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Expanding NTC 2021

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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Expanding NTC 2021

Thu Mar 18, 2021 9:56 am
Lots of discussion regarding the ease in expanding NTC to 56 teams (notably including Rhodes) in accordance with AMTA rules. Is this "unfair" in breaking with the accepted 48 that traditionally qualify free & clear or based on this online format, should AMTA consider expanding the net with how wonky Mock-by-Zoom has been? Thoughts?
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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Re: Expanding NTC 2021

Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:55 pm
I think its a great idea. Frankly, there are always more than 48 deserving teams, but as has been discussed many times many places, the logistics of a larger in-person tournament make expanding the NCT pretty difficult. But online theres no barrier other than recruiting more judges, which, is something that AMTA has demonstrated it can do very well with the 3-judge ORCS panels. To me, whether or not Rhodes factors into the equation is irrelevant, but to the extent they do, Rhodes performed great at ORCS and nobody can seriously suggest they are not a nationals level team.

Just like AMTA taking the opportunity to give ORCS 3 judges a round, they should take the opportunity to let more students do more mock trial.
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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Re: Expanding NTC 2021

Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:57 pm
I would have been in favor of expanding NCT to 56 or even 50 teams had the decision been made before Regionals. If the decision is made now it would be due to certain teams not making it out of their ORCS. Every year there are excellent teams who never make it out of ORCS and the decision to expand NCT has not been discussed until now. I understand that due to the online nature of trial there is more leeway, however in terms of fairness to teams who never got this chance in past years, I think AMTA should continue with 48 teams this year, and if next year they want to expand NCT, they should certainly do so and make that decision before Regionals.

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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Re: Expanding NTC 2021

Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:07 pm
Expanding NCT at this point would also run counter to AMTA's rules . Specifically, Rule 6.8(1) says (emphasis mine):

NUMBER. There shall be at least 48 bids to the national championship tournament, but no
more than 56 bids. The number of bids to the national championship tournament shall be
announced by the Tournament Administration Committee no later than the beginning of the first
Opening Round Championship Series Tournament
, which shall be decided by the Tournament
Administration Committee Chair in consultation with the National Tabulation Director and the
National Championship Tournament Host.

I don't remember whether AMTA explicitly "announced" 48 bids, but the ORCS Earned Bid List page as well as the NCT Earned Bid List page state in several places 6 bids per ORCS tournament and 48 bids total. They've also posted on social media numerous graphics indicating 6 bids from each of the four ORCS tournaments that happened last weekend.

I don't think anyone would have objected to AMTA expanding NCT before the start of ORCS, but if they were to do it now it would seem awfully suspicious, not to mention against their rules.
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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Re: Expanding NTC 2021

Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:09 pm
They specifically said "the 48 teams competing at nationals" in the ORCS selection video
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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Re: Expanding NTC 2021

Fri Mar 19, 2021 12:15 pm
I agree that it would’ve been nice but it’s too late now. It needed to have been done prior to half the ORCS concluding.
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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Re: Expanding NTC 2021

Sat Mar 20, 2021 4:42 pm
I would tend to agree with the comments above that this year would have been a good season to expand the NCT given the lack of geographic/judging constraints that would make a large field difficult in other years. I also agree with the comments that AMTA would have needed to announce the expanded field before ORCS if they were going to do it this season.

However, setting aside whether the NCT field should expand this year, I do think that a good argument could be made to expand the field given the composition of the last three NCT Open Bid Lists and the number of teams competing in AMTA. Based on reviewing past AMTA board meeting information, it seems that AMTA has (among others) at least two goals with the NCT, both inclusivity for a range of programs (think past proposals like restricting programs to 1 NCT bid) and finding the best team to name as the national champion. If those are goals for the NCT, then expanding the field may make sense.

Naturally, increasing school participation via proposals such as restricting programs to 1 NCT bid would make the competitive side of the NCT suffer (for example when OSU or Cornell’s A and B squads both placed in their respective NCT divisions). However, expanding the field could help with both expanding access and competitiveness. Specifically, it would both allow more teams into the NCT while also fighting the recent trend of the 48 bid NCT keeping out some truly competitive teams.

Between 2013 and 2018, there was not a season where a 6 ballot team missed the NCT. There were some nasty seasons where five 5.5 ballot teams got stuck on the open bid list (2015 and 2017), but teams that won 75% of their ballots were historically guaranteed a spot at the NCT. In fact, I remember hearing that there was only one instance prior to 2019 when a 6-2 team missed the NCT (I do not know that for sure, however). That being said, with more quality teams competing in the last few years, there were three 6-2 teams that missed the NCT in 2019. Even without finishing the 2020 ORCS tournaments, there were already two deserving 6-2 teams on the Open Bid List. Although technically 9-3 would be the numerical equivalent of these 6-2 teams that have been getting stuck on the OBL for the last two seasons, I would argue that, due to the difficulty of sweeping these new three-ballot ORCS rounds 8-4 (5.33 ballots on the 8 ballot scale) is roughly equivalent to those 6-2 teams that got stuck on the OBL in previous years. If one were to accept the claim that 8-4 teams are equivalent to past 6-2 teams (debatable, I know), that means we already have four “6-2” teams stuck on the OBL this season despite being only halfway through ORCS.

