I am considering changing the format of March Madness Poetry to mimic that of the FIFA World Cup.
Generally, the changes would be as follows:
- Instead of 64 authletes, there would be only 32 authletes in the event.
- Authletes would be randomly placed into one of eight groups of four participants each.
- The first three rounds would be a round robin within each group, where each authlete faces each of the other authletes in their group one time in a head-to-head match (the “Group Stage” in World Cup lingo). The format of individual matches would remain the same. Authletes would be awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss.
- The top two authletes from each group would advance to the next stage.
- With only sixteen authletes remaining, the event would again become a single elimination-style tournament (the “Second Stage” in World Cup lingo).
- In total, there would be seven rounds instead of six.
Here would be the impact of such a change:
- With only 32 authletes participating, securing a spot in the tournament would become much more difficult — an accomplishment in and of itself.
- Every authlete would get to write at least three poems, making the experience more worthwhile for every participant.
- Since authletes themselves are the main drivers of event traffic, there is a risk that fewer people will promote the event, thus reducing the audience base. On the other hand, those authletes who are participating may more actively promote the event, since they will be assured of remaining in the event for close to two weeks instead of just three days.
- The best authletes would be more likely to advance — one tough word or one unlucky matchup would not mean likely elimination.
- There would no longer be a Round of 64, which has been an administrative nightmare the last three years.
- By flattening the first three rounds, each matchup is likely to attract more readers, including more official voting classrooms.
- We can get more creative with seeding so that the words assigned to authletes in a given matchup would be more equitable. I’ve already thought of a great way to do this.
Personally, I think that the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks. But I want to know what YOU think.
I welcome your comments, questions, and ideas below.