My opinion is that the (super) state representatives should not participate in their state finals.
While the prize money is an exciting new benefit to qualifying, it is also now going to be a legitimate “issue” that has to be dealt with in a professional manner. There are many decisions being made leading up to the tournament that affect the outcomes. I’ll just comment on the ones I feel have the most impact.
Venue Choice: TD has the ability to pick the location that may play to his/her strengths. Games in the location that may favor their play style or oppose a specific person’s play style, an environment that they’re more comfortable in that others might not be,
Game Choice: TD has the ability to remove any games they dislike. Maybe bring in outside games that favor their playstyle.
Game Setup: TD has the ability to set the games up in a way that is advantageous to their playstyle or disadvantageous to someone else’s playstyle.
TD Ruling: I think we are overlooking a few things when we say “It is ok for a TD to participate in a tournament as long as someone else is there to make a ruling if the TD is one of the involved players.” A tournament director who is also participating, whether they admit it or not, will have certain biases that might affect their decision making processes during a tournament. If they know a player might be a potential threat to them in a later round, will they be fair in a ruling involving that other player’s game? Will they take the time to make sure they are making the right decision while they are distracted by their own game?
There are plenty more examples that can be brought up. All of these issues in a perfect world don’t exist. I know some highly respectable people who would not take advantage of any of these possible scenerios for their own gain. My point is to take these issues out of the equation altogether and find a TD who actively chooses to not participate. I know that in states that are not as active, these people are not easy to come by, especially when finding enough players to fill the bracket is difficult. However, a state that has gained the status of being a superstate has been done so by building their scene to a point where one is likely to find a motivated and knowledgeable person who is either not competitive enough to qualify, or is a highly competitive player who chooses to run the state finals and not participate.
While I have no interest in lobbying to make this an official ifpa rule, I still feel strongly about this and would like to encourage any state reps to actively decide to not participate, or seek out another trustworthy and knowledgeable state rep who will not participate in the state finals. I think it sends a good message to their community about transparency, fair play, and professionalism.