If you already post regularly on this board, you already know how putting on a tournament goes. This is for the crowd of new coaches, players etc that Google "Ohio quizbowl" and come upon this site.
Putting on a tournament for the first time can be a daunting task, but in fact it can be very manageable and easy. How well or how poorly a tournament goes is largely contingent on the people putting it on: if you prepare well in advance, cover all the bases, and have a modest field size, then your tournament will likely go well with few, if any, hiccups. If you get overly ambitious, don't plan ahead, and don't have a backup plan, then your tournament might be a disaster. No one wants a disaster tournament. Coming Up With the Tournament
In the first place, the tournament will either be put on by you (either as an unaffiliated individual or a coach/advisor of a club) or a collective of two or more people. There aren't too many tournaments that are put on by "multiple people", probably the most common example would be an individual that hosts a tournament in a building they are not affiliated with. You may have heard of high school students taking on the initiative of putting on a tournament themselves: while this can
be done, I personally do not endorse the practice as a wholesale.
Only you, the tournament director, can decide the mission behind your tournament. Do you want attract only the teams in your county and let it be a relaxed event, or do you want to get all the heavy-hitters from across the state and get your organization/school into the limelight? One of the most essential parts of coming up with the tournament is the date. Here is the list of tournaments happening across the state of Ohio for the 2015-2016 school year.
Every year, there will be a date claim thread that lists the Saturdays in the school calendar year. The list of Saturdays also will have dates of the SAT & ACT tests, religious holidays, and traditionally well-established tournaments (i.e. going on 10+ years) will have their "weekend" marked ahead of time. Conflicts are often unavoidable, we understand. If there ever is a conflict that is "most okay" to schedule against, it actually would be
the SAT & ACT (**UNLESS YOUR SCHOOL IS A TEST SITE THAT DATE**). Unless you're going for a small, very local event then it would not be a good idea to run your tournament against a well-established tournament or a date that already has multiple tournaments(!) Planning the Tournament
After you come up with the date and idea of who you want to attract, the next three important steps are finding a question set, determining how big (or small) you want the field to be, and coming up with the name.
Question set - different question sets entail their own unique formats. There are five formats of quizbowl that could be possibly be played, in order of their popularity - with their vendors in the parentheses - they are: tossup/bonus (National Academic Quiz Tournaments, High School Academic Pyramidal Questions, and independent sets from clubs across the country), Ohio Academic Competition format (independent writers from across the state of Ohio), the National History Bowl 4-quarter format (written by the National History Bowl company), the 4-quarter format (no one to my knowledge writes this format anymore), and straight toss-ups (if you plan on doing this, contact N.A.Q.T.) In the Buckeye State, tossup/bonus and OAC format are the two predominate formats across the state of Ohio... because of this, there are more options to get questions for said formats and definitely more interests from schools in the local and regional levels to play these formats. National History Bowl format, to put it bluntly, is only done in competitions officially conducted under the pretense of being a qualifying event for the National History Bowl; NHB only produces *a few sets* and in the case of Ohio, there are already established hosts (this doesn't necessarily mean your organization can't host one, but be aware that they may not sell you the set because its being played already somewhere in Ohio). Regarding straight toss-ups, contact National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) and let them know you want to just run a straight toss-up tournament. **There is a question vendor called Questions Unlimited: because there is concrete evidence of plagiarism
, a lack of pyramidality in the question style format, the prevailing opinion that products from Q.U. are inferior and expensive, along with other criticisms that could be discussed ad infinitum, putting on a tournament that uses questions from Q.U. may as well be the kiss of death, because no one is going to want to play them.**
Determining the field - there are tournaments that fail simply because they can't provide for the number of teams in the field. The field size is entirely contingent on the number of readers and scorekeepers. Here is a basic rule of thumb: start at 12. 12 teams means you need six readers (plus scorekeepers), because you're going to have six rooms playing in a given round. Number of teams to avoid: prime numbers, odd numbers, 14, 20, 22, 26, 34, 38. Your field size should be divisible by two. And by "start at 12", find the best six people inside your organization or building that can read. Often times teams have a coach or two that can
read. If they have a coach who can, and is willing to read, give them a ten dollar discount (DO NOT TURN AWAY A READER SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO LOSE $10). Many coaches who have been "in the game" for a while can read very proficiently and timely. A helpful tip: if its your first tournament, don't make a tournament announcement that says "the initial field cap will be [even integer larger than 12]" if you definitely can not provide the readers on your own before asking for help from coaches or individuals at large.
The Name - as ticky-tacky as this point may appear, it is entirely valid. If its your first tournament, make it to the point. If your school's mascot is the "Tigers" for example, call it the "Tiger Invitational". DO NOT do something sophomoric, use weird jargon that no one understands, or anything that you frankly have to explain (I recognize some tournaments do this, JUST DON'T...). If parents and administrators are going to raise an eyebrow at your tournament's name, then its a bad idea.Conducting the tournament
In the week leading up to the tournament, you should have a direct line of communication with each team that is attending. Convey to them what's going on, what the field is looking like, what time they should be at the school, and what format you plan on using. If you're going to guarantee games, stick to that guarantee
. While there may be a good number of coaches that "are cool" with whatever you do, don't say "your team is going to play eight games" and only give them five or six. Obviously, if you have to account for extenuating circumstances such as weather, late drops, emergencies... those are one thing (and any rational adult shouldn't have a problem with it), but definitely don't cut games out of the schedule for convenience' sake.
Have a control room - a tournament doesn't function without a control room. The control room should not
have any games played in it, if possible. The control room is where scores are tallied to the master schedule and list, questions are disseminated round-by-round, and any protests are submitted to. The tournament director should be in the control room.
You determine the schedule. It's not going to do anything for this guide to tell you what schedule to use, but it is universal that four-to-five rounds get done before lunch time. **DO NOT SKIP LUNCH UNLESS EVERYONE PARTICIPATING AGREES TO**. Tournaments in the tossup/bonus style almost always do re-bracketing based on morning performance: this ensures that the strong, older teams play each other in the afternoon and less-experienced, not as good teams play each other in the afternoon. Equitable match-ups can't always be guaranteed in the morning, but the re-bracketing accomplishes this mission in the afternoon (they keep the games meaningful for all participants and discourages leaving early).Trophies
Communicate before the tournament whether or not there will be trophies, and if so, then for whom (only the tournament champion? Division champions? Top scorers?). Don't reneg on the trophies, it's one thing if you can't get them in for the tournament... to not have any at all after saying you would is unacceptable.Stats
Stats are basically only relevant in the context of tossup/bonus, since that's the only format that tracks individual performance and quantitative statistics for a team such as average points, points-per-bonus, powers, etc. Do notify everyone though of standings regardless of format, though.