Chapter 3: Putting A Tournament Together.

The Paperwork:

Presumably, you'll become TD as soon as a semester begins.   By no means will you have all the time in the world to get stuff done, so the earlier a start you get the better.   You will have to immediately set about figuring out what tournaments to run, how much time you have to run them, when precisely to run them, etc.   Assuming you're well prepared, it should be a simple task - but we all know that old adage about mice, men, and plans.

The Beginning:

As alluded to in Chapter 1, you first have to start by checking out the semester schedule.   Of importance is how many weeks a semester runs (generally 16, but subject to change) and when important dates fall within that semester.   By important dates I mean things like midterms and finals (not the best time for a tournament), school holidays (in the fall, 49er's; in the spring, Spring Fling [formerly St. Pat's]), regular holidays (Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.), and special events (Science Fair, Science Olympiad, etc.).   What starts out as a pretty wide open semester soon starts to get smaller and smaller.   But never fear: there will still be enough time, if you manage things right.

You might want to try and schedule tournaments during 49er's or Spring Fling, simply because notoriously little actually goes on during those holidays, and this would give some people something to do.   Right before or after a holiday is also a good time (before, so that people can pad their wallets; after, so they can pay off bar tabs).   Finals and midterms are not very good times; while the dedicated pool player might rather play in a tournament than study, we really shouldn't encourage that kind of behavior.

On the average, three tournaments will probably fit in a normal semester; four if you make all your tournaments real quick and dirty, and are thoroughly well organized.   In the past, some tournaments have been run in particular semesters: e.g. 7-9-8 in the Spring, One Pocket in the fall.   You may wish to keep up with such things, but in any case, try to fit the tournaments to the schedule.

OK, Now What?:

Suppose we have decided on three reasonably well placed tournaments during a semester - what's next?   Aside from the necessary rules checking and posting of tournament flyers, there's a very important part of tournaments which can spell life or death: payoffs.   Money generally makes tournaments go, and we'll talk in greater depth later on about the money situation, but suffice it for now to say that there are three primary sources of tournament money:

  1. Entry Fees:
    The best source of money.   By charging the right amount and getting a good turn-out, you can be well on your way to running a good tournament.
  2. Student Association Funds:
    As students, we pay activity fee money which the S.A. distributes to clubs which need that money for activities.
  3. Sponsors:
    A rare commodity in this town, but not impossible to imagine either.

Lets take a closer look at each of these sources and how they contribute to tournaments.

Entry Fees:

The bread and butter money source for tournaments here at Tech.   You see, one of the primary reasons people enter pool tournaments is to win.   And I'm not just talking prestige, I'm talking cash.   People will be attracted to a tournament that offers cash prizes to the winners, and their competitive spirit (not to mention empty wallet) will cause them to enter in hopes of winning some extra money.   Lets face it, pool has a reputation for attracting people who are greedy (just watch "The Hustler" or "The Color of Money").

So you decide to hold a tournament and offer some cash prizes: how much do you charge to enter?   This question relates to all the sources of money available, and how many people are going to want to play in the tournament.   You can't offer more money than you have or can get, and if you charge too much, people might stay away despite the possible reward.   So where is the middle ground?   After we've looked at the other sources of money, we'll work on the problem.

Student Association Funds:

You pay a student activity fee every semester, and that money is given to the S.A. to be doled out to needy campus clubs.   Each semester, the S.A. asks each club to submit a budget, outlining the amount of money they need, and how that money is to be spent.   While a major part of the budget process is a headache for the Treasurer, the TD has to share a little of the effort.   Once you've decided how many and what tournaments to run, you then have to decide on how much money you need.   You will be able to get part of it from entry fees, but that probably won't cover it all, so the next best source of money is the S.A.   Of course they will want an accounting of where that money is going, so you may want to tell the Treasurer what tournaments you will run and approximately how much you will need.   [Warning: it doesn't matter how much you ask for; don't count on getting the whole wad.   The S.A. can be notoriously fickle when it comes to money and how it is spent, and B.A.C. has to compete with a lot of other clubs on campus for a limited amount of funding.   Figure that at worst, you'll only get 50% of what you ask for.   And another important thing: keep records.   The S.A. will want to know everything about the money they gave even after it is long gone, so keep the necessary records handy (more about club record keeping later).]


It never happened it all the time I was here; B.A.C. sponsored its own tournaments without any outside help other than the S.A.   But that doesn't mean it couldn't be done.   One sponsor that might be easy to get on your side is the Game Room (Auxiliary Services).   You will be holding tournaments in the Game Room, and that can generate business for them if you bring in enough people and introduce them to life there.   Try talking to the Game Room manager about it.   It can't hurt.

Another area to search is in town.   You probably won't find sponsorship from The Capitol or The Rathskeller, since they hold their own tournaments and have their own tables.   But other businesses in town might be willing to put up money or even extra prizes if you can convince them.   This school does a lot of business in town, and the merchants there will do just about anything to drum up more business.   If you offer them advertising space and prominent display of their names on tournament material (banners, flyers, etc.) they might be willing.   Don't be afraid to try.


Well, presumably you have some money to work with and so now comes the question of payoffs: how many, what amounts, etc.   Knowing about how much you have to play with, you can assign prize amounts that will be somewhat lucrative (and therefor attract good players).   It would be nice to give out lots of money, but don't make promises you can't keep!   You should make prizes attractive, but don't overspend (if you come up having extra money before the tournament, you can change the prize sizes before play actually begins).

Billy Aardd.