It's Academic discussion

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It's Academic discussion

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon May 09, 2011 7:16 pm

Didn't go through all the pages, however having seen some of the It's Academic (DC) tapings on YouTube, I must say even though the format probably isn't the best, I absolutely admire the glamour and the overall atmosphere of the show. I wouldn't mind personally playing on it at least once just to have the feeling I'm on a 60's quiz bowl show.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Kouign Amann » Mon May 09, 2011 7:30 pm

CavsFan2k10 wrote:Didn't go through all the pages, however having seen some of the It's Academic (DC) tapings on YouTube, I must say even though the format probably isn't the best, I absolutely admire the glamour and the overall atmosphere of the show. I wouldn't mind personally playing on it at least once just to have the feeling I'm on a 60's quiz bowl show.

no dont
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Giovanni I Participazio » Mon May 09, 2011 8:20 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
CavsFan2k10 wrote:Didn't go through all the pages, however having seen some of the It's Academic (DC) tapings on YouTube, I must say even though the format probably isn't the best, I absolutely admire the glamour and the overall atmosphere of the show. I wouldn't mind personally playing on it at least once just to have the feeling I'm on a 60's quiz bowl show.

no dont

never again
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby something similarly dumb » Mon May 09, 2011 8:27 pm

CavsFan2k10 wrote:Didn't go through all the pages, however having seen some of the It's Academic (DC) tapings on YouTube, I must say even though the format probably isn't the best, I absolutely admire the glamour and the overall atmosphere of the show. I wouldn't mind personally playing on it at least once just to have the feeling I'm on a 60's quiz bowl show.

It's Academic does a decent job of making itself look like it's awesome on TV, but the tapings are much smaller affairs than you would think and a lot of the tech and stuff is outdated. They still pull off a good-looking show, but actually being on it sort of shatters the illusion.

Also, yeah, the questions. Eck.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Sam » Mon May 09, 2011 8:59 pm

Isaacbh wrote:It's Academic does a decent job of making itself look like it's awesome on TV, but the tapings are much smaller affairs than you would think and a lot of the tech and stuff is outdated. They still pull off a good-looking show, but actually being on it sort of shatters the illusion.

Also, yeah, the questions. Eck.

In 2006, a victorious Richard Montgomery team led by Chris Ray was given a prop trophy to hold up at the end of the match. Unfortunately, the screws on the trophy were not as tight as they could have been and one of the handles was yanked off as it was lifted triumphantly. I don't remember if they did a second take or not.

EDIT: ...and the point of that story was to re-emphasize the illusory nature of television. Don't let the Mad Men-esque suave of the show fool you.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Tue May 10, 2011 3:36 pm

Out of curiosity, what is the prize for winning It's Academic (DC)? Aside from bragging rights, is there a monetary award for the school or scholarship awarding?
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby something similarly dumb » Tue May 10, 2011 5:19 pm

Yeah, there's a little scholarship money. I think I have like a total of 2000 bucks from two consecutive championship appearances, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but I'm not even sure what I'm allowed to use it on.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Strange Fascination » Tue May 10, 2011 8:31 pm

I think they upped the payout for this year, though I'm not certain. It's Ac is really good for publicity, which makes recruiting and fundraising easier (our success has made it easier to ask for money--we got $500 from random parents in part because of our success). I think the benefits (recruiting, publicity) outweigh the negatives (non-pyramidal questions, missing parts of tournaments). I don't know where RM's team (or most any team around here, for that matter) would be if it weren't for It's Ac, despite its clear flaws.

Edit: Also it's better than basically any other high school quiz show I've seen video of, for what it's worth.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Kouign Amann » Tue May 10, 2011 10:34 pm

Wurzel-Flummery wrote:I don't know where RM's team (or most any team around here, for that matter) would be if it weren't for It's Ac

ANSWER: at real tournaments [accept playing actual quizbowl and equivalents]
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Unicolored Jay » Wed May 11, 2011 12:53 am

CavsFan2k10 wrote:Didn't go through all the pages, however having seen some of the It's Academic (DC) tapings on YouTube, I must say even though the format probably isn't the best, I absolutely admire the glamour and the overall atmosphere of the show. I wouldn't mind personally playing on it at least once just to have the feeling I'm on a 60's quiz bowl show.

Move to a school in the Cleveland area and you most likely will. There's a TV program on a certain channel that does pretty much everything the one here does. I competed on it once and wasn't too happy afterward.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Howard » Thu May 12, 2011 1:01 am

CavsFan2k10 wrote:Out of curiosity, what is the prize for winning It's Academic (DC)? Aside from bragging rights, is there a monetary award for the school or scholarship awarding?


$2500 for winning a semifinal
$5000 for winning the viewing area championship
$10000 for winning the inter-city championship (Baltimore-DC-Central Virginia)
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Fake 4-ball » Thu May 12, 2011 12:45 pm

That sounds like quite a bit less than for The Challenge here. $2000 for winning a region (Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester have 32 teams each, NYC (just Bronx and Brooklyn) and Connecticut have 16 teams each, New Jersey has 48 teams), $10000 for winning the final game. Also, every student who makes it to the final game (winning and losing sides) gets $500.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Thu May 12, 2011 1:08 pm

rpond wrote:That sounds like quite a bit less than for The Challenge here. $2000 for winning a region (Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester have 32 teams each, NYC (just Bronx and Brooklyn) and Connecticut have 16 teams each, New Jersey has 48 teams), $10000 for winning the final game. Also, every student who makes it to the final game (winning and losing sides) gets $500.

$2500 to six teams, $5000 to two, $10000 to one sounds quite a bit less than $2000 to two teams and $10000 to one, plus $4500 among the final participants? I question your math.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Fake 4-ball » Thu May 12, 2011 1:22 pm

Wait, I wrote that It's Ac paid out less? Oops. I in all seriousness meant to write that The Challenge has less prize money.
And we use a four-quarter, two team format, so it's six teams (one from each region) that get $2000, ten students (four on a team plus an alternate) that get $500, and one team that gets $10000.
EDIT: turns out it's $2500 for the region prizes, not $2000. So It's Ac's prize pool is $5000 larger.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Strange Fascination » Thu May 12, 2011 11:30 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Wurzel-Flummery wrote:I don't know where RM's team (or most any team around here, for that matter) would be if it weren't for It's Ac

ANSWER: at real tournaments [accept playing actual quizbowl and equivalents]


Well, people like me and Arun wouldn't be on the team if it weren't for the TV show because I would have never known about the team and therefore would have never recruited Arun. My point is that the team wouldn't have had some of the players it had without the name recognition the TV show gave it.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Giovanni I Participazio » Fri May 13, 2011 11:25 am

Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Wurzel-Flummery wrote:I don't know where RM's team (or most any team around here, for that matter) would be if it weren't for It's Ac

ANSWER: at real tournaments [accept playing actual quizbowl and equivalents]


Well, people like me and Arun wouldn't be on the team if it weren't for the TV show because I would have never known about the team and therefore would have never recruited Arun. My point is that the team wouldn't have had some of the players it had without the name recognition the TV show gave it.

-5

Nobody at QO, other than the people already on our team, seems at all interested in anything intelligent or enlightening, so the show isn't really a good recruiting tool for us. :( Giving out money is probably the only useful function it has, as we can spend it on tournaments that aren't dumb.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby DumbJaques » Sun May 15, 2011 3:39 pm

In 2006, a victorious Richard Montgomery team led by Chris Ray was given a prop trophy to hold up at the end of the match. Unfortunately, the screws on the trophy were not as tight as they could have been and one of the handles was yanked off as it was lifted triumphantly. I don't remember if they did a second take or not.


