The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

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Cheynem
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The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by Cheynem »

My first year at the University of Minnesota, our team attended ACF Regionals 2009 at the University of Chicago. Eighteen teams were there.

Ever since then, ACF Regionals has been held within the state of Minnesota, with either U of Minnesota or Carleton mirroring it.

In 2010, six teams attended. Of those six teams, three were from the U of Minnesota and only one team (Northwestern) was not from the state of Minnesota.

In 2011, again six teams attended. Of those six teams, they were entirely from the U of Minnesota and Carleton.

In 2012, eight teams attended. Four were from the U of Minnesota, two were from Carleton, and only one team (Lawrence) was not from the state of Minnesota.

I understand the goal of having an upper Midwest Regionals site. It is difficult for teams in that region (especially in the winter) to travel to like Chicago or Michigan or Missouri, or vice versa, having those teams travel north as well. But the upper Midwest circuit is pretty terrible right now (in terms of size, not in terms of team quality). In the three years that an upper Midwest Regionals mirror ran, it effectively was a two-team scrimmage between Minnesota and Carleton, not to discount the other teams who did make the trip there.

Small fields are sometimes part of the game. I understand that Novice and Fall will get small, regional fields, which is okay, as the goal is to get new players a chance to play things. For a regular difficulty tournament like Regionals, it is less than optimal that fields are not only small but also not very diverse (when half of the field or over, is a house team, it is not a diverse field). Barring some major push in the circuit, I don't see this changing soon, unless the Minnesota/Wisconsin circuit expands or the Iowa circuit can revive itself.

I don't know if this is just part of the name of the game, that due to distance and travel issues, the upper Midwest/Minnesota is doomed to a perpetually piss poor Regionals field without circuit expansion, but I also wonder if there shouldn't be some debate in not having this Regionals site to begin with. Of course, that would require teams like Minnesota and Carleton to make a long trip elsewhere just to play a flagship tournament. Furthermore, perhaps this is just something to be curbed by circuit expansion/outreach and eliminating the stigma of ACF difficulty. Tournaments like MUT and Fall typically do a good job of getting a diverse array of teams to show up, including high school teams--with appropriate difficulty and length caps being placed on Regionals to make it truly a regular tournament, I see no reason why these fields can't be improved.

Does anyone else have thoughts? This genuinely didn't bother me until last year, when I got a little irritated that for the third straight year, I was playing a high quality regular difficulty tournament against mostly all house teams, although I suppose it did settle the question as to which team was the best in Minnesota (hint: it was not Carleton).
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by CaptainSwing »

The Minnesota/Wisconsin/Iowa circuit is a strange case, I think.

If the U of M and Carleton choose to host mirrors, we save ourselves the drive and make a little extra cash for our team budgets. This is great for tournaments like Novice, Fall, and MUT, because the other schools in the area will attend these events, as will the more active high school teams. The advantages of doing this are far less clear for events like Regionals or the regular difficulty house-writes, because the other teams in our circuit do not come out in numbers for these events. There is really not much of an advantage to us to hold Carleton v. U of M grudge matches because we see so much of each other anyway.

It feels to me like there are two ways around this: either the other teams in our area start showing up to more than three tournaments a year, or we make the hike to Chicago. This is why our situation is so weird though: going to Chicago is a hell of a commitment for a weekend during the academic year. But it still seems like the right thing to do. Even if the teams in our area start becoming more active, it would be good for our teams to regularly play against a wider field. The most fun I have had playing a tournament was the second tournament I played, EFT at Illinois two years ago when I was a freshman. That tournament had a 32 team field, something we will absolutely never see at a MN mirror.

I'm all for not making a seven hour drive in February, but it seems better to do that at least once a year for the sake of playing against a more interesting field. For what it's worth: if Madison started hosting in place of a Chicago mirror and drew those teams in, we could meet halfway.
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by AKKOLADE »

I realize it's a difficult path, but what possibility is there of a concerted effort to recruit new teams? Would there be anyone to recruit?
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by Susan »

Collapsing the Upper Midwest into the (traditionally) Chicago-area site might be difficult, especially if (as I hope!) the number of teams in the area who choose to play ACF Fall grows. Unless things have changed radically since I left, it's hard--impossible?--for Chicago to get 16+ rooms.
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by dtaylor4 »

From what I saw, I don't see Iowa really being a source of circuit expansion in the near future. Iowa State and Drake occasionally go to things, but I remember Grinnell hosting things when Avram Lyon was there, and after Quentin Roper and Paul Drube left Iowa City, that team fell off the map as well.

The major issue in Iowa is that there isn't a statewide high school circuit to both provide funds (from running high school tournaments) and rising players to feed college teams. Some schools out by the Nebraska border are running events on NAQT sets, but the DM metro is among the most underdeveloped circuits with the most potential.

The travel issue is not going to go away until teams start springing up all over the place. I don't see that happening ever, let alone any time soon.

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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by Cheynem »

It's not so much a matter of recruitment in that there are no teams; there are a number of Minnesota teams that exist and come out to events, but seemingly resist playing anything above SCT, showing up for Fall, MUT, and maybe some random other tournament. More accurately, some show up for Fall, some show up for MUT, and some show up for both or a random tournament. Macalester, St. Olaf, St. Thomas, Morris, and some other schools appear here and there, but generally avoid ACF Regionals, which I'm hoping will change this year. I guess what I'm proposing is that until that time exists (and I guess it's impossible to figure out when that happens?), would it be worth it at least once every few years to just send the two teams seemingly interested in playing ACF Regionals down to like Chicago or wherever?
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by CaptainSwing »

Carleton and Minnesota striking an agreement stating that neither of us would host a mirror of Regionals and instead travel somewhere would effectively mean that no other teams in our state would end up playing Regionals, unless St. Thomas or the seemingly somewhat reinvigorated Macalester program take the plunge and agree to travel as well. I think we simply need to ask these teams at the events they show up to in the fall if they would seriously consider committing to having at least one team play Regionals as well as SCT in February. If they want to, one of us hosts it and all is well. If they say no or don't give a definitive answer, we agree to ship off for sweet home Chicago.

Also: is there any advice out there for convincing newish or previously uninterested teams to host the occasional event? That would do wonders in MN.
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man »

For what it's worth, Wisconsin will almost certainly have at least one team at every tournament held in Minnesota during the spring semester of this year.

edit: Because I will be living in Minnesota and will still have eligibility.
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by Tees-Exe Line »

I just want to say that if the young innocents of the prairie want to come to the big city for a weekend of drinking, whoring, and generalized vice, I would be happy to act as host and tour guide.
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

Tees-Exe Line wrote:I just want to say that if the young innocents of the prairie want to come to the big city for a weekend of drinking, whoring, and generalized vice, I would be happy to act as host and tour guide.
If there's anything that will get me to drive to Chicago in the dead of winter, it's this.
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by Cheynem »

Do people have any preference regarding a split ACF Regionals site for the northern field? I am unlikely to make it to any site due to a conference that month I'm attending, so I don't have a personal stake in this, but it'd be kinda lame in my opinion to have a *fourth* straight year of an abysmal field for presumably one of the better tournaments of the year.
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Re: The Logic of an Upper Midwest ACF Regionals Site

Post by DumbJaques »

My current inclination is to just look for a Chicago-area host; if people have strong arguments against this, I encourage you to air them sooner rather than later.
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