Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

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Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Susan »

Hello all--

ACF has made a few changes that will affect how its tournaments are run next year. They are:

-Starting with ACF Fall, teams will no longer pay their tournament fees to their local host; instead, they will register for tournaments directly with ACF and pay by sending their fee directly to ACF Treasurer Jerry Vinokurov. Hosts will be issued checks by Jerry after the tournament (as will editors). More details on how this centralized payment system will work can be found here.

-The minimum number of meaningful games hosts must guarantee has been changed from eleven to ten. Bear in mind that this is indeed a minimum number; ACF (as always) encourages hosts to run a format guaranteeing teams as many games as possible given staffing, packet number, and time constraints.

-Trophies and prizes: The new centralized payment system will allow ACF to purchase trophies and have them sent to the hosts, which we hope will make things a little easier on the hosts. (The cost of the trophies, which we anticipate being less than $50/site, will come out of the hosts' share of the tournament fees.) The rules on what titles and trophies must be awarded remain largely the same, but I will post them here for clarity's sake:
Trophies: The top two overall teams will receive trophies in all cases. If the host reasonably expects fewer than four undergraduate and/or four Division II teams to play the tournament two weeks before the tournament, when the trophies are ordered, then the host must inform ACF that it will opt out of Undergraduate and/or Division II trophies. If the host receives Undergraduate and/or Division II trophies, or if there are four or more teams that qualify, the Undergraduate and/or Division II titles must be awarded.

Prizes: At a minimum, the members of the top two overall teams, and the top four individual scorers, should receive book prizes. Used books that you can acquire for a few dollars each are perfectly acceptable. For tournaments of ten or more teams, it is strongly preferred that you also give book prizes to the next four overall scorers and to the top four undergraduate and Division II scorers. If the host opts out of Undergraduate and/or Division II trophies, but it turns out that there are enough teams to award either or both of those titles, hosts must award the titles and make reasonable efforts to award prizes to the winners.
The updated hosting guidelines may be found here. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about these changes.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Charbroil »

How will teams register for tournaments? Will there be a website for online registration (like with SCT), or will we register with tournament editors?

The former would be preferable, incidentally.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by nadph »

EDIT: Never mind, didn't read carefully.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Susan »

Charbroil wrote:How will teams register for tournaments? Will there be a website for online registration (like with SCT), or will we register with tournament editors?

The former would be preferable, incidentally.
It'll be online registration using a web form. The page that I linked above describing the new system will contain links to these forms once they're active.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by evilmonkey »

Mandatory trophies? I mean, granted, I'm never in position to win one, but everything I've ever heard is that no one gives a damn about trophies, and that is why book prizes exist in the first place. Moreover, I really don't see a place where a circuit will benefit from these trophies. I'm not really too keen on the fact that ACF is not only mandating these trophies, but taking the cost out of the host's pocket, unless there is some large amount of communication indicating that teams will not come to ACF unless they add in trophies.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Susan »

Hi, Bryce--
ACF has required hosts to provide trophies and book prizes for top teams/players for at least three years (since we started publishing guidelines for hosts in 2009). The new rule only changes who buys the trophies, not whether they're required, and it's disappointing (though, unfortunately, not surprising) to hear that hosts have been flouting this requirement.

We had a fair amount of internal discussion about the trophy-buying system, and the consensus was basically that it can make a big difference for fledgling teams who are trying to secure funding to be able to produce tangible proof of their success. (Also, the cost of providing trophies is low, and under the new system we no longer require the host to, you know, go out and find a trophy store, so the cost in terms of time/effort is minimal). So, the aim of providing trophies is not to attract tchotchke-hungry teams who won't play if we don't provide trophies (I agree with you that these people are unlikely to exist) but to help teams, especially new and underfunded ones, parlay their success at ACF tournaments into better recognition and funding from their administrations.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Sun Devil Student »

Susan wrote:We had a fair amount of internal discussion about the trophy-buying system, and the consensus was basically that it can make a big difference for fledgling teams who are trying to secure funding to be able to produce tangible proof of their success... So, the aim of providing trophies is not to attract tchotchke-hungry teams who won't play if we don't provide trophies (I agree with you that these people are unlikely to exist) but to help teams, especially new and underfunded ones, parlay their success at ACF tournaments into better recognition and funding from their administrations.
Does this imply that the requirement for trophies (and, more specifically, all three trophies, e.g. D1-overall, D1-UG, and D2) also applies to ACF Fall? If so, will any kind of eligibility requirement be placed to block the obvious opportunity for trophy whoring?

I mean no disrespect or disagreement with the decision - in my view, there's no harm in handing out extra trophies unaccompanied by significantly valuable prizes (e.g. money) - I'm just wondering if other people might be offended (having seen, on at least one occasion, a rather acrimonious discussion of the issue on these forums) when the inevitable happens.

