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  • Unbalanced Tournaments

    I noticed on the last regional discussion post that OP mentioned that the Cincinnati regional has an incredibly low TPR and an incredibly low number of good teams going to it, particularly when you count the fact that the Miami teams canít hit each other and the Cincinnati teams canít hit each other. I might just think this was a fluke of this yearís stacking, after all, somebody has to have the easy regional every year. But this is an ongoing pattern, and not just at regionals. The tournament Miami has most traditionally struggled with is ORCS, even occasionally failing to get their A team to qualify (only to be saved by their B team). And so it seems that Miami has a solution for themselves. Give themselves the easiest ORCS.

    Letís look at the TPR sums of all ORCS in the last three years. For those unfamiliar with TPR, a higher TPR sum means a harder tournament (the sums here are the sums of the TPR points not the ranks).

    2017:
    Geneva- 464.95
    Decatur- 418.86
    Wilmington- 416.07
    Fresno- 382.77
    Memphis- 377.30
    Central Islip- 374.12
    Lancaster- 371.71
    Hamilton- 305.48

    Now it should be noted that there is quite a large variation in the strengths of these ORCS. But thereís certainly a cluster between 370 and 420 without any large jumps. And then there are the two outliers: Geneva and Hamilton. Geneva was by far the hardest ORCS last year, with perennial National contenders like Chicago, Michigan, Northwestern, Wheaton, NIU, and USC. In fact, there were nine different teams at that ORCS who had been to the previous national championship, and five teams weighted in the top 25, all vying for six spots. In short, it was a bloodbath (no wonder traditionally strong schools like Northwestern had trouble making it out). Meanwhile, Hamilton was by far the easiest ORCS, with only two teams that had been to Nationals in 2016 and only one top 25 team. Who was that team? You guessed it: Miami. And the worst fact about this was that it was entirely avoidable. Hamilton ORCS and Geneva ORCS were on the same weekend, so theoretically the same teams should have been available. In fact, national powerhouse team University of Michigan is closer to Hamilton, OH (3h57m) than it is to Geneva, IL (4h27m). So the problem could have been avoided by moving some strong teams from one ORCS to the other. But no, Miami got the easy one.

    2016:
    Lancaster- 454.11
    Santa Monica- 446.08
    Memphis- 398.61
    Washington, DC- 382.56
    Wilmington- 377.87
    Decatur- 372.61
    St. Paul- 363.00
    Geneva- 321.64

    This year was a little bit more clustered. Nothing quite as extreme. But note that Geneva (where Miami went) is still lower than any of the other ORCS this year or the year after (except the one Miami went to the year after). Also note that Lancaster, the strongest ORCS (which already had strong East Coast teams like Yale, NYU, and Cornell), suddenly had some surprising Midwestern additions, including Hillsdale, Ohio State A and B, and both Michigan teams, some of them traveling long distances to be diverted from the Geneva ORCS.

    2015:
    Greenville- 441.58
    Washington, DC- 431.63
    State College- 430.2
    Geneva- 405.12
    Anoka- 383.98
    Memphis- 375.91
    Louisville- 365.28
    San Diego- 361.58

    This is a bit of an unusual year, in that Miami does not have the lowest TPR sum, just the second lowest. It should be noted that the only ORCS lower than Miamiís was San Diego, the only ORCS west of the Mississippi. AMTA doesnít have much choice as to who they send there: itís just the west coast teams. But looking at the rest of the country, Miami still had it easy.

    Itís not that it would be that alarming if Miami sometimes got the easiest ORCS. But the fact is, if you look at the five easiest ORCS in the last three years, Miami has been to three of them, and in most years, theyíre going to the easiest ORCS there is by absurd levels. And it looks like the patternís just continuing this year with their regional. I know Miami has a lot of affiliates and friends on the board (former students, former coaches, current coaches, etc), but membership on the board shouldnít get you this.

  • #2
    I am a little confused at the TPR that you are using, are you evaluating Yale as worth 59 or 1? This being said I think that the general point you are making is very valid, there are certainly some regions and especially some ORCS, which are much harder than others, and it is particularly frustrating when they have such a disparity in such close proximity. I would point out though, that an important measurement isn't always what the top teams are, but what the bottom teams are (this is tougher to measure), but a tournament where everyone has been to ORCS in the past and has always had 4-5 wins is in many ways tougher to break from than one in which 8 teams have all made nationals and the rest are all absolutely terrible and shouldn't even be there.