Actually, they gave us the real championship trophy, which I then promptly disfigured. They certainly didn't do a second take, probably because I was awesomely fist-pumping the severed handle during the closing segment. Why in the world would anyone want to tape over something like that?

Prof.Whoopie wrote:Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
I don't know where RM's team (or most any team around here, for that matter) would be if it weren't for It's Ac

ANSWER: at real tournaments [accept playing actual quizbowl and equivalents]


Hey, so I understand that the coaching situation at St. Anselm's sucks with regards to forcing people to miss actual tournaments to practice for It's Ac or whatever, but acting like the show is somehow a negative for quizbowl (even now, let alone ever) is pretty ignorant. A huge reason a bunch of marginal DC area teams no longer show up every weekend to tournaments is that corporate funding for the show pulled out like 5-6 years ago - before that, a ton of teams were sustained by the prize money they got from It's Ac, and in many cases it was pumped directly into the circuit.

I'm assuming it was partly a joke, but why would you choose RM to make this argument to begin with? The only time I'm aware of RM not being at "real tournaments was that whole Raj/NAC thing, which obviously had nothing to do with the show. Aside from the dead year or two between McKenna leaving and Raynell and co. inheriting control of the team, it's pretty much been the model of how you can compete diligently on local speed formats without ever compromising yourselves nationally. I'm sorry you don't seem to think the RM team has spent enough time complaining about the show on the internet, but we were too busy winning some national titles.

Neg wrote:-5

Nobody at QO, other than the people already on our team, seems at all interested in anything intelligent or enlightening, so the show isn't really a good recruiting tool for us. :( Giving out money is probably the only useful function it has, as we can spend it on tournaments that aren't dumb.


Well, look at what you're objecting to/blaming the show for. I've been very impressed with what Josh, you, and David have done to restore an entirely dead QO program, but how is It's Ac some obstacle in this effort (or really, anything but a source of useful funds)? This makes no sense. All you've said here is "yeah, stop liking the show, all it does is give us money and the people who go to my school are dumb." I guess you also said "neg 5," but speaking as one aficionado of the form to another, I don't really think you should disgrace it so by tying it to such flimsy logic.


More generally, I'd ask people who feel resentment toward It's Ac (or Quizmaster/Keegan tournaments, speed formats in general, etc.) to reevaluate where you're coming from. If your coach forces you to prepare for local tv show tapings by memorizing sheets of questions instead of actually playing quizbowl/learning, that's because your coach is a dolt; it's not because some dude somewhere is reading questions in front of a camera.

There's a huge difference between NAC ethics, circuit impact, and question-writing philosophies ("these little punks think they're so clever, let's trick them") and those of formats where the questions are just short/bad/whatever. Again, I know people are joking around a little bit here, but acting like It's Ac is in this parasitic NAC category (which is what you're doing when you say "without It's Ac, X team would go to real tournaments") is really off base. Teams don't spend money to go on It's Ac (or most shows), they receive it. TV shows are also big recruiting tools for a whole lot of programs, and as Ray alludes to, a lot of teams (even top national ones) began because of local or tv events. Those competitions aren't hurting quizbowl, they're helping it; eliminating them will not make bad coaches better, and it surely wont make apathetic kids more interested in playing quizbowl.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Kouign Amann » Sun May 15, 2011 4:30 pm

Nothing in my post was meant to be a condemnation of RM's team or anyone on it. I wasn't singling them out for criticism or anything else. In fact, I would say that I'm pretty good friends with nearly everyone in RM's program, and I certainly don't think negatively of any of their tournament attendance habits. I was just pointing out that having to miss real tournaments for It's Ac sucks. It happens to us, it happens to them, it happens to everyone at least once a year. But it's almost never the kids' fault. As you say, it's about coaches and admins with misguided priorities.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Giovanni I Participazio » Sun May 15, 2011 4:47 pm

DumbJaques wrote:how is It's Ac some obstacle in this effort


I guess I meant to say that since discovering a non-speed format, the show has run its course in terms of usefulness in preparing for quizbowl. I failed to consider the big picture.

Neg wrote:Giving out money is probably the only useful function it has


This was definitely underhanded, yet it was self-referential and only said out of disappointment for the lack of support that our student body gives us. If the show fails to generate interest in us, what other usefulness does it have?
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Matt Weiner » Sun May 15, 2011 4:52 pm

How many teams actually got prize money from IA? How many of them actually used it to attend real tournaments? How is it not a negative impact on the regular circuit to have IA tape on Saturdays and to consistently see schools schedule their fake tournaments against real ones in the same metro area? How is the fact that one school managed to play in both worlds comparable to the dozens of schools who show hostility to good questions and good formats because the TV show is all they care about?

The reason attendance is down in DC is because of general problems with high school quizbowl including difficulty explosion and the total collapse of institutional continuity at just about every program leading to an inability to communicate effectively or, more often, AT ALL with most non-HSQB-reading teams. Combine this with the fact that the few people who have tried to deal with this problem have been stymied due to various bad reasons. Given that IA itself has as many teams as ever and how few teams actually drew their budgets from consistently winning on the show, I don't see any water to the argument that a change in IA politics has much to do with it.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby sir negsalot » Sun May 15, 2011 10:18 pm

I had never heard of Its Ac or quizbowl at all until 8th grade, when I was voted "most likely to win It's Academic". At that point I knew I was going to join the team at RM, and hadn't heard of pyramidal until I got there. Despite the unfairness of the format, i still receive some marginal utility just from appearing on TV. I would imagine that the TV show helps recruiting everywhere. I agree that attendance may be low because of high difficulty. A theory I have is that many schools have only 1 or maybe 2 serious players. If they have nobody to take them to tournaments or to split costs with, they aren't gonna come.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Howard » Tue May 17, 2011 1:16 am

Matt Weiner wrote:How many teams actually got prize money from IA?


Up until a few years ago, 162 of them in the Baltimore-DC area. Unfortunately, Chris Ray is exactly right that this total has been reduced to six due to reduction of sponsorship of the show. On the other hand, the teams have the opportunity to receive more money.

Matt Weiner wrote:How many of them actually used it to attend real tournaments?

Presuming you're speaking about pyramidal tossup/bonus tournaments, about 30-40% of them is my estimate. I'm using University of Maryland tournaments as the basis for this, which regularly drew 64 teams and turned several others away due to having a full field. The fact that some schools entered more than one team is also offset, although not fully, by the fact that not all active schools attended the U of M tournaments.

Matt Weiner wrote:How is it not a negative impact on the regular circuit to have IA tape on Saturdays and to consistently see schools schedule their fake tournaments against real ones in the same metro area?


As much as hsquizbowl has done to promote quizbowl, I still contend that, at least in the Baltimore-DC area, this television show does more to attract schools to quizbowl than any other single device, and probably all other devices combined. Furthermore, to pretend that It's Academic didn't at least in some way help lead to the presence "real tournaments" ignores the main reason why most schools even have an academic team to begin with.

There's no question that it's unfortunate that some tournaments are scheduled against others; whether you or anyone else considers them "fake" or "real" is immaterial. All of these tournaments require being able to answer questions to score points. Some of them place more focus on knowledge; others place more focus on analysis skills. Ultimately, both need to realize that numerous teams would like to play in both and that failure to engage in cooperative scheduling hurts both.

Furthermore, the use of the terms "fake" and "real" themselves is counterproductive to the quizbowl community. The two tournaments my team attended this year that had the largest number of teams were at Centennial and Hammond, two tournaments to which I'm sure your term "fake" refers. To continue to call these tournaments "fake" just because some portion of the community doesn't prefer their style of questions is, based on the attendance at these tournaments, to continue to insult the majority of the academic teams. Doing this will never serve to increase the number of teams accepting of the so-called "real" quizbowl.