I would also point out (again, no offense, just my own limited experience) that "new and underfunded" teams will almost certainly not be the ones winning the trophies, unless they have former very good high school players on them. More likely, the trophies will go to help more experienced teams. That's not a bad thing either, as experienced-but-underfunded teams certainly do exist, but I'd suggest we be clear on who we're trying to help with trophies (e.g. the better, more dedicated teams that aren't getting deserved admin recognition, not the new teams that haven't yet put in the work to climb to the top.) New teams would benefit from assistance too, but registration/travel cost subsidies are much more likely to reach those teams than competitive awards.

Incidentally, at ASU Quizbowl's high school tournaments we have always awarded trophies to schools, rather than teams, so that one school only gets one trophy (schools are ranked in order of their highest-finishing team). My reasoning is precisely that given above (helping teams retain funding). Would ACF consider doing something like this, to spread the trophies among more different schools/administrations? Or did you already think of that? The common practice elsewhere seems to have been awarding teams rather than schools, opening the possibility for one school to win multiple trophies (one per team entered), which is good recognition for a B or C team, but loses an opportunity to defend some other school's team from budget cuts. I'll offer the idea up just in case it wasn't already considered (which it might have been).
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Matt Weiner »

To repeat, trophies have been required for ACF tournaments since 2008 ACF Fall; if you or other hosts have been ignoring this, that's one thing we're trying to fix by centralizing the system, but let's not act like this is some new idea.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Cheynem »

Man, I've been hosed out of so many ACF Regionals trophies!
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by adosreme »

Will it be possible for hosts to purchase the trophies themselves? This is not to provide opportunities to cheap out, but rather due to the fact that having to arrange mail delivery of trophies to the host school is one more thing to worry about. (even moreso if they have to cross a national border)
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Susan »

adosreme wrote:Will it be possible for hosts to purchase the trophies themselves? This is not to provide opportunities to cheap out, but rather due to the fact that having to arrange mail delivery of trophies to the host school is one more thing to worry about. (even moreso if they have to cross a national border)
Hi, Aaron--
Our plan has been for Jerry to order the trophies online and have them shipped directly to the sites, so I'm inclined to believe that having schools purchase the trophies themselves wouldn't save him a huge amount of time. Your point about possible difficulties (or longer shipping times) for orders that have to cross borders is well-taken, though--that's something we'll want to make sure to keep on top of.

Since 2012-2013 will be the first year for the centralized payment system, I wouldn't be surprised if we find we have to make some adjustments over time to how things work. We'll be eager to hear from our teams and hosts about how the new system is working for them so that we can optimize it for all three parties (teams, hosts, ACF).
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by JMAC the Chef »

While I know it certainly is a relatively minor issue, I admit do have my reservations about the matter of trophies. For starters the matter of shipping mentioned above is something that I could see very easily running afoul. Additionally, and at the risk of sounding cheap, if the cost of trophies is planned on being near $50, that is nearly $20 more than we typically spend on trophies for our tournaments, and though it is a "paltry" amount, every dollar in our organization's treasury counts (as I'm sure many other quizbowl presidents and treasures can attest to). I know that previous point sounds strange, but hosting in the small town of Kirksville allows for us to get quality trophies at a "nice price." Related to that, I have to inquire, will these trophies be crafted reflecting color schemes of the various schools hosting? I know again this seems like a very small matter, but when we host we tend to by trophies in our own color scheme (as a small little perk at the end of the day for hosting) and I don't think we are alone in this practice. So while I do admire the push towards centralizing a lot of these tournaments, I again want to express my reservations as it relates to trophies.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Susan »

Hi, Jared--
The $50 figure for the trophies is an approximation; for one thing, it assumes that each site will have enough undergrad and DII teams to award each of those trophies, which may not actually be the case. Also, as we go forward with this system, we will continue to look for ways to minimize the costs of trophies and generally to streamline and improve things.

As for the colors of the trophies, we have no plans to order specially colored trophies for individual sites. I don't know how common it is for teams to do that (I never saw such a thing in the nine years I played, for example). If this is something that other hosts really feel strongly about, please let me know and we'll take it under consideration.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by JMAC the Chef »

Thank you Susan, those really were the only concerns I had and the color issue is a relatively minor one. Though I am curious as to whether or not we are the only ones doing this (I certainly hope not).
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

JMAC the Chef wrote:Thank you Susan, those really were the only concerns I had and the color issue is a relatively minor one. Though I am curious as to whether or not we are the only ones doing this (I certainly hope not).
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by 1992 in spaceflight »

Susan, what are the qualifications for DII status? Is it you have to be in either your first two years of college or college quizbowl? I tried looking this up on the ACF website, but I couldn't find the information.

EDIT: I just found what I was asking for on the ACF website. Please feel free to disregard this question.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Edmund »

Susan wrote:Our plan has been for Jerry to order the trophies online and have them shipped directly to the sites
I think a blanket approach to enforcing these rules in regions such as the UK with a paucity of established teams will discourage participation and will discourage teams from hosting. It would be very good for the autumn programme if an easier tournament such as ACF Fall could be played here.

I will urge any interested hosts of a UK mirror of ACF Fall (which certainly ought to happen) to contact ACF directly to see what arrangements can be made concerning costing, packet modification and packet submission requirements, but I would remark in particular:

- Most teams are not likely to have the capacity or foresight to straightforwardly issue dollar payments. It would make much more sense for the host site to charge in local currency and to send a block payment to ACF in dollars.

