[eDebate] JV/Novice Nationals

beth at budl.org beth
Wed Mar 8 19:03:26 CST 2006

The Towson team (along with everyone else I've spoken with) had a great
time at WVU this year - as we have every previous year we've attended a
tournament in Morgantown.  I entirely agree with Neil about this being a
decision we can make without acrimony or pettiness.  At the same time I
realize that traveling to different locations will be more or less
beneficial to different programs and so I realize that each program will
advocate for its own interests and what it sees as the community's

One of the inherent difficulties of this situation is having so little
leadership from the national CEDA organization.  When that leadership is
lacking you get what we have now - different tournaments in different
locations with different eligibility rules and different tab room
procedures in different years all calling themselves nationals.  This year
there are 6 tournaments on the debateresults listing of AFA and CEDA
sponsored events that have 'Nationals' in the name.  While its nice that a
number of different programs get to call themselves national champions we
shouldn't fail to realize the game we're playing.  That being said, until
there is some direction from the national organization what we have is
decision by edebate and appeals to what Neil rightly brackets as 'the
community' which is really about 20 people who post regularly.

Here is my proposal.  WVU hosts in 2007 if they're still willing.  Towson
will host in 2008.  Our tournament would have these characteristics:
Saturday-Monday with elims at the hotel, 7 prelims, a tab room composed of
3 experienced administrators from different regions, the eligibility rules
used at WVU this year, breakfast and lunch each day provided, entry fees
under $100 (unless something very, very bad happens to the economy between
now and then), Westerwald pottery trophies.

This proposal would have several benefits (as I see them - others may see
them as drawbacks):

1. accessibility for participants.  Changing or rotating the location
allows for, at least some of the time, the tournament being easier to
reach for more programs.  Whether its cheaper for you to fly to Pittsburgh
or Baltimore, whether you like the scenic path through Pennsylvania or the
soulless drive down I-95, at least some of the time you'll be happy.

2. accessibility for observers.  Its true that there are other tournaments
for UDL folks to observe but they're not nationals.  It may be that I
missed them but I didn't see many high school debaters in Morgantown.  I'm
not trying to privilege urban debate over rural debate (I went to high
school in Garden City Kansas) but within mass transit distance from
Baltimore there are hundreds of UDL students and thousands of other high
school debaters.  The same argument about being happy at least some of the
time applies here.

3. buys us time.  I've indicated above some of the difficulties with
having a decentralized process for calling tournaments Nationals.  If we
have two years of time to work on this issue I think we can get to a
better place than we are now.  Maybe CEDA will decide on a procedure,
maybe a consortium of schools will agree to rotate hosting, maybe there
will be one single location.  Or it may be that in 2008 we're faced with
the same situation again because people like the decentralized approach -
who knows - but I do know that Neil is absolutely right that planning a
large event like this and doing it right take time.  Whoever hosts this
tournament will appreciate some predictability.

One thing I can say for sure is that this tournament means a lot to people
- more than I would have imagined a couple years ago.  People have high
expectations for it and that's good  The debaters who come to it deserve
the best experience we can give them and that's something that folks in
Dallas and Chicago and Sacramento and Dearborn and Morgantown and Towson
all agree on.  Anyone who takes on hosting a tournament like this knows
that its a beautiful monster.

I look forward to hearing from folks.  Beth

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