2020 ACF Nationals Cancellation Discussion

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
Post Reply
User avatar
naan/steak-holding toll
Auron
Posts: 2335
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: New York, NY

2020 ACF Nationals Cancellation Discussion

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

The King's Flight to the Scots wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 1:23 am Given ongoing developments in the COVID-19 situation, ACF is cancelling 2020 ACF Nationals. We are sorry to all teams affected that the August postponement was not feasible. More information will be forthcoming soon. For now, please do not spoil any questions from submitted packets, since we would like to give teams the option to resubmit for Nationals 2021.
This is very disappointing to hear and I'm sorry that ACF feels compelled to make this decision.

In the interest of transparency, Columbia (speaking on behalf of myself, Rafael, Harrison) - and presumably, many other teams that have spent hundreds of hours and months preparing for this tournament - would be interested in hearing a more full explanation for the reasons behind the cancellation and the steps that ACF took to reschedule nationals and the reasons behind this cancellation. I understand, for example, that Illinois plans to maintain a strict lockdown policy this summer, and that Northwestern was the original planned host site. Is it not feasible to attempt to reschedule this in a state that is following less strict guidelines, i.e. Florida or Georgia? Is it not possible to hold a "socially distanced" nats with masks and other requirements?

At the very least, we would hope that some sort of alternative form of competition is provided to provide some degree of closure to this year's teams. Perhaps this does not make financial sense from ACF's perspective, but we think it would be much appreciated by many parties.
Last edited by naan/steak-holding toll on Thu May 07, 2020 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor
User avatar
Perturbed Secretary Bird
Wakka
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:34 am

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by Perturbed Secretary Bird »

Will, I'm not an ACF member but I'd hazard the "reasons behind the cancellation" would be "a frakking global pandemic that will nearly certainly get worse as states relax restrictions without real medical progress being made." I am definitely deeply disappointed that all our tournaments are cancelled. But I do not want to have possibly contributed to people DYING because I wanted to play quizbowl. I couldn't live with myself if I was a carrier and infected a quizbowler who then died or infected a loved one (or any of the many underpaid janitorial staff at the venues we use, or any of the many underpaid food service employees you interact with on a given quizbowl trip). Thank you ACF for doing what is currently the most ethical thing.

Editing to add: I want to emphasize even more that it is incredibly privileged of us to be lamenting personal travel like this. There are billions of people across the world who, today, are choosing between keeping themselves safe from the virus and going out to work so they can keep themselves and their loved ones from starving. People like me have a duty to stay home as much as possible and not take unnecessary actions that might spread the virus (like going to tournaments). Just because some states are failing at doing what is right is not an excuse. If anything it's even more of a reason for us to not travel.
Athena Kern
They/them/theirs
Washington University in St. Louis, MSW '19-'21
University of Chicago Class of '18, Team VP '15-'17
P. L. Dunbar '14
PACE
User avatar
naturalistic phallacy
Auron
Posts: 1456
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Perturbed Secretary Bird wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 1:38 pm Will, I'm not an ACF member but I'd hazard the "reasons behind the cancellation" would be "a frakking global pandemic that will nearly certainly get worse as states relax restrictions without real medical progress being made." I am definitely deeply disappointed that all our tournaments are cancelled. But I do not want to have possibly contributed to people DYING because I wanted to play quizbowl. I couldn't live with myself if I was a carrier and infected a quizbowler who then died or infected a loved one (or any of the many underpaid janitorial staff at the venues we use, or any of the many underpaid food service employees you interact with on a given quizbowl trip). Thank you ACF for doing what is currently the most ethical thing.

Editing to add: I want to emphasize even more that it is incredibly privileged of us to be lamenting personal travel like this. There are billions of people across the world who, today, are choosing between keeping themselves safe from the virus and going out to work so they can keep themselves and their loved ones from starving. People like me have a duty to stay home as much as possible and not take unnecessary actions that might spread the virus (like going to tournaments). Just because some states are failing at doing what is right is not an excuse. If anything it's even more of a reason for us to not travel.
Speaking for myself, not as a member of ACF or any other organization, I endorse this post.
Bernadette Spencer
University of Minnesota, MCTC
Member, ACF
Event Manager, PACE
Order Support and Administrative Assistant, NAQT
User avatar
naan/steak-holding toll
Auron
Posts: 2335
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Obviously none of us want people to die! What we're most interested in is the discussion around alternate forms of competition. And I still think it's worth having a bit of transparency regarding this decision making.

