New Teams Breaking into Bid-Point Competitions

Started by Radhika Jhanwar

Radhika Jhanwar

Hi everyone!!
First off, Ill introduce myself. My name is Radhika Jhanwar and I am one of the 2016-17 captains of the UW DangeRaas Dawgs in Seattle. This is my 2nd year on the team and 1st year as captain.
So this conversation began on a raas captain's groupme concerning the representation of newer and less experienced raas teams in RAS bid-point competitions. My team began seriously applying to bid-point competitions this year and we received a lot of emails from these competitions stating that we were up against 35-40 other teams for the 8 spots in the lineup. Also, after the lineup's were announced we saw that so many of these competitions accepted big-name teams with great reputations. It is easy to understand why these competitions would have similar lineups because competitions want the best teams to perform and the best teams want to perform at all the bid point competitions. However, this cycle seems to prevent a lot of smaller and lesser known raas teams from breaking into the circuit and gaining experience since it's very difficult for a newer/smaller/less experienced team to even compare to more experienced teams.
In the groupme, Bhavin Patel (Captain of Nakhraas at Northeastern University), mentioned how [this strategy of big teams applying to all the bid point competitions] makes it tough for the less experienced teams to break through i think NOT because there aren't enough competitions, but because aiming to be on top simply requires the best teams to crowd out the rest. There's no 'prestige' for a renowned team to go to a non-RAS comp over a RAS comp during the same weekend, and essentially, that means that both new teams AND non-RAS comps are affected negatively, and therefore are less likely to be sustainable.
However, that being said seeing the lineup of Raas Mania this year was like a breath of fresh air. Seeing teams on the lineup which I had not known of before excited me and gave me hope that I could also take my team to a big competition like Mania one year. But I still feel that a large part of the raas circuit is being underrepresented in these competitions and I hope that creating this discussion will start some sort of change that will help new raas teams join and do well in the circuit.


Raúl Larsen

Great conversation topic! I'll probably have a longer opinion later, but I think the rubric standardization is a cause of this - a team that finds the formula for success at one comp can reasonably expect to succeed at the others, and can therefore strategize based on where they think the competition will be most winnable. This can often mean accepting spots in lineups and then dropping as they hear of the likely places teams will travel to. Long waitlists also mean that teams are pushed later and later into this season to hear from the competition. This year, in particular, quite a number of teams I was in contact with mentioned that the comps had well exceeded their "respond-by" date, and it was because large teams found they could ask for extensions to maximize their decision-making later on. I think this is a tough problem to resolve because, theoretically, all parties are acting in their own best interests, and I, personally, am against penalizing teams for dropping from lineups (because things happen outside the team's control).

An additional layer of this is that as we accept more bid comps into the RAS system, the minimum number of points needed to get to RAS will increase, which will push teams to travel more in order to qualify for nationals - ultimately, that means more comps don't equate to more teams; rather, more comps mean more appearances for the teams already qualifying to compete at the Bid level*. I'm waiting to see how the ELO system plays out, but I am currently supportive of relative ranking of teams, and ELO seems to be the best way to evaluate that.

*I think this is reasonably supported by the admittedly small sample size here:
2016-2017 12 Bid Comps, 36 represented teams
2015-2016 13 Bid Comps, 35 represented teams
2014-2015 12 Bid Comps, 37 represented teams
2013-2014 12 Bid Comps, 36 represented teams
2012-2013 11 Bid Comps, 35 represented teams
2011-2012 10 Bid Comps, 37 represented teams
2010-2011 10 Bid Comps, 33 represented teams Edited upon update of Scoreboard for 2010-2011 season