[eDebate] NDT Fees

Steve Mancuso mancussp
Thu Mar 9 18:46:07 CST 2006

I have taken part in pretty much every side of this debate.  I've been, 
and continue to be, a consumer of the NDT, bringing teams and 
observers, and paying the fees.  I serve on the NDT Committee.  I've 
served on the Board of Trustees.  I've recently been a host of the NDT. 
  I was  a co-author of the most recent hosting document.

The people who have written about hosts getting stuck with monumental 
food bills after the tournament (and these have sometimes been five 
figures) are absolutely right.  Our first priority has to be to protect 
our hosts.  And I know that is the exact concern that drives the high 
observer fees, nothing else.  The high observer fees are absolutely the 
result of very good intentions.  The people who look out for our 
finances do a fantastic job, and we owe them a great gratitude for 
their tireless service.

I would also point out that these hidden costs add up quickly.  If 
every school has just one person who slips in unaccounted you are 
talking about a 10% increase in food costs.

On the other hand, I strongly oppose the current inflexible fee system 
for observers.

Not too long ago it was possible to buy observer food tickets that 
excluded the banquet(s).

There are numerous people at the tournament who would gladly forgo 
eating at the banquets - and that's over half the cost of the observer 
ticket.  I have several people in my party who will not be able to 
attend the opening banquet.  Yet I am in the position of having to pay 
for their banquet meal anyhow.

Further, I have two students who will be attending as observers who I 
would like to be able to have them admitted to observe the various 
awards ceremonies on Thursday and Sunday.  Is it really necessary to 
buy them $60 banquet meals for that to occur?

I know that the rigidness of the system is in part driven by 
enforcement issues.  In the case where the host feels that the 
single-price ticket is the only way that meal lines can be enforced we 
need to error on the side of the host, absolutely.

I know in this year's case the host supports variable prices for 
observer tickets.

I wish we could find a way to offer meal tickets that excluded the 
banquet costs, and find a reasonable way to enforce it.

Steve Mancuso

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