[eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility

Beth Skinner beth.skinner
Mon Dec 3 14:23:37 CST 2007


This is an interesting thread and I hope that it helps us all reflect on
specific questions of specific teams and specific tournaments.  I think a
more fundamental question is also important to consider here - what can we
do to encourage more robust JV and novice divisions?  The more people
debating the better chance you have of finding appropriate education and
competition levels at tournaments.  One danger of focusing too closely on
the zero-sum question of whether to entering a specific team in a specific
division hurts or helps existing debaters is that we may lose focus on the
ways we can encourage the net growth of resources like local/regional
tournaments, new programs and new approaches that would benefit us all.
There are thousands of students we're not reaching who would love debate,
get a lot out of it and strengthen the activity.

I think there are a number of important questions that could be the basis of
more systematic research and application initiatives.  What are the barriers
to new program formation?  What factors influence whether students join
teams in the first place or return to their second, third, etc.
tournaments?  Why do people quit debating?  Are there important regional
differences?  What are some of the best practices we've evolved for
encouraging new programs?  We have a wealth of anecdotal evidence and
individual experience with these issues but I believe we could come up with
better solutions if this knowledge was combined and analyzed at a broader
level.  This could happen in a number of ways - grad students and faculty
could choose these topics for research projects, CEDA could sponsor longer
term research agendas, etc.  However it happens I think that we need to move
beyond the primary question of what is good or bad for my existing debaters
and ask what is good or bad for all the people who aren't in debate.
Otherwise we just end up protecting the privileged who already have access
to this resource.

Beth



On Dec 3, 2007 1:44 AM, Jim Hanson <hansonjb at whitman.edu> wrote:

