[eDebate] Reply to Tuna-Me Moving beyond recriminations

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Thu Aug 30 14:09:49 CDT 2007

I still think that either a switch to a two topic per semester format, or a
topic area geared toward novice, JV and the "non-hard core" varsity debaters is
the way to go.

I can tell you from experience that my predictions about how much this Mid-Eas
topic sucks for recruiting has come to fruition at ULL, where I am attempting
to build a policy program.

First, the Parly debate team, in total, walked and never returned as soon as
they saw the topic and what it would require.

I have now had at least 8 former L/D and CX debaters who are students at ULL
walk away, even though they really wanted to debate again. Why? Because the
Mid-East Resolution is so overly technical and simply too broad for them to
work with. We don't have shit one for resources-i.e. We did not send anyone to
WDI or ADI. So, we are starting from scratch. For students who have to work
jobs or maintain their scholarships, this topic just flat out sucks. So, eight
debaters who wanted to debate have walked. I have one that is really committed
and two that show up at debate meetings but will probably bolt after they go
1-7 at their first tournament and realize their only hope of competing is by
refusing to debate  policy--going for K's every round.

I am going to try again Tuesday to recruit Novice debaters by doing a
presentation to all the classes in the University Honors department. But I feel
like I have to perform some form of bait-n-switch in order to get kids to debate
even at the novice level.

I have personally spent over 60 hours researching and cutting cards for just one
affirmative case, and probably have only covered ten percent of the issues
necessary to defend it---without even addressing the Kritical ground. I have
one debater that knows how to cut cards and two that are willing to learn. But
it really is an overwhelming task.

Unless something is done to wrench the topic selection process away from its
current focus--making sure that the TOP 20 varsity debate teams have adequate
ground to debate the Octo-final round at the NDT--I think there is no
alternative but to create an organization that is responsive to the needs of
the other 99.9% of students who want to do policy debate, but at a level that
is more in keeping with the lives of 21st century college students.

Scott Elliott

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