    Thank you for adding this post though, it is something that needs to be addressed for sure! @AMTAREPS maybe examine this?

    Comment


    • #3
      Yale is 59. I think that the TPR points (5xNationals ballots etc.) is a more accurate measure than ranks because 1. there are large clusters of ranks all of which have taken essentially the same number of ballots (e.g., ranks 65-68 all have a TPR sum of 21 this year) meaning that they've performed approximately the same but they all have different ranks which introduces inaccuracy, and 2. (in a similar vein) the performance gaps between ranks vary wildly (e.g. the difference between #2 and #3 is 7.6 TPR points where as the difference between 65 and 66 is 0 TPR points).

      Comment


      • #4
        The TPR sum actually does a better job at factoring in the middle/bottom teams than simply looking at the ranks. TPR factors in performance at ORCS for the last three years.

        Comment


        • #5
          I understand, cool cool, thanks for sharing. The only thing I will say to defend Miami, just playing devils advocate, is that they still do well at nationals, so they clearly deserve to be there. That being said, I think their path could be tested a lot more, and it is definitely unfair that other teams from their ORCS are getting such a free pass. I also don't think this is intentional, more coincidental, but hopefully once AMTA is aware of it they can adjust accordingly, right?

          Comment


          • #6
            The problem with OP comes down to too heavy a reliance on TPR, and not enough scrutiny on the actual results from Nationals. Take 2017 for example. OP's logic can be broken down this way: Geneva had the highest TPR, and Hamilton had the lowest. TPR is a measure of how hard a tournament is; therefore, Geneva was a harder tournament than Hamilton. QED.

            But TPR is predictive; it's only based on the results of previous years. The actual results of the NCT exposes the flaw in OP's analysis, and not just because Miami's placed 9th, 2nd, and 3rd in their division at nationals over the last three years, respectively. In Geneva, the six bids accounted for a record of 26-42-4 (38.9%), including a fourth place finish from Michigan A and a ninth place finish for the University of Chicago. Compare that to Hamilton, where the bids finished with a record of 37-32-3 (53.5%), including a fifth place finish from Indiana, sixth from Ohio State, ninth from Miami, and honorable mentions from Penn State and Cincinnati.

            It's also surprising to learn that Chicago, Michigan, Northwestern, Wheaton, NIU, and USC are "perennial National contenders" when the only one of them to ever make the final round was Northwestern in 1986, when they lost to Wright State University. I don't mean to take anything away from these programs - they're very good, and every year there are at least a dozen teams that are good enough to win the fifth round. But OP far overstates the historic success of these programs.

            There isn't a conspiracy to shut out other strong Midwestern programs in favor of Miami. At the NCT last year, Miami outperformed all of the programs OP is complaining about except for Michigan A. Instead, Regionals are literally designed to protect highly ranked teams. That's the whole point of TPR. It's the reason that teams have an incentive to do well at ORCS even if they're out of the running for a bid. Because the higher your TPR, the easier it is to get to the NCT next year. There isn't a conspiracy to help Miami succeed. There are rules designed to reward programs that do well in previous years.

            Comment


            • #7
              But, Roger_Wilco, you said it yourself: doing well in one season is supposed to make things easier for you for next season by raising your TPR. That kind of incentive system only works if the ORCs are reasonably balanced for the next year (meaning that your high TPR will result in easier competition on average). But whatís actually happening is that some teams that do very well are getting much harder ORCS (i.e. the people who got stuck in 2016 Lancaster or 2017 Geneva).

              The issue is less what happens to Miami and the people in their region (I agree with Adavans that Miami is a very strong program and will make it out most years wherever theyíre sent anyway). The issue is that in making an easy region for Miami, they are making very hard regions directly adjacent to Miami. Those people worked very hard and made it to nationals the year before (remember, there were 9 teams in 2017 Geneva who had been to nationals in 2016) so by the ďyou do well so you get an easier time of itĒ logic they should have had a reasonably easy time getting out. But instead they were all lumped together in one region.

              And this weird shift of national level teams resulted in some very competitive programs not getting out both years (precisely because they ended up playing other top teams that had been forced in with them). Northwestern A (at the time ranked 19th by TPR so they should have been protected) just barely didnít make it out of Geneva last year and NYU A (at the time ranked 3rd by TPR so they also should have been protected, and indeed protected more than Miami who were 4th) didnít make it out of Lancaster two years ago (although their B team saved them).

