Each Friday an A Cappella Blog contributor will take a look at both sides of a controversial, interesting, or seemingly random statement related to collegiate a cappella.
We welcome you to weigh in on the topic at hand by posting a comment. We also welcome readers to offer up their own statements for our writers to consider, Measure for Measure.
Given the concerns several groups expressed about an unfair bias going to groups competing at their own institutions, ICCA should no longer allow groups to compete with a “home field” advantage.
True: Home field advantage is a reality. Home groups are going to have more fans in their crowds, which is going to give them extra confidence every time they erupt in applause. Beyond that, home groups don’t have to worry about long road trips, crashing four to a hotel room the night before the show, or getting lost in an unfamiliar campus en route to the performance space. Putting all of these factors together, allowing some groups to perform at their own institutions gives them an unfair advantage. Furthermore, if a legitimately gifted group wins ‘at home’ it can taint their victory, as other groups can fall back on the excuse that the hometown judges were biased. It’s best to avoid all of the controversy, and potential for partiality by making everyone compete in foreign spaces.
False: In a perfect world, the ICCA production staff would have infinite ideal venues to choose from when scheduling events. In the real world, there are only so many suitable spaces in each region, only so many volunteers to host, and a limited time table to work with. I don’t envy the decisions they have to make, and adding a provision that no group could perform at its home institution would only make this process more convoluted. In addition, having home groups perform in a competition draws a much bigger audience to any given show. There are a lot of people who aren’t eager to shell out $5-$10 for an a cappella show featuring bunch of groups they’ve never heard of. Add in a home team for them to support, not to mention personal friends and family of group members, and all of a sudden, you’ve broadened your audience exponentially. While this crowd may play favorites, a show is infinitely more fun when there’s a packed house, compared to a half-empty auditorium. And who knows? Maybe the folks who just came to cheer on the home group will really enjoy themselves, and get hooked on the collegiate a cappella scene. Attracting more fans is a great thing.