Anyway, this tournament had some good aspects that I'll mention later, but....
North_GA_ATeam wrote:I also wish to comment regarding my "TD fiat" at the end of the tournament. To my knowledge, all parties who were taking issue with the scorekeeping system had been informed of the "quality" (which, after consultation amongst the North Georgia Team, will be renamed 'difficulty rating') system. This is not a weird statistic, nor is it an arcane one. It is something that is very grounded within mathematics and good sportsmanship (something I believe that we at North Georgia, as the Leadership Institute, should strive to promote within the Quiz Bowl Community).
I would like to assure people reading this forum that, at least from South Carolina's perspective, we had not been informed at all about the quality system prior to the tournament. I certainly don't remember hearing anything about it the morning of the tournament, though I think we possibly missed the morning meeting where there might have been an explanation. In any event, no teams received information about this system in e-mail correspondence or message board postings prior to the tournament. Also, Minnesota apparently wasn't informed either.
The tie-breaker system and scheduling was indeed unacceptable. The quality tie-breaker thing is simply not how things are done in the world of good quizbowl. I'm (maybe?) open to the idea that there might be alternative ways of breaking ties, but to me, breaking out the quality system or any new system the day of the tournament without consulting with the teams (and, better yet, the message board) prior to the tournament is not the way to do it. Instead of promoting good sportsmanship and a cooperative atmosphere, springing this totally novel system on everyone caused consternation for a substantial percentage of the tournament field.
It was also annoying that, when teams expressed their concern about the system, you basically wouldn't hear complaints or entertain more rounds (and leaving the rooms open for teams to unofficially scrimmage after the staff leaves is not "more rounds"). Also, even if you're serious about how the quality system is supposed to promote sportsmanship by causing good teams to purposefully shave points against teams they know they'll beat, well, no teams playing knew how the system worked, so its "sportsmanship"-promoting aspect didn't make a difference anyway.
Also, I heard several readers and scorekeepers discussing how early they were going to get to leave the tournament, and some of the staffers were talking about how much longer they needed to stay to get some sort of community service credit. Getting done with tournaments as early as possible is fine, but not when it involves failing to resolve tie-breakers properly. Remember, it's the teams that paid a lot of money to attend the tournament; if the staff have to stay longer to do it the right way, well, that's just getting the teams their money's worth.
Speaking of teams not getting their money's worth....
North_GA_ATeam wrote:As the Tournament Director in question, I made the call to respect NCSU's commitment to attend. Because of this, I assumed that they might show up a round late. Or two rounds late. Or even at lunch time, if they had some serious issues. While this ended up not being the case, it was a decision made with respect to a team who had made a commitment to attend. I would have felt that it was in poor taste to exclude them in the event of their arrival. Perhaps this was not the best decision to make, but it was (to me) the right and sporting one.
Indeed, not counting the bye and the match against the NC State Chairpack, teams got a mere 7 rounds of play. That's not enough rounds at the college level. As TD, you have no obligation to accommodate teams who are substantially late and don't attempt to contact you about their lateness. It wouldn't have been poor taste at all to decide to boot them from the tournament. Believe me, I know how hard it is to schedule tournaments, and it stinks that, like, 3 or 4 teams pulled out a day or two before the tournament or didn't even bother to show. But schedule changes could have been made to give teams more rounds without teams having essentially 2 bye rounds.
The neg-five thing is a minor complaint and an apparent misunderstanding, but I would point out that, in at least 1 room, the readers and scorekeepers weren't aware of the lack of neg-fives for the first 4 rounds.
Anyway, that's the bad of this tournament. On the positive side, the staff was friendly, and other than the problems mentioned, things seemed to run pretty smooth. The breakfast in the morning was appreciated. My scorekeepers were great. I enjoyed reading for all of the teams. It was great to see UGA back, Tech was very good, and the high school team was great to watch (though they should be happy they weren't negs!).
I really hope NGSU holds more tournaments in the future. I appreciate the intent of the quality rating, but ultimately, good sportsmanship in quizbowl is what Chris Chiego expressed earlier: humility in victory and grace in defeat. A lack of sportsmanship is not a problem in quizbowl. In the future, I hope NGSU consults those with lots of experience in the quizbowl community about the norms of hosting; if you all have serious issues with the current way things are done in quizbowl, the best way is to fully discuss it on the message boards before setting a better mousetrap the morning of the tournament.
University of South Carolina Alum