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Calling Former Players 
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Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006
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Post Calling Former Players
I have had some of the best conversations I have ever had concerning scholar quiz over the past few days. These took place with Mike Wehrman, a former NKC player, via e-mail. He told me that I am allowed to make these avaiable if I so desire. I probably will, in due time.

What came from these open discussions was a feeling that ex-players are not asked for their input very often from MSHSAA, MACA, or people involved with the high school game. Thus, the outbursts on message boards.

I am wondering if I can work to change this. I think there is a place for both styles of play.

According to the survey (convenience) sent out by Coach Camp, 62% of coaches are not in favor of making changes to the format. They are not all that happy about districts at night, but that is another matter.

That being said, the MSHSAA format is here to stay. I am ok with that. I hope you are as well.

However, it dawned on me. Why can't we promote both formats? Why can't we push to get our top teams in the state qualifying for NAQT nationals and hopefully representing Missouri well? Why do we have to keep butting heads on these issues?

Stop calling MSHSAA play "bad quizbowl."

If you think that we can come together on these issues, I would be happy to do what I can to promote your tournaments. I am formally inviting to you attend the MACA convention Monday, September 28 in Columbia. I do not have all the details of how this would work, but I am open to suggestions. I would like to involve you in the convention. Any thoughts?

With Mike, I discussed a mutlitude of issues. It was so free flowing, much easier than the resistance I normally receive on the message board.



One final note: our advisory committee meeting is Wednesday. Any thoughts on changes you would like to see? Again, you have to be reasonable. We are not going to become Virginia tomorrow.


Of course, if there is only one acceptable format for message board participants, that is ok. I will root for you. I won't read your comments because I will focus my attention on the tournaments we attend. However, I certainly wish you the best. That's how I operate - I want the best for FZW, GAC teams, Two Saints teams, St. Louis teams, and all Missouri teams (in that order).


I am hoping for good things here . . . . . . . . (and thanks Mike for great ideas)!


Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:40 pm
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Can you tell us which coaches participated in the poll?


Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:09 pm
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Quote:
According to the survey (convenience) sent out by Coach Camp, 62% of coaches are not in favor of making changes to the format. They are not all that happy about districts at night, but that is another matter.


When you say the format, was there a breakdown of which aspects of the format people objected to? If so, is there a breakdown of how many coaches supported/opposed each part of the existing format? Finally, would it be possible to post a copy of that survey?

Quote:
However, it dawned on me. Why can't we promote both formats?
I'm genuinely glad that we've come far enough that we can all agree that the NAQT and/or 20/20 format has some degree of value in Missouri, and I personally look forward to your help in promoting that alongside the MSHSAA format, as well as your interest in promoting the NAQT HSNCT (and hopefully PACE NSC as well).

Quote:
Stop calling MSHSAA play "bad quizbowl."

As I've mentioned before, the term "bad quizbowl" is one which merely reflects the opinions of a large block of individuals. It's much easier to say that than say "math computation, short tossups, poorly academic distribution, etc." I don't think it should be taken as a perjorative term (any more than "trash" is)--I use it, and I freely admit that some aspects of Quiz Bowl I support or at least don't oppose fall under the umbrella of "bad quizbowl." I don't think anyone is intentionally being offensive by saying that, and thus concerns about the perjorative nature of that term simply take away from constructive discussion.

Quote:
We are not going to become Virginia tomorrow.

I'm rather curious about this. What aspects of the Virginia circuit do you think that we should be like? Are you saying that your goal is to make Missouri more like Virginia?

In any case, I personally appreciate the spirit of outreach to everyone on the Message Board expressed in this post and look forward to working to improve Missouri Quiz Bowl--I will try to make the MACA convention if possible.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:35 pm
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It wasn't my survey. I have no idea who participated or who did not participate. She sent out the survey to a large number of coaches. I made sure to forward it to my St. Louis contacts.



I have no idea what they do in Virginia. Isn't that where Shawn Pickerell is from? I noticed several of the top teams at NAQT seemed to be from that area (but I could be completely wrong). It was a "throw away" comment.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:46 pm
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1. Are you satisfied with the current MSHSAA format for academic competition games (15 TU, 10 TU w/B, 15 TU, 10 TU w/B)? [answered question 44; skipped question 2]
Response
Response Percent
Response Count
Yes; we've always had this format and should not break with tradition.
61.4%
27
No; the format needs to be revised in order to better serve the needs of competitors and coaches.
38.6%
17









If you have studied statistics, you can see it is a loaded question (meaning it was asked in a way which would naturally lead educators/coaches to answer in the negative). I know I looked for a 3rd possible answer. Yes, I understand the value of the current format.

It is also a convenience sampling. Those desiring change would be more likely to answer this survey since you had to spend some time clicking on the link in order to answer the quesiton.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:57 pm
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I got the results from Camp; they are attached to this post and include comments left by respondents. There were 46 responses.

