Are Laissez-Faire Eligibility Standards Good for the Circuit?

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
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a bird
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Are Laissez-Faire Eligibility Standards Good for the Circuit?

Post by a bird »

Rencently, some tournaments have taken different approaches to eligibility restrictions. Notably this year, Penn Bowl has scheduled open mirrors (Cambridge, Minnesota, and Washington), and seemingly allowed some ad hoc exemptions at the Canadian mirror (it's not clear what happened, but two of the teams in the field are just listed as players names, not Universities/Colleges). EDIT: the Canadian mirror was also semi open (see below).
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.)
Based on the lessons from this event, I think we need clearer and more consistent standards for eligibility. Standards for when a mirror can be made open and for eligibility exemptions should be widely known and consistent between events. My personal feeling is that we should trend toward adopting ACF style eligibility rules for all events, but if we think it's beneficial to be more lenient with exemptions for circuit tournaments, we should at least be consistent.
Last edited by a bird on Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Graham R.

Maryland

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ErikC
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Re: Are Laissez-Faire Eligibility Standards Good for the Circuit?

Post by ErikC »

The Canadian mirror of Penn Bowl was semi-open. People eligible to play for a school were required to play on a school team. An exemption was made for a Carleton student (Daniel) to play with open teammates as the rest of his school.

Whether this is good for the circuit, I don't know. Penn Bowl is on the higher end of difficulty and it's not a tournament that attracts many new players in Canada, so I don't think it's deterring anyone for open teams to play. I'm obviously biased as an open player who gets to play these tournaments, however.
Erik Christensen
University of Waterloo - School of Planning Class of '18
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Re: Are Laissez-Faire Eligibility Standards Good for the Circuit?

Post by a bird »

ErikC wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:38 pm
The Canadian mirror of Penn Bowl was semi-open. People eligible to play for a school were required to play on a school team. An exemption was made for a Carleton student (Daniel) to play with open teammates as the rest of his school.

Whether this is good for the circuit, I don't know. Penn Bowl is on the higher end of difficulty and it's not a tournament that attracts many new players in Canada, so I don't think it's deterring anyone for open teams to play. I'm obviously biased as an open player who gets to play these tournaments, however.
Thanks for the clarification--I guess I missed that in the announcement. I've added a correction to my post.
Graham R.

Maryland

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