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2019 Agenda - Bona Fide Offer to Host AMTA Tournament for Programs with 3 or More Teams Registering for Regionals

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  • 2019 Agenda - Bona Fide Offer to Host AMTA Tournament for Programs with 3 or More Teams Registering for Regionals

    "TFC-06: Motion by Bernstein and Heytens to require programs seeking to register more than two teams at regionals to make a bona fide offer to host an AMTA tournament at least once every two years.

    Rationale: Participation is growing, and AMTA's tournament structure is approaching capacity. As AMTA struggles to find more hosts, schools are hosting more and more invitationals each season. Every school should be able to participate in AMTA competitions, but the privilege of registering more than two teams should be reserved for those schools willing to contribute to the community."

    Discuss this item here!
    Last edited by nunya; July 9th, 2019, 04:30 PM.

  • #2
    Sounds like a great way to get the quality of regional tournaments to sink even lower by forcing teams that don't want a tournament to host one. I guarantee if this is adopted then AMTA will 100% be cutting the money they pay for regional hosts.

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    • #3
      I think this is a pretty good idea in the abstract. I'm wondering if a better way to go would be to require schools registering 3 or more teams to make bona fide applications to host maybe every other year, so that the burden on putting together a bid every year (and risking hosting every year) is limited. Sometimes, big programs are located in areas that aren't ideal for hosting a regionals, though presumably AMTA can weed out those applications.

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      • #4
        I think this is a solid solution for AMTA as an institution. It's not forcing teams to host a tournament. It's forcing them to make a choice: don't let your C team go to regionals, or else volunteer to host. AMTA's been having problems with getting schools to step up for a long time now, and that's just not a sustainable situation. But many of those same schools that don't volunteer to host are running their own invitationals, proving they have the capability to handle a tournament. I think the board wants schools to be thinking more like contributors to the overall AMTA community.

        This has a dual benefit to AMTA of increasing their pool of potential hosts and also probably lowering the number of teams they have to accommodate at regionals, because I bet there will be some schools out there who know their C team's regionals outing is never successful and they decide it's not worth it to keep that going if it means having to put together a tournament (especially if that school doesn't host anything now). This doesn't eliminate the existence of a training team / C team for those schools, because they could still go to some invitationals. Their season just stops 1 tournament sooner now.


        I do wonder about the logistics of it all, and I figure the board will be discussing that. Just requiring a "bona fide offer" suggests that some of those schools may not end up actually hosting, and that makes sense since a glut of hosts in 1 location would be unnecessary. If a school does an absolutely terrible job of hosting a regionals, which happens plenty of times, right now AMTA just tries not to use them anymore. But in the new system, can AMTA tell that school that hosting is no longer an option, and if so can they be prohibited from registering a C team? If their C team's not banned, then a school with bad intentions could just throw a crappy regional one year, knowing they won't be called on to host again. I don't think that's a realistic possibility, but it does create perverse incentives.

        It's also probably going to be a headache for teams who want to keep their C team and who run invitationals now. When does AMTA call you about hosting? Hopefully in April or May. If not, you'll have to decide whether to hold off on inviting teams to your invitational during the early summer, since I'm guessing many of these schools are reluctant to host 2 tournaments a year. But if AMTA doesn't know that you're going to have a C team until you register in August/September after you've done your recruiting, then it seems like they can't put you on the hook yet. So does that create an incentive for people to register their C team late, if they're trying to avoid hosting?

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        • #5
          How about flipping the logic, if the perverse incentive is going to be an issue?

          Gift all teams with 2 "spots" (for sending a non-A/B team to Regionals) from the get-go. Teams that host Regionals in 2019-20 onwards get 3 (or 4?) spots each time that they can hold indefinitely and spend whenever

          Recurring Regionals hosts get rewarded the most, although it's probably prudent to make sure no team uses >2 spots/year. Other teams get flexibility, especially with the 2 starter spots every active 2019-20 school gets. But the message remains the same: If you want to use the system heavily, you also need to contribute to it.

          versus the proposal itself, this doesn't force teams to make decisions on the spot, requires more effort from schools sending D teams than from schools sending just C teams, and gives schools considerable time to plan ahead and set up a recurring Regionals schedule.

          The awarding of points could get tricky though, as there would have to be a quality bar for offers (otherwise teams make bad offers just to get points), but that risk exists in the original proposal too. Just think that this makes it easy for AMTA to always have more than enough hosting offers from well-funded programs and forces programs to do better planning to field >2 teams, making both sides of the system more sustainable.
          things are really heating up in the lawyer impersonation fandom

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          • #6
            Zephaniah Nah, and I'll tell you why. In the Southeast, there are 4 programs I can name off the top of my head who sent not just C teams, but D teams to regionals: Florida, Georgia, Florida State, and Furman. Not a single one of those teams hosted an AMTA-sanctioned tournament this past season. All of those teams are capable of hosting a tournament, most of them even host their own invitationals. To add four more AMTA-sanctioned tournaments in this region, even if they're staggered every other year, would be a nightmare.

