So, as someone who competed in less than optimal flying venues as a student, actually flew many many times in the French Field house, has run the event in perfect spaces and terrible spaces and finally the actual person who wrote the rule at question, I think I might have a particularly informed opinion in this matter.
I am very sympathetic to your concerns. That said, there simply isn't such a thing as a perfect indoor flying venue. Blimp hangers have giant holes in them. The salt mine's walls act like velcro to any model that comes close and is extremely dark. West Baden has a giant chandelier/decoration in the middle. Racquetball courts cannot fit many people in them, if you have any sideways movement at all you hit the walls, limit spectatorship and often cannot permit climate control adjustments. Many of them are open at the top, actually giving weird wind patterns. Those are just concerns for indoor free flight competitions, as my brother said above there are a lot of other considerations taken into account when running a Science Olympiad tournament. Of course, we want the venue to be as fair as possible. And that is actually one of the primary venue selection principles. The problem is that there are many other factors that immediately remove other venues from candidacy. The first is budget. If we cannot pay for access to a certain space, we can't use it. The second is general efficiency. You can only get so many volunteers for an overall tournament. If you can reduce the volunteer workload by having one volunteer deliver lunches to a single place instead of 2 or 3 or 4, it is very helpful. Same thing with wayfinding, crowd control, etc. Finally, spectator friendliness. This cannot be overstated, a huge part of certain events is giving people something to watch. While you see the competitors viewpoints, tournament directors field questions and concerns from lots of different directions. One big one is from parents and relatives who want to see their kids compete but are not allowed to in the vast majority of events. Additionally, from the perspective of the overall health of SO, it i very favorable to have a "big" spectator event that can wow the crowds. The aviation events, for better or worse, often fulfill this role.
The rules do NOT clearly state the conditions for competition. They provide suggestions by saying that certain venues are preferable. If they said that certain conditions were mandatory, the event would not be run in the vast majority of tournaments due to the lack of venues. In my opinion, it is much preferable to run any event in less than ideal circumstances as compared to not run it at all.
All of this is to say that while the French Field House may not be ideal from a competitor's standpoint, it probably is the best available option for the State Tournament. The people running these events DO think about this stuff. A lot. They care. Suggesting otherwise is inappropriate and frankly, self-serving. These are big operations with a ton of factors, both visible and invisible. The concerns have been levied at a variety of levels, but coming up with a petition is not going to do much to further your cause. Again, I am sympathetic to your concerns, I personally fly ultralight indoor models all the time. Both now and when I was a Science Olympiad competitor, I wanted only to have the best venue for flying. Now that I have a little more perspective, I am trying to make sure we do as well as we can with what is available. I know the Ohio State director is doing the same thing and IS looking out for your concerns.
Focusing on this single topic will only sour your relationship with the organizers, probably upset you and turn you off from future competitions. I urge you not to do that, instead take a global approach. See if there is a way you can work within the constraints we all are given. Don't work yourself into a fit over things that might not be able to be changed.
National event supervisor - Wright Stuff, Helicopters
Hawaii State Director