              As for the argument about how the teams ended up doing at Nationals, the issue is that AMTA doesnít have a good way of knowing how well the teams are going to do at the nationals that year (they canít see the future). The best they can do is look at how well teams have done up until the point when they assign the bids. TPR and/or performance at previous Nationals is the most objective way of doing that.

              Above, I examined TPR. But even if we just look at National performance from the previous year, the Hamilton ORCS last year only had 2 teams who had been to the 2016 Nationals. Only one of those teams had placed honorable mention or above, and that was Miami themselves (meaning they were guaranteed not to have to play any top ten teams in order to get out). Compare this to Geneva which had 9 teams that had made nationals the previous year, three of which had placed honorable mention or above (and several more who had just missed honorable mention by a half a ballot or so).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
                But, Roger_Wilco, you said it yourself: doing well in one season is supposed to make things easier for you for next season by raising your TPR. That kind of incentive system only works if the ORCs are reasonably balanced for the next year (meaning that your high TPR will result in easier competition on average). But whatís actually happening is that some teams that do very well are getting much harder ORCS (i.e. the people who got stuck in 2016 Lancaster or 2017 Geneva).

                The issue is less what happens to Miami and the people in their region (I agree with Adavans that Miami is a very strong program and will make it out most years wherever theyíre sent anyway). The issue is that in making an easy region for Miami, they are making very hard regions directly adjacent to Miami. Those people worked very hard and made it to nationals the year before (remember, there were 9 teams in 2017 Geneva who had been to nationals in 2016) so by the ďyou do well so you get an easier time of itĒ logic they should have had a reasonably easy time getting out. But instead they were all lumped together in one region.
                See above. Just because an ORCS has a higher TPR doesn't mean it's "much harder." Just because an ORCS has a low TPR doesn't make it "an easy region."

                Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
                And this weird shift of national level teams resulted in some very competitive programs not getting out both years (precisely because they ended up playing other top teams that had been forced in with them). Northwestern A (at the time ranked 19th by TPR so they should have been protected) just barely didnít make it out of Geneva last year and NYU A (at the time ranked 3rd by TPR so they also should have been protected, and indeed protected more than Miami who were 4th) didnít make it out of Lancaster two years ago (although their B team saved them).
                Northwestern isn't a good example of Geneva being a hard tournament. NW didn't break last year because they got an unlucky split with a 4-4 Houston Baptist, and 5.5 isn't always good enough to get a bid to the NCT. NW didn't have a particularly difficult tournament for ORCS, and their bad luck isn't proof that Geneva was a harder tournament than Hamilton.

                Your better example for Geneva is probably USC, who ended 5-3 with a CS of 19. Their 3 losses came after a thorough rout from Chicago A (7-0-1) and split with NW B (4-4). But it's still not convincing. Compare USC with Northwood at Hamilton, who failed to break after finishing 5-2-1 with a CS of 17.5. Their losses came from a split with Vanderbilt (5-2-1), a split with Penn State (6-2), and a W/T with Notre Dame (2-4-2).

                Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
                As for the argument about how the teams ended up doing at Nationals, the issue is that AMTA doesnít have a good way of knowing how well the teams are going to do at the nationals that year (they canít see the future). The best they can do is look at how well teams have done up until the point when they assign the bids. TPR and/or performance at previous Nationals is the most objective way of doing that.

                Above, I examined TPR. But even if we just look at National performance from the previous year, the Hamilton ORCS last year only had 2 teams who had been to the 2016 Nationals. Only one of those teams had placed honorable mention or above, and that was Miami themselves (meaning they were guaranteed not to have to play any top ten teams in order to get out). Compare this to Geneva which had 9 teams that had made nationals the previous year, three of which had placed honorable mention or above (and several more who had just missed honorable mention by a half a ballot or so).
                The OP wrongly assumes that if there's too much disparity between the ORCS in their respective cumulative TPR scores, the ORCS must be imbalanced. The point of comparing the performances of Geneva bids with the performances of Hamilton bids at the 2017 NCT is to show why that assumption is wrong. Obviously AMTA can't use future performance to balance which ORCS to send bids to.

