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This week's topic: In recent years at ICCAs, some quarterfinals featured as few as five groups competing, while others boasted as many as nine competitors. In the interest of fairness, ICCA competitions should feature equal numbers of groups at each level of the competition.
True: Let’s do some simple math. If there are six groups competing at your average quarterfinal, and two advance to the semifinals, that means that, before assessing the quality of performance, each group has a 33 percent chance of advancing. Head over to the Midwest, and you’re looking at nine groups, competing, but still only two groups moving on. Suddenly, the chances of moving in the tournament are only 22 percent. This simply isn’t fair. Each group should have an equal opportunity to advance. While, percentage-wise, it could be fair to let three groups advance from a 9 group semifinal, this still skews the competition scene, and creates some shades of gray when shows turn out to have 7 or 8 groups. All in all, the simplest answer is for each show to have an equal number of competitors.
False: In an ideal world, each competition could have the same number of competitors. In reality, it can be difficult to organize venues, dates and hosts for a competition, and the number of competitors can’t always break down quite equally. Some regions can’t have as many shows despite a comparable number of groups. Some shows will see groups who were scheduled to compete end up backing out for whatever reason, meaning a competition shrinks to a smaller field of competitors. It may not be entirely fair, but that’s life.
Furthermore, letting two groups advance from the quarterfinals ensures that the best groups are progressing to the semifinal round. If your group couldn’t manage a second place finish in the quarters, I don’t like your chances of making a dent in the semifinals anyway.