[eDebate] another proposal re the mega-tournaments/d6 focus debate

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Mon Sep 15 20:16:48 CDT 2003

I haven't really thought all of this "too many big tournaments occur in d6"
stuff out although it is definitely an issue that affects our program. here
are my thoughts with a suggested proposal:

1) let me start by saying that policy debate is NOT dying out because too
many national circuit tournaments are happening in d6. 

policy debate is hurting because 1) policy debate is too hard, too fast, too
complicated for what many college students want; 2) hs policy debate is
getting smaller, at least it sure is in the northwest and that makes our
recruiting efforts that much more difficult; 3) parli debate is growing in
popularity and is becoming increasingly sophisticated--the rounds are, in my
opinion, beginning to get close to mid-80s ceda debate albeit without
evidence; it takes much less time commitment, tournaments have shorter days
with more fun/relaxation; kids switch over (2 to 3 of our policy kids switch
over each year--we have yet to have a parli kid switch to policy except for
a tournament or two). I am aware of some students in the northwest that are
somewhat frustrated by the lack of national competition they get but I know
of zero students that have quit for that reason.

additionally, while having more teams in district would be good--in general,
that hasn't been a problem here in the northwest nor in the rockies (tell me
if I'm wrong). for the most part, nw teams compete at nw tournaments with
the exception of a select few and even they go to 2 to 4 of the 6 nw
tournaments. I guess you could say that losing those few teams is bad but
frankly, I think it gives the younger debaters a chance to do well and not
be faced with another tournament where they see no hope of breaking (that, a
feeling of frustration--too much work to get "anywhere," in my experience
has been a significant reason for students quitting).

2) the main problem as I see it is that when national circuit teams from the
rockies and the northwest (and to a lesser degree, anyone out of d6) want to
travel to national circuit tournaments--they have to pay the price (we have
ZERO national circuit tournaments in the nw and rockies--this fall's gonzaga
tournament is the most diverse field we have had in my 12 years of coaching
up here). that price for national travel includes high ticket prices (its
usually $350 to $550 to go east for each of our kids) and getting up for
rounds that start at 5am by our clock. I guess I just don't think that is
fair despite the great and I mean GREAT hospitality and quality tournaments
that the se has offered us.

obviously, this perspective comes from the kind of program we have. I'm sure
other nw and rockies teams have differing opinions--glen has outlined his
perspective. I think though we all share the view that too much money is
going to having to ALWAYS travel to national circuit tournaments.

3) addressing this problem takes more than persuasion at least of the sort
being advocated so far. I don't think encouraging teams to "please stay in
your region" is going to work. this fall's "warmup" tournaments demonstrate
that--a lot of persuasion was happening and it had its successes but gsu
shows you where that persuasion ended up. teams are going to go where they
do now--based on the way their team is setup (student choice, coach choice,
finances, logistics, dates, etc.). when they see wake forest hosting a big
tournament--they're gonna go.

I also don't think that changing the the sweepstakes system to encourage
regional debating is going to make much if any difference in persuading
teams. "first round teams" don't attend national circuit tournaments to get
sweepstakes points. "first round teams" attend national circuit tournaments
to hit the other "first round teams" because they want the best competition.
they also want the best, most involved judges that they can preference. as
for the "non-first round teams," the first round process is obviously not
going to alter their travel because they don't usually think it affects them
(although they might want to go to the same tournament to be in their
presence :) --they sure aren't going to get to debate them much as ken's
posts have amply demonstrated). sweeps aren't affecting their decision
either because, assuming they have a sense of where they are at, they aren't
going to get big sweeps points at these mega tournaments.

now, if you mandate that first round teams spend time in their district,
will you solve this problem? not with the current proposals. not in the
northwest. both gonz and whitman's "first round teams" go to northwest
tournaments (not all of them but at least 2 and usually more). I have no
idea how this would affect the rockies. but I will say that what 300 and 500
miles (one of ede's suggestions) sounds like on the east coast sounds very
different over here. there are a total of 2 locations that are within 300
miles of whitman (lewis and clark and gonzaga and maybe if you stretch it--u
puget sound; gonzaga is within 300 miles of one tournament besides their
own--whitman--and we aren't even hosting this year).