There has been at least one instance in the past where organizers were encouraged on this board to schedule event(s) purposely to compete with a nonpyramidal tournament. To return and complain about such tournaments competing against pyramidal tournaments is a double standard. Proponents of pyramidal events need to stop pretending they don't need to be held to the same rules to which they wish to hold others.

Matt Weiner wrote:How is the fact that one school managed to play in both worlds comparable to the dozens of schools who show hostility to good questions and good formats because the TV show is all they care about?


First off, there are many more schools than just one that play in both worlds. Your failure to accept this truth only hurts your credibility in this matter. So to imply that those who show hostility toward pyramidal questions greatly outnumber those who play both formats is a great distortion of the truth. Although our success isn't as great as RM's, my team is just one other example. I have never once refused to enter a tournament because it used pyramidal questions nor do I hold any hostility to them. And in my experience, the majority of schools are open to playing a wide variety of formats.

As long as this board maintains (or certain individuals on this board maintain) a hostile tone and attitude toward those who like or prefer questions which have some sort of element of speed in them, many of those schools will continue to not come to this board. In effect, such tone and attitude hurt quiz bowl in all forms. Perhaps instead of trying to tell people how wrong they are, one might achieve more by just stating an opinion if one feels necessary and then allowing the members to settle where they may.

Matt Weiner wrote:The reason attendance is down in DC is because of general problems with high school quizbowl including difficulty explosion and the total collapse of institutional continuity at just about every program leading to an inability to communicate effectively or, more often, AT ALL with most non-HSQB-reading teams.


I think the difficulty explosion idea is on point. There are a limited number of teams that can compete at the highest level of difficulty. And there are only a fraction of those that can continue to do it for numerous years at a time.

For the first time ever, I've chosen to not even bother attempting to take my team to a nearby (within 2 hours) tournament on a weekend. Why? Because its difficulty level is at a high enough point where they're unlikely to learn enough to make the tournament of value. I made the mistake of entering such a tournament a few years ago. My students had two days of no fun and almost no learning.

This isn't to say that such tournaments have no value nor that they shouldn't exist. In fact, they should. It's important for us to be able to challenge the best players. Otherwise, there's no incentive to reach that level. By the same token, we need to realize that such tournaments will never appeal to the majority of high school academic teams, and we need to realize that purposely constructing tournaments to appeal to average and below-average teams is the single-greatest thing the community can do to expand its ranks.

Furthermore, if we don't construct tournaments to appeal to these teams, we can expect the high school quiz bowl circuit to continue to die out has it already has been doing for several years. While we've done an excellent job making the best players better every year, we've also been contracting the circuit by failing to recognize that we've moved our focus away from the largest majority of the teams.

I am tired of taking my team to tournaments where there are ten or twelve or sixteen teams. There's no reason any tournament in the Baltimore-DC area aimed toward the average quizbowl team shouldn't be able to draw in excess of 30 teams. If we're not careful, we'll soon be approaching a situation similar to the college quiz circuit where teams often travel from 5 hours away to compete in a tournament with ten to sixteen teams. Hopefully, we can all agree that this is not sustainable on the high school circuit. Most high school teams do not have the luxury of devoting a weekend and two overnight hotel stays to attending a tournament, let alone considering doing this numerous times in one year.

As for the collapse of institutional continuity, I completely disagree. Nothing has changed over the years. Teachers and coaches come and go as do the students. They always have and always will.

But I do believe another factor in the decline in the number of teams attending tournaments is the increase in tournament entry fees. While I completely understand that these tournaments have the purpose of fundraising and tournament organizers must make a certain profit to achieve this purpose, increasing entry fees, especially in times of budgetary crises, will only serve to encourage teams to begin dropping events from their schedules. Most academic teams operate on a shoestring budget as it is. Once upon a time, the typical tournament had an entry fee of 35 to 40 dollars. Now, it's 60 to 80. At $40 a team, I'll split six players into two teams of three so all can compete on all the gamesets. At $70 a team, I'm much more likely to leave them as one team.

Matt Weiner wrote:Combine this with the fact that the few people who have tried to deal with this problem have been stymied due to various bad reasons.


I'd be interested in hearing what these "various bad reasons" are.

Matt Weiner wrote:Given that IA itself has as many teams as ever and how few teams actually drew their budgets from consistently winning on the show, I don't see any water to the argument that a change in IA politics has much to do with it.


While I agree with this, the potential is there for this to change. Each year, It's Academic keeps 162 teams in the Baltimore-DC area answering questions, whether we like the questions or not. If my experience this year is any indication, that's far more than all the other tournaments I know about combined. The potential is there for teams to stop playing It's Academic because of the reduced financial incentive, and if that occurs, it'll permanently damage our abilities to return the quizbowl circuit to where it would be expected for a tournament to draw at least 32 teams.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby something similarly dumb » Tue May 17, 2011 2:15 am

I'm pretty ambivalent about It's Academic-- if it didn't take up Saturdays that actual tournaments could run on, I'd really have no big issue with its existence. The problem is more with the structure that It's Academic has created; you're deluding yourself if you honestly believe that a majority of coaches in the DC area enjoy playing both pyramidal and IA quizbowl. Most coaches that do this are the exceptions, not the rules, and some of the teams that successfully compete in both either have no coaches or are basically going against their coaches by playing pyramidal.
In addition, defending poopytournaments like Green Eggs and Hammond should have no place anymore. Green Eggs and Hammond doesn't even meet the standards of "quality" speed anymore-- bad category rounds where questions are one word, etc. Pretending that tournaments like this have implicit value based on the number of teams that attend is silly, and is the opposite conclusion we should be drawing from this. We should be asking WHY the hell Green Eggs and Hammond is pulling in 30 teams, who these teams are, and why they aren't playing pyramidal, if they don't already. I think we'll find an even split of teams that are actively anti-pyramidal and teams that really haven't been courted hard enough.
The other thing that needs to stop is pretending that It's Academic is an overall positive for quizbowl. The only truly beneficial thing I can think of that It's Ac does is help recruiting, but even that benefit could be rendered irrelevant if quizbowl raised its profile to It's Ac levels. The prize money could be helpful but they hardly give it out these days and to so few teams; this year's winner continued the trend of being a team rarely, if ever, seen at pyramidal events, so the "but they use the money to go to tournaments" argument barely holds any water. [I will say that one year Blake was going to use our prize money to fund the NASAT team, but that sort of thing rarely happens and that didn't work out so good.] It's Ac is not a positive. People should stop saying "Well, at least 162 teams are answering questions" and start saying "Why aren't all those teams answering good questions?"
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue May 17, 2011 6:14 am

I understand the hostility towards It's Academic, because Delaware teams had to suffer through a similar tournament called the Academic Challenge (the 4-quarter style) for many years sponsored by Texaco, Comcast, and probably other relatively large companies in the past.

Comcast completely dropped their sponsorship in 2008 and the show was cancelled. There is absolutely no question in my mind that this, even though i hated this tournament more than i could ever express has been an overall crushing loss for Delaware.

This free tournament that Comcast sponsored - which gave away $300 to two teams, $600 to two teams, $1000 to one team, $1500 to one team, and $5000 to one team, and aired at least 10 matches on television - drew up to 20 teams from a very small state that only has about 50 legitimate high schools. Now, when a team like CR attempts to run a tournament, we have one team from our entire county that attends... and just two more schools from New Castle County. Whereas some teams that never travel to legitimate nationals in Maryland can pull 30 or 40 teams to a terrible tournament, we couldn't even draw 10 to ours last weekend as we're trying to raise money for next year.

