Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

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Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby 1.82 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:23 am

I have placed this thread in the Collegiate Discussion board because it deals exclusively with collegiate tournaments.

In some parts of the country, it has been accepted practice for closed collegiate tournaments to be open for play by teams of high school students who do not all attend the same school. Sometimes these are called "chimera" teams, but more practically we can call them open teams, since that is what they are. Recently it appears that this practice has not been dwindling but instead spreading. Two closed tournaments this year (Early Fall Tournament and Stevenson Memorial Tournament) have made explicit provision within their eligibility rules for the presence of open high school teams. At the main site of Penn Bowl, which was generally believed to be a closed tournament and which made no mention within its tournament announcement of the eligibility of open high school teams, there was nevertheless a team of high school students at multiple schools. Discussion of this subject with various members of the quizbowl community has made it clear to me that there has been no dialogue concerning this practice, which is unfortunate because it is inadvisable.

On a fundamental level, this practice is a problem because collegiate tournaments are for college students. NAQT has long recognized this, which is why NAQT collegiate tournaments have never been open to high school teams, and ACF has more recently made the same decision to bar high school teams from its events for the same reason. At the flagship events of collegiate quizbowl, the incongruity of permitting high school teams to play is generally recognized, because they do not contribute to the purpose of determining the best collegiate teams. At other events, high school students are often allowed to play, but they are still collegiate events that should cater specifically to the needs of college students. Allowing high school students to play on open teams at otherwise closed events actively hinders tournaments from meeting those needs.

For collegiate teams, losing to high school teams is a demoralizing experience. This is true in general, but it is especially true for newer collegiate quizbowl players, since it is additionally unclear to a newcomer to quizbowl why it is that high school students are allowed to play against college students at all; to the best of my knowledge, no other intercollegiate activity does this. It is hard to imagine a circumstance in which losing to high school students would encourage a college freshman new to quizbowl to continue playing, and very easy to imagine how that experience might drive them away. When we allow high school students to team up with their talented friends from other schools to create teams better than either of their own school teams would be, the only possible effect is to increase the likelihood of such losses taking place; moreover, rather than losing to another school, collegiate teams instead find themselves losing to a random collection of teenagers. It may be true that this helps high school students play competitive matches against better competition than they would otherwise be able to play, but this should not matter, since collegiate tournaments are not designed for high school students; they have high school tournaments designed to meet their needs.

To put it another way, it is unfair for high school students to receive special privileges while playing college tournaments. It is true that it can be difficult for especially talented high school students to find teammates at their school committed enough to play college tournaments. Unfortunately, this is a problem that people face at all levels of quizbowl, and at every other level their options are to a) do a good enough job of recruiting to find teammates at the same school willing to play with them, or b) play the tournaments they want to play solo. No other regular closed tournaments at any level offer students the ability to punt on the responsibility of recruiting and simply team up with their friends from other schools; it makes no sense to allow high school students this special privilege when it is not extended to college students at college tournaments or even to high school students at their own tournaments.

Furthermore, this practice is unprofessional. Many members of the quizbowl community have worked hard over the years to professionalize the image of quizbowl and make it into a clearly legitimate interscholastic activity. Issues of professionalism are why we no longer allow random open exhibition teams to play ACF Nationals, and they are why we no longer permit the sort of wink-wink nudge-nudge conditions that prevailed in the '90s, when people could play collegiate tournaments with schools at which they had long since ceased to be enrolled. If people care about the image of quizbowl, it is difficult to defend the legitimacy of collegiate tournaments with haphazard eligibility rules, and it undermines the notion of collegiate quizbowl as an activity for colleges. I remember riding in the car to my first tournament on the road and asking Dan Puma to list off the names of all the teams that we would be playing; I would have been repulsed if he had listed a meaningless name and then explained that it was an amalgamation of high school students. I think it is reasonable to suggest that other people not immersed in quizbowl culture might feel the same way.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Karansebes Schnapps Vendor » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:21 am

Given that I was part of the chimera team at Penn Bowl, I want to apologize if any team was indeed demoralized (and I don't mean this in a sarcastic manner). Thinking back on it, I do agree that our seemingly preferred treatment as the only chimera team seemed unfair to other teams who were never given the option. However, the intention of our chimera wasn't to form a "super team" at all and I hope that wasn't the intention people get from our choice. Sohum couldn't find teammates to accompany him to the tournament, and given that most high schoolers excepting Alex Schmidt aren't willing to play 13 solo rounds of a college tournament, I believe he does deserve sympathy in this case. Again, our intent wasn't to form a superteam but to make sure we all got a chance to hear a set that would challenge us, even though we did that in an admittedly bad way that reflects poorly on us.

That being said, I don't believe we formed a superteam either. We finished behind one other high school team (High Tech A) and had comparable ppbs to both High Tech A and Lehigh, and played close games against both (within 100 points of each). If you want to argue that chimera teams can demoralize colleges by beating them, imho you shouldn't set the criteria as "is a chimera team" but rather "is an overly strong chimera team", or simply ban all high school teams. I am not trying to defend our choice to play as an open team - looking back on it I do regret the decision for the reasons you mentioned, especially because of how under the table the decision seemed. However, I don't think our specific case is a fair base of evidence to villainize all chimera teams without taking a case by case basis.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Hobbie Klivian » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:39 pm

Hi Naveed,

As Vishwa stated above, the specific decision made at Penn Bowl main site wasn't meant to create a competitive open team of HS quiz bowlers who happen to be friends. Unfortunately, one of the HS teams had to drop at the last minute due to lack of available teammates, so I allowed one player from that team to join up with Downingtown STEM. Prior to team formation, I specified to the players that the chimera team should not be a "super-team" that would significantly affect the seeding; had they not followed this advice, I would have been more hesitant in allowing the team to register.

This being said, I find the notion that college tournaments shouldn't cater to the needs of talented HS students a bit strange, since allowing HS players to play with and sometimes beat college students is a practice that dates back to the earliest days of quiz bowl. Studying from college-level sets and playing college-level tournaments are something that I wish I did during my time in high school, and there are definite benefits of high school players being exposed to something outside the traditional HS canon. Of course, for reasons that you mentioned, I am less sympathetic towards allowing a chimera team of four best HS players in the state to play in a closed tournament. However, if it's simply a matter of allowing more students to play a quiz bowl tournament by grouping them into one or two teams for convenience, I don't see how that can be possibly wrong.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby a bird » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:59 pm

I think Naveed's post bring up some important points. The issue of high school teams playing regular season tournaments is somewhat complicated since it has advantages (as Paul noted) and disadvantages, but I think in the case of open/chimera teams the loss of legitimacy probably outweighs the potential benefits.

techno wrote:That being said, I don't believe we formed a superteam either. We finished behind one other high school team (High Tech A) and had comparable ppbs to both High Tech A and Lehigh, and played close games against both (within 100 points of each). If you want to argue that chimera teams can demoralize colleges by beating them, imho you shouldn't set the criteria as "is a chimera team" but rather "is an overly strong chimera team", or simply ban all high school teams. I am not trying to defend our choice to play as an open/chimera team - looking back on it I do regret the decision for the reasons you mentioned, especially because of how under the table the decision seemed. However, I don't think our specific case is a fair base of evidence to villainize all chimera teams without taking a case by case basis.


