[eDebate] On reforming the CEDA All American Awards

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Wed May 31 10:53:46 CDT 2006

i agree with sam but have a different take on the solution. here's what i 
proposed to the exec committee:

the process is unnecessarily time consuming for coaches who have to fill out 
a recommendation form and then for the committee who has to read all of 
them. it is also arbitrary. there is not a set criteria for each committee 
member to pick their top 30. further, there are questions about how many 
students from one team can receive an award, whether someone can receive an 
all-american plus a baby jo, etc. further, limiting the awards to just 30 
restricts our recognition of some great kids.

here's my suggested solution, give all-american recognition to any student 
who meets the following criteria:

1. has competed in ceda debate for at least 4 semesters with at least 2 
tournaments during each of those semesters.
2. for all american, has a minimum gpa of a 2.0 and has been in elimination 
rounds at 5 or more tournaments.
3. for exceptional all american, has a minimum gpa of 2.0 and has been in 
elimination rounds in senior division at 10 or more tournaments.
4. for academic all american, has a minimum gpa of a 3.5 and has been in 
elimination rounds at 5 or more tournaments.
5. for exceptional academic all american, has a minimum gpa of a 3.5 and has 
been in elimination rounds in senior division at 10 or more tournaments.

when submitting, the coach would state which award the student is seeking, 
would state the student's gpa and list the tournaments where the student 
advanced to elims and in what division.

allow students to receive baby jo awards in addition to all american.

have no caps on the number of students receiving recognition from any single 

use nice certificates instead of awards to save money and provide more 
flexibility since the number of recipients is going to vary more (maybe we 
already use certificates--sorry, i'm forgetting).

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Samnelson4 at aol.com>
To: <edebate at ndtceda.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 6:39 AM
Subject: [eDebate] On reforming the CEDA All American Awards

My understanding is that the issue of reforming the Academic All American
(Scholastic) Award and the All American Award will be discussed at the CEDA
summer meeting. I have served on many committees charged with giving these 
(including last year's) and have a historical perspective I want to share as
well as some thoughts about how to move to the future.

First the history: In the 80s and 90s, when someone was nominated for All
American or Academic All American status they pretty much got it. The 
would meet at CEDA Nationals (we usually got a round off from judging) and 
CEDA Second VP would pass everyone a folder with the letters for each
category. We would take a few minutes looking it over and approve the 
nominees. This
was not difficult because we usually had less than or slightly more than 30
nominees in each category. If some school got greedy and nominated more than 
person to each category and we had to make a cut we would usually take one 
their nominees off the list. The idea behind the whole thing was that this 
something to give (usually to seniors) to let them know that they were
appreciated. It was also used by coaches (like me) to make a big deal to the
administration and alums that we got an "All American." I also know of more 
than one
person who got a job because they had CEDA debate All American on their
resume. The idea was that it was "nurturing" act. It was nurturing for the 
for the up and coming debate program, director in need of some positive 
etc. One thing that separated the NDT from CEDA, back in the day, was that
CEDA did a lot more of this kind of nurturing thing whereas the NDT just ran 
ultracompetitive tournament with ultracompetitive awards (Copeland, etc.)

    I have been disappointed with the way the awards have went down these
past few years. As a result of the good works of the likes of Will Baker and 
Steinberg applicants are way up for each award. One is no longer assured of
getting the award just by being nominated. Also, the committee no longer 
face to face to discuss individual cases that may be falling through the
cracks. They just vote after reading the letters online. As a committee 
member I
did not know who made the cut until after the awards ceremony. I have seen
students that started out as true novices as first year college students 
their way up to qualifying for the NDT as seniors and carrying a 3.9 GPA not 
selected for Scholastic All American. At the same time some schools are
getting three Academic All Americans even though their GPA is significantly 
I know of one student that literally saved her program from extinction that
missed out on the award for who knows what reason. I think we need to 
the process and instill the nurturing back in it.

My recommendations:

1) Move up the deadline for submission of nominees: It was a rush this past
year to read all the excellent letters.

2) Reestablish the face to face meeting of the committee at CEDA Nationals 
stop individuals from falling through the cracks and embrace the worthy
concepts of discussion and deliberation.

3) Clarify the criteria for each award with "the spirit of nurturing" as a
guiding principle. I reject the idea that we should have different "classes 
divisions" for the award. I think an All American is an All American. These 
not awards that recognize competitive success only. Whitman has plenty of
those. I am hoping that the novice debater that starts his or her program as 
student club can be recognized as an All American in the same way as someone 
wins CEDA Nationals. This requires a more wholistic view of what All 

4) Limit the number of nominees for each award to one per school. Why get
greedy? Lets spread the wealth and good karma.


Sam Nelson,
Cornell University

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