I would do anything to have the Comcast tournament back. I would even have our kids play it and earn no money at all. If it helped recruit teams and facilitate interest in bad quizbowl, that is still better than no quizbowl at all.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby cchiego » Tue May 17, 2011 11:36 am

Speaking of It's Academic... check this story out.

To believe in “It’s Academic” is to believe in good things, in solid things like right answers, certainty, sportsmanship and loyalty.


Special appearances by Chris Manners and Raynell Cooper. You can email the reporter via this form to express your opinion if you don't believe in good things the way she does.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby pray for elves » Tue May 17, 2011 12:53 pm

Swank diet wrote:Speaking of It's Academic... check this story out.

To believe in “It’s Academic” is to believe in good things, in solid things like right answers, certainty, sportsmanship and loyalty.


Special appearances by Chris Manners and Raynell Cooper. You can email the reporter via this form to express your opinion if you don't believe in good things the way she does.

There's also a subtle Dan Suzman reference.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Giovanni I Participazio » Tue May 17, 2011 2:29 pm

Swank diet wrote:Speaking of It's Academic... check this story out.

To believe in “It’s Academic” is to believe in good things, in solid things like right answers, certainty, sportsmanship and loyalty.


Special appearances by Chris Manners and Raynell Cooper. You can email the reporter via this form to express your opinion if you don't believe in good things the way she does.


The "Euclid" thing was a misquote and was actually said by my teammate, Sean Reidy. I don't know who Euclid is.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue May 17, 2011 4:15 pm

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:I understand the hostility towards It's Academic, because Delaware teams had to suffer through a similar tournament called the Academic Challenge (the 4-quarter style) for many years sponsored by Texaco, Comcast, and probably other relatively large companies in the past.

Comcast completely dropped their sponsorship in 2008 and the show was cancelled. There is absolutely no question in my mind that this, even though i hated this tournament more than i could ever express has been an overall crushing loss for Delaware.

This free tournament that Comcast sponsored - which gave away $300 to two teams, $600 to two teams, $1000 to one team, $1500 to one team, and $5000 to one team, and aired at least 10 matches on television - drew up to 20 teams from a very small state that only has about 50 legitimate high schools. Now, when a team like CR attempts to run a tournament, we have one team from our entire county that attends... and just two more schools from New Castle County. Whereas some teams that never travel to legitimate nationals in Maryland can pull 30 or 40 teams to a terrible tournament, we couldn't even draw 10 to ours last weekend as we're trying to raise money for next year.

I would do anything to have the Comcast tournament back. I would even have our kids play it and earn no money at all. If it helped recruit teams and facilitate interest in bad quizbowl, that is still better than no quizbowl at all.


The problem is that IA competes with real tournaments. I don't think anyone can dispute that it is an effective recruiting tool that could have a good influence on the real quizbowl circuit by finding players/teams. But it won't peacefully coexist, as both the show and the fake tournaments steal dates from real quizbowl. People want to do both things? Fine. It's not the real quizbowl circuit that's standing in the way of that. IA needs to change to allow for peaceful co-existence.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Strange Fascination » Tue May 17, 2011 5:48 pm

Neg wrote:
Swank diet wrote:Speaking of It's Academic... check this story out.

To believe in “It’s Academic” is to believe in good things, in solid things like right answers, certainty, sportsmanship and loyalty.


Special appearances by Chris Manners and Raynell Cooper. You can email the reporter via this form to express your opinion if you don't believe in good things the way she does.


The "Euclid" thing was a misquote and was actually said by my teammate, Sean Reidy. I don't know who Euclid is.


It was referring to the street in Cleveland that had the first streetlight, I think.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby DumbJaques » Tue May 17, 2011 10:11 pm

The problem is that IA competes with real tournaments. I don't think anyone can dispute that it is an effective recruiting tool that could have a good influence on the real quizbowl circuit by finding players/teams. But it won't peacefully coexist, as both the show and the fake tournaments steal dates from real quizbowl. People want to do both things? Fine. It's not the real quizbowl circuit that's standing in the way of that. IA needs to change to allow for peaceful co-existence.


What kind of change would you like to see, exactly? I mean, I think there's definitely some untapped potential in terms of reaching out to teams that do the tv show but might not even know a broader circuit exists, and obviously they could do that far more efficiently than we could. But in terms of scheduling issues, I guess I'm not sure what you're thinking of as an alternative. I'm not sure the show even could do anything but tape a handful of games every Saturday, just due to the nature of their model.

To me, it seems like at worst your tournament might lose 5-6 teams (and that's a healthy maximum) because of a particularly bad conflict with the show. The taping schedules are posted, so you can avoid it like you would a testing date or other event conflict. Sure, there's certainly a more efficient way the wider community and local tv shows (everywhere, not just with It's Ac) could interact regarding scheduling, but I don't quite see how that amounts to "stealing dates." Most HS events don't even have firmly set dates, and the taping calendar is available way in advance.

I don't think it's the occasional taping conflict that's anywhere near the most important issue here - what does that do on a team level besides causing three people to miss part or all of 0-2 events a year? If people on St. A's chose to pass up the Maryland Invitational to play a playoff match on It's Ac, why would anyone have a problem with that? There are going to be scheduling conflicts, and I don't think either party here is particularly concerned with stealing anyone.

The issues I see are:
1) The marginal drain on tournament attendance from the show could be ridiculously offset if it became a vehicle for directly encouraging circuit participation by the 60-70% of teams who do speed formats and nothing else. If even a third of those teams became semi-regular circuit members, I doubt we'd care at all that once an a while a few teams from MoCo missed TJ Fall, just as it's hardly a problem when a few teams can't make it because everyone's at some model UN thing or whatever. But, that's not happening right now, and I agree with Matt that's it's of pivotal importance. As for how we'd go about correcting this, I'm sure he could articulate it for better than I could.

2) Coaches prioritize the show and ignore everything else (whether out of choice or ignorance of what else is out there), and sometimes do this in a way that's repugnant and unbecoming of an educator. People are forced to miss things they'd rather attend, teams fracture, and other really bad stuff happens. The solution with coaches who just need more information is more in line with issue #1. For the others. . . well, the solution to that problem is a lot tougher, and I'd be very apprehensive to let such coaches off the hook by distributing culpability beyond those who do not prioritize the education and best interests of their students.

One thing I will suggest is that there's pressure being put on the machinery for positive change by some of the attitudes taken by various people in the debate (obviously I don't mean in this thread, which seems nothing but civil to me despite John's curiously strong objections). Let me try to explain what I mean:

At this point, it's probably not even necessary to make the "speed quizbowl is fake and stupid" point, at least not nearly as strongly. When I was in high school, a number of the best players in the area played on teams that either focused mainly on speed, or valued it at the very least as heavily as the national circuit. That's nowhere near true today (who's even the best player in the area that would fit that description?). I'm not saying that there aren't just as many coaches who push that agenda to the detriment of quizbowl in general and their kids in particular, I'm saying that we no longer need to rely on "this form of quizbowl is dumb" to make the most compelling argument. Today, I think you can just as easily make the argument that, in addition to promoting education in a far more rewarding and proven way, participating in the circuit fully translates to a more successful program, period. Two of the teams in the DC championship this year are total circuit regulars and go to nationals, and one of them shows up all the time at college events. I don't for a second buy John's argument that rightly chastising someone for failing as an educator is somehow the problem, but I do think having that be the main argument will cause some collateral damage with programs that could go either way.