I want to address a a few of these points from Vishwa's post re: the issue of demoralizing new collegiate teams. Even though your open/chimera team might not have been "overly strong," it was still significantly better than some (novice) college teams in the field. In most cases, a high school team (chimera or not) playing a college tournament will be able to beat teams of new college players (as the Penn Bowl open/chimera team did). As you say the demoralization issue applies to non-open high school teams as well, but it might be more demoralizing to lose to an open/chimera team.

I'm not trying to call out the specific players from the Penn Bowl open/chimera team, or Penn's decision to allow the team to play, but I think more concrete norms should be established in future. Allowing high school open/chimera teams (whether or not they're 'super teams' by a given definition) is step away from making your event a legitimate intercollegiate competition.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Karansebes Schnapps Vendor » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:16 pm

a bird wrote:
techno wrote:That being said, I don't believe we formed a superteam either. We finished behind one other high school team (High Tech A) and had comparable ppbs to both High Tech A and Lehigh, and played close games against both (within 100 points of each). If you want to argue that chimera teams can demoralize colleges by beating them, imho you shouldn't set the criteria as "is a chimera team" but rather "is an overly strong chimera team", or simply ban all high school teams. I am not trying to defend our choice to play as an open/chimera team - looking back on it I do regret the decision for the reasons you mentioned, especially because of how under the table the decision seemed. However, I don't think our specific case is a fair base of evidence to villainize all chimera teams without taking a case by case basis.


I want to address a a few of these points from Vishwa's post re: the issue of demoralizing new collegiate teams. Even though your open/chimera team might not have been "overly strong," it was still significantly better than some (novice) college teams in the field. In most cases, a high school team (chimera or not) playing a college tournament will be able to beat teams of new college players (as the Penn Bowl open/chimera team did). As you say the demoralization issue applies to non-open high school teams as well, but it might be more demoralizing to lose to an open/chimera team.


I'm not sure I see your point here; I don't see how losing to a team of 4 high schoolers is less demoralizing than, for instance, losing to a high schooler playing solo or a B team from a high school. I'm not arguing that neither of those teams should have been allowed to play, but rather that I believe this issue goes beyond chimera teams and that blaming primarily chimera teams might be missing the point.

That being said,

a bird wrote: I'm not trying to call out the specific players from the Penn Bowl open/chimera team, or Penn's decision to allow the team to play, but I think more concrete norms should be established in future. Allowing high school open/chimera teams (whether or not they're 'super teams' by a given definition) is step away from making your event a legitimate intercollegiate competition.


I 100% agree with this; I wish our chimera hadn't seemed so illicit. I think the extenuating circumstances make this a hard case to judge, but my biggest regret is that most teams didn't even know they had this option available, even though we took advantage of it.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Cheynem » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:21 pm

Assuming the tournament (like ACF or NAQT tournaments) doesn't disallow high school teams, I see nothing wrong with allowing high schoolers playing tournaments, but I do think they should follow the same eligibility rules as college teams. If a Rutgers player had no teammates or a Delaware player had no way of getting to the tournament, we would not simply allow a hybrid team of multiple schools--the same should be true of high schoolers. Losing to a team of high schoolers or even a high school player playing solo may be demoralizing, but I think there's a sense of logic and fairness behind the loss, more so than losing to a hybrid team.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:22 pm

I think there's a non-zero marginal effect going in both directions here - giving talented high schoolers more opportunity to play in college may encourage them to play later in college, and giving weaker college teams some strong high school opponents may discourage them from playing.

Somewhat tangentially, I once got a specific request for a tournament I was editing that a player be allowed to play with their old college team, which he had effectively been keeping afloat as an organization and was one of the drivers for (despite not living nearby). Essentially, if we didn't allow him to play, he (understandably) wouldn't have made extra multiple-hour drives necessary to attend and his team might not have attended. We thus decided to let him play, and I'm fairly happy with the decision we made. I don't want to draw attention to this individual, so I won't provide further specifics - but what I do want to say is that, while allowing some odd teams to play may discourage some people, not allowing them to play can discourage others.

To be 100% clear, I believe that the tournaments run by organizations which produce the national championships should be sacrosanct, for precisely the reasons Naveed outlined, and I've come around to the position of disallowing high school teams to compete in these tournaments at all. For others, I think careful consideration on the impact to quizbowl of allowing teams to play vs. not allowing them to play should be taken into account for individual circumstances. The general rule should be to disallow (especially when you have a team that you can go with but you'd rather rack up points with your buddy from QBGood High School) but I don't see a need to make it an absolute.

Finally, I do want to point out that getting more teams to play brings in more money for people writing a tournament, and this really can't be dismissed as a motivating factor. I don't think it's a bad one, either - Penn's club puts a non-insignificant amount of work into their tournament and to my understanding they have to pay pretty hefty fees to rent rooms for their tournaments on-campus. Paying writers good money for questions is important, and helps incentivize them to improve quality.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:50 pm

Since about 2011, the norms of quizbowl have very much been against allowing anything other than a team of people who currently attend the same university playing most college tournaments, except for 1-3 per year that are marked as "open". I believe that, traditionally, an exception is made for remote parts of the quizbowl world (like the Pacific Northwest) where there might not be enough teams to run a tournament without the inclusion of open teams. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are not traditionally numbered among these fringes of the quizbowl empire.

My personal view is that at most non-Nationals, non-Regionals tournaments, allowing an open or high school team to play under some kind of 'exhibition status' is okay, as the outcome of these tournaments isn't all that important, but I think post-2011 this is very much a minority view. For high school teams specifically, there is the concern that since high school teams vastly outnumber college teams, and most tournaments have finite rooms/buzzers/moderators, allowing high school teams to sign up can potentially lead to college teams not being able to attend a tournament because the field size cap has already been reached. This was the specific reason that ACF Nationals (a tournament historically limited to just a few dozen teams for logistical reasons) banned high school teams.

