Has anyone ever had to deal with the 7 seniors rule? Because we have 10 currently that have all been participating for the last few years and how would you choose who participates in varsity and who doesn't? One option would be to do it by skill, but since everyone has different events, that's not really a useful thing to do. As much as I hate to do it, is there a fair way to choose between people that would still be good for competition? Thoughts?
I usually don't post on the boards (I'm more of a lurker, to tell you the truth), but I felt I should give some input on this subject. As jdogg so eloquently stated, hmcginny and I spent a lot of time debating this problem over the past year. This is one of the most heart-wrenching problems that a team has to face, considering the dedication of the oldest members of a team, as well as the fact that these students will never again have the chance to compete. You definitely have my sympathy for being in this position.
The way our team chooses the competition 15 is quite simple. It is the job of our captains and head coach to put together the best competition team on any given day. This means building a schedule of team members from grades 9-12, competing in 1-6 events, having 1-7 years of Science Olympiad experience under their belts. It doesn't matter how long someone has been on the team, or whether a senior "deserves" it more: build the schedule that best represents your entire team on their best day. Working under this principle is the fairest way to make the difficult decisions that come along with the seven-senior rule.
There are a few things to keep in mind in your upcoming year: First, be as up-front as possible about the way that the competition team will be chosen. Let your seniors know at the beginning of the year that you will be choosing which seven will compete by <these> criteria, and will let them know by <this time> who will be on the competition team. Secondly, ensure that all of your seniors know that they have a place on your team, even if they aren't competing at a given tournament. Some of our seniors had been doing Olympiad for 7 years, and they were undeniably priceless in helping prepare our competitors throughout the year, even if they weren't competing themselves. Third, no matter what the outcome of your seven-senior predicament, remember to enjoy your last year in Science Olympiad. Don't burn any bridges, and don't let drama or intra-team competition bring you down.