mind is somehow making practices seem worthwhile for folks. It's all a balancing act, but you don't want to place your practices at inconvenient times and locations, or make them too long. In my experience, most quiz bowlers who were interested in playing for Mizzou were also involved in 3 or 4 other campus groups and were therefore working in quiz bowl as one of many extracurriculars.

The other thing I'd suggest is making sure you have a good relationship with the campus facilities and money-giving folks. Reserving rooms and finding travel money are going to be crucial to your team at first, so find out who those people are now and make sure to keep those relationships positive. Build that connection so they know who you are and what your club is capable of doing.

Good luck!
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by Corry » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:54 pm

Well, one good place to start is to find strong high school players that are now attending Cincinnati. You can find out some relevant information about high school graduates here: http://www.fraughtmachine.com/efcontact/ (The 2013 list is available separately here: http://www.fraughtmachine.com/efcontact/2013EF.html ). For instance, Brandon Williams (from the 2011 Northmont team that placed 13th at HSNCT) seems to be attending Cincinnati right now.

Also, choose the college tournaments you attend carefully. You don't want to intimidate novices by immediately jumping into ACF Regionals next year, or whatever. Send them to Collegiate Novice first, and make sure not to miss relatively "easy" tournaments like ACF Fall and NAQT SCT Div II, etc.
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:06 pm

UC always gets a ton of people from the greater Cincinnati area who have played OAC or some other quizbowl-like substance in high school, so you shouldn't be lacking for members if you can advertise effectively. Brandon Williams is probably the best high school player currently at UC, and there have got to be a ton of other decent players I'm not thinking of at the moment. If you haven't already done so, you might want to get in touch with Jarret Greene, who is or was the president of OSU's quizbowl club, and who presumably will have good advice to help you navigate the local quizbowl landscape. You'll want to raise funds by hosting tournaments at some point; when you get around to that, you will find that there are a host of helpful people in the Dayton/Columbus areas who I'm sure will be glad to help you out in some way or another (especially if it means finally bringing quizbowl to the desert that is Cincinnati). I would point you to the Ohio quizbowl forums, which is where most of these people tend to be, but those forums seem to have vanished at some point in the last few weeks...

Good luck with getting a team up and running! As my signature indicates, I went to high school in the Cincinnati 'burbs, so I really would like to see you succeed!
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:09 pm

I guess I'll weigh in and say that I disagree with the tenor of some of this advice. Treating the formation a new team like some sort of elaborate process that requires completing dozens of steps in order lest you derail it is precisely the wrong approach, and is what leads to 3 out of 4 "hey I'm starting a new team at _____" threads disappearing without any team from the school in question actually being formed.

Yes, it's nice to get funding, host tournaments, etc. But treating these as necessary prerequisites to being an active participant in quizbowl, rather than additional benefits that you may receive later, is discouraging, and may not even be possible at some universities, where showing that you are already providing an active club to a minimum number of members of the university community BEFORE you apply for funding greatly increases your chance of getting it.

Similarly, I don't think it's a good idea to refrain from attending tournaments at a reasonable difficulty within your area. ACF Regionals is not Chicago Open; it's ACF Regionals--a perfectly ordinary tournament that you should play if you are claiming to be the quizbowl team at your school. The point of your quizbowl team is to play quizbowl tournaments. If you have people "on your team" who do not want to play quizbowl tournaments, then there has been a communications failure between you and them about what the club is. Changing how your team behaves to cater to people who do not want to play quizbowl tournaments is irrational, and will result in your team failing to play more than 2 novice tournaments a year, if that. This is historically the case.

My advice to you is: yes, you should pursue strategies for getting funding, recruiting novices, expanding the size of you team beyond the core of dedicated players, and hosting and helping out with the local high school circuit, to the extent that whatever amount of your free time you have prioritized for quizbowl will allow. But, first and foremost, you should get in a car and take four people to any tournament of below open difficulty that is within 200 miles. It's not hard, it requires no elaborate plan, and it's the beginning, not the end, of your team formation process. Just find three other people, find one car among you, and go there -- that's literally all that's required. Even the entry fee will be severely reduced for new teams; if you have no funding, you're talking about asking everyone to cough up $10. The "just do it" approach and reminding yourself that tournament attendance should not be made artificially complicated is your first step towards a healthy, self-sustaining program.