Having different eligibility criteria for mixed high school and mixed college teams at the same tournament seems wrong. I have defended many heterodox quizbowl theory views in my day and can't really think of a good defense of this one.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby a bird » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:47 pm

techno wrote:I'm not sure I see your point here; I don't see how losing to a team of 4 high schoolers is less demoralizing than, for instance, losing to a high schooler playing solo or a B team from a high school. I'm not arguing that neither of those teams should have been allowed to play, but rather that I believe this issue goes beyond chimera teams and that blaming primarily chimera teams might be missing the point.


My reasoning is essentially what Mike posted above. I think the issue of legitimacy is more important, but I wanted to draw attention this smaller point.

Clearly, as Will and others have pointed out, there are costs and benefits to allowing high school teams to play college events, in general, and in the specific case of open/hybrid teams. I don't fault any particular TD for allowing hybrid high school teams, but I think we should take input from the community as a whole rather than leaving the decision to individual TD's and editors. Organizers of a particular tournament are likely to make the decision best for their particular event (e.g. allowing an open/chimera to play because of scheduling or financial reasons), not necessarily the decision best for quizbowl as a whole. I agree with Will that revenue is a legitimate reason to allow more teams to play a tournament. This is in general good for the collegiate quizbowl community, but that doesn't mean it outweighs the downsides to allowing open/hybrid teams.

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:My personal view is that at most non-Nationals, non-Regionals tournaments, allowing an open or high school team to play under some kind of 'exhibition status' is okay, as the outcome of these tournaments isn't all that important, but I think post-2011 this is very much a minority view. For high school teams specifically, there is the concern that since high school teams vastly outnumber college teams, and most tournaments have finite rooms/buzzers/moderators, allowing high school teams to sign up can potentially lead to college teams not being able to attend a tournament because the field size cap has already been reached. This was the specific reason that ACF Nationals (a tournament historically limited to just a few dozen teams for logistical reasons) banned high school teams.


I don't think there's anything wrong with this position, but I think if we want tournaments like Penn Bowl (i.e. regular season non-Regionals/SCT tournaments) to be viewed as legitimate intercollegiate competitions, we should treat eligibility rules a little more seriously.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby A Very Long Math Tossup » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:57 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I believe that, traditionally, an exception is made for remote parts of the quizbowl world (like the Pacific Northwest) where there might not be enough teams to run a tournament without the inclusion of open teams.


In addition, high school players in "remote" areas may not get a lot of other opportunities to play. I went to high school in Boise, where we would be lucky to have 3 tournaments a year, sometimes with only Treasure Valley and Boise attending (not to disparage the work of Colin McNamara, who has done a great job keeping the circuit running all these years). Playing against the few people every time can get boring, and a college tournament can provide a nice break from that monotony. Several years ago, when I first started playing, our team attended the Boise site of ACF Fall--this was when ACF still allowed high school teams--and it was a great experience.

At the recent Boise EFT mirror, there was an open high school team in the field (Treasure Valley + Timberline + homeschool), and I think it was a win for everyone involved--we got another team to play against, and the high schoolers got a chance to play against good competition (though they did end up beating Boise State's teams--if a BSU player wants to share their perspective, that would be great).
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby The Squamous Homarid » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:52 pm

*Note, these are my own opinions and do not represent those of my team.

Okay, so allowing open high school teams to play at easy college tournaments is certainly a bad idea; but Penn Bowl is surely not the best example of this behavior as it usually only attracts experienced college teams and some really motivated high schoolers. Your argument that high schoolers should focus more on recruiting or just play solo for a college tournament is lazy advice at best. To give some context for Sohum's action at Penn Bowl, I was planning on attending Penn Bowl with him but had to bail due to a few things that came up, and we only had like 1 or 2 people that were of a high enough caliber to support him at Penn Bowl (both of whom also had personal obligations that day), stating that a high schooler should just focus more on recruiting people to attend tournaments shows that one doesn't understand how hard it is to recruit people in high school, getting people to go to a hard high school tournament is already hard enough, much less a regular college tournament; asserting that a high schooler can play solo at Penn Bowl is also a preposterous thing to say as most people are specialists who need a team to support them. Furthermore, using your own personal definition of "professionality" to label a certain practice as illegitimate does not make a good argument for your position at all and I'm sure many people hold different opinions on this practice.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby wcheng » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:58 pm

Waley, I'm going to have to disagree with the premise of your post.

While I have nothing against the idea of high schoolers playing closed regular-difficulty college tournaments (I myself played ACF Regionals with my high school team back when this was allowed), I certainly don't think that not having enough players is a good excuse for high schoolers to circumvent closed field restrictions and form chimera teams. You say that Penn Bowl "usually only attracts experienced college teams and some really motivated high schoolers," which is complete untrue in my experience. In all of my three years at Maryland, we have sent inexperienced teams consisting mostly of new players to the tournament, and so have other schools as well--just take a look at all of the B and C teams in this year's field. I don't think that this should be surprising given that Penn Bowl has been the first regular-difficulty event in the last three years, so it has been a great opportunity to give new players a taste of a "normal" collegiate tournament.

Now, you say that it's hard to recruit high schoolers to attend quizbowl tournaments, and I won't argue with you on that point. I know that much from experience. That being said, however, the high schoolers who want to attend collegiate quizbowl tournaments tend to be the most motivated high school quizbowlers, and I expect that many of them will find ways to attend collegiate quizbowl tournaments in spite of their difficulty in finding players (futhermore, they're probably not going to quit quizbowl if they can't find a good team). On the other hand, these new collegiate teams don't have anywhere near as much of a commitment to quizbowl, and it's entirely possible that a bad impression of collegiate quizbowl formed by having to play chimera high school teams (whether they think it is unprofessional, demoralizing, or just strange) will drive them away from further involvement. As an active college player, I hope for continued expansion of the circuit, and I know that there will always be plenty of talented former high school players who continue in college. What isn't guaranteed, though, is that new players who join in college will stick around.

Finally, I don't think that the inconvenience of not having teammates justifies forming chimera teams at collegiate closed tournaments. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from signing up a team by yourself and playing on your own at Penn Bowl. You probably won't win many games, but you will get exposure to harder questions written by experienced writers, which I think is the real benefit of playing collegiate tournaments for high schoolers--not trying to win the tournament, since that's nearly impossible to begin with. My conclusion is that I welcome high schoolers to play closed collegiate tournaments, but I don't think that their feelings of inconvenience or personal inadequacy should override established standards of eligibility for closed tournaments.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby theMoMA » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:22 pm

I'd argue that there are certain things that hosts owe teams when they host a tournament, and one of those things is fair competition. For any event, an important component of fair competition is that teams can expect all other teams to abide by the stated eligibility restrictions. If one set of players (high school) is allowed to create open-eligibility teams, while another set of players (collegiate) is forced to play only with other attendees at their school, and this is not an understood and agreed-upon part of the eligibility restrictions, the collegiate players have not received fair competition. Furthermore, the high school players have received a benefit--playing on an open team--that does not correspond with any particular thing that the host owed to them. (As people have pointed out upthread, nothing would have prevented the players in question from playing the tournament in allowable configurations; while that would certainly have been a challenge for those players, it's not a host's job to make sure that teams get to play a tournament exactly as they would like to, especially when allowing that would strip other teams of the fair competition they're owed.)