            Teams that sent 3 teams to regionals include Duke, Emory, Tech, Alabama, Tennesse, UCF, USC, etc. To then add those into the mix as well, if they want to avoid cutting an entire team's worth from their roster, would be insane. That's why AMTA's proposal is for an offer, not forcing teams to host or cut half their members.

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            • #7
              I like the idea behind this motion, I just think there has to be a better way to accomplish it. The problem is easy to identify: AMTA needs to incentivize hosts. I think we can all agree the easiest way to do that is with money, but there's only so much of that to go around. To me, I think I'd phrase it something more like this: "Any program who fields more than two (2) teams at Regionals in a given season may be contacted by AMTA during the following two (2) seasons and asked to host an AMTA-sanctioned tournament. Within twenty-one (21) days of that request, the team shall respond to AMTA by either 1) accepting AMTA's request and agreeing to host an AMTA-sanctioned tournament, or 2) providing a compelling justification for why the team cannot host an AMTA-sanctioned tournament."

              Obviously, because we're a community who spends hours fighting over words, "compelling justification" could become a sticking point. But I think we could establish a rough sense of what that means - and more importantly, I think if AMTA did this in conjunction with the expansion of the Judge Recruitment Subcommittee, you could basically say to a prospective host that if they can get the rooms and work alongside the Judge Recruitment Subcommittee to get judges, this can be a painless (or less painful) experience. It's an olive branch alongside the stick; yes, we're going to try and push you to do this when your gut reaction may be to say no, but we're going to do our part to make it easier for you.

              I'd also encourage AMTA to do something to incentivize co-hosting AMTA tournaments. Our program helps run the only co-hosted Regional in the country, and it's amazing how much easier it is to do than hosting a full tournament. Perhaps increasing the stipend to $4000 for co-hosted tournaments so each program takes away closer to the normal stipend amount (when split evenly) and reminding people that both programs get to avoid the $450 case fee.
              Last edited by bengarmoe; July 11th, 2019, 11:24 AM.

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              • #8
                EgregiousInvention I was just proposing a flexible/points-based implementation (rather than a rule/obligation-based one); it should still be up to AMTA whether a school actually hosts the tournament. The bottleneck is in getting bona fide high-quality offers.

                I do see there are other issues with a points-based system, however- e.g., the points could easily accumulate over time and teams would stop applying. If they implement an expiry mechanism to resolve that issue, then the problem doesn't go away; it just becomes cyclic. At the same time, requiring a "bona fide offer every 2 years" doesn't let programs just amortize the burden + plan their scaling well in advance.

                Maybe this rule should also be localized. The shortage of Regionals hosts is much worse in some areas than others; the cost could be distributed more locally by Regionals in host-starved areas hard-prioritizing A/B/C teams over C/D/etc. teams. That way, the problem could be solved in a much less formal, more ad hoc basis wherever it arises- basically, A/B teams get priority across the board for Regionals and schools with C/D teams can either just host a Regional themselves or spend $$$ flying their C/D teams further out to parts of the country with more Regionals. There'd be uncertainty involved, which will be actually great in this case- uncertainty, more than raw cost, is going to make the incentive real.

                At some point, the cost of just hosting the tournament yourself becomes way cheaper (and way less risky) than worrying about where to fly your team. + This gets good-faith, bona fide offers because teams are actually in a position where hosting a Regional makes a ton of sense for them and isn't forced on them by an AMTA rule. Combine it with co-hosting and now you're just changing the incentive structure instead of throwing a rule at teams.

                Like bengarmoe notes, the challenge is just how to achieve what the motion's trying to institute. I don't think a rule is the best way to do this, since "bona fide offers" can get ambiguous and Regionals quality matters a ton. Instead teams with the resources to do so need to be incentivized to offer to host high-quality Regionals themselves; every school needs to have skin in the game when it comes to having a great Regional tournament in its neighborhood. The better we distribute this cost, the less of a problem it becomes.

                Side-note: I recall the Pittsburgh invitational being (at least de facto) co-hosted in '15 and '16.
                things are really heating up in the lawyer impersonation fandom

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                • #9
                  I think that once the judge recruitment sub-committee forms and can start helping regional hosts it will make a huge difference on:
                  - People's willingness to host since the hardest part is ALWAYS finding judges.
                  - Everyone's enjoyment of the activity as there will feel like somewhat of a standardization for judges when we get to regionals (maybe this is overly presumptive, but assuming AMTA begins a registry of judges, it seems easy to actually take people's feedback and blacklist inappropriate judges and keep the good ones!)
                  - Alums ability to stay involved in AMTA through judging!

                  I can't wait for that committee to be formed. I know volunteers to host regionals will start popping up the second this committee is established and proves itself to be a real tangible help.

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                  • #10
                    I thought that judge committee was formed last year?

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