[eDebate] novice/JV nationals
Zompetti at aol.com
Thu Mar 9 10:42:16 CST 2006
I don't necessarily feel so passionately about this subject that I feel I
need to answer everyone's arguments specifically or in a line-by-line sort of
way, but I do feel many folks seemed to miss what I was trying to say, and how
I interpreted what Beth was saying. I respect everyone who replied to my
post, and consider them all friends, so the last thing I want is for this to
become a heated point of contention. I think we all want the same thing, the
question is, what is the best way to get there...
So, I'll try one more time....
I do NOT advocate that the CEDA national tournament also hold divisions in
novice and JV. That would be way too unmanageable.
What I WAS advocating is simply that the CEDA, at the very least, consider
endorsing a novice/JV national tournament that could be held around the same
time each year. The host, venue, and even specific date could change
Many of the responses that have been posted to eDebate to my initial post
had the following arguments:
1. novice/JV nationals have made it this far, so they don't need CEDA. Are
you kidding? Novice and JV debate is waning all over the country except in
one region -- the Northeast (even in D5, D6 and D3 who have arguably the most
NDT/CEDA schools, the amount of novice/JV debate is tragically low). And,
incidentally, the last couple of years that Towson hosted the novice/JV
nationals, there was a decrease in the number of entries from previous years. Yes,
the novice/JV national tournament managed to survive, and the recent WVU
tournament was a resounding success. That is hardly evidence to "stay the
course." In fact, it suggests that renewed and sustained efforts to support
novice/JV debate are precisely what is needed for our entire community.
2. it will hurt other tournaments. Oh, like JCCC? Its already being hurt.
Only 7 novice teams this year. Plus, if CEDA were to sanction or encourage
one novice/JV tournament, it doesn't preclude other end-of-the-year
novice/JV tournaments -- they would simply be regional, not national, novice/JV
tournaments. Which, come to think of it, they already are but they still have the
designation "nationals" attached to them.
3. it will add more acrimony. How? We're a community. We support one
another. Different hosts could host a novice/JV nationals on alternating years,
etc. CEDA is supposed to be an organization that facilitates discussion and
dialogue for its members to resolve precisely these sorts of questions and
problems. If people think that this will just create more tension, then we
probably have much larger problems in the CEDA community than deciding where a
tournament will be.
4. Towson and WVU are already working this out. Perhaps. We'll have to
see what the backchannel discussions bear out between the two proposals. But
it seems silly to me that we will make such a large decision based upon a few
emails. Some folks don't check the listserv regularly -- are we going to not
listen to them simply because they didn't shoot an email off in time to
Towson or WVU? Let's say WVU and Towson work out the problem this year, what
about subsequent years? And what about JCCC? They weren't included in the
"exchange of proposals to the community"? Plus, many have responded to my
initial eDebate post by saying they strongly feel that the novice/JV nationals
should be in the Northeast (more on this in a minute) -- where does that leave
potential hosts like JCCC?
5. there's a lot of novice/JV debate in the Northeast, so that's where it
should stay. I say Bolderdash and Poppycock! This may be, in fact, a reason
to NOT have it in the Northeast. If schools in California have novices and
JV teams, they may get more visibility and even funding if there were ever a
novice/JV nationals on the West coast. And, let's face it, unless you're
Liberty, many of the programs that have novice and JV teams are "smaller"
programs that don't have enormous budgets. Allowing a rotating nationals might be
exactly what is needed to jumpstart some programs or at least help sustain
some programs around the country!
6. my good friend Chief argues: this will limit travel by some schools to
every 3 years if it travels around the country and will require a bid process.
First, this may be a risk, but not necessarily. Chances are it will be
difficult to find a host on a consistent basis in some regions of the country
until novice/JV debate grows considerably in those areas. Even if it does
rotate around the country, limiting some schools to travel only every 3 years,
that is still on-balance better than those schools NEVER being able to attend
nationals because it is always hosted in the Northeast. I think that some
equity needs to occur here. Second, the concern about a "bid" process is
misplaced. On one hand, we already have that -- WVU and Towson are, de facto,
bidding for next year! On the other hand, I imagine that in some years it will
be difficult to get more than 2 schools to bid for it. Either way, for CEDA
to encourage or sanction such a tournament, these arguments are non-unique,
and the benefit of equity seems to tip the balance.
7. CEDA has no business getting involved. I think I addressed this above.
To be honest, I really don't understand why folks are offering this as an
argument. The entire mission of CEDA is to foster educational debate. One of
the KEY areas that is overlooked in our community is novice/JV debate. What
we have, essentially, in terms of "national-level" novice/JV debate is a
monopoly in the Northeast. This isn't meant to slam the Northeast, but rather to
give them credit. The rest of the country, for all intents and purposes,
has failed our novice and JV students. But, that isn't a reason to let the
status quo continue. CEDA has made it a priority before to help new programs.
It has made it a priority to fight inequality in our community. It has made
it a priority to keep education the focus of our community. Why isn't this
issue relevant to CEDA? All I am suggesting is that CEDA consider
coordinating and then sanctioning one official novice/JV national tournament (that is
separate from the Open national tournament). In fact, CEDA already sanctions
one national tournament, why would sanctioning another be out of its mandate?
The issue here isn't one of stepping on toes or creating hostility or
undermining individual tournament hosts. It is the exact opposite -- which I've
tried to explain above.
Anyway...that's it. Thanks for reading. I appreciate all of the hard work
that Neal, Teri and Beth put into these national tournaments. I appreciate
our CEDA officers. Thank you to all of you for all that you do for our
community. My suggestions above are not meant to be critical, but rather ideas for
possible improvement of our community. And, if the community feels that
CEDA should not sanction one novice/JV tournament, so be it. But I do sincerely
hope that the discussion about how to make tournament travel more equitable
and how to improve the amount and quality of novice/JV debate in our
community will not end. These are vital discussions that must continue.
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