[eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility

J Stan jstan1979
Sat Dec 1 23:23:49 CST 2007

I have followed the discussion on the Novice eligibility.  I think one issue
that has not been discussed is whether a similar problem is occurring in
JV.  Not specifically LD debaters, but individuals with significant
experience who are being put into JV for reasons that I cannot possibly
understand. I always felt that the reason individuals should be put in JV
was because those individuals needed some more experience before they could
be successful competing in Open.  I determine success as being able to
compete for a win and feeling comfortable in a majority of the rounds they
will be debating.

I am sure there are other reasons people have for putting individuals in JV
that I feel are less compelling.  The obvious reason is CEDA points.  If a
team needs CEDA points to justify their programs to their administration
then a decision to put an individual in JV makes some sense. Building an
individual's self-confident might make some sense in certain limited
situation.  Other than that, I really don't know why you would opt for
putting an individual in JV who clearly would feel comfortable in Open.

Recently I noticed that this is be a problem.  At John Carroll Teams are in
JV who have competed in Open at tournaments for one and a half years.  These
teams have advanced to a final round at regional open tournaments. They have
gone to National tournaments and broken in open.  I noticed one team who had
students who had over 100 rounds in college debate (and countless rounds in
high school) still competing in JV.  Individuals who have over 100 rounds in
Open all of sudden feel compelled to enter a JV tournament simply because
the rules still provide them eligibility.

I have several problems with this.  First, it probably limits the
development of the individuals if they are in rounds where they are simply
beating teams with significantly less experience. Only Directors and
debaters know what is best for their development, but it makes sense to me
that you wouldn't want to do this if you have long term aspirations for
competing at a high level.  Second, it practically guarantees that students
who are competing in JV who do not have this level of experience do not feel
comfortable or get discouraged by what is happening to them in rounds.
These students might be able to move down to novice, but then they would be
the ones dominating a bracket that they probably shouldn't be in and then
novice debate would be damaged.  When I have students with 40 rounds of
experience in their life who are competing against individuals with 150
rounds of college debate and 3 years of high school experience and I have to
look at my debaters face after what has happened to them in a JV round I get
frustrated.  When I have to explain to them that they probably shouldn't be
in novice because they would win too easily and that wouldn't be fair for
individuals just starting out then I get frustrated.  Third, it makes all
this discussion about high school LD irrelevant.  Pass a rule that forces
them to debate in JV and they will move to that division and get killed
there first half dozen tournaments and they will leave.  Novice tournaments
will be smaller causing directors to collapse the divisions and inviduals
who are truly novices will be debating against JV debaters who should be in
open because they have over 100 rounds of experience.

Like I said before, Directors who allow this to happen certainly have their
own reasons.  I would certainly like to hear those reasons.  I try to learn
from Directors who have more experience than me.  I watch what they do and I
follow their example.  I guess, the lesson I learned from watching entry
choices made at a recent tournament was do whatever you need to do to
practically guarantee your teams go 6 - 0 in their bracket regardless of the
impact it has on other people in a similar bracket.

These teams will get their trophy and I will have to spend the next week
convincing my debaters that they are doing wonderfully for their experience
level and they shouldn't quit.

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