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NTAE and the MACA 
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006
Posts: 4134
Location: Columbia, MO
Post NTAE and the MACA
I'm starting this thread to discuss something I've been thinking about a little, and which has been brought to the forefront by some recent actions of the Illinois analogue of the MACA, the IHSSBCA.
For those of you who don't know, the Panasonic Academic Challenge was a tournament made up of all-star teams (although that was nebulously defined) from states and territories across the US. Although it never reached the maximum limit, I believe in it's heyday it used to host about 35 or more teams at Disney World. However, the field has been gradually dwindling to the point that I believe last year only around 25 teams showed up, perhaps fewer, and many of the regions like Virginia and Michigan that regularly produce powerhouse teams have not been sending the all-star teams that would undoubtedly have been quizbowl forces to be reckoned with. This year the event lost it's Panasonic sponsorship and has reverted to it's old name of the National Tournament of Academic Excellence. Just today, the IHSSBCA announced that they will stop funding an Illinois team, in favor of spending that money on grants to teams that are interested in expanding their participation in quizbowl but don't have the money. To bring to your attention the true magnitude of this announcement, Illinois has won the tournament the last 2 years in a row. The students who won this event, and the coaches who sponsored them, thought it was meaningless enough that they could afford to sacrifice their future success and potential titles for it.
Last year Missouri did not send a team. I assumed that this meant Missouri had ceased its sponsorship of a team. However, I have heard from a MACA member that they discussed sending another team this year and revamping the selection process. I would urge anyone who is a member of the MACA who reads this, or whose coach is a member, to please encourage them to not support sending a Missouri team to this event. Considering the excessive cost, the very very poor quality format, the lack of many highly competitive teams here that might otherwise give credence to its legitimacy as a true national title, and the very clear signs that this event is going to fold in on itself in the very near future, that the MACA please do not do anything to support this tournament's continued existence. There are many other ways that money could be spent to improve the quality of quizbowl for Missouri teams - for instance, the grants idea sounds wonderful in Illinois. A slight variant of this could be to give teams money to help attend the HSNCT or the NSC if they do not have the money to make it out to nationals on their own. Another alternative could be to cover some of the tournament hosting fees for new high school teams who want to host a quality tournament (one written by NAQT, HSAPQ, or any independent mirror). If someone else comes up with a creative but beneficial use of this money, I would encourage that as well. Please, do not spend it just prolonging the natural end of the NTAE in a way that really does nothing to help Missouri quizbowl.

Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:33 pm
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