I want to go a bit broader and suggest that, at most collegiate tournaments, there is another overriding thing that hosts owe teams at the circuit at large, which is that they will put on the best event possible for the collegiate circuit. Although high schoolers undeniably benefit from playing collegiate tournaments, hosts should consider whether that benefit, which does not accrue to the collegiate circuit, is worth the potential cost to the actual collegiate players at the tournament. I don't suggest that every college event should be closed to high schoolers, who are often a crucial part of a higher-level tournament ecosystem, especially in regions less dense with colleges. But a premier regular-season event like Penn Bowl, in a crowded region like the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast, seems like it should be a collegiate-only event to me, and it certainly does not seem like the kind of event that should be making special accommodations for talented high school players to band together in disregard of the eligibility restrictions that bind everyone else.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:37 pm

High school teams can and should be allowed to play the regular closed college tournaments for which they are eligible, but if they want to play up a level, they need to be mature enough to be able to play by the same rules as everyone else, which means if you can't convince your school's teammates to come with you, you'd better be ready to play solo or not play at all. If you think that's not fair, then tell it to the dozens of college players who have been forced to attend tournaments solo, it's not like they weren't put at a huge disadvantage. If you aren't ready to accept this and other standard college rules, then you aren't ready for college quizbowl.

Penn Bowl, and other TDs of tournaments that aren't open: please don't ever allow chimera teams of any provenance.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:42 pm

My only possible addendum worth discussing is to bring up the practice (which is infinitely more widespread through much of the high school circuit) of finding out that some team dropped an hour before the tournament and then making a call for extra players who are at the tournament to come together and make a scab exhibition team. I am almost certain that at some point or another I was forced to use one of these teams at Mizzou, and nobody cared. It's probably not going to come up as much in college since there usually aren't alternates or random extra players hanging around, but if it's 8:30 and a team just dropped and you don't have a good replacement schedule, do people at large have a problem with a random last minute exhibition team being plugged in to make the schedule work?
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby dtaylor4 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:45 pm

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:My only possible addendum worth discussing is to bring up the practice (which is infinitely more widespread through much of the high school circuit) of finding out that some team dropped an hour before the tournament and then making a call for extra players who are at the tournament to come together and make a scab exhibition team. I am almost certain that at some point or another I was forced to use one of these teams at Mizzou, and nobody cared. It's probably not going to come up as much in college since there usually aren't alternates or random extra players hanging around, but if it's 8:30 and a team just dropped and you don't have a good replacement schedule, do people at large have a problem with a random last minute exhibition team being plugged in to make the schedule work?


In your example of a last-minute drop, I think the principle of "playing quizbowl > bye round" would apply. I've also seen it come up where no one drops, but the schedule is 1 off of a really nice number (23, 29, 15, etc), and a chimera team would make the scheduling much smoother. That being said, these scenarios are more "in case of emergency, break glass" than anything.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:48 pm

Also, I find it amusing that the practice of open high school teams is clearly what led Naveed to mistakenly grind this axe in the wrong thread and pose a (slight) risk to a perfectly legitimate closed team. If it were standard practice for all teams to be closed, and all pseudonymous teams to simply be doing it to cover their ass, things would be safer for those teams than the current wild west of people making silly posts demanding to know the secret identities of kids who are trying not to be punished unfairly by their schools or state governing bodies.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby insohumniac » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:02 pm

I have put off writing a response to this, but I do feel that it is warranted, especially considering my role in the formation of the team as it came to be. While I do respect the opinions stated before, I would like to say that, for the record, I could have helped avoid this scenario by choosing not to attend this particular tournament. This simple decision would have left Downingtown STEM, a perfectly capable and talented team, with a roster of three people, a predicament teams across all levels will inevitably have to face at a tournament. While I do think that Vishwa and Waley had cogent arguments, I believe that what happened is ultimately due to my foolishness, and something that I should have addressed immediately. I know how difficult it is to get a team to stay playing in quizbowl: it's been the core caveat of my efforts in trying to get more Delaware high schools to play quizbowl. Many teams in Delaware haven't played in years because they are simply scared of losing, and thus see no benefit in participating further. If we want this activity to continue, the focus should remain on learning and fostering an environment where students feel encouraged to learn beyond classes and assignments. That was a lot of my motivation for going to Penn Bowl. But that doesn't validate my actions, or forgive them. In retrospect, my actions in deliberately choosing to go to this tournament caused more harm than good. While I personally knew a lot of my opponents before I played them, I cannot refute the argument that losing to a high school team is demoralizing. In my three years of quizbowl, I have made no mistake more regrettable than this, even if the reception to my action was mixed and may not have been as harmful as I think it was. As Waley said, there were "obligations" that my other peers had. In reality, this was his way of trying to say that my peers, remembering their place as teenagers, and more importantly high schoolers, prioritized attending homecoming instead of Penn Bowl. No matter how many buzzes or powers I got or bonuses I helped answer last Saturday, I am a high schooler, and should have attended homecoming instead of Penn Bowl. While I can't say that I'm the social type or that I would have had a 'crew' to hang out with, it would have been a better decision than to potentially dissuade collegiate students from further participating in an activity that has numerous benefits. I had fun at this tournament. It was well run, the moderators were excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed the question set. Regardless, this is something that I should have ruminated about at length before committing to, and as such, I apologize for my actions, knowing that I may well have hindered the growth of quizbowl through a careless mistake.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Noble Rot » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:21 pm

Takanashi Rikka wrote:Okay, so allowing open high school teams to play at easy college tournaments is certainly a bad idea; but Penn Bowl is surely not the best example of this behavior as it usually only attracts experienced college teams and some really motivated high schoolers. Your argument that high schoolers should focus more on recruiting or just play solo for a college tournament is lazy advice at best. To give some context for Sohum's action at Penn Bowl, I was planning on attending Penn Bowl with him but had to bail due to a few things that came up, and we only had like 1 or 2 people that were of a high enough caliber to support him at Penn Bowl (both of whom also had personal obligations that day), stating that a high schooler should just focus more on recruiting people to attend tournaments shows that one doesn't understand how hard it is to recruit people in high school, getting people to go to a hard high school tournament is already hard enough, much less a regular college tournament; asserting that a high schooler can play solo at Penn Bowl is also a preposterous thing to say as most people are specialists who need a team to support them. Furthermore, using your own personal definition of "professionality" to label a certain practice as illegitimate does not make a good argument for your position at all and I'm sure many people hold different opinions on this practice.