                Ultimately, the biggest reason this conspiracy theory is so unconvincing is that the Cincinnati regional (where Miami's competing) feeds into Hamilton again this year. The other regionals that feed into Hamilton include Michigan A (9), Ohio State A (17), Cincinnati A (20), Eastern Kentucky A (27),* Penn State A (31),* Michigan B (35), Northern Illinois A (39), Hillsdale (61), Chicago B (69), Pittsburgh A (71), and Northwood A (92). Hamilton is going to be a bloodbath this year.

                *Only three of the seven bids from Columbus are going to Hamilton.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think perhaps you misunderstand the point here when you focus on the final outcomes at NCT. The question isnít whether Hamilton ended up being an ORCS with successful teams in it. You are quite right that the teams the broke from Hamilton ended up being very successful at NCT. The question is whether, when they planned the ORCS (i.e., when they assigned bids), AMTA did a good job of creating a balanced ORCS from the objective metrics that they purport to use in determining who to send where.

                  According to AMTA, they donít look at invitational performance and they donít try to evaluate the teams based on what committee members happen to have seen that year. Instead they try to balance the ORCS by objective standards, using performance data from previous years (in part, as you mentioned, to create a ďif you do well this year you will be rewarded next yearĒ situation). Those objective standards are codified in the TPR ranking. So, if we evaluate AMTA using their own standards, we have to look at how they did at balancing teams based on performance over the previous few years (i.e., TPR and national performances).

                  As Adevans pointed out above, there are a couple of things that could make a tournament hard. One is having a lot of really good teams at the top who are basically guaranteed to take up bids (and take ballots from anyone they hit along the way). But as we saw, Hamilton didnít have nearly as many top teams as other ORCS.

                  The other way that Adevans pointed out is looking at what the average team looks like, because if there are a bunch of teams who have been to ORCS recently and done fairly well, then all of those teams will be a risk for the kind of tight round where a team that might otherwise qualify drops a ballot. Since all ORCS have 24 teams, A TPR sum difference of 159.47 (the difference between Hamilton and Geneva) means that the average Geneva team was 6.64 TPR points stronger. That corresponds to the average team having won an additional 2.5 ballots at the previous yearís ORCS (although obviously different teams can achieve their high TPRs in different ways). Thatís a huge difference, even for the middle teams.

                  And, in fac,t lest you worry that maybe Geneva was just pulled up by one or two ridiculously strong teams who messed up the average, we can look at the Median TPR (instead of the mean) which should give us insight into the middle of the tournament. You are right, there are weird edge cases where an ORCs could have one or two strong teams leading to a high TPR sum and a normal middle that would be just as easy to get out of, but the median should fix that and let us look straight at the middle. The median TPR at Geneva was 18.080 which is a full 10.455 points higher than the median TPR at Hamilton which was 7.625. For the record, thatís the equivalent of two whole national ballots or 4 ORCS ballots from the previous year.

                  You are absolutely right that just because an ORCs has a somewhat higher TPR sum doesn'ít necessarily mean that it will end up being ďmuch harder.Ē There will always be weird flukes (good teams coming out of nowhere, traditional powers having a bad year). The important thing is that AMTA has a way of trying to balance things out as much as their data allows. That way is TPR. But when we look at what they planned for Geneva, it fails on every TPR related metric I can find, and not by a small amount.

                  --------------------------

                  On a separate note, as regards Northwestern: it is certainly true that they lost an unlucky ballot to Houston Baptist. But they could have afforded to lose said ballot if they hadnít already dropped a ballot and a half to Michigan, who, as I pointed out in my original post, probably shouldnít have been there in the first place.
                  Last edited by TheGhostofChaseMichael; January 7th, 2018, 01:40 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Balancing ORCS is an important discussion and I'm glad to see some attempts to revive Perjuries, but the unsubstantiated claim that Miami is "giving themselves" an unfair competitive advantage is unnecessary and detracts from your credibility. That's not how the board works. Site selection and feeder decisions happen by a committee overseen by the Tournament Administration Chair. There's a lot of ways to show your claims of nefarious intent are made up, but the simplest might be to point out that, if stacking the deck in a team's favor really could happen without opposition by the group making these decisions, why wouldn't you see it benefiting the teams whose representatives serve on the committee. Specifically, TAC Chair last couple years including 2017 was Will Warihay, whose team competed at the "second hardest" ORCS (according to your measurement of difficulty) - are you saying he sent his kids into a woodchipper when he had the option of making things easier for them and chose not to, but yet obliged to do just that for Miami? That's silly. Take the related example of this year, when new TAC Chair Walsh's Loyola kids will be heading off to Geneva, which looks like it will be a bloodbath again. The reality is, a committee exists specifically to curb concerns of impropriety as well as the appearance of impropriety (well, it also exists because team assignments are a hell of a lot of work and a thankless job).