As long as this board maintains (or certain individuals on this board maintain) a hostile tone and attitude toward those who like or prefer questions which have some sort of element of speed in them, many of those schools will continue to not come to this board. In effect, such tone and attitude hurt quiz bowl in all forms. Perhaps instead of trying to tell people how wrong they are, one might achieve more by just stating an opinion if one feels necessary and then allowing the members to settle where they may.


On the flip side, people like John absolutely need to stop making this absurd appeal to uncompromising relativism, because it's all kinds of bad. For one thing, you're presenting things as if "certain individuals on this board" (I wonder who you mean) are declaring that they've found the best way to do things, and are squaring off in a death match against everyone's freedom to choose. I take rather extreme offense to this (and I don't even think I'm one of the people you mean), because for me this IS a problem of people being able to make their own choices. Specifically, I'm talking about the kids who are told they must attend a taping (even as an alternate!) instead of a tournament they'd rather play or face being banned from the team. I'm talking about 16 and 17 year-olds who have to pay out of pocket and recruit on their own because their coaches are personally insecure about attending tournaments their teams may do poorly at. I'm talking about kids who are bullied and insulted by supposed educators because they've lobbied to play pyramidal sets at practice. And you'd better believe I'd have just as big a problem if kids were being forced to miss a chance to go on tv because their coach believed an NAQT set was more important, but I'm not aware of that actually happening.

So yeah, people imposing their viewpoints on others and taking their choices away IS a problem here, but so very much not in the way this argument makes it out. We do need to do a better job of managing difficulty (whoooole nother issue) and of softening our message to teams that are just not knowledgeable about their options - or, really, of getting a message to those teams in the first place. But do people really think that the tone of posts on this board is keeping Blake from being allowed to practice pyramidal questions? Is it somehow Matt Weiner's fault that when ER (despite having one of the most tenured coaches in the game) showed up at our May tournament two years ago, their captain told me "we didn't even know there were tournaments?"

Sure, both sides probably need to dial back the rhetoric in certain ways, but that does not equate with throwing a blind eye to problems that are doing real damage to quizbowl and to individual students. If you buy into John's position (and do so because you think teams should be able to play what they want), I suggest considering how that plays out on the micro level described above. If you're really anti-tv show/speed formats/whatever, I'd consider whether it's still worth it to rail against "fake quizbowl" or It's Ac; maybe we're finally in a place where it can be an issue of "why in the world wouldn't you go to tournaments as well" instead of an issue of "go to tournaments, they're better than this other thing."
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Kouign Amann » Tue May 17, 2011 10:32 pm

DumbJaques wrote: But in terms of scheduling issues, I guess I'm not sure what you're thinking of as an alternative. I'm not sure the show even could do anything but tape a handful of games every Saturday, just due to the nature of their model.

I've considered this point before, and I wonder if some Richmond people would be willing to explain to the board how Battle of the Brains works. It is my understanding that they tape their show on weekday afternoons/evenings, thereby obviating the need for people to miss real tournaments for a TV show. A few years ago, I sent an email to the It's Ac people wondering (among a few other things) whether or not they would consider moving to a weekday model, and perhaps seeing if they could get some advice from BoB on how to do it. The only line of their reply addressing this concern was (copy/pasted word for word) "We obviously cannot tape on a weekday." I did not find this response particularly illuminating, and so I wonder if it might be worth pursuing further.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby JamesIV » Tue May 17, 2011 10:42 pm

I think it's worth considering the perspective of an outsider to the community, a school administrator, let's say. A pyramidal tournament is relatively expensive. There's next-to no exposure, even for a victorious team. There's no audience, there's not television time. For someone who doesn't care about the questions, it's a no-brainer. I'm not saying it as an argument for doing something like It's Academic, but rather as an explanation of why it can be hard to sell people on transferring energies towards pyramidal.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Frater Taciturnus » Tue May 17, 2011 10:53 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
DumbJaques wrote: But in terms of scheduling issues, I guess I'm not sure what you're thinking of as an alternative. I'm not sure the show even could do anything but tape a handful of games every Saturday, just due to the nature of their model.

I've considered this point before, and I wonder if some Richmond people would be willing to explain to the board how Battle of the Brains works. It is my understanding that they tape their show on weekday afternoons/evenings, thereby obviating the need for people to miss real tournaments for a TV show.


Battle of the Brains tapes 2 episodes a day, meaning four teams are in the studio each afternoon, with the tapings for the play-in and first rounds starting just a few weeks after school starts, 2nd round tapings (episodes that start airing in february) in mid January, and so on. Usually these tapings are something like a "1:30" and a "2:30" taping which is done in the same room that they film the local news in at WTVR.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Matt Weiner » Wed May 18, 2011 1:36 am

Yeah, not only does BoB tape on weekdays, but it includes teams from as far away as Roanoke (Cave Spring) which is about a four hour drive. So people actually miss a whole day of class to be there, which wouldn't be the case for something like IA that draws on a much more compact metro area. It's eminently doable, the problem is that IA has no motivation to care.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Matt Weiner » Wed May 18, 2011 1:51 am

JamesIV wrote:I think it's worth considering the perspective of an outsider to the community, a school administrator, let's say. A pyramidal tournament is relatively expensive. There's next-to no exposure, even for a victorious team. There's no audience, there's not television time. For someone who doesn't care about the questions, it's a no-brainer. I'm not saying it as an argument for doing something like It's Academic, but rather as an explanation of why it can be hard to sell people on transferring energies towards pyramidal.


True. On the other hand, no one outside of the participants cares about the following things with no audience that are not on TV: Model UN, chess club, pretty much any sport except basketball and football at certain schools, robotics, etc. If good quizbowl had 10% of the success of those things we'd be in good shape. no?
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Matthew Jackson » Wed May 18, 2011 1:10 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:A few years ago, I sent an email to the It's Ac people wondering (among a few other things) whether or not they would consider moving to a weekday model, and perhaps seeing if they could get some advice from BoB on how to do it. The only line of their reply addressing this concern was (copy/pasted word for word) "We obviously cannot tape on a weekday." I did not find this response particularly illuminating, and so I wonder if it might be worth pursuing further.


Do we know for certain that It's Ac is the only thing that ever goes on in that room? That particular NBC studio (Studio A) may not be available during weekdays due to other taping commitments. I'm not finding much in the way of details, and the studio might not want to give them out publicly, but that's worth inquiring into (that and whether any such taping, if existent, is live).

As for other things,
Howard wrote:There's no reason any tournament in the Baltimore-DC area aimed toward the average quizbowl team shouldn't be able to draw in excess of 30 teams.


This is damn true, and it's worth noting that only two or three years ago some of them did just that (NNT had 36, TJIAT 08 had 48) while others (MOHIT, GSAC) hit 30 on the dot. Average tournament size actually seems to be shrinking in a large number of cases. If this circuit wants to keep itself afloat, I don't think it has any choice but to engage with speed or It's Ac-only teams in places like the studio itself when playing games against schools with no quizbowl, at Green Eggs and Hammond for those who can stomach it (no pun intended), or over email, explaining kindly and directly what pyramidal tournaments are, where teams can find them, and why pyramidal is enjoyable and worth doing, dropping names of resources like quizbowlpackets.com and words of encouragement along the way. It seems absurd on its face to claim that the silent majority prefers speed to pyramidal when much of that silent majority doesn't know what pyramidal is and has never had it explained to them in a reasonable way.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby JamesIV » Wed May 18, 2011 2:08 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
JamesIV wrote:I think it's worth considering the perspective of an outsider to the community, a school administrator, let's say. A pyramidal tournament is relatively expensive. There's next-to no exposure, even for a victorious team. There's no audience, there's not television time. For someone who doesn't care about the questions, it's a no-brainer. I'm not saying it as an argument for doing something like It's Academic, but rather as an explanation of why it can be hard to sell people on transferring energies towards pyramidal.


