[eDebate] novice/JV nationals

Zompetti at aol.com Zompetti
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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