1. Are you satisfied with the current MSHSAA format for academic competition games (15 TU, 10 TU w/B, 15 TU, 10 TU w/B)? [answered by 44 respondents]
27 (61.4%) -- Yes; we've always had this format and should not break with tradition
17 (38.6%) -- No; the format needs to be revised in order to better serve the needs of competitors and coaches.

2. If MSHSAA were to change the format of the game, which of the following formats would best serve the needs of academic competition teams in Missouri? (Select all that apply.) [answered by 40 respondents]
9 (22.5%) -- Lightning (60 second) round in place of one TU w/Bonus round
22 (55.0%) -- Worksheet round (20 themed questions with 2 minutes to write responses) in place of one TU w/Bonus round
6 (15.0%) -- Double points on final tossup round
10 (25.0%) -- Semi-pyramidal toss-ups limited to toss-up only rounds (not in the bonus rounds)
7 (17.5%) -- Shortening current game format (10 TU, 5 TU w/4-part Bonus, 10 TU, 5 TU w/4-part Bonus)
15 (37.5%) Modify current format to more closely resemble NAQT (two halves of 10 TU with Bonus per game)

3. How satisfied were you with the structure used by MSHSAA for Districts and Sectionals this season? (select all that apply) [answered by 43 respondents]
7 (16.3%) -- It was a major improvement over previous years.
21 (48.8%) -- We should give this structure another year to decide if this structure is effective.
13 (30.2%) -- We had more conflicts than ever before and should move districts back to the morning.
3 (7.0%) -- We would like to return to the previous structure of larger districts with no sectionals, advancing 8 teams per class to state.
15 (34.9%) -- We want to eliminate sectionals, go back to the larger districts from previous years, and advance two teams per district to state.

I'll post my thoughts later; just wanted to get this up.

Attachments:


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:21 pm
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FZW Coach wrote:
If you have studied statistics, you can see it is a loaded question (meaning it was asked in a way which would naturally lead educators/coaches to answer in the negative). I know I looked for a 3rd possible answer. Yes, I understand the value of the current format.
I disagree with this, actually; the lack of a third response along the lines of "indifferent" would lead those who do not hold a strong opinion either way to answer "yes." I agree that the question needed a third possible answer.

I too have more to say later.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:32 pm
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FZW Coach wrote:
If you have studied statistics, you can see it is a loaded question (meaning it was asked in a way which would naturally lead educators/coaches to answer in the negative).
I agree that it is a loaded question, but I don't agree that it would lead coaches to answer "No" because they don't agree with the "tradition" part of the question.

This comment perfectly indicates that there is a problem with the answer selection for this question:
Quote:
It's not that we shouldn't break tradition. I just don't have a problem with the format. I wouldn't be opposed to changing it
either, though.

How should/did this person answer the question?
-- This person doesn't agree with the statement that we "shouldn't break with tradition"; in this case, your argument implies he/she would have answered "no".
-- This person don't have a problem with the format, so he/she would have answered "yes" in this case.
-- This person also isn't opposed to changing the format either.

My inclination is that this person responded "yes" because he/she is not opposed to the current format. If this is true, given that this person is also not opposed to changing the format, you cannot assume that all "yes" respondents wouldn't support a change to a different format. This question needed more options to get a more accurate indication (including, but not necessarily limited to, an "indifferent" option).


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:50 pm
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FZW Coach wrote:
According to the survey (convenience) sent out by Coach Camp, 62% of coaches are not in favor of making changes to the format.
I want to point out that this statement is not necessarily true. Rather, the survey indicates that 61.4% of survey respondents are "satisfied with the current MSHSAA format for academic competition games". The question did NOT ask if they are in favor of changes.

EDIT: Refined what the survey actually indicates


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/88961/'>U. Lou Sthagaim</a>, Jun 1 2009, 10:10:37 PM.</div>


Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:55 pm
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U. Lou Sthagaim wrote:
FZW Coach wrote:
According to the survey (convenience) sent out by Coach Camp, 62% of coaches are not in favor of making changes to the format.
I want to point out that this statement is not necessarily true. 62% of people are "satisfied with the current MSHSAA format for academic competition games". The question did NOT ask if they are in favor of changes.
Along those lines, it's noteworthy that the points of greatest contention about MSHSAA format Quiz Bowl (pyramidality and distribution) aren't even referenced in question one. It's quite possible that someone can like or be at least content with 50/20 but loath math computation, want less misc. material, or support expanding the number of lines per question to 4.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:02 pm
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As for suggestions, I want to remind you of this thread, which has several suggestions from a couple of months ago.