I'm not trying to be mean, but two things here:

First, that claim about high schoolers playing Penn Bowl solo is a little disingenuous when Alex Schmidt literally played this tournament solo.

Second, I'm not trying to make this thread appear to be a Maryland cabal, but the community has established standards for what makes good quizbowl "good," as professionality is one of the major things that separates good quizbowl from AUK and Chipbowl. One of these standards is that the rules of a tournament are established ahead of time and aren't changed on the whims of whoever is running the tournament or the desires of a particular player/team.

insohumniac wrote:I have put off writing a response to this, but I do feel that it is warranted, especially considering my role in the formation of the team as it came to be. While I do respect the opinions stated before, I would like to say that, for the record, I could have helped avoid this scenario by choosing not to attend this particular tournament. This simple decision would have left Downingtown STEM, a perfectly capable and talented team, with a roster of three people, a predicament teams across all levels will inevitably have to face at a tournament. While I do think that Vishwa and Waley had cogent arguments, I believe that what happened is ultimately due to my foolishness, and something that I should have addressed immediately. I know how difficult it is to get a team to stay playing in quizbowl: it's been the core caveat of my efforts in trying to get more Delaware high schools to play quizbowl. Many teams in Delaware haven't played in years because they are simply scared of losing, and thus see no benefit in participating further. If we want this activity to continue, the focus should remain on learning and fostering an environment where students feel encouraged to learn beyond classes and assignments. That was a lot of my motivation for going to Penn Bowl. But that doesn't validate my actions, or forgive them. In retrospect, my actions in deliberately choosing to go to this tournament caused more harm than good. While I personally knew a lot of my opponents before I played them, I cannot refute the argument that losing to a high school team is demoralizing. In my three years of quizbowl, I have made no mistake more regrettable than this, even if the reception to my action was mixed and may not have been as harmful as I think it was. As Waley said, there were "obligations" that my other peers had. In reality, this was his way of trying to say that my peers, remembering their place as teenagers, and more importantly high schoolers, prioritized attending homecoming instead of Penn Bowl. No matter how many buzzes or powers I got or bonuses I helped answer last Saturday, I am a high schooler, and should have attended homecoming instead of Penn Bowl. While I can't say that I'm the social type or that I would have had a 'crew' to hang out with, it would have been a better decision than to potentially dissuade collegiate students from further participating in an activity that has numerous benefits. I had fun at this tournament. It was well run, the moderators were excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed the question set. Regardless, this is something that I should have ruminated about at length before committing to, and as such, I apologize for my actions, knowing that I may well have hindered the growth of quizbowl through a careless mistake.


Edit: I don't think you need to apologize: no one's accusing you of being an "evil demon" out to destroy quizbowl, just that perhaps what occurred at Penn Bowl was not preferable, and can be fixed in the future.

Moving onto the topic at hand, I'd like to point out that this is remarkably similar to the situation that occurred last year at UCLA's mirror of Terrapin, and the community decided that a tournament can have adjustable eligibility rules, but they need to be clearly stated, so as to be fair to all. Without accusing either the folks of Downington, Charter, or Penn, I'll just say that I strongly believe that if a tournament wants to allow open high school teams to play, that's fine, but it needs to clearly state that in the announcement for said tournament, much like if open collegiate teams are allowed to play.

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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:24 pm

Noble Rot wrote:Moving on the topic at hand, I'd like to point out that this is remarkably similar to the situation that occurred last year at UCSD's mirror of Terrapin, and the community decided that a tournament can have adjustable eligibility rules, but they need to be clearly stated, so as to be fair to all. Without accusing either the folks of Downington, Charter, or Penn, I'll just say that I strongly believe that if a tournament wants to allow open high school teams to play, that's fine, but it needs to clearly state that in the announcement for said tournament, much like if open collegiate teams are allowed to play.


So, I'll play devil's advocate here as the person behind part of what happened at that UCLA mirror.

I deliberately avoided trying to go public with my plans because I knew a bunch of people would come out and talk shit, give the hosts a lot of crap beforehand, etc. Moreover - and this doesn't apply to my case since I was a non-student when I played Terrapin, but I think it's worth noting anyways - these people strike me as having extremely little sympathy, since almost all of them tended to be people from robust, well-established quizbowl programs and generally wouldn't have had much experience with teammates routinely totally fucking out on them (I'm glad to hear a greater diversity of voices in this thread, particularly from Charlie). Of course, a heated discussion occurred after - and, given the circumstances, perhaps rightly so - but at least the tournament happened, a fair result was determined, and I think there were some other net positive outcomes.

In any case, I do think that a large marquee event like the main site of Penn Bowl should probably try to set some more rigid standards, given its relative standing in the community, the fact that there's not a real problem with circuit stagnation in the area, its ability to attract a number of full high school teams, and a litany of other reasons. I myself plan to explicitly set such standards for large mirrors of non-ACF, non-NAQT, closed tournaments that I work on in the future - in particular, I have some retroactive misgivings about my decision to allow two strong high school players to play EFT together, given that either of them could have played solo (I don't think I payed enough attention to who the players were - turns out one of them played NSC solo). But as long as there continue to be forum posters who engage in white-knighting on behalf of hypothetical persons (as opposed to real people in some smaller circuits who may privately express puzzlement or annoyance at such attitudes) it's hard to blame hosts for not wanting to bother with the headache of defending themselves if they follow what "the community decided" and are clear about open / closed expectations, but get given crap anyways.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby jonpin » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:50 pm

Here's the thing... either quiz bowl is a competition that has rules, or it's a competition that has guidelines which can be waived if you're in the in-crowd and know the right people. If it's the latter, and new people who aren't in the in-crowd show up to a college tournament to find a hybrid team of high schoolers, some of them are probably going to think "what the hell is this?"
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Noble Rot » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:04 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Noble Rot wrote:Moving on the topic at hand, I'd like to point out that this is remarkably similar to the situation that occurred last year at UCSD's mirror of Terrapin, and the community decided that a tournament can have adjustable eligibility rules, but they need to be clearly stated, so as to be fair to all. Without accusing either the folks of Downington, Charter, or Penn, I'll just say that I strongly believe that if a tournament wants to allow open high school teams to play, that's fine, but it needs to clearly state that in the announcement for said tournament, much like if open collegiate teams are allowed to play.