What seems particularly frustrating about these 8-4 teams being stuck on the Open Bid List is the seeming arbitrariness deciding that those teams stay home while others advance to the NCT. From this year’s OBL, all of the 8-4 teams are quality, but their drop from the NCT seems rather harsh when you factor in other circumstances.

Take the first two teams on the OBL for example. Rhodes or Hillsdale would have advanced from any other first weekend ORCS aside from 1-A. In fact, both of them could have advanced together from 1-C or 1-D. Perhaps even more cruel, Washington & Lee missed a NCT bid by OCS alone. Cincinnati got kept out by a single point on one ballot in a round where they took the other two ballots comfortably. As those four examples show, the factors keeping those four teams out of the NCT are not indicators of their quality or ability to compete at the NCT.

While these examples seem to support the point I made above, we are only halfway through ORCS, so the list of deserving teams not making the NCT will likely grow (this argument would be even stronger if we get some 8-3-1+ teams on the OBL this weekend). In conclusion, I would argue that expanding the NCT field would ultimately improve the NCT by adding teams that clearly demonstrate an ability to compete, but miss the NCT due to the randomness of mock trial. Additionally, having a few extra bids would ultimately serve goals of expanding access to more programs.

Although I agree that AMTA would have needed to announce expanding bids at the start of ORCS under Rule 6.8(1), I do think there could be another way to get a few open bids to this year’s NCT. Specifically, last year, at least some of the 6-2 teams would have gotten off the OBL due to Loyola’s NCT host bid. This year, there is no NCT host listed, but unless I am missing something in the AMTA Rulebook (I looked at Chapters 5, 6, and 10), nothing seems to prohibit a late NCT host decision since the rules didn’t seem to indicate time constraints on when a host decides to host (normally the pressures of reserving a physical location would make that decision have to be far in advance, but that is not an issue this year). If there were a host who took a host bid, then there would at least be some open bids created that could take some extra teams to the NCT. If this were to happen, I’m sure there would need to be adjustments (like the host not getting the normal in-person stipend), but rules about the NCT seem to have already been thrown off by the online season. For example, Rule 5.25 specifies that the NCT date will be set two years in advance, but I don’t remember seeing an official date until late last semester or early this semester. Further, the provisions of Rule 10.7 that deal with proposals to host AMTA sanctioned tournaments seem largely inapplicable to tournament this year due to the different nature of online tournament. Finally, regarding timing to announce a tournament host, rule 10.7 does not specify a timeline for host proposals except to say that the TAC will put out guidelines for each season (and I don’t know what guidelines they have put out this year). Further, it seemed to me that host schools were added rather late in the game for both Regionals and ORCS, so there seems to be precedent for making late hosting decisions this year (I could be wrong about that though).

While this option would certainly be odd, it may be a win-win for some teams. I’m sure that having a host for the NCT would be helpful in many respects while it would be a big bonus to include some of the teams on the OBL (I’m guessing a host bid would create three other open bids to equalize the divisions), especially since I wouldn’t be surprised to see some 8-3-1 or 9-3 teams on the list by the end of the weekend.
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Expanding NTC 2021 Empty Re: Expanding NTC 2021

Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:52 pm
LandonGreene wrote:Although I agree that AMTA would have needed to announce expanding bids at the start of ORCS under Rule 6.8(1), I do think there could be another way to get a few open bids to this year’s NCT. Specifically, last year, at least some of the 6-2 teams would have gotten off the OBL due to Loyola’s NCT host bid. This year, there is no NCT host listed, but unless I am missing something in the AMTA Rulebook (I looked at Chapters 5, 6, and 10), nothing seems to prohibit a late NCT host decision since the rules didn’t seem to indicate time constraints on when a host decides to host (normally the pressures of reserving a physical location would make that decision have to be far in advance, but that is not an issue this year). If there were a host who took a host bid, then there would at least be some open bids created that could take some extra teams to the NCT. If this were to happen, I’m sure there would need to be adjustments (like the host not getting the normal in-person stipend), but rules about the NCT seem to have already been thrown off by the online season. For example, Rule 5.25 specifies that the NCT date will be set two years in advance, but I don’t remember seeing an official date until late last semester or early this semester. Further, the provisions of Rule 10.7 that deal with proposals to host AMTA sanctioned tournaments seem largely inapplicable to tournament this year due to the different nature of online tournament. Finally, regarding timing to announce a tournament host, rule 10.7 does not specify a timeline for host proposals except to say that the TAC will put out guidelines for each season (and I don’t know what guidelines they have put out this year). Further, it seemed to me that host schools were added rather late in the game for both Regionals and ORCS, so there seems to be precedent for making late hosting decisions this year (I could be wrong about that though).

People are out early this year twisting pretzels out of the rules.
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