[eDebate] small schools and disclosure

Anne Canavan anne.canavan
Wed Apr 12 11:49:40 CDT 2006

First of all, I would like to thank you for your well-thought out arguments,
and I think that you make some good points.  I do still tend to disagree
with you on a few points however.
The first point is when you write "I find affirmative disclosure one of the
few gentle-"personly" practices in the debate community."  I remember
times both as a competitor and a coach where we were faced with teams that
demanded our affirmative case before the round as their right.  I found this
off-putting on many levels, and my partner and I simply decided we did not
wish to participate in that practice.
Also I think that in the region I debated in and coached in, disclosure was
less of a widespread practice.  In fact I was a junior the first time anyone
asked to see my case before the round, and I thought that was very odd.
I haven't had the expereience you wrote about (However polite you may be
when you alert the other team that your team does not disclose, I think you
are violating one of debate's informal etiquette standards and can expect
the other team to be frustrated about it.), but I understand that we may
have been in a unique position.  We travelled mostly in the SE region, and
the teams we saw frequently understood our position and our choices.  In
fact the only negative reactions I can remember were from large teams that
had coaches waiting for them in the hall.
As far as hamstringing yourself in terms of strategy, we were a
kritik/topicality team, and that tends to be how I coach teams.  In fact, I
think that non-disclosure helped us become better debaters, because we
learned how to think faster on our feet and how to adapt positions in a

In regards to your comment about "In the day and age of the agent CP,
the K, Consulting Everyone, you are likely to get outgunned on generics that
will reduce your chance of winning," we simply developed kritiks about non
unique arguments and PICs, which were usually sufficient.

I would just like to close by saying while I respectfully disagree with some
of your points about disclosure, I think a great deal of depends on your
individual situation.  For my partner and I as competitors, and now for
myself as a coach, our position was less about win/loss record (and yes, we
lost alot) than it was about the principle of debating a team rather than
their coaches, and I think we made the right choice.  If I should be
fortunate enough to get a policy program up and running in the future, I may
consider letting my teams read your thoughts on the issue and make the
decision that seems best to them.

Anne M. Canavan
Instructor, Assistant Speech and Debate Coach
Tennessee Technological University
931 529 0300
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