> joe
>
> definitely not responding to all of your post (and you make a number of
> good
> points that deserve response--I'm just doing a bunch of stuff under
> deadlines):
>
> don't you want your jv debaters to get some tough competition so they
> improve?
>
> jim :)
> hansonjb at whitman.edu
>
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Zompetti, Joseph Perry" <jpzompe at ilstu.edu>
> Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 10:39 PM
> To: "Jim Hanson" <hansonjb at whitman.edu>; <edebate at ndtceda.com>
> Subject: RE: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility
>
> It may be "unfortunate" for your teams, but it is unfortunate for
> everyone's
> teams if your more advanced debaters debate in JV.  This was the thrust of
> my first post - education and fairness should outweigh competitive prowess
> when they conflict, although I don't think they should conflict.
>
> Plus, in my experience - maybe not yours - debaters who debate in the more
> advanced division (in this case, Open) find it rewarding that they are
> advanced to such a division.
>
> This may be, as you suggest, a difference in regions.  In the Midwest,
> novice and JV are not difficult divisions to "make" regularly (in some
> cases
> they are).  Nevertheless, we are speaking about philosophical differences.
> If you encounter tournaments where novice or JV may not make, should you
> put
> your "lower-end" or "lesser-experienced" debaters in those divisions?  I
> don't want to legislate such decisions on directors, but I would think
> that
> such conundrums are not justified by weighting those divisions with
> debaters
> who realistically should not belong there.
>
> In the end, we are still faced with the following dilemma: should programs
> be allowed to enter teams (with Open experience, with Open wins, with JV
> finals wins, or who just generally would do well in Open) in the JV
> division, with full knowledge that such entering could help the respective
> program with their administration - but, at the same time, will - with
> full
> knowledge - be unfairly competitive to other schools' JV teams and may, as
> a
> result, drastically undercut the support and PR that other programs should
> otherwise receive?
>
> In the end, I would like to think that, as a community, we are willing to
> accept certain sacrifices for the benefit of other programs for the sake
> of
> the community as a whole.  In this instance, that means that certain
> programs should enter their debate teams in the appropriate division so
> that
> other programs can realistically enter their debaters in the appropriate
> divisions.  The life and maintenance of many programs - like ours -
> depends
> on this simple formula.
>
> I don't think we're asking for too much...
>
> zomp
>
>
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com on behalf of Jim Hanson
> Sent: Mon 12/3/2007 12:22 AM
> To: edebate at ndtceda.com
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility
>
>
>
>
> I disagree, also respectfully. :) unfortunately, I'm running short on time
> and so can't write a ton but here's the short of my response:
>
> my rationale is the solution to the problem: have a robust jv division
> filled with jv level debaters.
>
> I am speaking more from a northwest school's, jim hanson's perspective. we
> don't get jv division at many tournaments. my kids get open division or
> nothing and it is usually a very tough open division (though not always).
>
> at usc, the tournament I have most frequently put kids into jv division,
> open division is very tough. for our frosh who have gone 0-6, 1-5, 2-4,
> and
> even sometimes 3-3 in open during the fall, jv division is appropriate but
> you're right unfortunate for other kids (although a good challenge and
> hence
> educational for them using your "go into open to learn more" argument).
> going into open division at this tournament for these kids can be (though
> not always) demoralizing and overwhelming in exactly the same way you are
> talking about the kids in your program joe. it goes both ways--and bottom
> line, it is an unfortunate choice to make and that was the point of my
> post.
>
> jim :)
> hansonjb at whitman.edu
>
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: "Zompetti, Joseph Perry" <jpzompe at ilstu.edu>
> Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 12:16 PM
> To: "Jim Hanson" <hansonjb at whitman.edu>; <edebate at www.ndtceda.com>
> Subject: RE: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility
>
> Jim,
>
> Respectfully, this rationale is part of the problem.
>
> First, you mention that many tournaments define JV broadly that allows
> your
> teams to compete in that division.  Tournament directors should define the
> division more narrowly.
>
> A student's year in school shouldn't be the determining factor of what
> division they're in.  Instead, their competitive level should determine
> it.
>
> Your debaters may go 2-4 in Open, but they'll only get better if they
> debate
> in Open.  Keeping them in JV impedes their progress.
>
> And, perhaps more importantly (at least from our perspective), it impedes
> the growth of other debaters who really should be in JV.  Our JV students
> -
> who definitely aren't novice and would only replicate this problem in
> novice
> if we put them there - are going 2-4 (if they're lucky) against teams who
> have debate in Open, or who have won JV tournaments, or who could be
> competitive in Open, or all of the above.
>
> What we're talking about here are two things -
> 1.  What is "fair" in terms of who we place in what division (and by
> extension the education of our students), and
> 2.  Individual squad's competitive success
>
> I personally don't think these are mutually-exclusive.  Whitman's program
> (and others) will still be very competitive, receive their CEDA points,
> etc., if they more fairly placed their debaters in the appropriate
> divisions.  Plus, their students would learn more.  Plus, other programs
> wouldn't suffer.
>
> For all the talk on this listserv and at professional meetings about
> keeping
> debate programs and debaters in the activity, it surprises me that so many
> folks still advocate this sort of competitive edge at the expense of small
> or beginning programs.
>
> Five years ago ISU didn't have an NDT/CEDA program.  We've worked hard to
> rebuild this program.  We now have 6 teams - over half of whom are novice
> and JV.  But putting Open-level debaters in JV (or JV level debaters in
> novice) is seriously hampering our efforts at retaining the debaters we
> have.
>
> I suspect we're not the only school with this problem.  Others should
> chime
> in.
>
> Squads should place their debaters in the appropriate competitive
> division.
> Is this really too much to ask???
>
> zomp
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com on behalf of Jim Hanson
> Sent: Sun 12/2/2007 1:59 PM
> To: edebate at www.ndtceda.com
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility
>
>
> I'm going to add in another angle on this discussion:
>
> the problem of too many people pushing jv eligible teams into open
> division
> at tournaments where there is a jv division, at least the ones we attend.