Given that you "think there is a place for both styles of play" and that the results of this survey imply general satisfaction with the MSHSAA format, I think the most productive thing we can do right now is to work to remove all the unnecessary restrictions that limit students' abilities to play quizbowl. As I outlined in the linked thread, these include:
• the 14 tournament restriction.
• the 250 mile restriction.
• the "second Friday in October" to "the date of Districts" season.
• any policies that might be in place that restrict teams' participation in national tournaments.
• any other policies that restrict students from participating fully in this academic endeavor.

All these restrictions do is limit players' opportunities to play quizbowl, whether it be MSHSAA-style or some other format. By removing these restrictions, you allow those teams who are displeased with MSHSAA-style quizbowl to attend more tournaments that will help them achieve their goal of doing well nationally, while those teams that are fine with MSHSAA-style quizbowl aren't subjected to a potentially unwelcome format change. I have observed that many teams that have the goal of winning MSHSAA State prefer to attend tournaments that emulate the format of that tournament as closely as possible. With only 14 possible tournament dates per year, even attending two or three tournaments in formats that significantly deviate from the MSHSAA format significantly reduce the amount of direct preparation these teams can do.

Not only does removing these rules give teams the unrestricted ability to attend as many tournaments in their preferred format, it also allows teams to more freely explore other formats, and thus reduce the chance that a team is narrow-minded about what quizbowl is because they are only exposed to their preferred format. My inclination is that there are a great deal of teams that aren't aware that there are other formats out there, and thus are less likely to notice issues with the MSHSAA format because they haven't been exposed significantly to anything with which to compare it. Even if teams do go to tournaments like WUHSAC and the Rolla tournaments, because they are almost always hosted by colleges, I have a feeling that many teams erroneously believe the tossup/bonus format is the "college game" and don't realize that tossup/bonus is how high schools play in much of the country. If teams are more freely able to play a wider variety of formats, they will hopefully become more educated about the game and better observe what works and what doesn't, and thus be able to make more educated suggestions to further improve Missouri quizbowl.

Basically, removing these restrictions benefits everyone and there is no reason to keep them. Like I said in my post in the linked thread, if there is a reason that MSHSAA feels that any of these restrictions are necessary, I would like to hear their exact justification.
___________________________________________________________________
Another thing I would like to briefly mention is that while many of us are strongly against the inclusion of computation questions, it is not nearly as significant of an issue as many of the other aspects we view as problematic. In other words, our preference for the tossup/bonus format does NOT mean that such a format must not have computation questions. The inclusion of computation questions is a completely separate and less important issue.


Last edited by Jeffrey Hill on Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

update link to phpbb3



Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:44 pm
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U. Lou Sthagaim wrote:
• the 14 tournament restriction.
Incidentally, Coach Gibbs, didn't you say a little while ago that this was definitely going away?

Edit for clarification of my question


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, Jun 1 2009, 10:21:31 PM.</div>


Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:16 pm
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FZW Coach wrote:

According to the survey (convenience) sent out by Coach Camp, 62% of coaches are not in favor of making changes to the format. They are not all that happy about districts at night, but that is another matter.

That being said, the MSHSAA format is here to stay. I am ok with that. I hope you are as well.

However, it dawned on me. Why can't we promote both formats? Why can't we push to get our top teams in the state qualifying for NAQT nationals and hopefully representing Missouri well? Why do we have to keep butting heads on these issues?

Stop calling MSHSAA play "bad quizbowl."




Honestly, over the last few years MSHSAA has done everything possible to burn every last bridge with us up to and including refusing to invite highly capable, excellent staffers such as myself, Paul Nelson, and Matt Chadbourne to their state championship (i.e. people who do this several weeks a year) in favor of staffers who do this almost not at all and could really care less what they are doing. This indicates to all of us that the current powers that be have no indication what they are doing, why they are doing it (especially with this what was it Jim McCrary called it "ladder system" wherein teachers get brownie points for working a qb tournament? Are you kidding me with this? This is how you ensure quality staff, by grabbing anyone off the street and having them just be happy they're not being asked to judge debate?), or who it even affects.

Frankly I'm resigned to the fact that MSHSAA's format will go the way of Chip Beall, CBI, and various other state formats that did not keep pace with reality. And the proponents of it will just have to deal with it. I'm all for co-existing. But don't have these delusions of grandeur that by limiting the students in this system that is basically a state tournament which utilizes a quota system based on geography actually means anything. IF you are for co-existing, get rid of these unnecessary rules with regards to travel, practicing, scrimmaging, and tournaments played. STOP treating this as if it were a sport. Or at the very least treat it as if it were swimming/diving. Those guys go to the Olympics, we go to Jeopardy!. But most importantly, this revolution is here to stay, so the sooner everyone just accepts that and moves on, the better.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:13 pm
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Did you read Charles Hang's post on hsqb? It's very good.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:55 am
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The discussion about Mike Wehrman's possible bid and writer qualifications has been moved here.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:31 pm
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While the other thread on what to do about MSHSAA questions cools down (or heats up?), I wanted to post in this thread about my own playing career. I want to do this partially because I think that it may shed some light on my point of view, partially because many of the other frequent readers of this board who may not know about Missouri’s quizbowl past, and because I was reminded recently that it's been exactly 10 years since I and my NKC team played in the first NAQT HSNCT.

