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  • #16
    kmcf8

    You brought up two points I think I should clarify. First, you said, “allowing young competitors to get postseason experience early will certainly make them better by their senior year, but I don't know how that would affect other teams or even their own programs.” I think the effect that it would have on the programs who get to send their younger members to the postseason is pretty clear. Imagine the difference it would make to have all of the incoming members in a program trained by someone who has three or four years of postseason experience versus having all of the new members trained by someone who has only a year or two of postseason experience. Allowing an individual mocker to get better doesn’t just help them. It helps everyone in their program who gets to learn from them.

    I think I would agree with you on the matter of “deserving it” if we were talking about teams of equal strength. If it were a matter of a C team that had placed about the same as an A team, I would say that the A team probably should get the spot, for all of the reasons you laid out. That is why I’m perfectly happy with the current system that gives A teams preference on the open bid list and why I supported TheGhostofChaseMichael's suggestion that the open bid list could be restricted to just A teams in order to balance out what happens when you allow C-E teams to get direct bids.

    But remember that in many cases we aren’t talking about two teams of equal strength. We are talking about taking a bid from a C-E team who placed very high (there are C teams that take all 8 ballots) and giving it to an A team that placed much lower (4.5 or 5 ballots). Even with the advantage given by larger programs, I think the 8 ballot C team is more deserving than the 4.5 ballot A team.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Adevans View Post
      I really agree with a lot of what the consensus seems to be. I actually think that AMTA should first expand ORCS to maybe be 28 teams or so as proposed by a couple of people, and then once that change is in mind, maybe the discussion of allowing 'C' teams to make ORCS can be re-opened. Although, this would also make making it out of ORCS even harder, and I am unsure of AMTA's willingness to increase the national field.
      I'm not sure the current system is sustainable. Every year, more teams join AMTA, which puts more of a strain on the system as it's currently implemented. The system was originally designed to support 24 Regional Tournaments with 24 teams each, with 8 bids to ORCS at each tournament. So even with only 576 teams in AMTA, only 33% of AMTA goes to the post season. For the past few years, we've had a growing problem (literally) - we're up to almost 700 teams competing at Regionals, but there are still only 192 spots at ORCS. It's led to weird compromises like Colorado Springs - a half-Regional with 5 bids - and Columbus - a Regional that sends 3 bids to Hamilton, 3 bids to Lancaster, and 1 bid to Memphis. It's led to bigger tournaments with fewer bids, and if AMTA continues to grow, it's not sustainable. Along with that is the problem of needing more Regional tournaments.

      There are little costs associated with increasing the number of bids to ORCS. First, it puts more strain on tournaments. For every extra team at a tournament, there needs to be at least one more judge. For every two teams, there needs to be an extra courtroom. Every extra team means more ballots, more tab cards, more time tabbing ballots and pairing rounds, which takes a little bit more time and resources. Second, it makes it harder to qualify for NCT. Right now, a record of 6-2 is almost guaranteed to get out (there's only one ORCS in history where a team finished 6-2 without a bid). With four extra teams, that ceases to be the case. There's a lot of data to comb through to either substantiate or falsify this claim, but I don't want to figure out exactly how many ballots do you need to guarantee a Top 6 finish given X number of teams at the tournament. Instead, it's intuitive to me that the bigger the field, the higher the number of ballots it takes to place. Anecdotally, at Quaker this year, both 7th and 8th place at the tournament finished at 6-2. If Quaker were ORCS, they wouldn't qualify. This is an extreme example, but AMTA is still growing, and it shows the sustainability issue with the 3-tournament structure.

      Maybe it's time to consider a new structure again. It could be as simple as adding another post-season round of tournaments. By increasing the number of post-season bids from 192 to 384, an extra round of tournaments would allow AMTA to give more teams (and more programs) a shot at a post season. This structure would also be sustainable for upwards of 1,280 teams while still providing at least 9 bids at each regional.

