[eDebate] a radical proposal to rejuvenate regional debate

Sat Sep 13 06:54:34 CDT 2003

Here's a way to use the "free market" to accomplish the goals Ede sets out.  
In the process, this proposal (which is undoubtedly flawed, as I'm sure I'll 
find out) also takes the arbitrariness out of the NDT selection process.

OK, it's very simple.  Eliminate the current NDT selection process in its 
entirety (the bid process right now is flawed in so many ways that we would 
kritik in a second if we were debating them).  Replace it with a point system (not 
unlike the TOC system, except with one major difference).  Any tournament with 
15 or more teams in the open division can earn you points.  You get 1 point 
for making quarters, another for making semis, a 3rd for making finals, and a 
4th for winning the tournament.  By a designated date (March 1?), the 78 teams 
with the highest number of points (provision would need to be made for partner 
splits--or maybe not) get bids to the NDT (maybe you limit the number of 
qualifiers per school, maybe you don't).  No judgments are made about the quality 
of tournaments.

Instead of playing "follow the leader", we would play "run from the leader".  
Thus, more teams would stay home to go to smaller regional tournaments.  On a 
weekend like next, more of the better teams would voluntarily shift to 
Northern Iowa and/or Gonzaga until an equilibrium was reached.  And the wealthier 
programs would use more of their travel budgets to travel to smaller regional 
tournaments, some in their own regions and some in regions far away that 
normally aren't graced by their presence.

Who would this help, and who would it hurt?  Well, in one sense it would help 
larger schools qualify more teams for the NDT, because they would have the 
resources to travel all over in search of qualifying points.  This might seem at 
first to be at the expense of smaller programs, but not really.  Those 
smaller programs could stay closer to home and have the larger ones come to them.  
Thus, they would likely face a higher quality of competition over the course of 
the year (at a lower cost, which would in turn allow them to go to more 
tournaments), enabling them to get better.  This is good for the community as a 

At a tournament level, obviously this would reduce the size of tournaments 
like Georgia State, Kentucky, Wake Forest, and Northwestern.  On the other hand, 
it would be a boon for tournaments like Northern Iowa, Liberty, Rochester, 
Pepperdine, Wayne State (the list goes on and on).  Teams like San Francisco 
State that can't afford to travel outside their region would gain valuable 
experience as very good teams from across the country travel to their region in 
search of qualifying points, and as "national circuit" teams from their own region 
decide to stay home more often.  Not only would those teams have incentive to 
go to their own regional tournaments to gain qualifying points; they would 
also no longer have incentive to go to really big tournaments to make sure 
they're "seen" by those with a voice in the bid process.

As for the argument that legislation isn't the solution to everything, we 
need to remember that the status quo is legislation as well.  We already have 
qualifying rules, and they already have effects.  The question isn't whether 
we're going to legislate, but rather what legislation we're going to have.

Fire away!
--Neil Berch
West Virginia University
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