So, I'll play devil's advocate here as the person behind part of what happened at that UCLA mirror.

I deliberately avoided trying to go public with my plans because I knew a bunch of people would come out and talk shit, give the hosts a lot of crap beforehand, etc. Moreover - and this doesn't apply to my case since I was a non-student when I played Terrapin, but I think it's worth noting anyways - these people strike me as having extremely little sympathy, since almost all of them tended to be people from robust, well-established quizbowl programs and generally wouldn't have had much experience with teammates routinely totally fucking out on them (I'm glad to hear a greater diversity of voices in this thread, particularly from Charlie). Of course, a heated discussion occurred after - and, given the circumstances, perhaps rightly so - but at least the tournament happened, a fair result was determined, and I think there were some other net positive outcomes.

In any case, I do think that a large marquee event like the main site of Penn Bowl should probably try to set some more rigid standards, given its relative standing in the community, the fact that there's not a real problem with circuit stagnation in the area, its ability to attract a number of full high school teams, and a litany of other reasons. I myself plan to explicitly set such standards for large mirrors of non-ACF, non-NAQT, closed tournaments that I work on in the future - in particular, I have some retroactive misgivings about my decision to allow two strong high school players to play EFT together, given that either of them could have played solo (I don't think I payed enough attention to who the players were - turns out one of them played NSC solo). But as long as there continue to be forum posters who engage in white-knighting on behalf of hypothetical persons (as opposed to real people in some smaller circuits who may privately express puzzlement or annoyance at such attitudes) it's hard to blame hosts for not wanting to bother with the headache of defending themselves if they follow what "the community decided" and are clear about open / closed expectations, but get given crap anyways.


I wasn't trying to play any sort of "white knight" or "moral crusader," so sorry if my experience being limited to the Mid-Atlantic circuit makes my comments come off in that manner. Let me rephrase what I said earlier - my understanding of the tentative agreement reached in that thread was that for small, relatively isolated circuits, it's fine if the rules eligibility rules are changed, its just that this needs to be transparent (neither of which applied to this particular situation.) Did I draw the wrong conclusion based off of that thread?
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:09 pm

Yeah, to clarify - hosts should be up front about eligibility, rules, etc. But if, going forward, we're gonna say that it's okay as long as hosts are explicit about these things, then we have to actually act that way too! I think it's the prerogative of the editors of a tournament, the host, and others to determine things based on circumstance, then lay these out in their announcements. It's worth remembering that it's the writers and hosts who are providing the service and putting in a lot of work to do so, and it's definitely their right to set the rules under which teams can play (as much as it is the right of teams to boycott the tournament).

I wasn't trying to play any sort of "white knight" or "moral crusader," so sorry if my experience being limited to the Mid-Atlantic circuit makes my comments come off in that manner. Let me rephrase what I said earlier - my understanding of the tentative agreement reached in that thread was that for small, relatively isolated circuits, it's fine if the rules eligibility rules are changed, its just that this needs to be transparent (neither of which applied to this particular situation.) Did I draw the wrong conclusion based off of that thread?


My mistake, the "white knight" comment was not directed at you. You conclusion is correct and I agree with it.

EDIT: To clarify more - what I object to is people who engage in obvious self-righteous posturing and raise a ruckus about decisions that others have made within the framework of this "community consensus" and do so with an appeal to hypothetical persons who are discouraged. However, being familiar with the broken windows fallacy, I am certainly sympathetic to the idea that these effects may be unseen - i.e. we likely won't be able to find out who was discouraged (because they don't play) whereas it's clear who does benefit. Still, given the proclivity of people on these forums to make statements for self-righteous purposes, with the knowledge that they'll have a cacophony of voices to join them in the verbal mud-flinging (or to add to this mud-flinging themselves), I think these sorts of actions are worth calling out.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Hobbie Klivian » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:17 pm

Thanks to everyone who took their time to voice their thoughts on the general matter; it certainly gave me few things to think about.

However, since the current conversation inevitably ended up being focused on the single incident from Penn Bowl main site, I would like to apologize for the lack of transparency and professionalism in allowing the chimera team in the field. You should chalk up whatever happened in Penn Bowl 2017 as an ill-advised, last minute decision by an inexperienced TD. I've always favored the philosophy that "more quiz bowl is better" for everyone involved, but it's clear that bending around eligibility rules under the table is not the right way to go about this no matter the circumstances. I've certainly learned a lot from this experience, and I promise that we will do our best to ensure everyone gets a fair competition at future Penn tournaments.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:20 pm

Wes Janson wrote:Thanks to everyone who took their time to voice their thoughts on the general matter; it certainly gave me few things to think about.

However, since the current conversation inevitably ended up being focused on the single incident from Penn Bowl main site, I would like to apologize for the lack of transparency and professionalism in allowing the chimera team in the field. You should chalk up whatever happened in Penn Bowl 2017 as an ill-advised, last minute decision by an inexperienced TD. I've always favored the philosophy that "more quiz bowl is better" for everyone involved, but it's clear that bending around eligibility rules under the table is not the right way to go about this no matter the circumstances. I've certainly learned a lot from this experience, and I promise that we will do our best to ensure everyone gets a fair competition at future Penn tournaments.


I would like to take this opportunity congratulate a self-proclaimed "inexperienced TD" for what strikes me as, overall, a successful Penn Bowl tournament, apart from whatever controversy it sparked. From what I heard from others, 13 games of a rather challenging college tournament were finished before 7PM. Even if this was only in the top bracket, that's really good, and you and all the staff (including OP) deserve a round of applause for that.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby 1.82 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:53 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:But as long as there continue to be forum posters who engage in white-knighting on behalf of hypothetical persons (as opposed to real people in some smaller circuits who may privately express puzzlement or annoyance at such attitudes) it's hard to blame hosts for not wanting to bother with the headache of defending themselves if they follow what "the community decided" and are clear about open / closed expectations, but get given crap anyways.


Hey, this has nothing to do with anything that's happened. The fundamental principle of interscholastic quizbowl is that teams are made up of students who all play for the same school, and this applies at any tournament that isn't explicitly declared open. There have been problems when people in this community (including but not limited to you) have failed to understand that this rule is in fact a rule even when it's inconvenient. Strangely, this isn't a headache for most people, and it's not something they need to defend themselves from!

