[eDebate] Val Browning Round Robin, R.I.P.
Thu Jun 30 19:20:47 CDT 2005
[What follow is the summation of very difficult decision-making process. Please do not confuse the declaratory nature of this email with an uncomplicated decision making process] The Val Browning Round Robin is cancelled for the foreseeable future. The reasons for this are as follows: 1. We are running the tournament at a rather large deficit. Even after our endowment monies are allocated ($3500), we are still draining the general operating budget of almost $3000, and I'm kicking in almost $1,000 from personal monies. This is unsustainable from both the programmatic and personal perspectives. 2. We can not impose entry fees on our 18 team field (typically about $200 for a tournament with our type of amenities) without loosing attendees. We can not cut amenities for the same reason. We can not convert to an open tournament format without being crushed by West Georgia (not their fault, just the way it is) and still running a huge budgetary deficit. We can not move weekends without bumping up against a better know tournament running concurrently. In short, there is no move on the chessboard that does not eventually result in an undesirable result. 3. The nature of the national circuit means we can not grow the number or quality of our attendees. Let us face some hard facts: When crunching the numbers for a 1st or 2nd round, regional tournaments do NOT count for anything. Nobody really cares about regional tournaments, regardless of all the protest and lip-service on Edebate. Even IF the occasional round at a regional tournament is against a marquee team, the judging is suspect (even though you can spend a $fortune$ trying to hire quality critics). I know the apologists for the national circuit will tell you otherwise, but none of them have ever successfully tried to grow a regional tournament into a national one. And the only one who has, Frap, has made this exact same argument when trying to get some degree of reform in the geographic concentration of the national circuit (which of course falls on deaf ears every time). 4. Hosting the Val is costing my teams, and it costing my friend's teams. In order to make the Val work, Weber State can not be at West Georgia which weaken our season in a way that will negatively affects our efforts to attend the NDT. Even winning the Val Browning (like a very talented team from Wyoming did) does not help your first round, and could even hurt it. Why? Because of the simple fact that Wyoming CD was not at West Georgia where they could have been in quarters. This is a very shitty position to be in as a tournament director: I don't like calling in favors when it places my friend's teams in competitive jeopardy. If anything, being a friend means that I don't put my friends in that uncomfortable position. And next year that not only goes for Wyoming CD, but Idaho State DY*both D9 teams who have a legitimate shot at being first rounds. 5. Canceling the Val makes Weber State's renewed focus on the national circuit consistent. I have to tell a lot of folks I really care about that we will NOT be attending their tournaments because their tournaments do not help us get to the NDT. I have to tell Sue Peterson this, I have to tell Kelley Young this, and I have to tell Ken D this. This is a really horrible conversation to have, especially three times over. Every one of those folks has helped become the Director I am today. They are more than just professional associates, they are friends. But by canceling the Val, I at least feel as though I am approaching those conversations with a degree of credibility that I would otherwise not have. After all, what is good for the goose* I hope all of you understand that this email is very difficult for me to write: I have been a friend and strong supporter of regional debate out West, and in the Mid-West, since I became a Director in 1998. I have begged the community to reform the way NDT qualification occurs. Folks on the NDT committee do not even bother to reply to my emails (with the exception of Sara and Glenn), despite the fact that I have been a member of the NDT community since 1989. Now with rising airline costs, a community orthodoxy that demands fanatic devotion to the national circuit, and an administration that measures competitive success by NDT attendance, I have no move open to me: Get on board, or shut the F*** up. [And that is the real reason Mike and Des did not have enough points to clear at Wake or Northwestern last year: Because I persuaded them to "keep a presence" at West Coast tournaments rather than attend more national circuit tournaments. Mike even asked me but I over-ruled him because there was not enough money, time, or resources to do both. And if you are not a regular feature of the national circuit, don't expect your speaker points to accurately reflect your talent, it won't happen. I am not going to make the same mistake with the next generation of Wildcats.] To all those Weber folks who have help make the Val what it was (Bear, Steve, Doug, Zach, Matt), I want to apologize. I want you to know that I never make a decision as a Director of this program without at least considering the grand tradition I am responsible for safeguarding. To all those folks who have attended the Val the past two years, I want to thank you for being bravely attempting to challenge the demands of national circuit orthodoxy. I hope, at the very least, you have positive memories of your visit to Ogden and of Weber State. To my colleagues in D9, I want you to know that I will be working with the appropriate University officials to have the Val Endowment monies shifted to support, and help fund, our annual District tournament. With a little bit of luck, we will be able to shift that $3500 to help throw a district tournament we've always hoped we could have. But even still, I know I will miss the Val. Ok, I've said enough (probably too much). Omar G GuevaraDirector of Forensics & D9 District ChairDepartment of CommunicationWeber State University
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