Most "circuit" tournaments are also still allow closed high school teams unlike ACF and NAQT. (I think Terrapin 30 is the only circuit tournament to use the ACF standard so far.)
To me, it seems clear that allowing occasional open mirrors and high school teams at normal mirrors benefits organizers in the short term (i.e. it increases their revenue in any particular year). It may also be beneficial for some developing circuits, though this seems a lot less clear. I worry that by delegitimizing the collegiate quizbowl circuit these choice may do more harm than good in the long run (i.e. they may make it harder to bring new teams into the circuit, leading to lower tournament attendance and revenue). I think most tournament organizers have good intentions for their eligibility decisions, but as a community we should evaluate whether our common practices are good for long term growth.
Some of you probably remember the debacle with 2016 Terrapin, when Will Alston (then not a student) was privately given permission to at play the Southern California site with the UCSD team, and did so under a fake name. To reiterate some points from that discussion, the situation was problematic because:
- The eligibility exemption was made privately and not announced. (Others who might have applied did not know such an exemption was possible.)
- The exemption was made for a personal friend of the head editor. (Even if this didn't factor into the decision, it still looked like an impropriety from the outside.)