[eDebate] Time to Review the Merger

Darren Elliott delliott
Fri Jun 9 03:44:13 CDT 2006

I am working on the wordings that Tim presented as per the Topic Cmte deliberations and dont have time for a long dive into this but Andy's post was an outgrowth of a conversation at the CEDA summer meetings.  I think it has merit.  I do want to comment on a couple things Josh says below.  We have different perspectives I think that are worth noting.

>>> "Josh Hoe" <jbhdb8 at gmail.com> 06/08/06 11:17 PM >>>
JH:  Sure, I suspect it would be easy to make sure the NDT no longer debated the
CEDA topic...just go back to two value topics a year.  That would do it for

ME:  I agree.  Hypothetically if programs would flood back to evidence based debate would it be worth it?

JH:  Not really sure what Andy's argument is....A team can still travel
exclusively a CEDA schedule, still attend CEDA nationals only, still set
CEDA regional or overall points championships as the squad goal.  What
exactly are you saying?  No program is forced to debate at traditionally NDT
tournaments or at the NDT.  Any program still has exactly the same choices
open to them as they did when I debated CEDA.

ME:  Depends on the team doesnt it?  For some the "CEDA schedule" they once knew is a thing of the past.  As regional debate died in parts of the country the ability to travel a CEDA schedule dies as well.  Some programs have the same choices available--not all do.  And I would wager to say MOST of the CEDA programs that existed when you debated CEDA have gone the way of the T-Rex.

JH:  So, whats left, if the above is true, is the topic...and that is voted for
by the CEDA membership and written by elected CEDA leadership members.

ME:  Not that simple.  The topic is the one thing that unified the two mostly, I agree with Gary on that point and with you on that point.  However that was a major factor in many schools leaving.  That led to a decline in Regional debate in many regions.  So others had to choose between leaving or changing their squad focus entirely.  The merger didnt just change the topic process.  There are many things it allowed/caused/led to.  The topic change came first.  And the topics are certainly different.  From my perspective they are better.  But others disagree.  And instead if hearing those voices we just keep pushing them to the margins.  

JH:  Guess I am being somewhat purposefully obtuse but for a point...rarely was
there really an ideal romantic past and hardly ever can it be returned to.

ME:  If losing over 100 programs in the past 15 years isnt romantic enough then maybe nothing can convince folks that we have an obligation to look at where we were and where we are now.  Gary is right, institutionally we really should do this from time to time.

JH:  What you are really arguing, I suspect, is that you wish more people
supported a less national circuit approach so that there was more viable
regional debate all over the country.  The lack of this is NOT the fault of
the merger...It was happening at the end of traditional CEDA before the

ME:  Was it happening on the same scale?  Really?  That isnt my recollection.  Even if it was, CEDA's Natl circuit tournaments are now barely able to make it as Regional tournaments.  CEDA's natl. tournaments were the Jesuit qualifiers.  Now S. Carolina and UMSL are gone.  Emporia and UCO are Regional tournaments.  The Pacific Northwest is down to 2-3 programs total much less a large Natl tournament drawing many teams.  

I will conclude with my example from CEDA Mid-American Region/NDT D3.  Prior to the merger CEDA's top programs in this area of the world were SMS, ESU, UMKC, UCO, and K-State.  They all held big tournaments too.  None of us really had to travel out of the Region even though a few did but on occasion.  Not to the extent they do now.  The merger brought into the fold some NDT powerhouses we never encountered before.  It brought us face to face with KU, Baylor, Texas, and N. Texas.  KU and Baylor also had huge tournaments.  But then the chase was on.  To keep up at districts we had to go where those schools were going all year.  So the bid chase was on.  Folks flocked from the District.  As a result all of those big tournaments decreased in size.  The burdens mounted and yes a year long topic also brought burdens.   Regional programs disappeared.  Gone were NEMO, MOSO, UMSL, Webster, SLU, CMSU, SMU, Central Methodist, Cameron, NOC, WJC and who knows how many more I cant remember off the top of my head.  All those schools leaving meant even more teams now not coming to the Regional tournaments.  And the cycle goes on and on.  Was the merger the sole reason?  Not likely.  Did we do what was necessary to preserve identity and preserve programs?  Absolutely not.  Shame on us.  A look back is not only necessary but prudent and hopefully not too late.


Darren Elliott
Director of Debate--KCKCC
CEDA 2nd VP     


On 6/8/06, Gary Larson <Gary.N.Larson at wheaton.edu> wrote:
>  Andy's call to evaluate the effects of the "merger" between CEDA and NDT
> is an important call do something that is a necessary part of institutional
> decision-making. If we're not self-reflective about the impact of decisions
> we make, we will inevitably evolve in directions that are less than ideal.
> But the final paragraph of Andy's post deserves comment.  He asks
> presumably the historically CEDA part of his audience,
> "Do we still want to be a part of the NDT process? Has it paid off for
> us?"
>  The irony here is that the "merger" such as it is was not a CEDA decision
> to be part of the NDT process.  It was rather an NDT decision to be part of
> the CEDA process.  The watershed moment was a decision by the NDT community
> to adopt the CEDA topic.  The conditions for that decision - that the topic
> be worded as a policy resolution and that there only be one topic per year -
> had both been essentially already adopted by the CEDA community independent
> of any possibility that the NDT would adopt the CEDA topic.
> As a result, the topic selection process remains uniquely a CEDA
> constitutional function, even if some fret that it has been co-opted.  If
> CEDA were to decide that Andy's concern is warranted and that CEDA no longer
> wanted to be part of the NDT process, it would discover that unilateral
> disengagement is impossible.  The question is not whether CEDA adopts the
> NDT topic - it's whether the NDT adopts the CEDA topic.  Besides topic
> construction there really is no merger (other than that defined by travel
> patterns and choices to attend one or both of the national tournaments - but
> a number of schools played on both sides of the street long before there was
> talk of a merger).
> Given a somewhat popular narrative that says that CEDA lost programs to
> Parli because it capitulated to NDT, the real story is perhaps even more
> interesting.
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