- Assuming you will be ordering from an American company, you surely do not intend to have unbidden trophies posted across the Atlantic and then charge for that postage to the host site?
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by vikingoneil »

Presumably any potential host of a UK mirror of ACF Fall, would also need to get permission if they weren't intending/able to offer 10 games.

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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Kyle »

OMG you guys. Please stop drawing attention to how much we don't follow rules designed for American teams.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Susan »

Edmund wrote:
Susan wrote:Our plan has been for Jerry to order the trophies online and have them shipped directly to the sites
I think a blanket approach to enforcing these rules in regions such as the UK with a paucity of established teams will discourage participation and will discourage teams from hosting. It would be very good for the autumn programme if an easier tournament such as ACF Fall could be played here.

I will urge any interested hosts of a UK mirror of ACF Fall (which certainly ought to happen) to contact ACF directly to see what arrangements can be made concerning costing, packet modification and packet submission requirements, but I would remark in particular:

- Most teams are not likely to have the capacity or foresight to straightforwardly issue dollar payments. It would make much more sense for the host site to charge in local currency and to send a block payment to ACF in dollars.

- Assuming you will be ordering from an American company, you surely do not intend to have unbidden trophies posted across the Atlantic and then charge for that postage to the host site?
Hi, Edmund--
Should we get a UK site for ACF Fall, we will work with the hosts to figure out how things should work. We certainly don't have any intention of putting huge financial or logistical burdens on a UK site for no other reason than to apply the rules in exactly the same way to all sites, if that makes sense.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by evilmonkey »

Susan wrote:Hi, Bryce--
ACF has required hosts to provide trophies and book prizes for top teams/players for at least three years (since we started publishing guidelines for hosts in 2009). The new rule only changes who buys the trophies, not whether they're required, and it's disappointing (though, unfortunately, not surprising) to hear that hosts have been flouting this requirement.

We had a fair amount of internal discussion about the trophy-buying system, and the consensus was basically that it can make a big difference for fledgling teams who are trying to secure funding to be able to produce tangible proof of their success. (Also, the cost of providing trophies is low, and under the new system we no longer require the host to, you know, go out and find a trophy store, so the cost in terms of time/effort is minimal). So, the aim of providing trophies is not to attract tchotchke-hungry teams who won't play if we don't provide trophies (I agree with you that these people are unlikely to exist) but to help teams, especially new and underfunded ones, parlay their success at ACF tournaments into better recognition and funding from their administrations.
Sorry I never responded to this. Thank you very much Susan for the clear response - I can see the logic that led to that decision.

I did want to follow up on the statements made by Kenneth, Charlie, and Jared by noting that when we ran high school tournaments at Notre Dame, we liked to use a trophy design with a shamrock on it (the closest thing we could get to a symbol of the school without having to mess with the licensing department). We were also able to obtain all trophies for under $50. I suppose the question then is, in situations where a school wanted to have more individualized trophies, or could have reasonable trophies done more cheaply, would you be open to requests from schools to be responsible for their own trophies?

Additionally, I want to apologize for believing the trophies were a new thing - since I've neither hosted an ACF tournament nor been in any position to win a trophy, I must have failed to notice. I know the two ACF tournaments I've attended since I moved to Texas had trophies, but I had previously assumed that that decision had been made because of the presence of several strong high school teams, not by ACF mandate.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by grapesmoker »

Hey folks, part of the idea behind the centralized trophy system is to minimize the friction involved in coordinating trophy distribution. This is the first time we're running this kind of system so we're not going to get all clever and worry about colors and other mostly extraneous things; I'm also not inclined to let teams get their own trophies because this kind of defeats the purpose of our whole plan. Someone saving $10 somewhere is not worth the possible extra hassle. We'll run the system the way we intend this year and see what happens, and if we need to tweak something, we will.

As far as UK teams are concerned, when it comes to that, please get in touch with me and we'll work things out.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by evilmonkey »

Yikes! I'm 0-2 on this thread. Somehow in my reading and rereading, I missed seeing Aaron explicitly asking the question I asked. Thank you for responding anyways, Jerry.
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Re: Changes for ACF tournaments in 2012-2013

Post by Edmund »

Susan wrote:Should we get a UK site for ACF Fall, we will work with the hosts to figure out how things should work. We certainly don't have any intention of putting huge financial or logistical burdens on a UK site for no other reason than to apply the rules in exactly the same way to all sites, if that makes sense.
I didn't imagine it would be otherwise, but that's what I like to hear! I think part of developing the maturity of a quizbowl circuit here - if that's even an achievable aim! - is being able to accede to as many of the same demands that are placed on US sites as possible, but it's sadly necessary to be pragmatic about a few items.
vikingoneil wrote:Presumably any potential host of a UK mirror of ACF Fall, would also need to get permission if they weren't intending/able to offer 10 games.
Not something we should be worrying about; I'd be disappointed if the said potential host felt that 10 games was unfeasible for any reason.
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