      Phase One: Regional Qualifiers
      • 28-40 tournaments total
      • 7-10 tournaments in the following weekends
        • Last weekend of January
        • First weekend of February
        • Second Weekend of February
        • Third Weekend of February
      • Up to 32 teams each, allocated as:
        • 24 teams per Regional up to 28 Regionals (672 max teams)
        • 26 teams per Regional up to 31 Regionals (806 max teams)
        • 28 teams per Regional up to 34 Regionals (952 max teams)
        • 30 teams per Regional up to 37 Regionals (1,110 max teams)
        • 32 teams per Regional up to 40 Regionals (1,280 max teams)
      • 384 total bids
        • 24/28: 13-14 bids per tournament (57% of teams get a post season)
        • 26/31: 12-13 bids (47% of teams)
        • 28/34: 11-12 bids (40% of teams)
        • 30/37: 10-11 bids (34% of teams)
        • 32/40: 9-10 bids (30% of teams)

      Phase Two: The Championship Series
      Opening Round Championship Tournaments
      • 16 tournaments, spaced:
        • 8 in the first weekend of March
        • 8 in the second weekend of March
      • 24 teams each
      • 9 bids each (37.5% move on)
      Second Round Championship Tournaments (National Semifinalist Tournaments? Silvers?)
      • 6 tournaments - all in the last weekend of March
      • 24 teams each
      • 8 bids each (33% move on)
      National Championship Tournament - unchanged

      This system balances the extra workload of going to more tournaments and gives programs a little bit more time to prepare by concentrating competition weekends more. Even in a worst case scenario, a team that qualifies to ORCS in the third weekend of February will have at least two weeks to prepare for ORCT if it is scheduled for the first weekend of March. Similarly, if a team qualifies for SRCT in the second weekend of March will have at least two weeks to prepare for SRCT in the last weekend of March. An additional advantage of concentrating SRCT into one weekend is that it puts all teams on a fully-level playing field for the NCT.

      Here are some potential problems with this system. First, it's more work for the students. AMTA maintains that one of their goals is to promote a student/mock trial balance, and an extra tournament is necessarily extra work. Second, wasn't I just talking about how hard it is to run a tournament? This system adds 14 full tournaments (assuming we'd use the same number of Regionals in either system). Third, this doesn't increase the number of bids to the NCT, so it's still harder than ever to qualify. Fourth and finally, the system presupposes that AMTA will continue to grow, and it may have built too much institutional wriggle room that doesn't make much sense if AMTA ultimately caps out around 750 teams (29 tournaments with 25-26 teams at each, and 12-13 bids per Regional).

      This whole post has been kind of a tangent of the OP, but it's something I've been stewing about. To relate it back to OP's point, having a three-tournament post season could maintain the integrity of the two-team rule while still allowing C-E teams to get post-season experience by allowing them to go to ORCT. I'm not sure how it would change the calculus for the second round of the post-season, but it's another way to compromise. Allow C-E teams to go to ORCT, but allow only two teams per program to go to SRCT.

      Comment


      • #18
        There's just no way we could add a fourth round of AMTA competition without moving Regionals to the fall. It's not logistically possible. There's probably a solid argument to be made for expanding ORCS, maybe by adding a 9th and 10th site, but expanding the NCT is a bit of a nightmare. AMTA already has enough trouble finding viable NCT hosts as it is; if that tournament got larger, that problem only gets worse.

        This goes somewhat towards a problem I've been thinking about for a while: the odd relationship that AMTA has with invitationals. When you stop and think about it, the system makes little sense. Invitationals are the wild west, with some being highly professional, ORCS-caliber trials, while others are a mess and barely pass muster in terms of fairness. AMTA lets them exist (and now even profits from them, which is a whole different problem, especially with some of the proposals in the hopper to raise invitational fees even more), but doesn't want them to have anything to do with "official" AMTA business. As has been discussed here, this leads to a haves and have-nots system, where invitational hosts invite established programs and those programs get to compete against other established programs, shutting out new teams and making it impossible to climb the ladder.