Unlike Mike and Paul, my entire high school quizbowl career was played under MSHSAA. We bemoaned its 14 tournament restriction, 250-mile rule, restrictive calendar, lack of quality staffers, poor district alignment, bad questions, over abundance of math, and etc., and etc. on a daily basis. It's still really surprising to me that none of these problems has been fixed.

Even under MSHSAA's rules, in my 4 years NKC won over 400 games. I played in 8 national championships (1996: NAC; 1997: NAC, a short-lived California ASCN-like national tournament; 1998: PACE, Panasonic; 1999: NAQT, PACE, Panasonic) and our teams finished in the top 10 four times (California, PACE '99, NAQT '99, and Panasonic '99).

Unlike Paul, we did know about pyramidal questions even if we did not have that term. We generally called them "long" or "college style" questions to differentiate from "short" or "quick drill" questions. We understood that questions should attempt to put hard clues first and giveaways last even if there was not much stuff in between. We practiced on both types of questions and became very good at both styles. Most of the "quick drill" style tournaments featured longer questions at the end of rounds and in the playoff rounds (Northside, Savannah, etc.). Because the morning rounds' questions were generally easier and shorter, poor teams liked them better even as they were destroyed by the top teams. Then in the playoffs, rounds generally got harder, more pyramidal, and more academic. Our house-written tournaments played around with formats but always featured some of the longer questions and most pyramidal questions in the state. By my senior year there were at least 3 NAQT tournaments in Missouri (Rolla, UMKC, MU). In addition Mike wrote longer style question tournaments for a Lee's Summit North tournament, an NKC tournament, and tournaments at Arkansas. At Arkansas, we wrote the first ever ACF-style high school tournament in the region. Paul Nelson wrote a tournament held at Cuba high school in 1999. Outside the state, we attended NAQT tournaments in Oklahoma, and went to Vanderbilt at least once a year (the granddaddy of pyramidal questions). If you went back and looked at those questions today, they wouldn't hold up to much scrutiny. They were often hokey, had too many anecdotes and cutesy things going on and varied wildly in quality and difficulty, but they were still better than what MSHSAA bought.

I bring this up for a couple reasons. The first is that all of the ill-will towards MSHSAA has been felt before. We considered law suits, playing tournaments under fake names, etc. It didn't get us very far. We produced better alternative tournaments, but the majority of teams still were not swayed. Not much has changed (although St. Louis teams have gotten a lot better and more active than they were then, which helps). The other point, though, is that with a lot of dedication, a close reading of the rules followed by a bending of those rules, parental support, dedicated coaches, players, and former players can provide teams with the kind of academic competition they deserve. But it shouldn't be as hard as it is. Teams should not have to bend rules or claw and scratch their way into national tournaments. I feel that success can be had under MSHSAA, and that's why I believe that if we can loosen some restrictions and get our collective foot in MSHSAA's door, we have a better shot of bringing about change than if we detach ourselves from it and hope that it fails.


Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:41 am
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Speaking as a former player who played under MSHSAA format all four years of high school as well, I too became very frustrated with some of the restrictions made by MSHSAA, granted we weren't a 14 tournament per year team, but I feel it is very non-productive to place such gross restrictions on your own state's teams, many of which could do great things at the national level if given the opportunity to do so.

I too have to agree with many of the complaints mentioned in the last post, including the lack of quality staff members, ridiculous district alignment, miserable questions, and the gross over abundance of math calculation. To reach the level of excellent play, you absolutely have to have staff members wanting to be part of the tournament, and not there just to kind of be there.

I really have to call attention to the last three issues however. I find it a lack of geographical research when one team has to travel a total of SIX HOURS and spend the night just to compete in a district tournament. I also find the sectional system is something to a move of wastefulness, as it only causes a team's budget to burn more unnecessary money when the same result can happen at districts.

I can speak that I agree with all of the opinions shared here with the terrible questions. I had hoped that the questions would get better after my junior year, but all I got for hoping was Questions Galore. Most of us obviously saw what happened there...Also, what about the math calculation? I got a fair amount of questions in that category right, mostly through wild guesses. While math should be an integral part of the game, it should be theory and not computation, as computation is not set in finite law. One change, be it to the equation or how it is said by the moderator could possibly affect the entire outcome of a match, and I know I would hate it if one slip-up be it an error on the paper or a moderator not pronouncing it correctly cost me a state championship.


Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:07 pm
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