[eDebate] JV/Novice Nats at WVU, March 3-5, 2007

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Mon Mar 13 16:15:11 CST 2006

Thanks to everyone for both your support and your constructive criticism.  
We?re glad most of you enjoyed JV and Novice Nationals at WVU, and we hope 
to offer an even better version next year.  I want to especially thank our 
good friends at Towson for their patience.  I consider every member of the 
Towson coaching staff to be both a friend of our program and a personal 
friend of mine.  Chris Baron is a previous winner of the John Jacobsohn 
Award, and Beth Skinner won our judging award a few years ago.  The Towson 
team has continually supported our tournament, and they have always 
volunteered to stay and judge an extra round so that others could go home.  
Andy Ellis came down to this year?s tournament on Saturday and stood by 
throughout Sunday as we used him for some of the outrounds.  He did this 
strictly as a volunteer.

We have also enjoyed Towson?s JV/Novice Nationals when we have attended in 
the past.  We love the hospitality, we love Baltimore, and we love the 
competition.  We have fond memories of the tournament (we?re the only 
program to have a debater propose marriage to someone during the Towson 
awards ceremony; true, that didn?t quite work out, but it is my 
understanding that all parties are now living happily-ever-after).  We look 
forward to returning to Towson in the future.

Meanwhile, I can now report that WVU will host a JV/Novice Nationals, March 
3-5, 2007.  That?s a Saturday-Monday schedule (the only way for us to have 7 
prelims and avoid an ugly Friday evening).  We are still negotiating with 
hotel, WVU administration, and student government regarding a variety of 
arrangements, but here?s what we envision:

4 rounds on Saturday, 3 plus doubles on Sunday, getting out both days 
between 7:00 and 8:00.  We will provide lunch both days.  We may provide 
breakfast as well as per Gordie Miller?s suggestion (though the Hampton Inn 
is also willing to provide ?Breakfast on the Go?, a bag breakfast that 
includes a bottle of water, an apple, a cereal bar, and a muffin; I don?t 
know what that does for people who stay at Gordie?s beloved Euro-Suites, but 
we?ll work on it).  You?ll be out early enough to sample the variety of 
cuisine that Morgantown has (and we?ll provide you with better guidance in 
that regard).  We hope not to have to use both Armstrong and Hodges halls, 
but that is dependent upon construction schedules.  If we do use those 
buildings, we will allow more time between rounds.  We will consult with 
Jimbo Maritato and a variety of others regarding diversity of food.

Outrounds will NOT be at the hotel.  Gordie Miller and Sarah Snider were 
right.  The difference in cost is huge (involving higher hotel rates, a 
parking charge, no continental breakfast, a variety of add-ons, a 
substantial meeting room charge, etc.), we would still have to have 3 octas 
in hotel rooms, there would be a ban on outside food, and the hotel doesn?t 
seem that fond of college students.  Thankfully, Sarah Snider made a great 
suggestion.  I am negotiating final details, but we will apparently be able 
to have Monday?s rounds in the very nice meeting and ballrooms of the 
Mountainlair Student Union.  The rooms are very nice (I just attended a 
University disciplinary hearing in one of them; it was lovely!), and they 
are quite suitable for debates.  Our use of the ballrooms for later 
outrounds will also provide accessibility for WVU students wandering by.  
True, this doesn?t have the prestige or (in some respects) convenience of 
outrounds at the hotel, but we think Gordie is right with respect to not 
simply ?keeping up with the Joneses.?  Oh, and there will be a wide variety 
of food available in the food court just downstairs for very reasonable 

Other features will include mutual preference judging, with either 4 or 6 
categories, and the possibility of strike sheets for late outrounds.  I will 
consult further with the community as we move forward.  WVU will again 
operate the tab room, and we will again not compete in the tournament (as 
mentioned earlier, we will give our debaters the opportunity to compete in 
Johnson County?s nationals and in ADA Nationals; they are cool with this).

We expect to use the same pottery vendor as Towson (and I believe 
Georgetown) did in the past.  We will present the same quantity of awards 
that we did this year.

So, what about fees?  There will be fees, and they will not be exorbitant.  
Until a number of variables are settled, I cannot say for sure what they 
will be.  However, I can tell you that they will be no more (and probably 
less) than the $90 per team that Towson charged in 2004 (Georgetown charged 
$110 in 2005).  There will also be a provision by which schools can reduce 
their fees by $35 per round by providing additional qualified judging.  
There may also be provisions for free entry for the first team from each 
school and/or fee reductions for schools traveling more than a certain 
distance.  That all depends upon the above-mentioned negotiations.

If there are other things you would like to see us do to improve the 
tournament, please feel free to let me know.  We look forward to seeing even 
more schools and teams in 2007.

After hosting the tournament in 2006 and 2007, we will take a year off in 
2008.  I expect that you may see an announcement very shortly from another 
school regarding an East Coast version of JV/Novice Nationals in 2008 (I 
can?t imagine which school!).  I have made a couple of back channel 
suggestions regarding tab room structure and entry fee structure (to 
encourage maximum participation from D3), but the Mountaineers look forward 
to attending the East Coast version of JV/Novice Nationals in 2008!

I (more than perhaps most) am fully cognizant of the folly of planning 
things 3 years in advance (life can always intervene), but it would be our 
intention to host again in 2009 and then see what?s what.

One final word.  Jimbo Maritato should be applauded both for his passionate 
advocacy of his students and his willingness to work to make things better.  
I disagree with him on some of the factual issues that he has raised, but I 
cannot say enough about his dedication (as a new director, dealing with many 
of these issues for the first time) to our activity.  I look forward to 
working with him for many years to come.

Thanks again for your patience.
--Neil Berch
West Virginia University

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