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ASCN NATIONALS CANCELLED!

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 4:38 pm
by jrbarry
ASCN sent out the e-mails cancelling their tournament this morning. Quite unfortunate for all who bought plane tickets.

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 5:07 pm
by Zip Zap Rap Pants
Was there a lack of interest? Does this mean their demise? Normally if it was a national organization that was detracting teams from "good" quizbowl, I'd be glad, but it seems that only a handful of well-known teams usually opted for ASCN over anything else (preventing them from attending other nationals), and from what I heard their questions were pretty good, right? Well, in any case RIP TOC...

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 6:25 pm
by solonqb
To paraphrase a certain presidential candidate, I hear a giant sucking sound in the direction of NAQT.

Posted: Mon May 22, 2006 10:16 pm
by Jason H
Is this the tourny thats set for Chicago may 25?

PLEASE SAY ITS NOT!

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 7:35 am
by jrbarry
ASCN Tournament of Champions was set to begin in a hotel in Chicago this week.

I do not know for sure, but I am assuming it was cancelled because of poor participation, i.e. too few teams.

My teams participated at ASCN from 1989 to 2002. I always enjoyed that experience.

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 8:25 am
by First Chairman
I'd say quite unfortunate for the kids. Plane tickets is just money and royal pain to get refunded.

But on their 20th anniversary year... to cancel the tournament, they must not have had a lot of teams to break even. I guess I'm surprised at that. Even so, it's very much a surprise to cancel days before the tournament when people have purchased tickets to attend. I wouldn't have minded a final hoorah.

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 11:11 am
by Tegan
I'm not wholly familiar with the tournament...but as an Illinoisian, I have to wonder:

Several Chicago area teams tried over time to get into the tournament, and were rebuffed when they were denied entry without paying a huge room and board fee, despite being within easy driving distance. Chicago teams gave up on the tournament a long time ago, despite having it in the backyard so to speak. We were always told that this payment was mandatory because the tournament organizers wanted teams to be together as a part of the experience....nice concept, but I don't know many coaches who could get a hotel stay in Chicago (or Lake Forest) out of their budget when a bus was cheaper!

I'm not sure if a location or staff were an issue, but I know several high schools that would have gladly opened their doors for a national tournament, but the tournament organizers never bothered to check with local teams...they seemed content having their tournament here, as long as there was no local entry or involvement .... which is sad, because I did hear good things about it.....it was just too expensive to justify entry for our local teams.

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 12:01 pm
by First Chairman
Gary ran the tournament out of his office in Iowa. As they are not local, I'm sure that the Lake Forest people had dictated to him the conditions for participants on-campus. There's a reason why I haven't mandated that all teams at NSC stay in the dorm (for example). To the credit of the people who are in charge of facilities, there is an issue of security and liability for the under-21's, so having everyone be on-site does make things a lot easier. I'm sure cost and numbers dictated a move to a hotel a few years ago.

Of course, I've never met any of the people who ran ASCN. I'm sure they're a wonderful bunch of people, but I never knew the significance of the people on the ASCN Board of Directors. They remain a mystery to me.

The Chicago Memorial Day National Tournament is dead...

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 9:01 pm
by pblessman
Wow... I just saw this... Cancelling any tourney this close to the date is harsh, but a tournament where probably half your teams are flying in... Wow... Well, time to think about what this means, to follow up on Noah's comment:

The Memorial Day National Tournament is dead, long live the Chicago Memorial Day National Tournament?

Could the Friday/Saturday and Sunday/Monday 256 Team NAQT Double National Tournament over Memorial Weekend in Chicago become a reality in 2007? We've discussed this in a different thread, but as NAQT would no longer have to worry about stepping on ASCN's toes, I feel this would be the ideal solution to the "problem" of having too many teams qualifying for and wanting to go to NAQT Nationals.

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 10:41 pm
by Ben Dillon
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Just because ASCN got cancelled this year doesn't mean it is dead for all time.

If in fact it is dead, it's likely because of two reasons: the afore-mentioned insistence on room and board, even for local teams; and the convergence of two other nationals on Chicago (NAC and NAQT) suffocated ASCN.

Back to the original thought, though: I'm not sure NAQT will return to Chicago next year, and I heard through the grapevine that NAC might not stay there either after this year. ASCN might still have a chance in the future.