In the event of a large amount of uncertainty - as with my decision to postpone Chicago Open - it makes sense to take precautions, naturally. Clearly for a large number of reasons Northwestern in August was not going to be a viable option. But a cancellation, as opposed to postponement (or other workaround) is a very, very strong step. Unlike NAQT, ACF is not bound to hotel contracts and is in possession of a wide variety of options. Even an online tournament (with necessary anti-cheating precautions) would be an option that, while not amicable to all teams, would still provide for a form of season-ending competition.
Last edited by naan/steak-holding toll on Thu May 07, 2020 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor
User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1455
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by vinteuil »

Auks Ran Ova wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:28 pm I'm not sure I understand what you hope to achieve with this oddly antagonistic line of questioning.
JR
User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 3107
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Urbana

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by Auroni »

Speaking not on behalf of ACF, but as a member of a strong team that Will does not speak for, I applaud this obviously morally correct decision. ACF had contacted us and other college teams about the possibility of postponement and has given serious consideration to that option before they reached this decision, which gives me the assurance that it was not made lightly.
Auroni Gupta (she/they)
UIUC
ACF
User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4143
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

naan/steak-holding toll wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 1:21 pm Is it not feasible to attempt to reschedule this in a state that is following less strict guidelines, i.e. Florida or Georgia?
I keep rereading this line and it's starting to make sparks and smoke come out of my brain.
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT
User avatar
naturalistic phallacy
Auron
Posts: 1456
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Auks Ran Ova wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 2:12 pm
naan/steak-holding toll wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 1:21 pm Is it not feasible to attempt to reschedule this in a state that is following less strict guidelines, i.e. Florida or Georgia?
I keep rereading this line and it's starting to make sparks and smoke come out of my brain.
You are asking other teams and staffers to put themselves and others at risk for the sake of an academic competition and for ACF to endorse (and encourage) such actions. While I certainly understand that tending to higher pleasures and purposes is worthwhile, I do not think this is the appropriate time to attempt to fulfill needs at the top of Mazlow's hierarchy.
Bernadette Spencer
University of Minnesota, MCTC
Member, ACF
Event Manager, PACE
Order Support and Administrative Assistant, NAQT
User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6835
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by Cheynem »

Couple points:

1. The title of the thread should really be edited to say CANCELLED to make that point as clear as possible.

2. The option of an online Nats is at least worth being put on the table. However, you would have to see--how many teams would be interested? Would the ACF Nats editors who have worked so hard want to put their questions to use in an online tournament as opposed to waiting for next year? This is barring the various logistical, technological, and cheating issues that affect all online tournaments (and are hopefully being reduced through new innovations in tournament play online). Ultimately, this is ACF's decision if they want to go online or not.

3. I'm probably one of the more bullish pro-reopening people in quizbowl, and even I think this is the right move. There are just too many question marks at the moment, and as Athena has pointed out, too much potential danger to have a tournament of this size. I would be delighted to have even small, regional tournaments at the high school and college levels in the fall, but I just don't think by August a big national tournament is feasible, in Illinois or in any other state, particularly in the middle of a crisis in which information is changing so rapidly.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger
User avatar
Oh No You Didn't
Yuna
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 10:03 am

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by Oh No You Didn't »

Cheynem wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 2:33 pm
2. The option of an online Nats is at least worth being put on the table.
🤮🤮🤮

(Mike's other points are good and right)
Andrew Wang
Illinois 2016
A Dim-Witted Saboteur
Yuna
Posts: 948
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:31 pm
Location: Lansing

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by A Dim-Witted Saboteur »

If I were ACF I would simply say "no thank you" to the global pandemic that is currently unfolding. I am astonished that no one has thought of this simple solution yet
Jakob Myers
MSU '21, Naperville North (IL) '17
"No one has ever organized a greater effort to get people interested in pretending to play quiz bowl"
-Ankit Aggarwal
They/them, retired
User avatar
Iain.Carpenter
Lulu
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:44 pm

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by Iain.Carpenter »

Cheynem wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 2:33 pm 2. The option of an online Nats is at least worth being put on the table.
For what it’s worth, due to the recent increase in online cheating, the prestige of ACF nationals, and the issues that inherently accompany online quizbowl, if ACF chooses to host an online nationals, Illinois will not be participating.
Iain Carpenter
Mahomet-Seymour High School (2013-2017)
UIUC (2017-2021)
User avatar
naan/steak-holding toll
Auron
Posts: 2335
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Cheynem wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 2:33 pm 2. The option of an online Nats is at least worth being put on the table. However, you would have to see--how many teams would be interested? Would the ACF Nats editors who have worked so hard want to put their questions to use in an online tournament as opposed to waiting for next year? This is barring the various logistical, technological, and cheating issues that affect all online tournaments (and are hopefully being reduced through new innovations in tournament play online). Ultimately, this is ACF's decision if they want to go online or not.