                    That's not to say that AMTA has perfected the process of team balancing, and I'm sure they would appreciate continuing insights on ways to improve their process. A great way to contribute would be for you to join a committee.

                    ​​

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Warihay and Mr. Walsh. I'm sure they would not attempt to give their own teams unfair advantages.

                      As for your suggestion that I join a committee. I would love to. Unfortunately they have rather strict rules about current competitors joining.
                      Last edited by TheGhostofChaseMichael; January 10th, 2018, 12:24 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        But that's exactly the point I'm making. We have a committee and a chair all set up, in order to call balls and strikes. If you think they're upstanding enough to not cheat (duh), of course they'd speak up and revise feeders if some mysterious Miami diehard pops up at a meeting with plans to make their own nationals path easy. Or, are you suggesting that Miami has hidden their cheating so well that it gets past the committee multiple years in a row without correction, and yet you've managed to figure out their scheming through simple math?

                        I know AMTA administration may seem obtuse sometimes to competitors, but I bet if you asked some questions in person, many on the board would welcome fielding your questions and comments. And I hope your enthusiasm to improve the activity continues after you graduate and become eligible to volunteer.

                        Shifting to your broader point, I think you make some good points about competitive balance. Post-hoc analysis of the teams' performance should be used by the TAC as one measure of the success of their attempts to balance the field, and they should apply those lessons to future seasons (who did we correctly predict? Who did we miss? What teams are trending up and trending down? Is there a pattern to the teams that we underestimate?) It's no secret that the Midwest mock trial circuit in the past has not been nearly as competitive as East Coast, West Coast, and the South. The result was a handful of teams out there that made it to nationals regularly (and therefore had good TPR) but their paths through the Midwest regionals/ORCS were comparatively less challenging, and they often did worse at Nationals than their numbers might have suggested (but not a surprise to those tracking more than just TPR). Now, there are several Midwest schools heating up in recent years that challenge that conventional wisdom, but it takes a while for perspectives to shift. This is all just to say it's more than just the numbers, and AMTA understands that, but it's necessarily a tricky process and they don't always get it right. This is before your time, but in one recent year, AMTA did attempt some mid-season rebalancing of ORCs to apparently address the kind of discrepancy you find significant, by moving EKU (high TPR, expected to bid) into a different ORC (an unexpectedly weak field based on TPR). The decision saw some negative chatter here on Perjuries and elsewhere, made even worse when (if memory serves) EKU didn't end up bidding out of the ORC they were moved into. It shows how the past performance numbers aren't always the best tool.

                        TPR is not predictive, and I think you misunderstand the process when you effectively say AMTA's job is only to look at TPR. TAC recognizes that TPR is "a" measure, not the only measure. They're balancing a lot of factors (including regionals geography and team date conflicts) and also trying to keep up with everything as teams drop and waitlists move.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Oh, and we're forgetting a big piece of the puzzle by failing to talk about open bids. A significant percentage of a given ORCS field gets decided by the open bid process. Here too AMTA attempts to achieve competitive balance while not sending teams too far away, but they have limited slots coming in on a rolling basis and limited time and teams that don't necessarily align geographically or competitively to the slots that are open. So it introduces a huge amount of unpredictability that can only be partially planned for, and we can't know just how much that randomness ultimately contributed to the mean/median TPR of the ORCS fields that resulted.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I will just add that I don't think (and don't hope) that there is any colluding or intentionality of the region selections involving Miami having an easier path. I believe that it is just something that should be pointed out to the committee.