        To be clear, invitationals should never, ever factor in to rankings, bids, or anything AMTA-related. They aren't even slightly regulated, and invitational hosts operate with little to no oversight. Quite frankly, I've seen a few invitationals now where I was convinced the host rigged the round 1 pairings to benefit their teams, or rigged the judges in crucial rounds. (Tangent moral of the story: if the pairings aren't drawn during opening ceremonies or at a public meeting, or if the host wants to hide their tab proceedings, don't trust them). The ideal world is one where AMTA has the resources and funding to put on a ton of fall tournaments around the country, to give people an opportunity to compete without the frustration of the politics that go into invitational invites. This obviously isn't realistic, but the current system seems like a missed opportunity. Maybe Regionals does need to move to late November, I don't know. Maybe if the case was released in July, and invitationals started earlier, AMTA could pull off a four-tier tournament system.

        I like the idea of Regionals ballots having an impact on rankings. I've wondered why that isn't the case already, so I think that's an easy way to give those C, D, E teams who have strong showings some recognition without changing anything else. Beyond that, I just think it's more important for AMTA to make a path for newer teams to get to ORCS than for a C or D team from a massive program to get that opportunity. Like I said earlier, there's absolutely an inherent unfairness there, but I think the trade-off is worth it.

        Bottom line: if you're from a smaller program, get involved with AMTA. The only way to change the cycle of this rotation of power that just seems to promote the largest programs (because those programs' coaches run AMTA) is to get involved and push for newer voices. When you graduate from law school or enter the job force, volunteer to rep. Judge at every tournament you can find. These types of discussions need to happen more, with a wider variety of voices and perspectives than AMTA currently has.

        Comment


        • #19
          I agree that the current system isn’t going to be sustainable for much longer, but I think that will eventually have to affect Nationals. With 576 teams, Nationals was 8.3% of the teams out there. We are already down to 6.7% and that number is just going to fall as AMTA gets bigger. Already we are seeing a situation where ORCS (especially on the East and West Coast) are so over stacked that very good teams are losing nationals bids due far more to randomness and luck than to faults in talent.

          Inherently, I think this benefits more established, coached programs. Already, for example, I think there is a very different strategy for being good at ORCS than for being good at Nationals/Invitationals. ORCS is far less rewarding of risk taking and creativity than other tournaments. It rewards teams that can put on solid, standard, polished cases, rather than creative/risky cases and that always ends up benefiting the well established coached programs over the student run newer programs (who are often a lot more random and wild).

          I get KoalaWeather's point that expanding nationals would make it even harder to find hosts, but at some point I think that may be a bridge AMTA has to cross if they want this not to just turn into a game between the same powerful programs each year.

          In some ways I really like Roger_Wilco's suggestion of having two rounds of postseason tournaments rather than just one. For one thing, I love competing and this would mean more of it. And it would certainly mean that more teams would get a chance to compete at the higher levels, which would be nice. I’m also less concerned than I think KoalaWeather is about the compressed time frame from a student/mocker balance perspective. Most of the programs who would attend the late post-season tournaments are quite used to having a tournament every few weeks. They do it during invite season all the time. (On a separate note, I think pushing regionals back to November would be terribly unfair to quarter system schools who don’t start their seasons until way later than everyone else).

          I do have some big logistical concerns with your plan though. First, just from an AMTA budget perspective, I think finding 14 new hosts is going to be an absolute nightmare. They already struggle to find enough hosts for the currents system. It would also mean that instead of buying 240 bid trophies every year (192 ORCS bids and 48 Nationals bids), they would need to buy 576 trophies every year (384 ORCT bids, 144 SRCT bids, 48 Nationals bids), so it would nearly double the trophy budget, and we would see a similar effect on ballot and tab card costs (AMTA buys all of the ballots and tab cards for the hosts). And, of course people would need to find judges for all of those tournaments (and the judging pool is already running a little thin given the number of tournaments we have). I agree that every time we expand an ORCS there are little expenses both for the hosts and for AMTA, but I think your plan would make all of it a lot worse for AMTA (and even for the hosts when it comes to judges), and would probably exceed AMTA’s budget