True. On the other hand, no one outside of the participants cares about the following things with no audience that are not on TV: Model UN, chess club, pretty much any sport except basketball and football at certain schools, robotics, etc. If good quizbowl had 10% of the success of those things we'd be in good shape. no?


I completely agree. In that way, I would say It's Ac is definitely a handicap, in that an administrator, when it's time to start cutting expenditures, etc., would point to It's Academic and say, "Well, that's obviously much more valuable as an experience than [insert pyramidal tournament here]." It's Academic, being big and shiny, as it were, has a draw that overshadows good quizbowl. I think if you asked the average high school principal, let's say, I imagine he or she would say, "We give just as much support to quizbowl as we do other activities" and it's just hard to convince them that the bells and whistles don't matter.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Strange Fascination » Wed May 18, 2011 9:52 pm

JamesIV wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:
JamesIV wrote:I think it's worth considering the perspective of an outsider to the community, a school administrator, let's say. A pyramidal tournament is relatively expensive. There's next-to no exposure, even for a victorious team. There's no audience, there's not television time. For someone who doesn't care about the questions, it's a no-brainer. I'm not saying it as an argument for doing something like It's Academic, but rather as an explanation of why it can be hard to sell people on transferring energies towards pyramidal.


True. On the other hand, no one outside of the participants cares about the following things with no audience that are not on TV: Model UN, chess club, pretty much any sport except basketball and football at certain schools, robotics, etc. If good quizbowl had 10% of the success of those things we'd be in good shape. no?


I completely agree. In that way, I would say It's Ac is definitely a handicap, in that an administrator, when it's time to start cutting expenditures, etc., would point to It's Academic and say, "Well, that's obviously much more valuable as an experience than [insert pyramidal tournament here]." It's Academic, being big and shiny, as it were, has a draw that overshadows good quizbowl. I think if you asked the average high school principal, let's say, I imagine he or she would say, "We give just as much support to quizbowl as we do other activities" and it's just hard to convince them that the bells and whistles don't matter.


The best thing for a team is to become financially independent. Unless you're hosting three tournaments a year (or two really successful ones) , or skipping a bunch of tournaments throughout the year, this is pretty impossible. But if you can live without being a financial drain, you won't get cut. In terms of support from the school, it's true that no one (or very few people) cares about Model UN outside of MUNers, but it doesn't really matter that much because most MUN teams from my understanding only go to a small handful of conferences a year, and pay out of pocket. Meanwhile, your typical DC circuit team goes to roughly 15 tournaments a year, each costing at least $60, in addition to two nationals, which are costing us about $1500 in registration fees alone. What has helped us is the exposure of It's Ac (and in our particular case, Jeopardy) and the awareness it's brought. We've gotten many, many donations from the PTSA, random parents, and the administration, something Model UN would not have gotten, and maybe not even are Mock Trial team, which is (arguably) more successful than our quizbowl team.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri May 20, 2011 1:02 pm

I think this seems like a relatively easy case of what needs to be done. Given that within D.C. there are a full season's worth of good tournaments, and given that almost all of them are hosted by a small group of schools (UMD, TJ, GDS, St. Anselm's, Whitman, RM), I think it would be really easy for you all to coordinate the bulk of your hosting calendar by the beginning of the school year and put it all into a calendar. Given that It's Academic posts the names of every team on the show, it should then be a fairly straightforward, if time intensive task for the hosts in D.C. to search around on all those school websites for the name of an It's Ac coach, and then send them emails and letters with that calendar of major events to try and advertise to them that they can be part of a whole other circuit of events. For schools where you can't find a teacher, you can't really email them but you can still send them a letter addressed to "It's Academic Sponsor" and hope that it ends up in their lap most of the time. If you can pick up 15 new schools that all just show up to, say, 5 events in the area next year, that's still a lot of new life being infused into the region, and those teams will be more likely to come back to more tournaments in future years if they are impressed. I think organizing the calendar early and sending it out en masse to every coach will also help alleviate the problem of people having incomplete invite lists, because it's my experience in Missouri that there are a lot of teams that might potentially show up to something who just don't hear about them thanks to not getting the invites from TDs who don't know about them. This seems to be the obvious way to attract It's Ac only teams (in fact, it seems like the only way that will yield good results), so if people in D.C. want to do this, work together on finding out all you can about teams on that It's Ac list. There are probably a bunch of other teams like Quince Orchard on there, who maybe did real tournaments years ago but drifted away for whatever reason and are now off the map but could be brought back easily if they just found out about the existence of a fuller circuit right in their backyard.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby DumbJaques » Fri May 20, 2011 4:49 pm

There are probably a bunch of other teams like Quince Orchard on there, who maybe did real tournaments years ago but drifted away for whatever reason and are now off the map but could be brought back easily if they just found out about the existence of a fuller circuit right in their backyard.



Quince Orchard does real tournaments all the time, and is attending both HSNCT and PACE. Charlie's right on about everything else though.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri May 20, 2011 7:39 pm

My point about Quince Orchard is that they did not do this until partway through the season last year when their new coach suddenly found out about the rest of the circuit, and I am well aware of this because I dealt with their wildcard bid to PACE and then advertised tournaments in the region to them that they didn't know about, and they ended up getting bids to go to both nationals by the time all was said and done and are now for sure an active team. I'm sure they aren't the only It's Ac team that could easily be attracted to the regular circuit.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby mithokie » Fri May 20, 2011 9:52 pm

Charlie is right on about MAILING invites to schools well in advance of your tournament(s) being a great way to get new schools involved. I also think it is a fabulous idea to mail out a written calendar for all of the good pyramidal tournaments in an area to coaches at local high schools. I hosted two tournaments at a very small rural school before I changed schools. I certainly got some teams to come from advertising on the boards here, but I truly believe that I got more schools to come from the snail mail invites that I sent to every public high school within a three hours drive well in advance of the tournament date. (Nothing against private schools, but the public school addresses were just easier to find). HSQB is a wonderful resource for sure, but if your goal is to expand the circuit, you must go beyond the HSQB bulletin boards for your tournament advertising. In my time as a coach, I can only recall snail mail invites from three tournament hosts.

1. Chip's NAC stuff... not that I'm a fan, but he certainly does reach out to lots of teams.
2. Dorman
3. VCU

I check the boards frequently enough to know what's going on in the world of pyramidal quizbowl. Many/most coaches do not, even if they already are fans of pyramidal quizbowl. If we want the pyramidal quizbowl circuit to be viable in more places, then we must make sure we do a top notch job of reaching out to the teams that are not regulars on the circuit AND be sure that they are getting a positive experience out of their participation in these events.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby List of Fighting Spirit characters » Sun May 22, 2011 4:15 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Wurzel-Flummery wrote:I don't know where RM's team (or most any team around here, for that matter) would be if it weren't for It's Ac

ANSWER: at real tournaments [accept playing actual quizbowl and equivalents]


Actually, proponents of good quizbowl working for the local program Quiz Kids found a great way around this. Now, attending a local IS tournament is a prerequisite to appearing on the show. They're determining seedings based on the results of the good quizbowl tournaments, probably the best of both worlds.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Strange Fascination » Sun May 22, 2011 4:52 pm

drno wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Wurzel-Flummery wrote:I don't know where RM's team (or most any team around here, for that matter) would be if it weren't for It's Ac

ANSWER: at real tournaments [accept playing actual quizbowl and equivalents]


Now, attending a local IS tournament is a prerequisite to appearing on the show.