                            I think that the moving of a team midway through the season is tough, but my confusion is just with the Columbus regional being so much harder than Cincinnati is this year (there are no metrics I know of that can be used to show that Columbus isn't a much more difficult to break from than Cincinnati). I know that AMTA has a process, but if they published how they made the regional distribution decisions it would definitely make me feel better. I also understand that they may not want to publish those decisions, and if that is the case that is fine, but I just hope that they make more of an effort to balance the regions better. As you rightfully point out, East/West coast and even the South tends to be much harder than the midwest. But based on power rankings: Columbus is one of the top 5 most difficult, whereas Cincinnati is one of the bottom 5. On a micro level this should just be switched

                            I actually don't think that we should limit the scope of this just to Cincinnati (although that regional is glaringly easy). I feel that we should widen our view to the entire regional system. The fact is that competing in the DC area tournaments (Maryland-Carolina) is always a bloodbath. The hardest 5 regionals based on the average power of the top 7 teams (see mockanalysisismydrug's week 3 analysis comments - comment by TheGhostofChaseMichael) are:
                            1) Columbia
                            2) Richmond
                            3) Chapel Hill
                            4) DC
                            5) Stevenson

                            That's right, the top 5 hardest regionals in terms of their top 7 teams are all in the same general region. What is more unfair is that there are teams as far as Florida and New York that are put into these exceptionally hard regions.

                            My primary proposal is to allow teams an option to travel a little further to be in an easier tournament so that the regions are more balanced.

                            My secondary proposal would be to either allow for more bids from these harder tournaments or make more tournaments in these tougher areas. There are already far more tournaments on the east coast than there are in any other place in the country, but why should a team in the midwest or west coast have such an easier path to nationals than a team on the east coast. If the best teams are on the east coast we have to adjust for that, at nationals last year the top teams from the Wlodarczyk Divison were:

                            UVA - east coast (VA) - southeast
                            Rhodes - midwest (TN)
                            Columbia - east coast (NY) - northeast
                            Harvard - east coast (MA) - northeast
                            Yale - east coast (CT) - northeast
                            Ohio State - midwest (OH)
                            Wesleyan - east coast (CT) - northeast
                            Emory - east coast (GA) - southeast
                            UChicago - midwest (IL)
                            NYU - east coast (NY) - northeast
                            ---
                            Brown - east coast (RI) - northeast
                            Fordham - east coast (NY) - northeast
                            Cincinnati - midwest (OH)
                            Kansas - midwest (KS)

                            and from the Wallace Division:

                            Yale - east coast (CT) - northeast
                            Georgia Tech - east coast (GA) - southeast
                            UCLA - west [finally] (CA)
                            Michigan - midwest (MI)
                            Indiana - midwest (IN)
                            Washington and Lee - east coast (VA) - southeast
                            UVA - east coast (VA) - southeast
                            Florida - east coast (FL) - southeast
                            Miami - midwest (OH)
                            Stanford - west (CA)
                            ---
                            Penn State - east coast (PA) - northeast
                            UC Berkeley - west (CA)
                            Richmond - east coast (VA) - southeast
                            Duke - east coast (NC) - southeast

                            To break that down:

                            East coast: 17 - Northeast: 9, Southeast: 8
                            Midwest: 8
                            West: 3

                            Whereas the regional distribution is:
                            Week 1: 3 east coast (1 northeast, 2 southeast - calling DC south)

                            Week 2: 3 midwest
                            1 east coast (southeast)
                            2 west

                            Week 3: 7 midwest (calling Jackson, MI the Midwest)
                            1 east coast (northeast)
                            1 west

                            Week 4: 1 midwest
                            6 east coast (4 northeast, 2 southeast - calling Stevenson north)
                            2 west (calling Colorado the west)

                            In total:

                            East coast: 11 (6 north, 5 south)
                            Midwest: 11
                            West: 5

                            I know that comparing it to the number of teams that placed at nationals isn't the best measure of strength but I am just using it to get somewhat similar numbers for comparison.

                            I also know that the issue is that the east coast is very dense and the midwest and west is much more spread out, so having fewer tournaments in those regions would mean that they have to travel way too far, but if that is the case make more regions, and make more ORCS, I think that if we added even just 1 more east coast ORCS and 3 more east coast regionals; it would make such a big difference, and would make it so much fairer.

                            Until that time, there will continually be teams on the east coast who don't make it out of regionals, and other teams that don't make it out of ORCS, who would beat teams that make it to Nationals from the midwest and west.

                            So while we should worry about quick fixes like Cincinnati and Columbus, there are also much larger problems at a nation-wide level that AMTA really needs to address.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Seven7,

                              So I acknowledge that I was, for effect, being a little over the top in my rhetoric in my first post. That said, the unbalance in the tournaments is still a little confusing and Ií'm not sure you have responded to the crux of the issue. I quite agree that there is an issue with the Midwest being less competitive than either of the coasts or the South, and if AMTA can do something to remedy that situation, then Ií'm all for it (even if it leaves Miami with an easy ORCS for a few years for reasons I doní't understand).