Quizbowl wants your team and will help out in any way it can, but it's important to be able to sort credible advice from approaches that haven't worked out in the past. Welcome to the community and the boards -- there are other people who, like me, have founded very successful programs from scratch who will be able to help you with further questions.
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:16 pm

To make Matt Weiner's good advice more concrete, it appears that OSU will be hosting the Minnesota Undergraduate Tournament (which is a relatively easy tournament for undergraduates) at some point in April. If, by then, you have found some other people who want to play quizbowl with you, you should go to that tournament, irrespective of whether or not you've established a formal club or whatever. This is another thing you should probably talk to Jarret Greene about.
Ashvin Srivatsa
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by blizzard » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:17 pm

Hey Stuart, I currently have two brothers at UC, one of whom is currently the student body president. If you want, I could put you in contact with him, as I'm sure he would have some ideas for faculty advisors and any other potential tips, ways to get funding, etc. Just let me know! Good luck!
Sam Blizzard
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University of Cincinnati '19

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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:39 pm

I nearly got a group of students from UC to come to a tournament at the University of Kentucky back in September. Send me an email at fredmorlan@gmail.com; I can give you their emails.
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:02 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Similarly, I don't think it's a good idea to refrain from attending tournaments at a reasonable difficulty within your area. ACF Regionals is not Chicago Open; it's ACF Regionals--a perfectly ordinary tournament that you should play if you are claiming to be the quizbowl team at your school. The point of your quizbowl team is to play quizbowl tournaments. If you have people "on your team" who do not want to play quizbowl tournaments, then there has been a communications failure between you and them about what the club is. Changing how your team behaves to cater to people who do not want to play quizbowl tournaments is irrational, and will result in your team failing to play more than 2 novice tournaments a year, if that. This is historically the case.

But, first and foremost, you should get in a car and take four people to any tournament of below open difficulty that is within 200 miles. It's not hard, it requires no elaborate plan, and it's the beginning, not the end, of your team formation process. Just find three other people, find one car among you, and go there -- that's literally all that's required. Even the entry fee will be severely reduced for new teams; if you have no funding, you're talking about asking everyone to cough up $10. The "just do it" approach and reminding yourself that tournament attendance should not be made artificially complicated is your first step towards a healthy, self-sustaining program.
I'm snipping the relevant parts here, basically to add this is pretty much exactly how I started the team at WKU. Our first tournament was even, you guessed it, ACF Regionals. Had I known about a team at UC before now, I would have invited them to this year's Regionals that we hosted on Saturday.

I do think that, in the long term, hosting high school tournaments is something you'd probably like to do, if only because you're in one of the best locations for it. Ohio is a pretty active quizbowl state at the high school level, and northern Kentucky has a pretty active local circuit that has shown a strong affinity for NAQT questions in recent years.
Nick Conder
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by dxdtdemon » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:14 pm

In addition to going to MUT, the Ohio quizbowl community usually tries to gather together every summer to play some below open difficulty tournament somewhere in the Columbus or Cleveland area. Also, if you want to scrimmage us in Fairborn, I think that Emily would be okay with that. It seems that almost every year for the past decade, UC has tried to get together a team, but they've only attended three tournaments in that span, so I hope that this iteration is more successful than the previous ones.
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:21 am

(Ashvin, here's the link for the new Ohio Quiz Bowl forum)

I'll be starting a quiz bowl team at the school I'm attending next year, so if you're interested in getting some scrimmages going on let me know.
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by bing10 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:27 am

Another new-ish team in the circuit would be great! And like Jonathan said, you could scrimage us whenever you wanted.

We go to as many tournaments as is feasible (which thus far has only been ACF Fall and SCT) but I would definitely not think about hosting for the first couple years. UC probably has some mechanism in place for requesting money for student organizations, so definitely look into that.
Emily Bingham
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Wright State University

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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by StuartJohnson » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:20 pm

Thank you all for your wonderful advice. Hoping to get a tournament ready team by next year!
Stuart Johnson
University of Cincinnati

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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by sephirothrr » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:51 pm

The University of Louisville is hosting a mirror of MUT on April 26, and if you can get some people together it'd be a perfect introductory tournament for a new team. Check it out! - viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15612&p=276905#p276905
Ramapriya Rangaraju
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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by StuartJohnson » Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:06 pm

Another question: How do you all structure your teams? Do you have separate people for positions like captain and treasurer, or are some of the roles shared among all the team members?
Stuart Johnson
University of Cincinnati

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Re: Starting Quiz Team at the University of Cincinnati

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:37 pm

StuartJohnson wrote:Another question: How do you all structure your teams? Do you have separate people for positions like captain and treasurer, or are some of the roles shared among all the team members?
You're going to need to work within the organizational rules established in your student handbook first and foremost.

Usually teams will write a constitution with a few basic rules and a handful of defined roles. Most programs have a president, a vice president or two, and a treasurer. I would strongly advise against tying leadership structures within the organization solely to playing ability; while it's important to have good players actively involved, you want people with good leadership ability and most likelihood to devote plenty of time and effort to the team in charge.
Nick Conder
Louisville, KY

"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."--Eugene V. Debs

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