USQ Update

USQ Update

Gameplay Department 2019-20 Season Recap

Recap of strategic planning initiatives accomplished by the gameplay department for the 2019-20 season.

USQ is doing a multipart recap series for the 2019-20 season, focusing on strategic plan goals, additional highlights, and what’s coming next for the 2020-21 season. We are currently in year two of the latest strategic plan focused on retention, recruitment, and reach. This is part four in the series.


The gameplay department consists of gameplay coordinators, referee coordinators, snitch coordinators, and rules coordinators. Staff in this department work together to oversee

and run all aspects of USQ gameplay, ensuring that the league maintains high standards of competition and fair play. The gameplay department manages all gameplay policies, determines

gameplay structures and schedules for USQ-hosted events, manages the disciplinary review process, and serves as a resource for tournament directors and USQ staff.  The gameplay department also houses the officials team, who work to certify and develop high-quality referees and snitches, and the rules team, who oversee the USQ rulebook.

Employees:

  • Eric Schnier, director of gameplay & member services

Volunteers:

  • Christian Barnes, referee coordinator & snitch coordinator

  • Kelby Brooks, referee coordinator

  • Josh Cohen, gameplay coordinator

  • Kym Couch, referee coordinator & rules coordinator

  • Ryan Davis, snitch coordinator

  • Clay Dockery, referee coordinator & rules coordinator

  • Harry Greenhouse, gameplay coordinator

  • Emily Hickmott, gameplay coordinator

  • Sarah Kneiling, gameplay coordinator & rules coordinator

  • Chris LeCompte, referee coordinator

  • Jared Leggett, rules coordinator

  • Toby March, referee coordinator

  • Matt Melton, gameplay coordinator

  • Ricky Nelson, rules coordinator

  • Max Parks, snitch coordinator

  • David Pastula, gameplay coordinator

  • Alec Powers, referee coordinator

  • Brook Yearin, gameplay coordinator

  • Liam Zach, rules coordinator

  • Logan Zahn, gameplay coordinator


Gameplay Department Updates

Outlined below are the specific goals from the strategic plan that the gameplay department is currently working on and the progress that has been made in the 2019-20 season. 

Overall Goal Strategy Year 2 Strategic Plan Goal
Retention Develop resources and guidance materials for members. Started creating video reviews of refs during key games, and is working on creating small reference sheets covering the basics of different situations. The reference sheets will be released next season.
Retention Expand competitive opportunities for all members. Evaluated current season structure (start and end of season, USQ event timeline, etc.) and will continue to evaluate this topic next season.
Retention Expand competitive opportunities for all members. Identified a new season structure for the club division, added in circuit events and auto-bids to the season schedule. 
Retention Develop resources and guidance materials for members. Evaluated feedback from snitch runners and began working on a new snitch runner testing rubric and tier system.
Retention Increase safety of all participants in quidditch. Identified updates for Rulebook 14 that will be released later this summer.
Recruitment Foster organized and sustainable youth play throughout the season. Combined the youth and high school editions of the rulebook into one document, youth rulebook 2. This allows individuals to decide what rules they would like to incorporate based on the skill levels of the group they are working with.
Recruitment Expand base of volunteers and officials. Increased pay for HRs for all events, sanctioned or unsanctioned, to be $20 per game starting in the 2020-21 season.
Recruitment Expand base of volunteers and officials. Developed a mentorship program for referees and snitch runners which will be released during the 2020-21 season.
Recruitment Implement ongoing adaptive measures to address future barriers to entry Conducted research on different snitch short manufacturers.

Additional Gameplay Department Highlights

In a December 2019 press release, USQ announced an organizational restructure to adjust employee roles to better focus on our primary strategic plan objective of membership growth. The gameplay department was shifted to include more programs related to on-field competition that were previously in the membership department. In addition to gameplay coordinators, the department would also include referees, snitch runners, and the rulebook. 

What’s Coming Next

USQ is beginning the process of identifying year 3 strategic plan goals. Some initial goals that have been identified are highlighted below.

  • Launch a new mentorship program for members.

  • Additional resource development for referees and snitch runners.

  • Continue conducting research on different gameplay equipment, including snitch short manufacturers. 

  • Release Rulebook 14.


Impact of COVID-19 on next season

As we mentioned in May, we have been working on several different plans for next season in response to the potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our activities and programs in the 2020-21 season. In that article, we released information on eligibility of graduating college seniors and bids to USQ Cup. On July 29, we will be posting the full plan for next season. However, we want to give members more of an idea of what they might expect from USQ events and gameplay policies. 

USQ Events

All regional championships and USQ-hosted circuit events will be open next season, regardless of the region a team is from. College teams will not be limited to one regional championship per season. There will be a cap on the number of teams who can attend each event though. As with this season, club teams may attend as many USQ-hosted circuit events as they would like. 

We are currently planning to have fall USQ-hosted events. However, our ability to have these kinds of events hinges on external factors, such as:

  • The level of financial support college teams can expect from their respective universities

  • What practice and travel restrictions college teams may have to abide by

  • What state and local guidelines exist regarding hosting large gatherings in the fall

For the collegiate division, there will not be season play requirements for regional championships. For the club division, as with this season, there will be no season play requirements to attend a USQ-hosted circuit event

USQ Cup 14 will be an open invitational, instead of entirely bid based tournament. There will be one division for the club, and two divisions for collegiate. More information on the structure will be available in the July update.  

There will be reduced season play requirements for both the collegiate and club divisions to participate in USQ Cup 14. Teams from both divisions will not be required to attend a regional championship in order to be eligible to compete at the event. 

Gameplay Policies

Official games may still take place in the fall, even if USQ decides not to host fall events. We will still support teams that choose to organize their own tournaments, though we will be requiring that all teams follow their state and local guidelines for large gatherings. We will be including comprehensive safety guidelines in the July 29 announcement. 

In previous seasons, teams had to pay the team registration fee and register at least 7 players by September 30 in order to count for bid allocation. Next season, in order to be eligible for nationals, teams need to be registered by February 19, 2021. 

Membership Policies

We are adjusting our refund policy for memberships. If a team registers for next season and then is unable to play due to COVID-19, then their team and player fees will be available as a credit for future seasons. This credit policy will also be extended to player memberships as well. If a player does not participate in a single official game next season, they may request that their membership be applied to the following season. 

Partial refunds may be available on a case by case basis and the amount will depend on what USQ activities the team/member has participated in. 

Questions?

Any questions about this article can be directed to membership@usquidditch.org