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2018 AMTA Board Meeting Agenda

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  • 2018 AMTA Board Meeting Agenda

    On Saturday, the AMTA Board published the Agenda for the upcoming Board Meeting in Las Vegas on July 21-22. Since most of the AMTA community wonít be present for the meeting, we wanted to open up a forum here for people to discuss their views about the motions proposed in the agenda.

    For those who donít feel like digging through the 26 page agenda, weíve created a brief summary of the motions that will affect students and what they would change (We left out a few of the motions because they are just about the board's finances and policies and do not seem to influence students directly):

    Accomodations-01: Changes the accomodations rule to include medical issues as well as disabilities and to allow for late notification in cases where a studentís health suddenly changes.

    CRC-01: Asks the board to provide more guidance in the form of an official policy or additional language in Rule 8.9 about exactly what qualifies as an egregious improper invention for sanctioning purposes. The primary issue raised is about whether a witness being able to claim that they didnít include a fact because they ďdidnít think it was importantĒ is more or less egregious of an invention than directly contradicting an affidavit.

    EC-01: Proposes an altered structure for teams looking to file a sanction for an improper invention against another team. It lays out when AMTA needs to request a written response from the accused program (when they may think an invention has occurred), and the 5 day period that the program must be given to respond. It also gets into the appeal process before the full AMTA board.

    EC-05: Would increase the NCT registration fees from $300 to $500 for the 2019-2020 season

    EC-07: Would increase the invitational licensing fee from $2 per team per trial to $4 per team per trial. Both this and EC-05 are meant to better help fund the stipend that AMTA gives to tournament hosts.

    Rules-01: Allows bench binders (binders given to the judge during pretrial) as long as they are plain black/white/blue plastic binders with only the following documents, in the following order inside:
    1. Pleadings
    2. Stipulations
    3. Pretrial Order
    4. Character Evidence Form
    5. Case Law
    6. Statutes
    7. Jury Instructions
    8. Rules of Evidence
    9. Special Instructions

    Binders must be shown to opposing counsel during captains. And if they donít meet the specific parameters in the rule OR they arenít shown in captains, then the other team is permitted to object to them being used.

    Rules-02: Allows objections before openings and closing but only to the other teamís demonstrative (if they are setting up a demo for opening or closing).

    Rules-03: Clarifies that unless specified by the case, witnesses must acknowledge that they were at the time of the events in the case able to perform any act described in the case materials.

    Rules-07: Students are not allowed to try to contact the judges after the round and bother them about scores. Only AMTA reps may do that.

    Rules-08: There will be a reworked judges PowerPoint for the fall of 2018 that will have: an agenda slide, a summary at the end of every section, a zoomed-in pictures of the ballots so judges can see better, wa picture of a filled in ballot, and aa cleaner design. Judges will also be given a one-page handout of key instructions to take to trial rooms with them.

    Tab-03: Requires that individuals have at least 16 ranks to get an individual award. This is to make sure that at the mini-regionals they arenít dipping down into the 14 and 15 rank individuals whereas at larger tournaments they only give them out to 17 or 18 rank individuals.

    Tab-04: The head-to-head tiebreaker will now be used in situations where two adjacent teams have relevant head to head tiebreaker and the outcome could affect who gets a bid to the next level of competition or who makes the NCT final, even if there are more than two teams tied (e.g. if there are three teams tied at 9 ballots to make the NCT final and the top two by CS have already played each other, then the team that won that round makes the final even if they had the lower CS).

    TAC-03: They will be forming a committee to revise the tournament structure (how many AMTA tournaments will there be, how many levels of tournament, how many bids per toruanment etc.). They will also consider renaming ORCS to something more sensible.

    -------------------------------------------------
    All of the following motions are tabled. That means that the board will not discuss them this meeting unless there is a special vote to untable them first. These motions are, therefore, less likely to pass, but there is still a chance.

    Tab-01: If AMTA finds out that a judge has gotten confused and has given 1s to the top performances, 2s to the next and so on, rather than giving 10s to the best, the AMTA reps will remedy the situation by reversing the scores (1s become 10s, 2s become 9s, and so on down).

    Tab-02: Students will no longer be allowed to take any pictures of tab cards during tournaments. Anyone seen doing it can be expelled from the Tab Room.