3. I'm probably one of the more bullish pro-reopening people in quizbowl, and even I think this is the right move. There are just too many question marks at the moment, and as Athena has pointed out, too much potential danger to have a tournament of this size. I would be delighted to have even small, regional tournaments at the high school and college levels in the fall, but I just don't think by August a big national tournament is feasible, in Illinois or in any other state, particularly in the middle of a crisis in which information is changing so rapidly.
I think this is a pretty reasonable perspective and I'd be interested in seeing several of these points discussed at length by ACF. I don't disagree that there's a substantial amount of risks, enough to not want to hold an in-person tournament in August - especially given that the player population is quite risk-averse, travel is expensive, potential of transmission to elders is non-insignificant (especially for people who live at home with their parents) etc.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor
User avatar
Wartortullian
Rikku
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:02 pm
Location: Boulder, CO
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern [CANCELLED]

Post by Wartortullian »

Has ACF considered extending 2021 Nats eligibility for graduating students who qualified the previous year? I completely understand this decision, but as someone who worked very hard to build a team that could qualify for Nats, I'm quite annoyed that we won't get to play a national championship together the one year that we're actually half-decent. I can't speak for others here, but I would be perfectly happy to forsake a year of Nats eligibility with Yale to play for Colorado. I'd even be willing to sit out Regionals (or solo it, or play as an exhibition team) if the policy necessitated that.
Matt Mitchell
Yale 20xx
Colorado 2020
Treasure Valley 2016
QBNotify creator, Colorado Quiz Bowl founder, PACE member
User avatar
1.82
Rikku
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:35 pm
Location: a vibrant metropolis, the equal of Paris or New York
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern [CANCELLED]

Post by 1.82 »

Wartortullian wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 3:15 pm Has ACF considered extending 2021 Nats eligibility for graduating students who qualified the previous year? I completely understand this decision, but as someone who worked very hard to build a team that could qualify for Nats, I'm quite annoyed that we won't get to play a national championship together the one year that we're actually half-decent. I can't speak for others here, but I would be perfectly happy to forsake a year of Nats eligibility with Yale to play for Colorado. I'd even be willing to sit out Regionals (or solo it, or play as an exhibition team) if the policy necessitated that.
I think that this is a bad idea. As it stands, it's clear that there won't be a national championship for the 2019–20 school year, but it's reasonable to think that there will be a national championship for the 2020–21 school year, as usual. However, if 2021 ACF Nationals participation were not based on enrollment status for the 2020–21 school year, that would mean that not just one year but two would be impacted; there would still be no national championship for the 2019–20 school year, but there wouldn't be a national championship for the 2020–21 school year, either. Instead there would be a muddle of both.
Naveed Chowdhury
Maryland '16
Georgia Tech '17
User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15616
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern [CANCELLED]

Post by AKKOLADE »

1.82 wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 3:57 pm
Wartortullian wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 3:15 pm Has ACF considered extending 2021 Nats eligibility for graduating students who qualified the previous year? I completely understand this decision, but as someone who worked very hard to build a team that could qualify for Nats, I'm quite annoyed that we won't get to play a national championship together the one year that we're actually half-decent. I can't speak for others here, but I would be perfectly happy to forsake a year of Nats eligibility with Yale to play for Colorado. I'd even be willing to sit out Regionals (or solo it, or play as an exhibition team) if the policy necessitated that.
I think that this is a bad idea. As it stands, it's clear that there won't be a national championship for the 2019–20 school year, but it's reasonable to think that there will be a national championship for the 2020–21 school year, as usual. However, if 2021 ACF Nationals participation were not based on enrollment status for the 2020–21 school year, that would mean that not just one year but two would be impacted; there would still be no national championship for the 2019–20 school year, but there wouldn't be a national championship for the 2020–21 school year, either. Instead there would be a muddle of both.
Naveed lays out the issues with changing eligibility rules for any national. Changing any national to a “plus one year” approach does a disservice to everyone.
Fred Morlan
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
PACE
former (?) hsqbrank manager, former NAQT writer & subject editor, former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator
User avatar
jonpin
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 2205
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:45 pm
Location: BCA NJ / WUSTL MO / Hackensack NJ

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern

Post by jonpin »

Auks Ran Ova wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 2:12 pm
naan/steak-holding toll wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 1:21 pm Is it not feasible to attempt to reschedule this in a state that is following less strict guidelines, i.e. Florida or Georgia?
I keep rereading this line and it's starting to make sparks and smoke come out of my brain.
Besides the fact that it's folly to think the situation in Florida or Georgia can be projected three months out (one might say that it's as much folly as it is for those states to have opened up now!), the fact remains that ACF Nationals is a national championship. If teams are traveling in from hotbeds like California, Michigan, Illinois, and I don't know, New York City, then all you accomplish by hosting it in a state without an outbreak is providing the opportunity for an outbreak to start. And if teams or players aren't traveling in from those states, then you don't have a legitimate national championship anyway.
Jon Pinyan
Coach, Bergen County Academies (NJ); former player for BCA (2000-03) and WUSTL (2003-07)
HSQB forum mod, PACE member
Stat director for: NSC '13-'15, '17; ACF '14, '17, '19; NHBB '13-'15; NASAT '11