Anyway, to bring this back to the original purpose of the thread, quizbowl isn't Outback Steakhouse, which is to say that there are rules. If high school students want to play collegiate tournaments, then they are also subject to those same rules. Nobody yet has advanced a cogent argument in this thread as to why they shouldn't be.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:17 am

jonpin wrote:Here's the thing... either quiz bowl is a competition that has rules, or it's a competition that has guidelines which can be waived if you're in the in-crowd and know the right people. If it's the latter, and new people who aren't in the in-crowd show up to a college tournament to find a hybrid team of high schoolers, some of them are probably going to think "what the hell is this?"


yeah

1.82 wrote:Hey, this has nothing to do with anything that's happened. The fundamental principle of interscholastic quizbowl is that teams are made up of students who all play for the same school, and this applies at any tournament that isn't explicitly declared open. There have been problems when people in this community (including but not limited to you) have failed to understand that this rule is in fact a rule even when it's inconvenient. Strangely, this isn't a headache for most people, and it's not something they need to defend themselves from!


yeah!
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Aaron's Rod » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:53 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:My only possible addendum worth discussing is to bring up the practice (which is infinitely more widespread through much of the high school circuit) of finding out that some team dropped an hour before the tournament and then making a call for extra players who are at the tournament to come together and make a scab exhibition team. I am almost certain that at some point or another I was forced to use one of these teams at Mizzou, and nobody cared. It's probably not going to come up as much in college since there usually aren't alternates or random extra players hanging around, but if it's 8:30 and a team just dropped and you don't have a good replacement schedule, do people at large have a problem with a random last minute exhibition team being plugged in to make the schedule work?


In your example of a last-minute drop, I think the principle of "playing quizbowl > bye round" would apply. I've also seen it come up where no one drops, but the schedule is 1 off of a really nice number (23, 29, 15, etc), and a chimera team would make the scheduling much smoother. That being said, these scenarios are more "in case of emergency, break glass" than anything.

In terms of advancing a "cogent argument" in this thread as to bending eligibility rules, I think that for scheduling reasons it's not the worst thing to have an "exhibition"/nonstandard team, as long as you take great care to make sure that team isn't overpowered. That is, the experience of playing that team should be better than the experience of having a bye or a terrible schedule. But if you're a mirror site, you should definitely get the blessing of the writers or whoever before you do so. (When I ran EMT last year at Minnesota I allowed a nonstudent to play as an 8th team that I sorely needed, but didn't allow a collegiate chimera team that would have been grossly overpowered with respect to the field. Maybe not the most orthodox decision, though.)
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby theMoMA » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:59 am

As Will acknowledged in one of his posts, we're always going to be speculating when we're discussing whether a particular quizbowl policy might cause players to be put off from playing future events. Teams that aren't as connected to the circuit, and players who aren't yet strongly connected to their teams, presumably leave for various reasons (likely a mix of several reasons) and don't exactly take an exit survey when they go. So we're going to have to guess at what might discourage or drive away these players if we're going to discuss those issues at all. With that in mind, it's probably not the greatest idea to characterize that kind of discussion as "white knighting," because that poisons the well for any kind of discussion about players who, by virtue of already having left quizbowl for some reason, aren't around to tell us why.

I confess that I don't know what ultimately drives someone to quit the game; as I said above, I suspect that a variety of factors play into each individual's decision to leave. I do know that a persistent complaint from people who, although they've remained involved, are at the periphery of the game, is that they feel discouraged from further participation by their sense that quizbowl is a group of connected insiders, and that if you're not a part of the club, you're not afforded the same benefits or seen as a valuable contributor. Again, I confess that this is mostly speculation, coupled with my own decade-old experience breaking into the circuit from what was then a disparaged program, but I suspect that there is something to the idea that quizbowl can feel like an elitist cabal to someone just breaking into the game. To speculate further, I suspect that talented players knowing the tournament director well enough to get special dispensation to play events outside of the normal eligibility requirements, if such a thing were to come to light, would feel, to someone who wasn't as connected, like proof that there is a group of insiders who trade favors amongst themselves, even if that's not exactly what's happening.

It seems, at least to me, that it's important to have rules and enforce them evenly because it gives everyone the sense that they're treated fairly, regardless of their connections to the people running a particular event. I don't have an issue with people making exceptions in the right circumstances, but possible exceptions (and the opportunity to request them) should be laid out ahead of time so that people don't feel that you need to be an insider to avail yourself of these benefits.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Ben Dillon » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:39 pm

1.82 wrote:On a fundamental level, this practice is a problem because collegiate tournaments are for college students. NAQT has long recognized this, which is why NAQT collegiate tournaments have never been open to high school teams, and ACF has more recently made the same decision to bar high school teams from its events for the same reason. At the flagship events of collegiate quizbowl, the incongruity of permitting high school teams to play is generally recognized, because they do not contribute to the purpose of determining the best collegiate teams. At other events, high school students are often allowed to play, but they are still collegiate events that should cater specifically to the needs of college students. Allowing high school students to play on open teams at otherwise closed events actively hinders tournaments from meeting those needs.


Maybe this isn't the most relevant point, but wouldn't the same argument apply to middle schools playing at the high school level? Shouldn't NAQT have barred a talented middle school such as Kealing from HSNCT? I don't recall them being a standby team, after all; perhaps they took the place of a deserving high school team?
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Important Bird Area » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:46 pm

Ben Dillon wrote:
1.82 wrote:On a fundamental level, this practice is a problem because collegiate tournaments are for college students. NAQT has long recognized this, which is why NAQT collegiate tournaments have never been open to high school teams, and ACF has more recently made the same decision to bar high school teams from its events for the same reason. At the flagship events of collegiate quizbowl, the incongruity of permitting high school teams to play is generally recognized, because they do not contribute to the purpose of determining the best collegiate teams. At other events, high school students are often allowed to play, but they are still collegiate events that should cater specifically to the needs of college students. Allowing high school students to play on open teams at otherwise closed events actively hinders tournaments from meeting those needs.


Maybe this isn't the most relevant point, but wouldn't the same argument apply to middle schools playing at the high school level? Shouldn't NAQT have barred a talented middle school such as Kealing from HSNCT? I don't recall them being a standby team, after all; perhaps they took the place of a deserving high school team?


This is a significantly more complicated question, in part because we want our eligibility rules to address schools that are 7-12 or K-12. Note that NAQT's current high school eligibility rules explicitly allow players in grades below 9 to compete:

NAQT eligibility rules D.1 wrote:An individual student is eligible to compete at high school tournaments if he or she is in a grade between kindergarten and 12th grade (inclusive) as of the date of the tournament.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Ben Dillon » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:49 pm

Thanks, Jeff. I'm merely pointing out that arguments previously made in this discussion include: HS teams "humiliating" college teams; HS teams "taking spots that should have been reserved" for college teams; and HS teams "skew the rankings" of college teams. All of those arguments could easily be made about pure middle schools competing in high school tournaments.