          Second, decreasing the time gap between tournaments makes it much harder for the case committee to make major case changes. With only two weeks between the last Regional and the first ORCT, AMTA won’t want to make big changes because they won’t feel that teams have enough time to respond to the changes. That has two big effects. First, it means that AMTA has a lot less leeway to respond to an unbalanced case. If the case is seriously unbalanced as of regionals (and it seems, for example, that this year’s case is) and they can’t make major changes, that cripples their ability to fix the imbalance. Second, the fewer changes AMTA makes, the more we see that problem of postseason tournaments just rewarding solid/standard/polished cases rather than independent thought on the part of the students. Again this just rewards the more established coached programs.

          With all that being said, I also don’t think we can simply expand ORCS (either by expanding the size of each ORCS as or by adding additional ORCS) without expanding Nationals. As was pointed out, the fewer bids you have per team at ORCS, the more ballots it takes to bid. But it’s actually worse than you made it out to be. Technically, with n teams at a tournament, it is possible to have n*(1/4) undefeated teams (Basically, suppose you have 24 teams and all the P teams win first round, then all the D teams win second round, then you have 12 undefeated teams at the end of second round. Then those 12 teams get matched together in 6 trials in the third round. If all the P teams win during round three and all the D teams win during round 4, then you still have 6 undefeated teams at the end of the tournament).

          Right now, with 1 National bid for every 4 teams at ORCS, it is impossible for an 8-0 team not to get a bid to Nationals. If you expand the number of teams per ORCS, or expand the number of ORCS (and therefore reduce the number of bids per ORCS) its theoretically possible that an 8-0 team would not get a bid to Nationals, and I don’t think AMTA would ever be willing to risk that (however unlikely the risk is). Basically, there is no way in a three tournaments system (Regionals, ORCS, Nationals) to increase the number of bids out of regionals beyond 192 without either increasing the number of bids to Nationals or risking having an 8-0 team not qualify.

          All of that is a very long way of saying that I think we will eventually need to increase the number of bids to Nationals, in order to accommodate the ever-growing field.

          KoalaWeather

          I agree that there is currently an issue in that AMTA is overwhelmingly run by a few very powerful programs who (even when they have the best intentions) come in with a very skewed perspective, and I agree that it would be great if people got involved.

          That said, I think AMTA needs to do a better job at reaching out for the student perspective from current competitors. I know there was once a student advisory council. Does anyone know what happened to that? Does AMTA have any official way of soliciting feedback from teams?

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
            Inherently, I think this benefits more established, coached programs. Already, for example, I think there is a very different strategy for being good at ORCS than for being good at Nationals/Invitationals. ORCS is far less rewarding of risk taking and creativity than other tournaments. It rewards teams that can put on solid, standard, polished cases, rather than creative/risky cases and that always ends up benefiting the well established coached programs over the student run newer programs (who are often a lot more random and wild).
            This is nonsense. The judging pool is not different, and the judge instructions are not different at ORCS vs any other tournament. Why would you say ORCS puts less premium on creativity, and why is "creativity" a quality held by student programs mores than coach programs? If you're running a "creative" theory that doesn't have the certainty of mass appeal, then it doesn't mean your case is special, that just means you haven't perfected your case yet. That has nothing to do with whether ORCS rewards risk taking or not.

            Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
            ​​​​​I get KoalaWeather's point that expanding nationals would make it even harder to find hosts, but at some point I think that may be a bridge AMTA has to cross if they want this not to just turn into a game between the same powerful programs each year.
            I don't agree with this either. If anything, larger and larger ORCS pools means more randomness in terms of who's lucky enough to bid out to NCT. But in either case, AMTA wants the best of the best competing at NCT, so if it's the same powerful programs each year, so be it (I don't think that's the case, due to the level of parity that AMTA has achieved, but if a powerful team has earned it, it's unfair to root against them out of some proletarian sensibility of fighting against the elite just because they're the elite).