"A [...] wizard who controls the weather" - Jerry Vinokurov
User avatar
Mike Bentley
Sin
Posts: 6141
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:03 pm
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern [CANCELLED]

Post by Mike Bentley »

I wonder if there's an option for a shorter, 2020-eligible tournament tacked on to the 2021 event. An event before and/or after the main event open only to teams based on 2020 eligibility. Since this is likely to be niche in the teams it attracts, perhaps ACF can make this event invite-only so that you start with a de-facto playoff bracket (thus needing fewer rounds). This obviously won't fully replace 2020 nationals but for the most dedicated teams who wanted to compete against each other in 2020, I think this is an okay option that doesn't mess up 2021 nationals (much).

Of course this needs more questions, staffers, time commitment, etc. Hopefully having the extra year could help with producing more questions for such an event.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008
User avatar
a named reaction
Rikku
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:16 am

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern [CANCELLED]

Post by a named reaction »

I think one of the options ACF presented in the poll they sent out to teams would be to have regional prelimsat some point in the spring followed by a playoff bracket the day before Nats 21. Relative to what Mike proposed, this would at least give teams who qualified this year and who would be interested in playing the Nationals set, but who are not close to being contenders and wouldn't be invited to an invite-only event, a chance to do something at a lower cost (at least in travel) than a national event, though without the cross-regional appeal of a national tournament. While I guess I'm insulated from at least one bad part of this idea by the fact I almost certainly wouldn't qualify and have to deal with the logistics of getting to Nationals a day early, I'm also exposed to the other main bad part that I'll be on the other side of the country from the rest of the current Delaware team.
Eric Wolfsberg
Bethlehem Central High School 2016
University of Delaware 2020
Stanford 2025 or whatever
User avatar
The King's Flight to the Scots
Auron
Posts: 1534
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:11 pm

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern [CANCELLED]

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

We are again very sorry that we have to cancel 2020 ACF Nationals under the current circumstances. As an organization made up of current and former quizbowlers, who know from direct experience how hard teams work to prepare for this tournament, we certainly don't make this decision lightly. We are greatly disappointed that we won't be able to put on the culminating event of the quizbowl season, which we've worked hard to organize.

Will mentions the Governor of Illinois' guidance on re-opening after COVID. This document did indeed influence our decision-making, but not just because we were planning to reschedule the tournament in Illinois. Under the current conditions of uncertainty, we're interpreting it as a guideline for when we can safely host a large event anywhere.

Following this plan, we wouldn't be able to hold a large gathering (> 50 people) until Phase 5, when the development of herd immunity or the availability of a vaccine makes it safe to reopen. As we understand it, there is essentially no chance we'll reach this benchmark by August. Dr. Fauci has suggested a timeline of 12-18 months for a vaccine to be found, to give some idea of how far out we are from that.

Other resources we've consulted, such as CDC guidance on mass gatherings and Johns Hopkins' guide to reopening, are similarly bearish on the prospects for a rescheduled Nationals. The strict social distancing measures required for any event of this size - let alone one that teams fly into from all over the country - would be logistically unfeasible, not reliably followed, and detrimental to the experience of the players. Under these conditions, we do not think it is possible to provide a tournament that meets the minimum quality standard we'd want to set for ACF Nationals.

For similar reasons, we decided against suggestions for a make-up tournament along the lines proposed by some in this thread. We believe that such proposals would be harmful to competitive integrity, the players' experience, or both. That is also why we will not extend 2020 eligibility to the 2020-2021 season: we think it would unacceptably compromise 2021 ACF Nationals to allow players not eligible in that year to compete.

We are again sorry to all affected by these circumstances. We know from personal experience how important a tournament Nationals is, and understand how disappointing it is to lose a chance to contend for an ACF title. For many of us, attending Nationals is still the highlight of our year. We would not be calling it off if it weren't the only responsible choice at this juncture.
Matt Bollinger
UVA '14, UVA '15
Editor-in-Chief, ACF
User avatar
naan/steak-holding toll
Auron
Posts: 2335
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: ACF Nationals 2020: August 8-9, Northwestern [CANCELLED]

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Thanks Matt - I and the other members of my team greatly appreciate the response and transparency. The necessity for this decision is unfortunate, but ultimately understandable.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor
User avatar
Aaron's Rod
Sec. of Cursed Images, Chicago SJW Cabal
Posts: 739
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:29 pm

Re: 2020 ACF Nationals Cancellation Discussion

Post by Aaron's Rod »

I've split this thread from the announcement thread for 2020 ACF Nationals.
Alex D.
ACF
http://tinyurl.com/qbmisconduct

"You operate at a shorter wavelength and higher frequency than most human beings." —Victor Prieto
Post Reply