On Monday, Wizards of the Coast announced that the judge program for Magic: The Gathering is ending this fall and all the MTG judging responsibilities will be transferred to a new independent organization called the Judge Academy, owned by Tim Shields of Cascade Games.
Today, the Judge Academy did an AMA on Reddit, answering questions from the Magic community, and one of the questions they responded to is the reason why their organization is not Non-Profit.
"This was something we grappled with for a long time," The Judge Academy wrote on Reddit. "Our first impulse was in fact to organize as a Non-Profit. We found in our discussions with publishers that in order to get support we needed to have a For-Profit structure. One of Many issues raised was that the publishers have corporate giving guidelines that limit which non-profits they can support and under what conditions. Not only that, but the guidelines were different from company to company and in order to ensure the long term success of Judge Academy we choose not to move forward as a non-profit."
Here's the part of their response that a lot of Redditors are criticizing: "We also felt it was important not to compete with organizations like the Red Cross for the charitable support being given by these companies," the Judge Academy explained. "We are a group of people that are driven by conscience and ultimately we want to do what is best for everyone. Just because there is money coming in does not mean that it is our primary motivation."
When asked if the Judge Academy will provide meaningful transparency in its deliberations, operations, and use of funds, here's the answer they provided:
We will be operating as a business and will do our absolute best to serve the needs of the Judge community, the larger Magic community, and the communities of future games that we will support (including esports).
We are going to follow all laws in every area we operate in, but it is not reasonable to expect 100% transparency in operations and use of funds.
That said, we will always address concerns and there will be plenty of opportunities for people to see where some of the money is going. Here are some examples:
- Creating and maintaining a new technology platform to support the Judge Program (more details around this will come as responses to other questions in this AMA)
- Paying Full Time Administrative Staff to develop the program
- Paying Community Mangers and Advisors
- Paying for Content Creation and Projects managed by Judge Academy
The Judge Academy will start taking over Magic: The Gathering judge responsibilities on October 1, 2019.
It sounds like the Judge Academy has a lot of pros and cons that Magic fans are debating on social media. I just hope it's one of those changes that will turn out to be great for Magic judges and the Magic community. Here are some of the thoughts about the Judge Academy on Twitter:
Do you think their answers are reasonable? Feel free to discuss in the comments section below.