[eDebate] Mahoney's suggestion - a friendly amendment

GatorDebate at aol.com GatorDebate
Wed Sep 17 15:11:33 CDT 2003

I like "The Mahoney Proposal" but I think it could be tweaked a bit to deal 
with the concerns that Mike and Bill mention regarding still having tournaments 
where there would be opportunities for top teams to debate top teams AND the 
concerns that Ede, Glen and many others mention regarding the promotion of 
regional debate.

In addition to the 1 point for prelim wins and 3 points for outround wins at 
your top 8 tournaments, why not have each district designate a "double points" 
tournament where each prelim win counts for 2 points and each elim win counts 
for 4 points.

This means each district will have the opportunity to get a larger (and 
probably more national) draw for at least one tournament because of the allure of 
doubling your points and first round caliber teams will have the opportunity to 
be rewarded for getting wins at each designated tournament AND since every 
district has 1 designate tournament, it means each district has the opportunity 
for a national draw so they don't have to head to D6 tournamnets 3-4 times per 
year and can instead go to D6 once and still attend their regional 
tournaments as well as the designate tournament in districts closer to them.

This is just a suggestion and I can assure you that The University of Florida 
would not benefit from such a proposal.  We personally like the status quo 
and we like the fact that we can stretch our meager budget because we are within 
driving distance to Wake, 'Bama, West Georgia, Georgia State, Kentucky and 
many other good tournaments that happen to be in our district so anyone who 
thinks my suggestion is somehow self serving can take a leap.  

Does my idea still promote opportunities for top teams to go to tournaments 
and compete with other top teams? Yes.  The allure of extra points to solidify 
their standing for the NDT will draw them and come on folks lets be realistic. 
 There are probably about 14-16 teams each year with aspirations (realistic 
ones) of winning the NDT so why would they hide out all year and not get in the 
rounds against top competition.  Do you really think if the Mahoney plan 
passed that Northwestern and Michigan State would suddenly say "whew!" and start 
traveling to the debate nether-regions to scrape up enough points to get to the 
NDT?  Let's be serious.

Does my amendment promote regional debate?  Yes.  Definately more than the 
status quo.  Tim's idea does a lot to promote regional debate but I think my 
amendment helps places like District1, District 2, District 4, District 5, and 
District 9 to guarantee at least one big tournament in their district.

Come on folks, the system is broken and needs some adjusting.  District 6 
folks have been hearing my complaints for the past three years.  I think there 
are opportunities to preserve national circuit debate while still promoting 
regional debate.  

There doesn't need to be a car crash everytime we come to the intersection of 
competitiveness street and equity avenue.


In a message dated 9/17/2003 2:36:05 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
wnewnam at emory.edu writes:

> I will just add but one thing:
> I don't like statistical formulas that try to generate competitive rankings.
> They fail miserably in sports (RPI, BCS, whatever, they all fail because
> data input and determination is subjective while pretending to be
> objective.)  Mike points out that this plays itself out in this system by
> giving that subjective control of self-definition of competitive success
> over to the competitors themselves.  They will decide which tournament to go
> based on their ability to maximize eight tournaments worth of points rather
> than on quality of competition which does a disservice to the competitive
> and educational qualities of debate (avoiding quality competition weakens
> the education of your debates is my assumption here.)
> This seems at best a solution for regionalism at the expense of the value of
> encouraging the best teams to debate one another.
> I would rather get rid of first rounds and still vote for a seasonal
> national rankings from some sort of coaches poll that to favor a statistical
> formula where the appropriate data is generated by intersubjective
> participants.
> bill n
> emory
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "dbteam" <dbteam at westga.edu>
> To: <edebate at ndtceda.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 2:10 PM
> Subject: [eDebate] Mahoney's suggestion
> >the reason why Tim's suggestion "works" to increase regional debate is
> because
> >it rewards teams that 'hide' from competition. by treating each win as
> equal
> >to all wins, it creates a system where a victory over two debaters who are
> in
> >their first year of competition, never having even debated in high school,
> is
> >the same as a win over last year's CEDA or NDT champion, this proposal
> would
> >certainly encourage teams to travel to 'smaller' tournaments.
> >
> >but at what price? at the point that we imagine that any win is the same
> as
> >all wins (and this does require a healthy imagination, pure and simple),
> why
> >do we keep the competitive framework at all?
> >
> >i guess that's a question that i want to put out there for discussion
> >(especially by those who propose to eliminate or alter the current system
> >which at least theoretically* rewards some wins as better than others) :
> >
> >* - i say 'theoretically' b/c Tim's criticism of the current voting
> process -
> >where some voters haven't traveled enough, or at all, to know
> much/anything
> >about the teams they are evaluating - does reveal its drawbacks.
> >
> >
> >i have been correctly criticized as prioritizing competition over other
> worthy
> >goals. but i must ask the question of those who feel that our
> >'hyper-competitiveness' as a community hinders thinsg like growth,
> >regionalization, and self-actualization,
> >
> >why have competition at all under your framework?
> >
> >in a world in which the voices of marginalized should take precedence, why
> >should we place any value in a process whereby one team is told it was
> >inferior in its argumentation? ("you're all winners" only goes so far when
> the
> >ballot allows for only one "winner")
> >
> >and please don't understand this as an indictment of critical pedagogy
> (and
> >this question certainly affects much more than just that particular
> >viewpoint). i'm not arguing that such approaches are 'bad'. in fact, my
> >question makes no judgement whatsoever. i'm trying to judge the win-loss
> >framework from the perspective of these other systems.
> >
> >let's take the argument for inclusivity and diversity and 'attempst to
> >recognize and support views that have been traditionally marginalized' at
> >their face value:
> >
> >why is competition necessary at all?
> >
> >(a clarification is necessary here. nothing i've said thus far should be
> >interpreted as a claim that the styles of debate that are grounded in
> these
> >values are in any way 'too frail or inferior' to withstand competition. my
> >voting record is a clear indication that i frequently find such strategies
> >extremely persuasive. rather, what i'm aksing is whether the win/loss -
> >adversarial/conflict approach has any place in such epistemologies)
> >
> >
> >when Frappier said the community shouldn't let the inmates run the ayslum,
> he
> >was indicting a system where students have a say in what tournaments they
> want
> >to attend because the students will likely choose to attend torunaments
> where
> >they feel the 'better competition' is. other have made similar claims.
> thus, i
> >should expect that one answer as to the reason why competition is
> important
> >will be, "because it motivates students to want to debate."
> >
> >and clearly my question does seem to imply that there's no middle ground -
> >that we are EITHER fighting against injustice and oppression OR we are
> >fighting each other for the ballot. Ede's comments on the need to balance
> >values would seem to easily explain why it's good to have competition (it
> >attracts students) but we shouldn't let it dominate our thinking (it ends
> up
> >hurting the activity).
> >
> >
> >but my problem with mahoney's proposal is that Frappier's claim - students
> >have short-term motivations that hinder the promotion of long-term goals -
> >seems to explain the negative consequence of an approach that treats all
> wins
> >the same:
> >
> >One very important reason why competition is good is because it requires
> >EFFORT. as debaters, we have to work hard to develop strategies for
> defeating
> >opponents that are better than we are at debate. we plan, we research, we
> >practice. in a world in which a win over two novices is the same as a win
> over
> >last year's champion, is it not reasonable to expect that students (who
> have
> >been indicted as being vulnerable to self-serving and short-term
> interests)
> >will choose to look for lesser competition rather than put forth the
> effort to
> >beat those that are ahead of them on the learning/skill curve? an example
> of
> >this can be found in many high school circuits, where debaters debate in
> the
> >JV division for as long as they can (and MUCH longer than they should) b/c
> it
> >gives them a greater opportunity at "success."
> >
> >
> >and if this is accepted as a likely result, why have wins and losses at
> all?
> >
> >the problems that people attribute to the activity as it is performed -
> it's
> >too fast, too hard, too complicated - are all a result of the win-loss
> >framework. debaters talk fast b/c it helps them win. reliance on evidence
> >(which requires time consuming effort in the library or online, time that
> >could be spent watching TV or playing outside) would lose its strong hold
> on
> >the community if there was no judge deciding who had the better argument.
> >
> >indeed, if 'growing' the activity - actually increasing the number of
> students
> >that participate - is an important goal that should be emphasized over
> >competition, the solution is simple:
> >
> >end national travel, and reallocate funds to 'town-hall' style debates
> that
> >take place on campus and instead of debating resolutions that are 122
> words
> >long (yes, that's how long it is); select topics with a more local focus
> >and/or topics that focus on foreign policy but are framed in far less
> >technical terms.
> >
> >if every program in the country used the money that will be spent on
> >intercollegiate tournaments at GSU, KY, Harv, Wake, UWG, NU, etc. for
> >intramural style debates on campus, the effects on the total increase on
> the
> >number of students participating would be immediate and significant.
> >
> >
> >some have implied, "why do we need a national circuit?"
> >
> >my response would be, "heck, why do we need a regional circuit?" true
> >grass-roots participation would be MUCH greater if we didn't require
> students
> >to travel on the weekends. for every debater who is currently psyched
> about
> >the opportunity to visit other campuses and debate students from other
> schools
> >in order to be declarted victorious that might 'quit' because they can't
> do
> >this anymore, it muct be ackowledged that there would be 5-10 students who
> >like 'debate' but just can't find the time to fit it into their schedules
> that
> >would show up to on-campus events.
> >
> >and in response to the argument that these two models are not mutually
> >exclusive, i say yes, actually they are. a weekend in Carrollton is a
> weekend
> >NOT on your own campus. the costs of hotels, entry fees, and copying spent
> for
> >any one tournament would cover the costs of several on-campus events.
> examples
> >of where programs are doing both don't deny the trade-off.
> >
> >
> >and if the ultimate reaction to this post is to say, "yeah hester, but
> there's
> >room for both - schools like Marist and Pitt prove that activism can be
> strong
> >on campus and there can still be a traveling team that seeks to win in a
> >competitive framework", then i guess i'm left wondering whether this
> response
> >couldn't be used to defend the current system as it is:
> >
> >does 'participation in debate' require competing at the NDT? an analogous
> >question would be: does one have to play intercollegiate sports to gain
> the
> >benefits of playing college sports (whoich also includes intramurals)?
> >
> >
> >btw, it seems that a modification of the mahoney proposal could be
> offered.
> >keep the First-round qualification system as is. do away with the
> >district-qualification process and replace it with Tim's plan. thus, there
> is
> >both an incentive to 'debate the best' for the 20-25 teams that feel they
> are
> >bid-wuality, while the other 100-175 teams in the country would be
> encouraged
> >to attend tournaments where they have the best chance of advancing (which
> tim
> >states would be the smaller, more regional ones)...
> >
> >
> >hester
> >
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Frank P. Irizarry
Debate Coach/Lecturer/Doctoral Student
University of Florida
Center for Written and Oral Communication
413 Rolfs Hall
PO Box 112032
Gainesville, FL 32611-2032
Tel: 352-392-5421 (Office)
Tel: 386-216-3193 (Cell)
Fax: 352-392-5420
Gatordebate at aol.com

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