[eDebate] Additional Program Development Thought

Josh Hoe jbhdb8
Fri Apr 21 14:41:33 CDT 2006

Dr. Warner is right about the problems of creating revenue...Administrations
at State schools, especially in a decade where cuts to state budgets have
really cut higher ed funds, are turning more an more to a model requiring
you to raise your own funds. I know that trying to continually find revenue
streams through bad economic years in Michigan is truly challenging.  Sounds
like Ede is trying some interesting new ideas at Louisville.

I used to feel upset that I had to raise money and couldnt just "coach
debate" but I fear that is going to become more and more of an essential
debate coaching survival skill.

Anyway, I agree that the court decisions around Title 9 have much to do why
non-revenue generating sports remain on most college campsuses.


On 4/21/06, Ede Warner <ewarner at louisville.edu> wrote:
> The repeated argument I've heard is that men's basketball and football
> are the cash cows and create resources from which the others are funded.
> Since Title IX, the argument has been you must create an equal amount
> of women's opportunities.  So generally schools reduce their total
> number of men's sports if they don't generate a lot of revenue in the
> "main two".  If they do, like Louisville, they maintain all of the
> non-revenue generating male sports and simply offer more women's sports.
> Their ability to protect still comes from the generation of revenue.
> The ability of speech and debate activities to exist outside of
> departments and not be funded like smaller student run clubs will come
> down to the ability to generate revenue for most schools (run like a
> business).  I don' t know how to do that outside of what is sucessfully
> done at Michigan and other places:  institutes, handbooks, etc.
> We are going in the other direction.  One of the things we are doing is
> trying to institutionalize debate as curricular instead of
> extra-curricular.  Create another classes to offer forensics as part of
> a minor, or a certificate, or a degree program, then speech and debate
> can compete for academic resources.  In particular, our school is
> pushing online distance education.  Students pay 30% above normal
> tuition to take these courses and departments are given a
> stipend/refund/kickback for each student that takes the course.  The
> debate team is teaching 3 of these courses a semester, and is moving
> towards creation of our own program, "Urban Communication" of which
> debate will be a centerpiece.
> Debate will have to find ways to generate revenue to survive, whether
> it's accessing tuition dollars or external funding.  Jake's framing
> below was, is, and will be ineffective if the financial piece is not
> also addressed.  I think this analogy fails without the comparable
> revenue piece of the major sports.  But perhaps I'm wrong.
> Jake:  "I throw this out there cause it does seem like there would be
> benefits to framing the value of debate in the athletics context:
> recruitment of exceptional students, development of an excellent alumni
> base, broad and focused publicity for the school. And frankly, unlike
> Parli or speech, success in policy debate requires a time commitment
> similar to that of a collegiate athlete."
> Ede:  What if debate alumni created a "National Debate Endowment" for
> example?  And there were certain conditions attached to how
> participating schools would benefit from it?  One thing that
> administrators LOVE is matching. "If we can get something from an
> external source, we'll throw in the other half."  When administrators
> feel their resources are stretched by new money into an institution,
> they seem to respond well.  Instead of only making arguments asking for
> resources, debate needs to generate something if administrators are
> going to take seriously requests for additional funding.  Debate needs
> to think about itself as a business if that is the model education is
> going to.  Just my thoughts, based on my experiences.
> >>> "Jacob Weigler" <j_weigler at hotmail.com> 4/21/2006 1:08:11 PM >>>
> I've been reading the back and forth with some interest and decided
> that it was worth throwing one additional point into the mix.
> As has been discussed, it is becoming increasingly difficult to
> convince school administrators to spend thousands of dollars per student
> to support the activity. I won't rehash the debate about causes, but
> what has interested me is that universities have no trouble ponying up
> such sums for athletics - indeed it is pretty much assumed that these
> activities will require such funding with equipment requirements,
> facilities, travel, coaching staff and such.
> There are other obvious parallels such as the recruitment of top-tier
> high school debaters to the top-tier college programs, scholarship
> disparities, and a coaching staff allowed to devote a
> primary/substantial focus to debate that also suggest many things in
> common with the perennial debate powerhouses and college athletics.
> The relevance of this, to me, is the ability of college athletics to
> retain all of these resource commitments when schools as a whole are
> streamlining and becoming more focused on a business model for
> education. Obvious answers like "Football, Basketball, etc. make money
> for schools," don't explain the continued support of dozens of other
> sports like volleyball, tennis, water polo, etc. that are much more
> equivalent to debate in terms of creating visibility for schools and
> drawing down alumni support. The answer, I would suspect is the
> economies of scale that allow for an athletics department with the
> administrative clout to protect budgets, create a vehicle pool, recruit
> staff and incoming students, etc.  I tried to create a similar
> architecture when I started the nyu program (reaching out to parli, mock
> trial, ballroom dance, quiz bowl and other activities that traveled like
> we do) with mixed results largely due to the student-led nature of most
> of them, but it is something that perhaps others have/could explore.
> I throw this out there cause it does seem like there would be benefits
> to framing the value of debate in the athletics context: recruitment of
> exceptional students, development of an excellent alumni base, broad and
> focused publicity for the school. And frankly, unlike Parli or speech,
> success in policy debate requires a time commitment similar to that of a
> collegiate athlete.
> The larger question, of shifting debate out of departments to a more
> explicit "activity/competition" focus, is a more difficult one. It seems
> to me to be the flip side of the discussion that has been happening
> about the disconnect with the academy. Implicity it seems to already be
> happening at several programs across the country. There are some obvious
> downsides, the chief in my mind being that it puts coaches in a
> difficult position. No one expects a basketball coach to get tenure or
> write papers (though it seems like at an increasing number of schools
> the same goes for the debate coach).
> Regardless of whether such a dramatic shift is adviseable,  taking
> proactive steps to forge, share and refine these alternate models is
> something positive we can do rather than watching the pool of resources
> at programs continue to decline as we mutter about needing to "just try
> harder."
> So, this is all fascinating Jake, but so what? Not sure I have all the
> answers, but it does seem that the economies of scale advantage of
> athletics is something we should take seriously. There have been
> numerous efforts at the national level on the CEDA & NDT side to compare
> notes and share strategies, but my suggestion would be to
> institutionalize this - relying on the good will and extra effort of our
> officers or committee members is simply asking too much over the long
> term.
> Hope this contributes to the conversation.
> j.
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