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  • Ask The Tab Director

    Since Perjuries is somewhat more active these days, I've decided to resurrect the "Ask The Tab Director" thread. All of my responses should be considered to be in my personal capacity and not necessarily representative of AMTA's viewpoint. This is intended to be an open forum to ask questions, provide feedback, and generally demystify the internal workings of college mock trial.

    About me:
    *High school mock 1995-1999, competed for Mizzou 1999-2003, law school trial team 2004-2006
    *Voting member of AMTA Board since 2007
    *On Executive Committee since 2010
    *Tab Director since July 2012
    *Have also run Empire tab rooms since 2011 (excluding this past year)
    *Not a coach of any team

    AMA.
    I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

  • #2
    Thanks for doing this!

    With the post season in full swing, I have a question about the most complicated part of doings tabs. Are there any statistics available about the average number of ballots required to be "first in" after round three of regional/orcs?

    Comment


    • #3
      Did the mid-year meeting actually happen this year? If so, what happened at the meeting (the minutes/agenda haven't been made available)?

      Thank you for taking the time to do this!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by goldfish687 View Post
        Thanks for doing this!

        With the post season in full swing, I have a question about the most complicated part of doings tabs. Are there any statistics available about the average number of ballots required to be "first in" after round three of regional/orcs?
        I assume you mean "last in," i.e. the team with the 6th/7th/8th best record (as the case might be?)

        I don't keep statistics on that. Just from my own experience I would say that 9 times out of 10 the "last in" team after round 3 is at either 3.5 or 4 wins.
        I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The_Quibbler View Post
          Did the mid-year meeting actually happen this year? If so, what happened at the meeting (the minutes/agenda haven't been made available)?

          Thank you for taking the time to do this!
          The mid-year meeting is always a conference call. I wasn't able to be on the call due to a family emergency. The agenda was probably the shortest mid-year agenda I've ever seen. Just a few technical corrections. I think the only thing of semi-substance was a proposal to reduce the distance in the "pacific northwest rule" i.e. the distance at which we don't make C and D teams travel to more distant regionals. That was primarily because we have Fresno as a regional host this year and if we went by the old distance limit some of those pacific northwest teams would technically have had to drive 10+ hours to Fresno. I'll follow up with the board secretary to see if that can get posted.
          I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

          Comment


          • #6
            How are fact inventions handled if a team decides to take it to the tab room? At what point does AMTA step in and say an invention is too egregious and discipline a school? Has it happened before?

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for doing this. As you have probably seen, there was a lot of talks about the unbalanced regional tournaments this year, so can you explain more specifics as to what goes into the decisions of what teams go where beyond just the "we want them to be equal in power and not make anyone travel too far"? Also, on the topic of power rankings, do you think AMTA will consider including regionals as a ranking mechanism as has been cited in some of the other threads?

              Second, do you think there is a plan in place for expanding ORCS and or Nationals? If the issue is more hosts, I feel like they should post something to that affect, I am sure more people would volunteer if they thought it would solve some of these issues.

              Last, I am a tab director for our tournament and I have always look at regional and other invitational tabs, my question is if there is any oversight or double checking of fair pairings? Not that I think there is ever any ill-will on the part of anyone running the tournament, but I have in the past seen some strange pairings, and I was just wondering if there is a method of double checking.

              Thanks again!

              Comment


              • #8
                1. Is it possible for a 14-team bracket, tabbed using the AMTA manual, to become unresolvable by Round 4? That is, where there is no combination of teams that does not break the prior-matchup or same-school rule? With the new AMTA mini-regionals, I can imagine this becoming a problem.

