[eDebate] Wake Forest Shirley tournament entry rules
Sat Sep 18 11:12:45 CDT 2004
A few thoughts on what this policy might mean (and let me start by indicating that I think it's a very good policy):
1. The community will now be on notice that there are consequences that come from trashing other people's campuses. We lose rooms. Maybe people will stop trashing other people's campuses.
2. Ross and Allan have done a tremendous service to regional debate. If you want to get 3 or 4 teams into the field at Wake (remember, everyone who wants can send two teams), you may send your 3rd and 4th (and possibly 1st and 2nd) teams to King's or Wichita instead of Georgia State, to Richmond instead of Kentucky, to Wayne State or West Point instead of Harvard. This will improve the quantity and quality of the fields at those tournaments, as well as at UCO, Northridge, Rochester, Buffalo, SMSU, Northern Illinois and many others. This is a good thing. It's an even better thing if some take this as an opportunity to add novice debaters to go to those regional tournaments as well.
3. If you decide that your schedule for fall must start with GSU, Kentucky, Harvard, and nothing else, you may not qualify 3 or 4 teams for Wake. This is also a good thing, as it means more and better teams for Columbia and Appalachian State that same weekend.
Let me preempt the "this smacks of elitism argument". First, everyone gets two slots at Wake if they want them. Second, improving the quality and quantity of teams at regional tournaments improves the quality of competition for teams that can only afford to go to those regional tournaments, so it provides better debate for more people. Finally, it's not nearly as harmful to the teams that might otherwise have gone to national circuit tournaments but end up in regional tournaments. Instead of going 3-5 at Harvard, you get to go 5-3 or 6-2 at Wayne State, you spend most of your rounds debating teams of similar quality to you (just like at Harvard, except for that one preset where you lose to a first round) plus you get a serious chance to debate in multiple outrounds.
Wake was on our original schedule. We were going to enter the previous maximum of 4 teams, take everyone else to flow rounds, etc., and hope that everyone won at least one round and someone managed to go 4-4. But, prior to Ross's post, I was having second thoughts about this. Indeed, on Thursday night, I exchanged a series of emails with another coach, and we agreed to (after checking with our squads) take all or most of our teams to Appalachian State instead (WVU can't go to Columbia due to the fact that our Risk Management Officer banned us from taking vans to NYC after last year's two-accident debacle on the way to and from NYU by one of our graduate assistants--as an ex-NYC cab driver, I was so embarrassed). With the announcement that Ross made, we will certainly do this, as we have a very strong presumption in our team ethos that we don't give more opportunities to our better debaters than we do to our less-skilled but equally hard-working debaters. Let me be clear that we love the Wake coaching staff and the Wake tournament. Our teams have enjoyed the losses they've suffered at Wake in previous years tremendously, but it's better for both our team and the community that we go to App. State instead (and if I'm right above, the competition there will be better than it would have been prior to Wake's policy announcement).
I'm sure there are others who will see disadvantages to Wake's policy, but I hope that many will look as well to the opportunities with which I think it presents us.
West Virginia University
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