Obviously there is the trickiness of handling 7-12 schools, which often feature lower enrollment, so recruitment is an issue.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby AKKOLADE » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:57 pm

I'll repeat my question here: would Liberty players have been allowed to play on a chimera team as compared with top tier high school players who are friendly with the college circuit?

The answer is no. Players from Liberty, or other college teams that are barely connected to the circuit, are "not cool," for whatever definition that is*, while good high school players fulfill that definition of cool. Quiz bowl continues to be happy with its status quo of elitist insider baseball at the expense of professionalism and its own growth. Decisions that promote this are unhealthy and bad for the circuit.

This is yet another example of how people running college quiz bowl tournaments do not take their jobs seriously. Continuing to appeal only to people who are already heavily invested in the game hurts the game. A complete failure by college quiz bowl to do any outreach to schools that don't yet have teams but have interested entering high schooler or schools that only play in the remnants of HCASC cripples the game.

If it's not quiz bowl's death by a thousand cuts, it is the hard ceiling on its growth that is self-implemented.

*The actual definition is some percentage of "goes to a school that I do not deem elitist enough and/or is of a religion I don't agree with" and some other percentage of "the only people of value in quiz bowl are people that score lots of points."
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby alexdz » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:56 am

I want to follow up on Fred's post to say that much of the time this insiderism is not done on purpose or consciously. It often just feels easier or more comfortable to reach out to people we already know. But, if we don't put in extra effort to outreach, we risk cutting off routes for new teams and players to join the circuit. I certainly hope, anyway, that no one is consciously excluding teams based on their "coolness" status - if that is happening, we need to call it out and stop it immediately. My point is that we should also rightfully call out folks who fail to reach out to and welcome new teams.
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby Cody » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:02 pm

I'll go on record as supporting everything the select group of Marylanders has said so far. Every post by them has been totally on point.

insohumniac wrote:I have put off writing a response to this, but I do feel that it is warranted, especially considering my role in the formation of the team as it came to be. While I do respect the opinions stated before, I would like to say that, for the record, I could have helped avoid this scenario by choosing not to attend this particular tournament. This simple decision would have left Downingtown STEM, a perfectly capable and talented team, with a roster of three people, a predicament teams across all levels will inevitably have to face at a tournament. While I do think that Vishwa and Waley had cogent arguments, I believe that what happened is ultimately due to my foolishness, and something that I should have addressed immediately. I know how difficult it is to get a team to stay playing in quizbowl: it's been the core caveat of my efforts in trying to get more Delaware high schools to play quizbowl. Many teams in Delaware haven't played in years because they are simply scared of losing, and thus see no benefit in participating further. If we want this activity to continue, the focus should remain on learning and fostering an environment where students feel encouraged to learn beyond classes and assignments. That was a lot of my motivation for going to Penn Bowl. But that doesn't validate my actions, or forgive them. In retrospect, my actions in deliberately choosing to go to this tournament caused more harm than good. While I personally knew a lot of my opponents before I played them, I cannot refute the argument that losing to a high school team is demoralizing. In my three years of quizbowl, I have made no mistake more regrettable than this, even if the reception to my action was mixed and may not have been as harmful as I think it was. As Waley said, there were "obligations" that my other peers had. In reality, this was his way of trying to say that my peers, remembering their place as teenagers, and more importantly high schoolers, prioritized attending homecoming instead of Penn Bowl. No matter how many buzzes or powers I got or bonuses I helped answer last Saturday, I am a high schooler, and should have attended homecoming instead of Penn Bowl. While I can't say that I'm the social type or that I would have had a 'crew' to hang out with, it would have been a better decision than to potentially dissuade collegiate students from further participating in an activity that has numerous benefits. I had fun at this tournament. It was well run, the moderators were excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed the question set. Regardless, this is something that I should have ruminated about at length before committing to, and as such, I apologize for my actions, knowing that I may well have hindered the growth of quizbowl through a careless mistake.
Hey man, this is not your mistake. You asked for special permission to play without really thinking about it because you wanted to play quizbowl! It is the responsibility of tournament directors to enforce rules and deny such requests because they are the ones who are in a position to enforce the rules. There's nothing to feel bad about here :)

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:My only possible addendum worth discussing is to bring up the practice (which is infinitely more widespread through much of the high school circuit) of finding out that some team dropped an hour before the tournament and then making a call for extra players who are at the tournament to come together and make a scab exhibition team. I am almost certain that at some point or another I was forced to use one of these teams at Mizzou, and nobody cared. It's probably not going to come up as much in college since there usually aren't alternates or random extra players hanging around, but if it's 8:30 and a team just dropped and you don't have a good replacement schedule, do people at large have a problem with a random last minute exhibition team being plugged in to make the schedule work?
Running the tournament well overrides chimera teams at high school tournaments when you have to deal with last minute disasters. In general, my philosophy is to just roll with it and use byes (or whatever), but there are some schedules where an unexpected drop completely wrecks everything and you have to do chimera teams, or other wacky things, that would normally be "wrong".
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Re: Open high school teams playing collegiate tournaments

Postby nsb2 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:15 pm

I generally agree with the premise of this post (to not allow open or chimera teams in college tournaments), but as a former motivated high school player, I'd like to raise one issue in particular:

1.82 wrote:They [high schoolers] have high school tournaments designed to meet their needs.


It seems you're hinting that all high school teams should be banned from college tournaments, open or not.

For me personally, and for other players that I know, high school tournaments do not sufficiently meet the needs of preparing for PACE in particular. With the increasing difficulty of PACE questions, playing on difficult sets against good competition is important. In Illinois, there are only two tournaments which mirror college sets, and both tournaments take place many months before nationals. Given these circumstances, it helped me immensely to play this year's ACF Regs against fellow contestants at Illinois NASAT tryouts this past spring.

Furthermore, there are certain players whose schools refuse to sanction going to several high school tournaments, leaving them with few other options. If you reached out to the high school quizbowl community, I'm sure many players would be happy to provide more reasons as to why they play college tournaments.

Overall, the best way to fix this issue would be to create more mirrors of college sets for high school teams, giving these teams the opportunity to play harder questions against difficult competition.

A final word: I am in no way advocating for these chimera teams to be allowed to play universally, but I believe such situations should be decided case-by-case based on inputs from tournament attendees. FWIW, there's been a chimera team at almost every NorCal tournament so far, and no new collegiate players or teams seemed to have had any issue with that.
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