                              But there are still three big issues here that Ií'm not sure the boardí's attempts to rebalance between the coasts and the Midwest really address:

                              First, whatí's going on within the Midwest? If the goal is to rebalance the country as a whole to deal with a Midwest vs everywhere else balance, it still doesn'ít explain why one Midwest ORCS is much harder than the other. Geneva and Hamilton are both Midwestern ORCS. Similarly, the team proximity issue doesn'ít address this. You may note that I said in my first post that an unbalance in the California ORCS is quite understandable for travel reasons (if there is only one ORCS west of the Mississippi River, AMTA doesn'ít have much choice as to who goes to it). I get that sometimes there are travel issues that AMTA just can'ít get around. But that doesn'ít explain why two ORCS that were so close together and were on the same weekend were so unbalanced. As I noted in my original post, some of the strong schools that were in Geneva were closer to Hamilton. So that leaves us with a couple of questions: why are there still such large imbalances within ORCS so close together? And why, despite the fact that the easy Midwestern ORCS moves around, is it always the ORCS that happens to contain Miami of Ohio?

                              Second, how is AMTA deciding where to send people if it isní't by TPR? Clearly distance is an issue, but as I mentioned above, that doesn'ít explain Hamilton/Geneva (and is counter intuitive in the case of Michigan). In all AMTA publicationís Ií've been able to find, the only factors mentioned are distance and TPR. So, what else is being used? Unless AMTA is going by just subjective experience with teams (which I sincerely hope is not the case), the only factor apart from performance in the previous years (which would be measured in the ways mentioned in my previous posts and would still make the Miami ORCS extraordinarily easy) would be performance in the invitational season for the current year (at least, as far as I can tell). But if AMTA is doing that, I would be interested to know:

                              1. How does AMTA take into account the fact that not all invitationals are created equal? A win at GAMTI---which is almost all national calibre teams---means something very different from a win at a tournament with no nationals teams. And there is a whole range of invitationals in between.

                              2. How does AMTA take into account the fact that many teamí's fall seasons are shaped by factors like budget (some people can'ít travel to the big invites) and start dates (quarter system schools often struggle in early invites, because school starts so late for them)?

                              3. How does AMTA determine who is stacking for a given invitational and factor that into their calculations of how well a team is doing?


                              Third, you say that the big issue with rebalancing is that when it happens mid-season people get mad (e.g. what happened with EKU). Obviously I wasn'ít there at the time, but I suspect that this may be because people doní't know what standards AMTA is using to decide who goes where and who moves. If AMTA made the process more transparent, made it clear how they make their decisions, and strictly followed some publicaly available rules, then people might be frustrated with the outcome, but at least they would know that it was fair. When there is the division draw for nationals, for example, sometimes people think one division is easier than the other, but nobody thinks that AMTA is doing something unfair, because the division draw follows such a clear (and public) procedure.

                              In short, I think the big issue here is that you can say that there are a lot of factors going into deciding what tournaments people go to, and that TPR isní't the only measure. But, at the moment, it'ís the only purely objective measure that I can see for AMTA to use. If AMTA is using other (more subjective) factors, then the problem is not that AMTA's system is ďobtuse,Ē ití's that it's not transparent. If a non-transparent system seems to, year after year, intentionally or unintentionally, give an advantage to one program, then it needs to 1. be revised, and 2. be made transparent.

                              ----------------------------

                              Seven7, re: Open bid list.

                              I don'ít think the open bid list can account for the discrepancies we are seeing here. Even if all of the open bid teams from Geneva had been moved to Hamilton (without moving any teams back!), it would only increase Hamiltoní's total TPR by 49.31. Hamilton would be at a TPR sum of 354.79, which is still lower than any other ORCS.


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                              @Adevans

                              I agree that this shouldn'ít be isolated to just Miami. There are some much larger issues here. I just think that the Miami phenomenon is particularly egregious and particularly frustrating given how often it happens, how few changes would be needed to fix it (move Michigan to Hamilton for example), and how much power Miami seems to have in AMTA.
                              Last edited by TheGhostofChaseMichael; January 10th, 2018, 08:16 PM.

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