            ​​​I am also opposed to raising the NCT count much more than 48 for similar reasons - bigger pool means more randomness, which means the 4 opponents you happen to hit plays much more of a role in who wins out each division, as it decreases the chances of the biggest heavyhitters coming against each other. Pre-ORCS era, Gold Nats used to be 64 teams, and I hope we don't go back to that. (Not to mention the logistics nightmares others have brought up - hard to find a courthouse with 30 courtrooms or more, as a for instance.)

            Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
            Right now, with 1 National bid for every 4 teams at ORCS, it is impossible for an 8-0 team not to get a bid to Nationals. If you expand the number of teams per ORCS, or expand the number of ORCS (and therefore reduce the number of bids per ORCS) its theoretically possible that an 8-0 team would not get a bid to Nationals, and I don’t think AMTA would ever be willing to risk that (however unlikely the risk is).
            This has already happened, at least when we were in our pre-ORCS days. Macalester went 8-0 at one of the Silver flights (the closest thing we have to today's ORCS) and they didn't bid out to Golds. You're right AMTA doesn't want that to happen again.

            I think that's one of the reasons why in this era you won't see AMTA approving the removal of the C- team rule any time soon -- if ever. This proposal to allow unlimited bids out of regionals has come up to the tabulation committee before and not come close to getting approval (and if you were to scroll back far enough in the Perjuries archives you would find pages of discussions on the merits of the rule). AMTA already has a growth problem. The C- team rule, if removed, would be an incentive for established programs to grow and field more teams. To the extent AMTA cares about promoting future growth (and i have a whole devil's advocate argument that they shouldn't care about growing AMTA's reach), they are concerned about finding new schools to join the fold, rather than encouraging Columbia or UVA or Harvard to field C teams. OP's suggestion would exacerbate AMTA's growing pains.


            Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
            That said, I think AMTA needs to do a better job at reaching out for the student perspective from current competitors. I know there was once a student advisory council. Does anyone know what happened to that? Does AMTA have any official way of soliciting feedback from teams?
            Perjuries used to facilitate that purpose a lot. The new ORCS system we now operate under, for instance, largely got their start on these boards. These days, their newsletters include solicitations for comments, motions and questions (they haven't released an edition in a while, but hey everyone's busy), and the president's letter similarly includes direct requests for suggestions. I don't know what you mean by official ways, but you can email any of the board members with an idea. I think the student council fizzled because of lack of interest.

            I think AMTA's been more transparent than it has ever been before. They publish stats about the case (wasn't a thing until a few years ago), they have access to tons of info on their website and through their social media (their website was as unhelpful eyesore 10 years ago), they have an analytics committee and a development committee and an accommodations committee that do work the board didn't do in its past life. If you think there's something lacking, it's not because there's a cabal of elite coaches purposefully keeping you in the dark, it's because (i) improving an organization happens incrementally, (ii) the volunteers of AMTA are busy so they have to prioritize their time, and/or (iii) the thing you want just hasn't been suggested yet.


            Last edited by pmgf; February 6th, 2018, 03:46 PM.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by pmgf View Post

              This is nonsense. The judging pool is not different, and the judge instructions are not different at ORCS vs any other tournament. Why would you say ORCS puts less premium on creativity, and why is "creativity" a quality held by student programs mores than coach programs? If you're running a "creative" theory that doesn't have the certainty of mass appeal, then it doesn't mean your case is special, that just means you haven't perfected your case yet. That has nothing to do with whether ORCS rewards risk taking or not.
              The judging pool and the judge instructions aren’t the only things that affect what is and is not successful at a given tournament. In the case of ORCS, the really big factor is that the tournaments are so far along in the season (but before the new case for nationals). That means that everyone has had time to see your theory by now. By ORCS, teams have been scouted, people have played tons of invites, and everyone has seen the kinds of materials that are out there. Other teams have seen all the objections you can throw at them (because you have been throwing them at people all season, and those people have, in turn, taken them and thrown them at everyone else). As a result, he trials become pedestrian: people know what to expect, and less thinking on your feet is required.

