The College/Community Split Is…Not Terrible?

By Ryan Smythe

The long-awaited College/Community split is upon us, and as of right now nothing has caught fire…yet. What it does do is clarify that change many assumed was coming, a split at the regional and national tournaments, is finally upon us. They key points:

  • College and community teams can still play each other throughout the regular season;
  • College and community teams will be split into separate divisions at regionals and nationals;
  • There will not be an official final matchup between the teams that win their respective divisions;
  • Rumors that the captains of each team will face off in an Agni Kai have neither been confirmed nor denied;
  • All players on college teams, including playing coaches, must be enrolled in the school they play for. There is no minimum credit hour requirement;
  • A non-playing coach does not need to be enrolled at that school;
  • Community teams may not use a school’s name or mascot in their branding or team name, and may not receive support from that institution in any way, including discounted field space and “other support”;
  • College and community teams may hold joint practice, but the majority of a community team’s practice must be held independently – no word yet on how many community team practices will be held at Chipotle, Boloco, Taco Bell, etc.

There has been no word on any restrictions placed on college players hoping to compete on a community team. Details will continue to trickle out as the gameplay department continues to work on the formats for nationals and regionals, and on how bid allocations will change for the 2017-2018 season.

Concern for the Safety of Students

One factor influencing this decision came from the collegiate level – what school in their right mind would happily endorse a full-contact sport that pits their students, many of whom cannot even legally drink yet, against men and women in their athletic prime (pause for laugh break to think about some players who do not necessarily fit the typical mold of what many consider “athletic”)? Would the University of Alabama willingly put their team on the field against the Oakland Raiders? Would the UCLA squad willingly line up against the New York Giants? Why should we expect these college quidditch programs to do the same at national tournaments?

Even with these concerns, keeping regular season interplay between the newly formed leagues is necessary to keep our sport alive. Writing this from Los Angeles, we could, with minimal difficulty, keep playing with a full split where the Lost Boys, the Gambits, and the Funky Quaffles never face off against UCLA, Irvine or USC ever again. However, the vast majority of regions do not have the same team density we, or Texas, or Boston enjoy.

Maybe we should consider the Texas State/Texas Cavalry finals the swan song of collegiate/community competition? Photo credit: Isabella Gong

As USQ works on putting together the new bids for Nationals, it’s time for teams with a history of qualifying in the final spot to worry about the future. While the overall number of bids going to a region will presumably remain somewhat similar to what we expect, it’s unclear how many will go to the college side and how many will go to the community side. Depending on each region’s breakdown of the number of teams from each side, some teams could find themselves on the outside looking in, possibly for the first time in their history. The breakdown at Quidditch Cup 10 looked like this:

Great Lakes:

7 college, 1 community

Mid-Atlantic:

5 college, 4 community (5 community now that Rutgers University/Reluctantly Unaffiliated has made the switch)

Midwest:

5 college, 0 community

Northeast:

7 college, 3 community

Northwest:

2 college, 0 community (this will change after the Northwest likely absorbs some of what is currently the West region)

South:

2 college, 3 community

Southwest:

8 college, 4 community

West:

4 college, 5 community (see: Northwest note)

Total:

40 college, 20 community

At first glance, this likely means that community teams will have fewer spots to compete for at the national tournament, whatever it ends up being named. However, if USQ chooses to create an even 30/30 split, then college teams will face the brunt of the competition and community teams previously looking in may find their way to Texas in 2018.

But hey; this doesn’t suck, and that’s a pretty big deal.

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