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 10:58 pm
by First Chairman
I don't really know that I share your optimism. The last four or five years, the ASCN field has progressively decreased in size with more B teams taking a place in the field than usual. I know that the "local angle" thing didn't help them attract local talent, but it never mattered to them for most of the 20 years they were in existence.

What makes me really doubt their return is the fact that the entire website has been pulled and the lack of foresight in cancelling a tournament when most of the attendees had non-refundable airplane tickets. I hope that they could resume, but I have to doubt that.

As for the word that other nationals won't be in Chicago in future years... I guess I have to find out what plans they may have for next year. I never believe in the grapevine.

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 11:01 pm
by bigtrain
E.T. Chuck wrote:As for the word that other nationals won't be in Chicago in future years... I guess I have to find out what plans they may have for next year.
:roll: I don't really understand why nationals should be in Chicago in the first place. . .

Posted: Tue May 23, 2006 11:06 pm
by First Chairman
Because nationals in Hawaii would be way too expensive (Decathlon 2008...)

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 1:34 am
by bigtrain
There are plenty of cities that are better than Chicago for hosting nationals.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 3:00 am
by e_steinhauser
bigtrain wrote:I don't really understand why nationals should be in Chicago in the first place. . .
While there's no particular reason why they should be anywhere, there are many reasons why they shouldn't be in certain places. As for Chicago, I have a few educated guesses why it is favored, particularly in the case of NAQT:

1. Chicago is a fairly central location in terms of travel from either coast or the south. It wins out over other central locales because of O'Hare and Midway airports. Virtually every major carrier flies into Chicago with great regularity.

2. Availability and affordability of hotel/convention center facilities. Large tournaments make this an even bigger priority, when hosting on a university campus is unrealistic.

3. This dovetails with #1, but Chicago is a very central location for staff. There is a large pool of experienced staff in the area.

4. In the specific case of NAQT, they had a very good experience there in 2005, and with the logistics of these tournaments always being the biggest bugaboo, it makes sense to repeat what works.

That said, I wouldn't be shocked if the NAQT HSNCT 2007 were held somewhere else.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 6:56 am
by Stained Diviner
As far as ASCN, it is hard to imagine any team registering after what happened this year. As far as their website, it goes up and down all the time. I would normally say it's classless to take down your website rather than use it to help spread the word of the cancellation, but it might be down for other reasons because it goes down often.

I don't think NAQT was planning on coming back to Chicago in 2006 until they saw how many teams registered in 2005 and then surveyed those teams. I have no idea whether or not they'll be back in 2007, but people should keep in mind that they have been in plenty of good locations before without being able to attract 50 teams. This leads me to guess that they'll be back.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 7:11 am
by solonqb
I would bet on HSNCT being located in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 9:56 am
by First Chairman
Eric's points are probably the ones that I would use as reasons if I were to run NAQT HSCT. Chicago is a good airline hub, and there are lots of convention-like venues in the city. It is extremely convenient to the staff people who run the event, and they probably had a good rapport with the events management staff.

If NAQT intends to keep a field in the triple-digits, then the choices of places to run the HSCT actually gets much smaller. One of the professional meetings I had attended (American Heart Association) limits itself to no more than 5 (with New Orleans out for the foreseeable future) venues on a rotation basis because they have so many people attending the conference (40K+). Those five venues are the only ones in the US that are large enough to accommodate the programs the AHA runs for its Scientific Sessions.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 12:12 pm
by e_steinhauser
E.T. Chuck wrote:If NAQT intends to keep a field in the triple-digits, then the choices of places to run the HSCT actually gets much smaller.
Really, the only locale I can think of that offers similar benefits to Chicago for a large quizbowl event is Washington, DC.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 12:47 pm
by AKKOLADE
Anyone who thinks that ASCN isn't somehow dead in the water is just kidding themselves. They've alienated a large percentage of their customer base by cancelling the tournament on them with short notice, leaving many teams with a loss of money on airplane tickets. If it was just a local tournament with people driving, it wouldn't be such an issue. But for a tournament that's supposedly of the "national" magnitude to cancel in this manner makes them look Bush League.

Not that they didn't already look Bush League in my eyes. I can't claim to know anything about the tournament or their questions outside of this information, the yearly threads that appear and their terrible, terrible web page. Combining that knowledge, though, if/when I coach a team it'd be at the bottom of my list of nationals to go to. Yes, below Chip and Panasonic.