    TAC-01: Change the name of ORCS to the ďNational SemifinalĒ so that itís more clear to the outside what exactly it is

    TAC-02: Change the format of the NCT as follows:
    • Expand to 10 ORCS rather than 8 OR increase the number of schools at each ORCS to 30 and have more bids out of each one.
    • Expand NCT to 64 teams split into two divisions of 32.
    • Have the two divisions compete in different cities to decrease strain on hosts.
    • Host the National final with the division winners three weeks after the normal NCT at some extra fancy site. Have it be a two day competition with one round on each day so that each team has to play each side in the national final. Host a great big AMTA fundraiser on the night between the two rounds. Make it the ďAMTA Super BowlĒ

  • #2
    I think an important clarification (that I don't believe is discussed in tabled motion TAC-02 but may be) is whether the two divisions of the NCT would function in the geographically-based way that bids to ORCS work (i.e. teams at a Western ORCS would win a bid to Division 1 of NCT, teams at a different Eastern ORCS would win a bid to Division 2 of NCT) or whether the divisions would still be drawn from a hat in the same manner they are now. This clarification is important because creating a geographically-based Eastern and Western division would be nonsensical. In the past 18 years, only one Western school (UCLA) has made the final round (four times) compared to the 19 Eastern schools who have appeared 32 times (if my math is correct).

    Comment


    • #3
      The motion seemed to suggest that it would be geographically based (at least loosely). They wanted specific ORCS to feed into specific divisions at NCT. From the list the presented, it seemed like there would be an East Coast division (Wilmington, Lancaster, Central Islip, Hamilton, Memphis,) and a West Coast/Midwestern division (LA, Claremont, Cedar Rapids, Topeka, Dallas). But I doubt those were supposed to represent actual site allocations since they have several sites listed that aren't ORCS sites at all and since they leave out several standard ORCS sites. I doubt they would allow it to be purely East vs. West (for exactly the reasons you pointed out). But even having specific ORCS feed into specific divisions would, I think created disparity in division strength.

      Comment


      • #4
        There's absolutely no way that dividing the divisions geographically results in evenly stacked tournaments. Even just on the east coast, you have NYU, Columbia, Yale, Harvard, UVA, Georgia Tech, and Cornell. If you go any further west then you get into Miami and Rhodes and Ohio State. It's just not possible.

        Most of these motions look like they're designed to benefit AMTA at the detriment of many programs. Specifically EC-05, EC-07, and TAC-02. The first two raise the prices necessary for teams to fully participate in AMTA. And the third introduces full financial penalties for teams fortunate enough to make the final round. It would make them travel to a completely different site and pay for lodging/travel and some programs just won't be able to afford that

        Comment


        • #5
          TAC-02 is ridiculous for a number of reasons. For starters, the geographical imbalance is absolutely true.

          In addition, how out of touch does the board have to be to not understand the ridiculous financial cost placed upon the programs by this? How many programs already struggle to gather the funds to fly a team out and spend 4 days at Nationals. Now they want teams to pay for flights and hotels for what is essentially another Nationals ? What about the enjoyment of being able to watch the final round live as a reward for the students who made it this far?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PMiddle View Post
            Most of these motions look like they're designed to benefit AMTA at the detriment of many programs. Specifically EC-05, EC-07, and TAC-02. The first two raise the prices necessary for teams to fully participate in AMTA. And the third introduces full financial penalties for teams fortunate enough to make the final round. It would make them travel to a completely different site and pay for lodging/travel and some programs just won't be able to afford that
            amta isn't some for-profit corporation, though, so it's not like the extra money is ending up in the pockets of the board members, i think the underlying cause of all this is the insane growth of the number of teams that want to compete and amta having to expand to accommodate and catch up

            for all the logistical and financial concerns that tac-02 raises, i'm at least glad the board is thinking outside the box, with all the new teams in amta, 48 teams for nct is starting to seem small so it's good they're at least thinking about how to expand the nct field

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah I agree it's good that they're looking at it, and TAC-03 is reassuring as well that they're still trying to figure it out.

              The most funny part of this for me is that AMTA is trying to pass a rule to ban photographing and releasing the tab cards, and the account that posted this summary is the account that released the tab cards to the public in March

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm glad the tab card motion was tabled - it seems like a strange way to "fix" what was hardly a problem in the first place. Photographing tab cards is useful for programs independent of sharing to the public.

