[eDebate] JV/Novices Nats (WVU)--JV eligibility

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Fri Sep 8 13:53:13 CDT 2006

Hi, everyone!  I just got my first question about JV eligibility at our 
JV/Novice Nats (March 3-5).  I thought this would be a good time to open a 
community dialogue (I'm primarily, but not exclusively interested in hearing 
from those who might conceivably attend).

As most of you know, CEDA by-laws define JV as someone in their first two 
years of college debate (if they did team policy debate in hs) or someone in 
their first two years beyond novice.  They further indicate that eligibility 
to earn CEDA points in JV expires if you appear in 3 Open, varsity, or JV 
finals, or if you qualify for the NDT.  Finally, they indicate that 
exceptions will be made for JV National tournaments.

When Towson hosted the Eastern version of JV/Novice Nats (as they will again 
in 2008), they went through a number of permutations on those exceptions (I 
counted at least three different definitions in their invitations).  I know 
that they wrestled an awful lot with the various issues that went into those 
decisions.  Georgetown used a slightly different version.  Last year, we 
used the same interpretation of the rule that Johnson County uses for their 
JV Nationals.  Quite simply, we said that if you were otherwise eligible for 
JV, the number of final rounds you'd been in, or whether you qualified for 
NDT, did not impact your eligibility for JV Nationals at WVU.

We had people who complained, because our definition meant that you could 
have qualified for the NDT or been in 3 JV (or Open) finals in 2004-05, but, 
since that was your first year of JV eligibility, you were still eligible to 
debate in JV Nationals in 2005-06 (your second year of JV eligibility).  We 
had others who strongly defended the position that we took.  This discussion 
intensifed a bit after the two finalists at JV/Novice Nationals were teams 
that had debated (or had one debater debate) at the NDT the previous year 
(Note:  those teams were perfectly eligible under our rules, and they had to 
work hard to succeed at the tournament; indeed, the eventual tournament 
champions were 4-3 in prelims).

The crux of the problem (as I see it) is that the CEDA By-Laws are not 
specific as to what exceptions should be made to the JV move-up rules for JV 
Championship tournaments.  At least one coach told me he intended to propose 
a change to those By-laws to clarify the issue.  I would welcome that, but I 
know of no proposal to date.

The issue before me is that I will send out the invitation to our JV/Novice 
Nationals sometime in early October.  Unless CEDA's By-laws change, I will 
not alter the JV eligibility requirement for the tournament after I send out 
the invitation.  I now seek community input on the question.  The two 
primary contenders are the rule we used last year (everyone in their first 
two years of college debate or first two years beyond novice is eligible, 
regardless of your NDT status and regardless of your final rounds status) 
and the rule Georgetown used (qualifying for the NDT or participating in 3 
JV or Open finals in the previous year disqualifies you, but doing so during 
the current academic year does not; in effect, anyone who starts the year as 
JV-eligible is eligible for JV Nationals).  However, I will consider other 
reasonable interpretations.

I'm currently undecided between those two interpretations (virtually 
indifferent, in fact), so I will weight community input heavily.  Feel free 
to respond either via edebate or backchannel (I've chosen edebate as the 
forum rather than CEDA-L, because I want to hear from students as well as 

Other than that, our plans move forward.  We look forward to hosting a 
larger and better JV/Novice Nationals than last year!

--Neil Berch
West Virginia University

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