Edit: Replaced a good national with a bad national in the last sentence.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 5:31 pm
by Dan Greenstein
leftsaidfred wrote:Yes, below Chip and PACE.
Since when does PACE belong even in the same area code as Chip?

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 5:55 pm
by First Chairman
Dan Greenstein wrote:
leftsaidfred wrote:Yes, below Chip and PACE.
Since when does PACE belong even in the same area code as Chip?
Dan... I'm shocked also. Almost offended.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 10:24 pm
by AKKOLADE
Gah, that's a typo - I meant PAC. Sinceriest apologies to all the PACE people here - that was harsh.

Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 11:38 pm
by First Chairman
Oh okay... thanks. I'm much less offended now. :cool:

PAC, PACE, ACE... oh the foibles of overlapping brands.

Chicago

Posted: Thu May 25, 2006 8:08 pm
by pblessman
As I am currently located in the Midwest, I am certainly biased, but let me add to the reasons for running Nationals in Chicago:

1. Not being on a coast, the reasonable driving radius (<500 miles?) engulfs more territory, if not necessarily more population.

2. As one of the three largest cities in the country, Chicago offers some of the greatest entertainment options, including the current World Series Champion White Sox and with the Cubs one of the most widely followed teams in all of the MLB. Add to this the Chicago museums (Art Institute, Field Museum, Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium), Chicago architecture, and the Chicago Blues Festival, which is usually held over Memorial weekend, and I think you have one of the most attractive Memorial Day travel locations anywhere!

3. Compared to other large cities, Chicago's hotel options are quite a bit cheaper, in my experience.

4. Chicago also offers Lake Michigan and its beaches- one of the most beautiful combinations of a wonderful beach with unbelievable downtown architecture.

P.S.: I would have to agree with the posters who consider ASCN dead- with the field so small that they felt they had to cancel, certainly the only people who were still coming were the faithful few- which have now been severely financially injured. Are there any woluld-be-ASCN teams/coaches/players reading this? Can we get your take?

Posted: Thu May 25, 2006 8:25 pm
by AKKOLADE
E.T. Chuck wrote:PAC, PACE, ACE... oh the foibles of overlapping brands.
No kidding. I go from insulting one of the worst nationals to one of the two that I actually value by hitting an extra key.

Re: Chicago

Posted: Thu May 25, 2006 9:36 pm
by steven-lamp
pblessman wrote: ...certainly the only people who were still coming were the faithful few- which have now been severely financially injured. Are there any woluld-be-ASCN teams/coaches/players reading this? Can we get your take?
Well, speaking as a former player who attended ASCN twice and whose school has gone to pretty much all of them, I would have to say that I hope that LAMP doesn't bother with the tournament in the future. Alabama's public schools receive deplorable funding, and the entire budget for LAMP's scholars' bowl team is derived from the tournaments we host and donations by the parents' organization for the school. Money's usually budgeted very tightly for the tournament in Chicago, and I would assume getting no tournament and lost money on plane tickets is not going to sit well with Mrs. Samford (coach), the players, parents, or the principal. I would hope that this would lead to LAMP planning to attend either PACE or NAQT from now on, as I know that in 2005 every player that attended NAQT maintained that it was by far superior to ASCN. NAQT has interfered with SAT dates the past two years, and 2 players actually flew back to Montgomery from Chicago last year and missed NAQT so they could take SATs. LAMP is a gruelling college-prep school, and those on the scholars' bowl team usually represent the more intelligent, higher achieving students at the school, and taking the SAT or SATIIs after Junior year is usually more important than quizbowl, no matter what the level.

Basically, I would have to agree with most others in saying that ASCN's poor timing on cancelling their tournament is going to alienate what little amount of loyalty they still had on a national level. Maybe this year's fiasco will be a sign for them to rethink the way they run the tournament (as far as excluding local teams, etc).

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 12:03 am
by First Chairman
It's too bad that LAMP wouldn't consider a road trip to North Carolina. I would have thought that a road trip would cost less. Oh well.

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 3:37 am
by steven-lamp
Part of the national tournament experience is the treatment and the venue, as well. ASCN has always offered good treatment and a great venue. Also, at this point it's too late for the LAMP people to attend ANY national due to scheduling conflicts and tournaments being full. The players on the team schedule their early summers around ASCN or whatever nationals we go to, so most other dates are taken between the 6 players and the coach now. I hope and remain confident that this year's extraordinarily negative ASCN experience will lead to LAMP's attendance at more reputable nationals, though.