                But even if it is a problem to AMTA (I'm not sure why), just make it an offense to publish tab cards online.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Regarding TAC-03, I wonder who will be on this committee and whether they will solicit student input? Changing the whole tournament structure in a drastic way is something that will really affect students, and I don't think that should be done by a small committee of people (no matter how dedicated and intelligent those people are). I'm also a bit worried that the people on the committee will end up just being board members and long time AMTA people who all seem (for obvious reasons) to all come from well established, coached and usually well funded programs. That can lead them to overlook or be out of touch with the needs of smaller/newer/underfunded/less prestigious/student run programs. I hope that once this committee is formed they will reach out to the wider community for feedback and suggestions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Big hopes for changing ORCS to a new name. It will make things a lot easier to explain to the non-mock people in my life

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The_Quibbler View Post
                      Regarding TAC-03, I wonder who will be on this committee and whether they will solicit student input? Changing the whole tournament structure in a drastic way is something that will really affect students, and I don't think that should be done by a small committee of people (no matter how dedicated and intelligent those people are). I'm also a bit worried that the people on the committee will end up just being board members and long time AMTA people who all seem (for obvious reasons) to all come from well established, coached and usually well funded programs. That can lead them to overlook or be out of touch with the needs of smaller/newer/underfunded/less prestigious/student run programs. I hope that once this committee is formed they will reach out to the wider community for feedback and suggestions.
                      What if AMTA were to select a group of 5-10 students to actually be on the committee? Neal Schuett's proposal demonstrates your exact worry, and students actually being on the committee could help mitigate some of the worries attached to that. It could be a combination of students from coaches and student run programs, from established ones to newcomers, and so on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PMiddle View Post

                        What if AMTA were to select a group of 5-10 students to actually be on the committee? Neal Schuett's proposal demonstrates your exact worry, and students actually being on the committee could help mitigate some of the worries attached to that. It could be a combination of students from coaches and student run programs, from established ones to newcomers, and so on.
                        I'd say that's a definite necessity. I would be very opposed to having the decision be made simply by a committee of coaches/AMTA people. Even if they managed to avoid ideas with consequences as disastrous as TAC-02 (and to give them the benefit of the doubt, I think they would given that TAC-02 has been tabled), I'd worry that they would overlook less glaringly obvious issues and end up with a system that promotes coached/established programs either for financial reasons or by making it so that only the most boringly consistent programs make it through rather than the flashier more polarizing programs (which have a tendency to be student run).

                        But beyond that, and regardless of who is on the committee, I think this is the kind of thing where AMTA needs to open up whatever proposals they have to public comment. A that can't just be by burying them in 26 pages of board minutes that one could theoretically read and bother board members about. Yes, technically there is a way of providing the board with feedback already (Perjuries or unsolicited emails). But if they are going to make a big change like this they need to publicly and explicitly invite comment from the entire community and have an official way of receiving it (I think they should do this anyway but especially for something big like this).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What would be the best way for AMTA to select which students would be on the committee? An application? Or choosing 10-ish programs to each nominate a student? Or something else?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Though most posters seem to understand this, I think someone should state it clearly: the fact that something is listed on the agenda as "tabled" doesn't mean that "AMTA" wanted to enact it. It doesn't mean that it had any substantial level of support at all. It just means that one person thought it was worth discussing, and that most (or all) of the relevant committee disagreed. In fact, if something you dislike was tabled, it was probably voted down for the very reason you don't like it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              TAC-02 would do a lot to reduce the strain on NCT hosts, which could lead to a lot more schools being able to host it. From what AMTA folks have said on this forum and elsewhere, finding suitable NCT hosts is one of the most difficult things every year. Even if this isn’t a perfect solution, I think it’s good to recognize that this would allow each host to potentially: 1) use a single courthouse if that courthouse has less than 24 trial rooms, 2) recruit half as many judges, 3) run a Saturday-Sunday schedule, thus reducing a lot of cost and headache with securing spaces and judges for a Friday, and 4) not have to deal with final round filming. This also would significantly expand the NCT field, which seems like a good practice all the way around. And having two championship rounds would mitigate any major side biases when determining the Champion.

                              Obviously, there are some drawbacks that people have mentioned above. But I’ll add that it’s hard to picture anyone not involved with the final round flying in to watch it in person, which takes some of the luster off of the championship trial(s). This also seem like it could balloon costs if multiple hosts need to do an NCT banquet and secure venues for that, since I assume those costs probably outweigh most venue costs. There’s probably a way to divide up the teams into relatively equal strength divisions. I don’t think BBR is that perfect at that any way, but I also don’t think that geography is a good way to do it since there has been a clear trend of east coast schools winning more at NCT.

                              it would be interesting for AMTA to survey the regionals/ORCS/NCT hosts is has used recently to understand if they could host a current NCT, an expanded NCT, or maybe a smaller NCT like TAC-02 proposes. I wonder how many NCT hosts AMTA has left to tap into as things are currently.

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