              This means that teams whose primary strength—note, I’m not saying “only strength,” because teams need multiple strengths to break from ORCS—comes from their inventive strategies will be at a disadvantage at ORCS compared to teams who’s primary strength is in other areas (e.g., raw polish). The more inventive teams will find that their riskier material has already been seen—and strategies for countering it have been developed—so the “shock and awe” factor doesn’t pay off as much.

              It also means that teams whose primary strength lies in their ability to adapt to whatever is thrown at them will be at a comparative disadvantage. This is not because they will no longer be able to adapt, but because, after invitationals, nobody will need to adapt as much. If everyone knows what’s coming—and, in fact, what everyone else is going to be doing—then you can look adaptive by just preparing for all the common case theories ahead of time (no on-the-fly adaptation needed). This means that teams that are really good at on-the-fly adaptations will stand out less against the overall pack.

              The cumulative effect of all of this is that ORCS is easier to break from if you are a team that specializes in polish/clarity/simplicity etc. than if you are one of the more adaptive/creative teams (assuming two teams of roughly equivalent strengths from each category of specialty).

              Many of these inventive/adaptive teams are truly excellent, and they end up doing very well at Nationals (where the existence of new case plays to their strengths). But they underperform a bit at ORCS, because the structure of the AMTA season makes different things count at ORCS. As the overall talent pool grows, we risk squeezing these teams out.

              As I pointed out, it’s also important to remember who these teams generally are. While it isn’t true in all cases, overwhelmingly, the teams that specialize in crazy, creative, adaptive theories tend to be from newer and less coached programs. I don’t know exactly why this is the case (I have theories, but that would just be speculation). It is, however, a fact we have to live with. We don’t want—or at least I don’t think we want—to squeeze out an entire style of mock trial or and entire type of program.

              Originally posted by pmgf View Post

              I don't agree with this either. If anything, larger and larger ORCS pools means more randomness in terms of who's lucky enough to bid out to NCT. But in either case, AMTA wants the best of the best competing at NCT, so if it's the same powerful programs each year, so be it (I don't think that's the case, due to the level of parity that AMTA has achieved, but if a powerful team has earned it, it's unfair to root against them out of some proletarian sensibility of fighting against the elite just because they're the elite).
              No one is suggesting that powerful programs should be kicked out just because they are elite. No one is trying to run a Marxist revolution through Perjuries (at least not that I've seen). No one has proposed that traditionally elite programs shouldn’t be allowed back to Nationals or that they shouldn’t be allowed their fair shot at winning it. The question is whether the structure of the current system is keeping out teams who, under other systems, could grow to be as good or better than the current elite programs. Expanding nationals won’t kick your elite program out, it will just allow other schools who may have less experience, but similar amounts of raw talent, into the national pool. If the result is that your program still beats them at Nationals, more glory to the you and yours. If the result is that traditional elites start losing, then maybe they weren’t so elite after all.

              As per my above argument, I’m also concerned that the current ORCS bid system gives preference specifically to those older more heavily coached programs over newer/student run programs for purely stylistic reasons. If I’m right about that, then by keeping the number of bids to nationals small, we are in fact giving preference to those older programs (not for talent reasons, but for style reasons). And that's not an entirely good thing.



              Originally posted by pmgf View Post

              I am also opposed to raising the NCT count much more than 48 for similar reasons - bigger pool means more randomness, which means the 4 opponents you happen to hit plays much more of a role in who wins out each division, as it decreases the chances of the biggest heavyhitters coming against each other. Pre-ORCS era, Gold Nats used to be 64 teams, and I hope we don't go back to that. (Not to mention the logistics nightmares others have brought up - hard to find a courthouse with 30 courtrooms or more, as a for instance.)
              I sympathize with this concern. I doubt that expanding to 56 teams would have that much of an effect from a purely statistical standpoint, but I might be wrong. And I can see where a team might be very angry if they just barely missed the final after playing a super hard schedule while some other team made it after an much easier schedule. But I’m wondering if there are ways of dealing with this at the Nationals level that would allow for expansion but would still force the top teams to hit each other. Perhaps doing four rounds and then a small set of single elimination rounds with just the top teams. That’s how debate does it. But I don’t know how logistically possible this would be to coordinate.