                2. Have you seen Yale's 'weighted partial ballot' system? If so, what do you think? https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/935...89858ff732.pdf

                3. Has AMTA ever considered a 1-5 scoring system instead of 1-10?
                Last edited by DefenseMid; February 5th, 2018, 02:03 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gronksmash View Post
                  How are fact inventions handled if a team decides to take it to the tab room? At what point does AMTA step in and say an invention is too egregious and discipline a school? Has it happened before?
                  Remember that Rule 8.9 makes cross-examination and impeachment the sole in-tournament remedy for invention. Also, the judges are instructed to deduct points for material invention on direct. Because that is the sole in-tournament remedy, that means AMTA Reps may not intervene (i.e., instruct the judges that particular testimony or evidence is "invented") nor may they impose a tournament penalty (i.e. a point deduction) on a team for invention. If a team or the Reps submit an egregious invention complaint after the tournament, Rule 8.9(6)(b) sets forth a non-exclusive list of factors to be considered in deciding whether an invention is egregious. Beyond the factors set forth in the rule I think it's difficult if not impossible to come up with a definitive bright-line rule as to when invention crosses into "egregious." A lot of it varies year to year with how the particular case materials are drafted. I can recall a couple occasions of formal written warnings being issued but I can't recall any sanctions beyond that, which is not to say it couldn't happen.
                  I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Adevans View Post
                    Thanks for doing this. As you have probably seen, there was a lot of talks about the unbalanced regional tournaments this year, so can you explain more specifics as to what goes into the decisions of what teams go where beyond just the "we want them to be equal in power and not make anyone travel too far"? Also, on the topic of power rankings, do you think AMTA will consider including regionals as a ranking mechanism as has been cited in some of the other threads?
                    For starters, I disagree that the regional tournaments are unbalanced. But I'll tell you about the work that goes into those. First, each tournament host reports a capacity which we try to honor as much as possible. We try to accommodate schedule conflicts teams report on their registration form. We also want to make our hosts happy--for example, if a host wants the host's A team *not* competing on the same weekend as their regional (so the A team can help run the regional) we will accommodate that. If there are schools with C and D teams, some teams are OK with the C and D competing on the same weekend as the A and B, some aren't. So right off the bat you have travel distance, tournament capacities and dates, schedule conflicts, host assignments, and C/D/E/F team assignments as constraining factors on the "puzzle."

                    We do try and predict (within reason) how the ORCS are going to fill out, so the evaluation is not only "are the 3 regionals feeding into this one ORCS balanced with each other," but also, "is this ORCS reasonably balanced with the other geographically close ORCS?" Power in AMTA usually isn't equally distributed geographically, so to the extent that there are geographic power imbalances that's not going to be undone at either regionals or ORCS.

                    We do account for "power C & D teams" and assign them an assumed TPR for our internal purposes. I would not support using regionals in the actual TPR calculation because there is too much variation in geographic strength of regions to make that data meaningful. Not only that, but our pairing system is designed to identify qualifiers, so I don't think you can say that a team that goes 7-1 at regionals is necessarily better than a team that goes 5-3 at regionals. (This is the same reason I'm not a proponent of using regionals wins to "seed" round 1 pairings at ORCS.)

                    Originally posted by Adevans View Post
                    Second, do you think there is a plan in place for expanding ORCS and or Nationals? If the issue is more hosts, I feel like they should post something to that affect, I am sure more people would volunteer if they thought it would solve some of these issues.
                    We have been talking about growth for several years now. The board did pass a motion this past summer that would allow us to add a 9th ORCS. I personally hope that will happen next year. Finding and keeping qualified hosts is the most difficult part of tournament administration from AMTA's end, end of story. I wish it were as easy as inviting more host proposals but it just isn't.

                    I think expanding Championship is a much trickier conversation. We have had 3 ballot panels at NCT since 2013 and I really don't like the idea of going back to 2 judge panels. It doesn't matter how good the host is or how big of a city you're in--it's exceptionally difficult to get 72 judges per round. It becomes borderline impossible if you talk about increasing the field back up to say 64 teams.