This is incredible.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sun May 22, 2011 5:02 pm

That is pretty amazing, but i would bet anything that something like that might never happen for It's Academic.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby Strange Fascination » Sun May 22, 2011 5:20 pm

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:That is pretty amazing, but i would bet anything that something like that might never happen for It's Academic.


If there's ever a job opening for producer of "It's Academic," I'm going to find any and every former quizbowler who is even remotely qualified and force them to apply.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby JamesIV » Sun May 22, 2011 5:24 pm

Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:That is pretty amazing, but i would bet anything that something like that might never happen for It's Academic.


If there's ever a job opening for producer of "It's Academic," I'm going to find any and every former quizbowler who is even remotely qualified and force them to apply.


Seconded.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Howard » Tue May 24, 2011 12:09 am

Isaacbh wrote:...you're deluding yourself if you honestly believe that a majority of coaches in the DC area enjoy playing both pyramidal and IA quizbowl. Most coaches that do this are the exceptions, not the rules, and some of the teams that successfully compete in both either have no coaches or are basically going against their coaches by playing pyramidal.


It wasn't always this way. It was frequently the norm for me to see numerous teams at both pyramidal tournaments and IA.

Isaacbh wrote:Pretending that tournaments like this have implicit value based on the number of teams that attend is silly, and is the opposite conclusion we should be drawing from this. We should be asking WHY the hell Green Eggs and Hammond is pulling in 30 teams, who these teams are, and why they aren't playing pyramidal, if they don't already. I think we'll find an even split of teams that are actively anti-pyramidal and teams that really haven't been courted hard enough.


This isn't so clear. If teams are choosing to go to this tournament and not pyramidal tournaments, then the value is implicit as a conscious choice is being made. If teams are simply ignorant of their options or opportunities, then you're correct. Someone eventually, as you have indicated, needs to find out why this is occurring. Other than simply asking the teams, I'm not sure I know how to do this. I do know that going to the host or tournament and saying, "can we poll the teams here as to why they're attending your tournament we find repulsive" won't be very effective.

Isaacbh wrote:The only truly beneficial thing I can think of that It's Ac does is help recruiting, but even that benefit could be rendered irrelevant if quizbowl raised its profile to It's Ac levels.


There's some benefit in the form of knowledge as well, but I'll concede that this will never make a great pyramidal player and is likely to reinforce the simpler clues more than anything else. Nonetheless, the main point of me even entering this discussion is that pyramidal quizbowl is continuing to shrink, and unless we change that, all academic tournaments are likely to suffer, leading to fewer events of any type in which my team can participate.

Isaacbh wrote:People should stop saying "Well, at least 162 teams are answering questions" and start saying "Why aren't all those teams answering good questions?"


I am saying the latter, but without the preference to formats. Until pyramidal quizbowl tournaments again attract large numbers of teams, we need to be aggressively working to figure out why the circuit is continuing to shrink in such a major metropolitan area with numerous schools with academic teams.

Matt Weiner wrote:The problem is that IA competes with real tournaments.


Matt Weiner wrote:But it won't peacefully coexist, as both the show and the fake tournaments steal dates from real quizbowl. People want to do both things? Fine. It's not the real quizbowl circuit that's standing in the way of that. IA needs to change to allow for peaceful co-existence.


Pretending that this is not a mutual issue will do nothing to get more teams at pyramidal tournaments. Furthermore, tournaments drawing 12 to 20 teams (not schools, teams!) demanding that a tournament with 81 schools (or 162, depending on how you'd like to view the region) isn't likely to be effective. Typically, twelve schools are engaged on any particular taping date, so the idea that this is a mass drain from a tournament is ignoring the problem to begin with. As I said above, organizers need to find out why teams aren't attending, and as long as it doesn't compromise their principles, make the necessary changes to attract more teams.

Matt Weiner wrote:It's eminently doable, the problem is that IA has no motivation to care.

I don't necessarily agree that it's as doable as you'd have us believe, but they do in fact care. To my knowledge, It's Academic this year for the first time asked about dates to avoid. Considering their taping window, I had nothing to tell them. All the preannounced dates I know about were outside their taping schedule window. I do, however, think the idea that they can schedule 20 taping dates and effectively avoid all or most pyramidal tournaments is at the least misguided.

DumbJacques wrote:I'm not sure the show even could do anything but tape a handful of games every Saturday, just due to the nature of their model.

Prof.Whoopie wrote:The only line of their reply addressing this concern was (copy/pasted word for word) "We obviously cannot tape on a weekday." I did not find this response particularly illuminating, and so I wonder if it might be worth pursuing further.


I think Chris is most likely correct here. While the response to Aiden didn't make things very clear, I suspect there are a host of reasons why it is impractical to tape on a weekday. The Baltimore host is unlikely to be available as he has other commitments. If they were to use the BoB model:
Frater Taciturnus wrote:Usually these tapings are something like a "1:30" and a "2:30" taping which is done in the same room that they film the local news in at WTVR.

it'd require 40 taping dates between the two cities and double the set-up, clean-up, and travel expense. And
RyuAqua wrote:Do we know for certain that It's Ac is the only thing that ever goes on in that room? That particular NBC studio (Studio A) may not be available during weekdays due to other taping commitments.

is on point. Numerous shows are produced in that studio. I'm not as sure about WJZ. The main feasible thing I could see them doing would be to use Sunday taping dates, but this could potentially present its own problems as well.


Matt Weiner wrote:On the other hand, no one outside of the participants cares about the following things with no audience that are not on TV: Model UN, chess club, pretty much any sport except basketball and football at certain schools, robotics, etc. If good quizbowl had 10% of the success of those things we'd be in good shape. no?


Okay, I'll say no. Limit quizbowl to 1/3 of the school year like most sports or other competitive groups. Take 10% of your volleyball or chess club or whatever. You've got almost nothing. You can maybe take one team to three tournaments. I still think that's worse than the state of quiz bowl now. Quiz bowl needs to be aiming to be as large a draw as volleyball or other sports. In many cases, it already exceeds chess club or debate or MUN, so I can't say your argument is convincing. Add to that how many more students each of those would potentially draw if the events were televised.

DumbJacques wrote:I don't for a second buy John's argument that rightly chastising someone for failing as an educator is somehow the problem....


This isn't my argument. Maybe we have different definitions of what "failing as an educator" entails. On my team, all students who are willing to participate are welcome. They're allowed to decide the format(s) on which they'd like to focus. They're encouraged to set their own goals and work toward achieving them. I'll advise them on the necessary actions to achieve their goals, but with near zero exception, I won't force them to undertake any particular activity. They each own their successes and failures and learn from these while they're learning some academic material as well. I hope you don't think this qualifies as "failing as an educator" in the high school realm. If you do, then I think you and I have a rather large philosophical divide as to what's really important in high school education.

DumbJacques wrote:For one thing, you're presenting things as if "certain individuals on this board" (I wonder who you mean) are declaring that they've found the best way to do things, and are squaring off in a death match against everyone's freedom to choose. I take rather extreme offense to this (and I don't even think I'm one of the people you mean), because for me this IS a problem of people being able to make their own choices.


This is indeed the general impression I get, and you're right that you're not one of the people to whom I'm referring. You're also right there's one particular person who seems to be leading the charge, but there's also nothing to be gained from naming the person, even if the majority of us know who that person is. I certainly don't intend to be offensive with this, so if you're offended, it does make me wonder if I'm a little off base. It certainly seems to me that tournament organizers' freedom to choose their own tournament and question format is under attack, and teams' freedom to choose the events in which they wish to participate is under attack.

