[eDebate] Ranking Teams for Purpose of Presets

Aaron Kall mardigras23
Tue Sep 19 16:35:22 CDT 2006

Last year several of FK?s random preset round 1 and 2 draws were not very 
friendly.  At GSU, we debated George Washington and Fullerton, who ended up 
meeting in the Octafinals of the tournament.  At Harvard, we debated 
Berkeley, who had just won the Kentucky Tournament and Kansas, who had lost 
in the doubles at UK on a 2-1.  At West Georgia, we debated Wayne State 
Farmer/Murillio and Dartmouth Clark/Smith (Quarter/Semifinalists at WGA).  I 
realize the odds don?t favor draws like this happening, but as long as 
tournaments continue not ranking teams for the presets, unfriendly draws 
like this will continue to happen.  I don?t think we were the only team that 
experienced such bad luck- I remember Northwestern DD debating Dartmouth BM 
and Emory CL in their two presets at WGA.

My intention is not to point fingers at certain tournaments- I realize how 
much time and effort it takes to run a debate tournament, as I run several 
myself each year.  Each tournament obviously has the right to run things how 
they seek fit.  We will obviously continue to attend these tournaments no 
matter what.  But, if the community is in favor of ranking for the purposes 
of presets and it?s feasible to do for all tournaments, I think it would be 
good for the activity.

While they did have 4 presets as opposed to 2, I believe Kentucky, Wake 
Forest, and Northwestern/Texas rank teams for the purposes of presets.  I am 
probably leaving some tournaments out.  While those tournaments have 4 
prelims instead of 2, the NDT also ranks for the purposes of its two preset 
rounds.  I also realize that ranking at early tournaments is difficult 
because it?s unclear how teams will do and which teams will emerge.  But, 
the results of last year can be used for the returning debaters and educated 
guesses or the results of one or two tournaments are probably better than 
complete randomness.

It was not that long ago when judge preferences didn?t take effect until 
round 2 or even 5.  I remember the days of being judged by Shannahan at Wake 
because preferences didn?t go effect until round 3.  It seems like most, if 
not all tournaments now honor judge preferences beginning at round 1.  It 
seems odd that we always honor judge preferences for presets, but don?t 
always rank the teams for such debates.

I don?t think the amount of time it would take to come up with and enter 
rankings is that substantial.  I think any time spentwould be well worth if 
for the fairness/equity of the preset debates.  For tournaments with two 
prelim rounds, half the tournament could be ranked an A (denoted by a 1 in 
the Edwards System) and half the tournament could be ranked a B (denoted by 
a 2 in the Edwards System).  While there could still be some problems at the 
margins, this would ensure that most, if not all teams would debate one A 
and one B, as opposed to the SQ where a team could hypothetically debate the 
best two teams at the tournament in rounds one and two.

I realize it?s not impossible to come back from an 0-2 start (we did manage 
to win 5 debates at Harvard and West Georgia).  While things may eventually 
even out, 0-2 or 1-2 debates aren?t always assigned the best mutually 
preferred judges and debating two of the best teams at the tournament/coming 
back from an 0-2 deficit really puts a lot of pressure on teams, especially 
young teams.

If the community is in favor of such rankings for the purposes of presets 
and it?s feasible, I think it would be a good thing for the activity.

Thanks for Reading,


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