                    Originally posted by Adevans View Post
                    Last, I am a tab director for our tournament and I have always look at regional and other invitational tabs, my question is if there is any oversight or double checking of fair pairings? Not that I think there is ever any ill-will on the part of anyone running the tournament, but I have in the past seen some strange pairings, and I was just wondering if there is a method of double checking.
                    You can start with the round 1 pairings and just re-pair it using the procedures set forth in the tabulation manual. I suggest mimicing the format of tab cards and using index cards; it makes it easier to visualize. If the manual was followed correctly your pairings should come out the same as what's on the tab summary. The tabulation manual is a deterministic process so there isn't any discretion involved, just math and one coin flip.
                    I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DefenseMid View Post
                      1. Is it possible for a 14-team bracket, tabbed using the AMTA manual, to become unresolvable by Round 4? That is, where there is no combination of teams that does not break the prior-matchup or same-school rule? With the new AMTA mini-regionals, I can imagine this becoming a problem.

                      2. Have you seen Yale's 'weighted partial ballot' system? If so, what do you think? https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/935...89858ff732.pdf

                      3. Has AMTA ever considered a 1-5 scoring system instead of 1-10?
                      1. Assuming that there are no more than 2 teams from each school, I don't think so. Each team would have at least 1 but no more than 4 impermissibles in round 3: the prior meeting from round 3 will always be an impermissible, and the prior meetings from rounds 1 and 2 along with the same-school pair could be impermissibles depending on the coin flip (meaning that you could already be side-constrained out of hitting your r1 and r2 previous opponents and your same-school pair.) So each team would always have at least 3 teams it's eligible to face in round 4, and possibly more.

                      2. I have. I'm not a proponent of it. The underlying premise is that large point differentials are meaningful as compared to small point differentials. The premise assumes that all judges judge on the same scale, and we know they don't. Since AMTA can't control whether the judges we assign to your trial use a wide scoring scale or a narrow scoring scale, I don't think it's equitable to determine tournament results based on whether your team wins (or loses) a ballot by 5 points or by 15 points.

                      3. Not to my knowledge.
                      Last edited by MizzouMock; February 5th, 2018, 05:34 PM. Reason: clarification to 14 team bracket hypothetical
                      I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1. What kinds of statistics does AMTA keep beyond the published ones (TPR) on competing teams? Its been mentioned in a number of threads recently that AMTA keeps track of how teams are doing (trends in performance for example) beyond just their TPR.

                        2. What kinds of statistics does AMTA keep on the case balance beyond the published ones?

                        3. Does AMTA have a plan for dealing with the increasing geographical power imbalance? If the goal is to have the best teams advance to the next level of competition, the fact that your ability to qualify is heavily determined by what site you compete at seems like an issue.
                        Last edited by TheGhostofChaseMichael; February 5th, 2018, 03:44 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheGhostofChaseMichael View Post
                          1. What kinds of statistics does AMTA keep beyond the published ones (TPR) on competing teams? Its been mentioned in a number of threads recently that AMTA keeps track of how teams are doing (trends in performance for example) beyond just their TPR.

                          2. What kinds of statistics does AMTA keep on the case balance beyond the published ones?
                          1. I'm not aware of any statistics or tracking beyond TPR.

                          2. I'm not on either case committee and haven't been in ages (since Walton v Blitz News Network--goodness) so I couldn't tell you what they're tracking. There isn't like a "super secret internal balance memo" that gets shared to the Board and another one that goes out to the public. I'm seeing the same thing you all are.
                          I post in my personal capacity, not on behalf of AMTA.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hey Johnathan, I saw nationals next year will start April 5. Does that mean no new nationals case next season?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is a confusion I've had come up for a while. If, in captain's meeting, one team shows the other that they are using a white board as a demonstrative, does that team have to disclose anything about what the board will be used for? I've seen teams take issue with that. Also, on a more fun note, what is the most ridiculous thing you've ever had a tab complaint about?

                              Comment

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