              Originally posted by pmgf View Post

              This has already happened, at least when we were in our pre-ORCS days. Macalester went 8-0 at one of the Silver flights (the closest thing we have to today's ORCS) and they didn't bid out to Golds. You're right AMTA doesn't want that to happen again.
              Wasn’t the Macalester situation one of the reasons that AMTA decided they needed to switch to a new system? As I understand it, this is impossible on the current ORCS system (the pairing system won’t allow more than 6 8-0 teams in a 24 team tournament).

              Originally posted by pmgf View Post

              I think that's one of the reasons why in this era you won't see AMTA approving the removal of the C- team rule any time soon -- if ever. This proposal to allow unlimited bids out of regionals has come up to the tabulation committee before and not come close to getting approval (and if you were to scroll back far enough in the Perjuries archives you would find pages of discussions on the merits of the rule). AMTA already has a growth problem. The C- team rule, if removed, would be an incentive for established programs to grow and field more teams. To the extent AMTA cares about promoting future growth (and i have a whole devil's advocate argument that they shouldn't care about growing AMTA's reach), they are concerned about finding new schools to join the fold, rather than encouraging Columbia or UVA or Harvard to field C teams. OP's suggestion would exacerbate AMTA's growing pains.
              I’m interested to hear why you think AMTA shouldn’t be trying to expand. At the moment, I strongly disagree, because I think what AMTA is doing is good and beneficial from an educational standpoint for all the students who participate. So, reaching out to more students would extend those benefits to more people. I understand that AMTA is having growing pains at the moment, but I think the benefits to students are worth it. As long as there is any possible way of adapting to the influx of teams, I think we should do our best to do so.

              I also disagree about AMTA only expanding to new schools. I don’t know what AMTA’s goals are—as a student, I’m not eligible to be involved with the board. But simply from the standpoint of doing the most good possible, it seems that even in schools that already have strong programs, there are still students who could profit from participating in mock trial. I’m sure even at Columbia/Harvard/UVA there are students who are not currently in mock trial who could benefit from participating. Those students are not currently reaping the benefits of mock trial, because their programs have no incentive to expand their numbers. From that standpoint, I would be even more in favor of removing the C team cap than I was before, if there was a real possibility it could end up bringing mock to more people.


              Originally posted by pmgf View Post

              Perjuries used to facilitate that purpose a lot. The new ORCS system we now operate under, for instance, largely got their start on these boards. These days, their newsletters include solicitations for comments, motions and questions (they haven't released an edition in a while, but hey everyone's busy), and the president's letter similarly includes direct requests for suggestions. I don't know what you mean by official ways, but you can email any of the board members with an idea. I think the student council fizzled because of lack of interest.

              I think AMTA's been more transparent than it has ever been before. They publish stats about the case (wasn't a thing until a few years ago), they have access to tons of info on their website and through their social media (their website was as unhelpful eyesore 10 years ago), they have an analytics committee and a development committee and an accommodations committee that do work the board didn't do in its past life. If you think there's something lacking, it's not because there's a cabal of elite coaches purposefully keeping you in the dark, it's because (i) improving an organization happens incrementally, (ii) the volunteers of AMTA are busy so they have to prioritize their time, and/or (iii) the thing you want just hasn't been suggested yet.
              I certainly hope that Perjuries becomes a way to discuss such things once again and that AMTA will take suggestions from this forum seriously. I do think there needs to be a way of reaching out to AMTA beyond perjuries and beyond emails to board members though. A lot of people don’t know board members personally, and they are going to feel uncomfortable reaching out in such an informal way (if they even know they are allowed to). I wonder If AMTA could do something as simple as adding a feedback tool to its website.

              To be clear, I don’t think there is some sort of cabal of evil coaches trying to keep us all in the dark. It’s just that there are still places where AMTA isn’t transparent and where there is no clear way of communicating concerns to AMTA. The result is that there is a small group of people who are in the know, and many of them, if not all of them, come from the same set of perspectives (i.e., highly coached, well-resourced programs).

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