DumbJacques wrote:Specifically, I'm talking about the kids who are told they must attend a taping (even as an alternate!) instead of a tournament they'd rather play or face being banned from the team. I'm talking about 16 and 17 year-olds who have to pay out of pocket and recruit on their own because their coaches are personally insecure about attending tournaments their teams may do poorly at. I'm talking about kids who are bullied and insulted by supposed educators because they've lobbied to play pyramidal sets at practice. And you'd better believe I'd have just as big a problem if kids were being forced to miss a chance to go on tv because their coach believed an NAQT set was more important, but I'm not aware of that actually happening.


For the record, I've got a really big issue with all these things, too.

DumbJacques wrote:Is it somehow Matt Weiner's fault that when ER (despite having one of the most tenured coaches in the game) showed up at our May tournament two years ago, their captain told me "we didn't even know there were tournaments?


Absolutely not. In fact, that's one of the most disappointing things I've heard. There are a few possibilities, ranging from a combination of the coach's e-mail being dropped off mailing lists combined with some computer literacy issues, to general apathy, to a disposition that tournaments are becoming too expensive. On the other hand, I know of a handful of coaches that have boycotted certain organizers' tournaments because they believe those organizers have done things they consider so odious they think it's better to not provide their team an opportunity to play than to support those organizers. And I'd say the majority of these coaches are not what most people would consider radical. At the very least, I don't consider them radical. And I consider myself fairly radical.

DumbJacques wrote:The marginal drain on tournament attendance from the show could be ridiculously offset if it became a vehicle for directly encouraging circuit participation by the 60-70% of teams who do speed formats and nothing else.


The producers have actually expressed interest in teams being active in other tournaments. Because they know my team participates in many tournaments, they (with my permission) give my contact information to new teams, and I receive several e-mails each year from new teams looking for tournaments. I give each of them links to this board and NAQT's website as well as a list of tournaments I know about.

And this
Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:I think it would be really easy for you all to coordinate the bulk of your hosting calendar by the beginning of the school year and put it all into a calendar. Given that It's Academic posts the names of every team on the show, it should then be a fairly straightforward, if time intensive task for the hosts in D.C. to search around on all those school websites for the name of an It's Ac coach, and then send them emails and letters with that calendar of major events to try and advertise to them that they can be part of a whole other circuit of events.

sounds like a great idea. The last tournament I ran was advertised exclusively via e-mail by me attempting to gather addresses of coaches. While it had several problems I'd not like to repeat, it did draw a significant number of teams (50 if I recall) despite only having one Virginia school enter due to conflict with VHSL.
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Re: All videos of Quiz Bowl

Postby Howard » Tue May 24, 2011 1:06 am

Howard wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:Combine this with the fact that the few people who have tried to deal with this problem have been stymied due to various bad reasons.


I'd be interested in hearing what these "various bad reasons" are.


I am genuinely interested in this. Despite our many disagreements, nothing good will come from hindering the number of teams entering tournaments.

Edit: repaired quote tags. Twice.
Last edited by Howard on Thu May 26, 2011 12:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Postby DumbJaques » Tue May 24, 2011 2:44 pm

This isn't my argument. Maybe we have different definitions of what "failing as an educator" entails. On my team, all students who are willing to participate are welcome. They're allowed to decide the format(s) on which they'd like to focus. They're encouraged to set their own goals and work toward achieving them. I'll advise them on the necessary actions to achieve their goals, but with near zero exception, I won't force them to undertake any particular activity. They each own their successes and failures and learn from these while they're learning some academic material as well. I hope you don't think this qualifies as "failing as an educator" in the high school realm. If you do, then I think you and I have a rather large philosophical divide as to what's really important in high school education.


I think you're missing my point here. My point is not that this model "fails as an educator" in the slightest, and I think part of the problem here is that you're conflating your team with the teams whose coaches really do fail them in what I think is an unacceptable way. I see the argument you're making as defending that, I'm not saying it's what happens at Howard (particularly as I have no information about the program). But you're pushing for people on this board not to confront situations where coaches really are failing their students (in a way we seem to mutually agree is really bad) as, well, exactly what they are. I understand your goal is to prevent teams from being pushed away from any sort of quizbowl because of acrimonious discussion, but I'm asking you to consider that there needs to be a middle ground where coaches/programs can be held accountable for things that hurt their students.

Calling every speed tournament "fake" probably isn't the best way to do that, but it's completely misguided to get into a ridiculous back and forth about the term. If coaches are making decisions about what events they'll attend because Matt Weiner used the term "fake" instead of "pryamidally challenged" or whatever, that's more or less prima facie evidence that these coaches are not being steered by what's best for their kids. You might not think those terms are helping anything, but when you present that argument you also present one that defends coaches who respond to them by changing the educational opportunities available to their students. That seems like a pretty big problem to me.

This is indeed the general impression I get, and you're right that you're not one of the people to whom I'm referring. You're also right there's one particular person who seems to be leading the charge, but there's also nothing to be gained from naming the person, even if the majority of us know who that person is. I certainly don't intend to be offensive with this, so if you're offended, it does make me wonder if I'm a little off base.


Ugh, this is absurdly passive-aggressive and to me seems like much worse rule-breaking than any of the other stuff there's a debate about right now. Come on man, just be straightforward, this is why it's a struggle for us to take what you're saying at face value. It's also doubly absurd because everyone in the world knows who you mean, to the point that you typing out "certain person" is literally synonymous with typing out "Matt Weiner." I absolutely understand your disinterest in direct confrontations, but I think you have to admit that what you've written here is every bit as direct a confrontation as actually saying a name. I do in fact find it mildly offensive, because I think it stands in the way of a rational, mature discussion just as much as you think various things you've identified in this thread do. You can make your point that if people on this board were nicer/etc., teams would be less passionately against going to various events, but it's probably at least as true that if people stopped tossing out straw men and making these absurdly passive-aggressive arguments, it would incite a far less vociferous response from people in the dialogue.

On the other hand, I know of a handful of coaches that have boycotted certain organizers' tournaments because they believe those organizers have done things they consider so odious they think it's better to not provide their team an opportunity to play than to support those organizers. And I'd say the majority of these coaches are not what most people would consider radical. At the very least, I don't consider them radical. And I consider myself fairly radical.


Again, if you're not using specifics here, it doesn't really help anyone improve their behavior even if they agreed 100% with what you're saying. I can't imagine how boycotting a tournament that will be to the benefit of your students because of a personal beef with some dude half your age can possibly be a good coaching decision, but again I can't take what you're saying and reevaluate my position because you're just speaking in generalities and referencing ambiguous events.

The producers have actually expressed interest in teams being active in other tournaments. Because they know my team participates in many tournaments, they (with my permission) give my contact information to new teams, and I receive several e-mails each year from new teams looking for tournaments. I give each of them links to this board and NAQT's website as well as a list of tournaments I know about.


Conversely, I continue to think it's extraordinarily misguided for people on this board to hold the show up as some sort of negative. It's intensely positive for quizbowl and for the circuit, and I was merely pointing out the (minimal) taping attendance drain from Saturday tournaments would be ridiculously offset if we could reach out to a few more teams. I don't know why anyone blames the show for this, because it's something we can do. For example, there's no reason I couldn't have sent emails/mailings to every coach for every team participating in the DC show advertising our fall tournament and the circuit in general, and it's something I intend wholeheartedly to do this year.
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