further, putting those teams in doesn't bring teams from outside the
district in for us. ditto for the rockies. it means our kids get to compete
against each other (which they already do) and it also means that we have to
start making choices for our teams based on an edict to stay in district and
that choice means (assuming the 4 tournament requirement affected our kids)
we don't get to travel outside our district as much. that puts us at a
competitive disadvantage and constrains an already difficult task of
supporting our district, attending national tournaments, and working with
our students' academic schedules.

4) all the same, it sure would be nice to have a national circuit tournament
in the northwest, rockies, and other less frequented areas of the country. 

so, here's my suggestion: one of the big southeast tournament's agrees to
have a sister school in the rockies or the northwest or any other region
that is underrepresented nationally (I think northern california and
somewhat the upper midwest would also qualify). working with your sister
school, you host your tournament at a northwest, rockies, etc. location
maybe once every four years and rotate so that one of the four plus se
tournaments occurs outside of d6 each year. so, for example, the west
georgia tournament would occur at gonzaga--same weekend--with hester and
frappier running the thing. :)

this would give our programs a national circuit tournament in our area each
year. it would bring in national competition.

I'd offer to be a sister school but we can't host a tournament of this sort
as not enough planes come in to walla walla/pasco to make that happen (well,
we might be able to do a 50ish team tournament but people would rebel at the
cost of tickets). but how about something at weber with omar--close to salt
lake city; at gonzaga with glen--spokane has a great airport; berkeley and
dave would be good too; how about this in the kansas city area? ticket
prices would not be bad, you'd have the weekend where everyone is set to go,
you have the tournament name to make the thing credible.

that's persuasion that I think would work--assuming that se and nw/rockies
folks are amenable to this idea. at least putting it out for thought.

 jim hanson :)
 hansonjb at whitman.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: edebate-admin at ndtceda.com [mailto:edebate-admin at ndtceda.com] On Behalf
Of Ken DeLaughder
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2003 3:56 PM
To: dbteam at westga.edu
Cc: eDebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: Re: [eDebate] okay, i think i have a handle on this

I know I'm not Ede.. but... I think I chimed in at some point on this 

I think that Hester has a good suggestion, the travel schedules might need 
to be coordinated more for folks to give some commitment to travelling.  I 
would be curious to know if the D3 constitution (that hardly any of us have 
seen! we never can seem to find a copy) still has the travel requirement in 
it, my understanding is that it hasn'tbeen modified in a long time.. 
probably cuz we cant find a copy ;)

I still think persuasion is the first answer, and schools that have long 
gone out of district need to think about staying home, or at least commiting

to their regions again.  The one thing about the Midwest, is even though the

tournaments are getting smaller every year, we still HAVE a list of 
tournaments being held, so it is not too late.  Our region is growing a bit 
of late with two new programs of recent note, but we have to act quickly or 
the growing creep of loss from the West will soon reach our shores (or lack 

I don't know how I feel about rules, but I'll still point out as many 
schools are NOT going to UNI and to GSU as are attending UNI currently. The 
evidence I culled from Hesters post has yet to have a persuasive impact.  I 
would like to see a cum sheet from Georgia State, and I'll give some of 
these programs even MORE evidence that they didn't get to see the top.  That

argument still isn't answered.

I think that we in the Midwest have time, but it might run out soon if we 
don't start to do something.  It should happen NOW instead of waiting until 
we do start to die off again.  Washburn and OU are back this year, that's 
THREE programs in the last 2 years we've added, how long until the pendulum 
swings back?

back to trying to get a handle on this topic.  Anyone else frustrated?  its 
big... damn big...

Ken D.

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