>
> the result: the jv divisions tend to have very few teams participating and
> they are teams that are, on the whole, substantially less competitive than
> the open division.
>
> so, then, I have debaters who are set to go 2-4 in open division (and
> maybe
> worse) or who go in jv division and go 6-0 and might very well be one of
> the
> teams you all would be complaining about (although they would be
> completely
> and totally within the definitions provided by the tournaments--almost
> always frosh in their first semester of debate).
>
> jim :)
> hansonjb at whitman.edu
>
>
> From: NEIL BERCH <mailto:berchnorto at msn.com>
> Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 8:16 AM
> To: Sarah Snider <mailto:sjsnider at ksu.edu>  ; edebate at www.ndtceda.com ; J
> Stan <mailto:jstan1979 at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility
>
> Leaving aside the obvious current dispute between Mr. Stanley and Kansas
> State over this weekend's JV division at John Carroll, I want to reiterate
> a
> more general point.  When we take a group of debaters with a range of
> experience that goes (literally) from never having seen a debate round to
> Copeland Award winners and try to divide it into three categories, there
> are
> inevitably going to be some very large disparities in ability and skill
> within categories.  Again, think of it as having MPJ with just three
> categories.  No matter how many judges you have to put in each of the
> categories, inevitably at least one category (and perhaps all three) is
> going to contain judges you like MUCH better than other judges in the same
> category.
>
> As we move the eligibility boundaries around, we may reduce one set of
> inequities but replace it with another.  In doing so, I tend to think that
> we should protect the least experienced set of debaters the most (by
> having
> the narrowest definition of novice).  The effect of that, however, is to
> widen the range of experience in JV, and there are costs associated with
> that.  If we then narrow JV eligibility some more, then that produces
> inequities in Open.  The bottom line is that, with three categories,
> someone
> is always going to be disadvantaged.  My preference is that it NOT be the
> people with the least experience (who are probably the most likely to
> leave
> the activity).  Others may disagree.
>
> What it comes down to (as Jackie said at the start of this discussion) is
> ethics.  More specifically, it is about doing what is best for the
> students,
> both yours and other people's students.  I tend to err (very strongly) on
> the "move them up for the experience" side.  Part of my job as an educator
> and coach is then to convince my students that going 1-5 in a division
> above
> their experience is a good experience.  My students tend to react well
> (and
> with pride when they score the occasional upset).  Maybe it's because
> Mountaineers are resilient (even after last night!).  Or maybe it's
> because
> I have tenure.
>
> One thing that would make it easier would be if there were a critical mass
> of "moved up" debaters, who might very well end up meeting each other in
> later rounds.  Thus, you'd get several challenging rounds followed by a
> couple of winnable rounds.
>
> Just some thoughts.  Not sure what the grand solution is in terms of
> rules,
> unless we want to go to nine-category eligibility requirements!!
>
> --Neil Berch
> West Virginia University
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: J Stan <mailto:jstan1979 at gmail.com>
> To: Sarah Snider <mailto:sjsnider at ksu.edu>  ; edebate at www.ndtceda.com
> Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 9:57 AM
> Subject: Re: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility
>
>
> I don't really see why this needs to be legislated, But I do have some
> general ideas of norms that might be thought about....
>
> If you have a debater who broke at an Open tournament then they probably
> don't need to be debating in JV.
> If your JV team won their first JV tournament of their college career and
> then debated in open the rest of the year, you probably don't need to take
> them in JV at a regional tournament at the end of the first semester of
> their second year after they have debated in Open all of the first
> semester.
> If you think you have a chance to qualify to the NDT through districts
> then
> maybe you shouldn't be going in JV
> If you look at the entries and realize that your teams may be
> significantly
> better than all of the other entries in JV then maybe you should not put
> them in JV
> If you have a team that won a speaker award at  CEDA then they should not
> be
> in JV
> If a team won the NDT the previous year then they should not be in JV
> If an individual was a top ten speaker at Wake Forest they should not be
> in
> JV
>
>
> Obvisously, the last two are true but sarcastic.  I say people should have
> some common sense and try and do what is best for the activity and
> everyone
> involved in the activity, not just what may be best for your CEDA points.
> I  understand CEDA points and doing what you have to do to get funding for
> your team.  However, this is true for everyone.  By one school making
> these
> decisions for purposes of winning sweepstakes you practically guarantee
> that
> "legitimate" JV debaters don't earn any points and thus schools who put
> those students in what I believe to be the appropriate division don't get
> points, don't get awards, and thus have to go back to their administration
> with the argument.....We would of won, but our kids have 30 rounds of
> experience and some schools put students in JV with 150 rounds of
> experience
> so we lost, Sorry.  And, oh by the way, half our squad wants to quit
> because
> they just had one of the least enjoyable experiences of their life.
>
> Finally, how about the argument that it hurts the development of your
> debaters who have high aspirations and hurts the development of relatively
> new debaters who just enjoy debating in competitive, enjoyable rounds for
> educational purposes.
>
> Justin
>
> On 12/2/07, Sarah Snider <sjsnider at ksu.edu> wrote:
>
> Justin-
>
> We have entered 3 jv teams composed of
> 3 Frosh
> 2 Sophomores
> 1 senior who joined the debate team last year and competed primarily in JV
> and barely cleared at one small regional tournament in open this fall.
>
> our debaters only debate in the fall in Kansas- this means they come in
> with
> HALF as much experience as debaters from at least 45 other states.
>
> none of the teams we have entered here have cleared at a national
> tournament- our top team went 2-6 at Harvard- and half of this team is
> competing here.
>
> UNI and KCK are not national tournaments. One of our debaters did clear at
> UNLV.
>
> Restricting our JV debaters from participating by changing the rules would
> force tons of debaters who are not ready to move to Varsity. The kind of
> rule change you suggest requires debaters with 2 years HS debate
> experience,
> less than 3 final rounds, and less than 2 years college experience to move
> to varsity. There are some debaters for whom, this would be devastating.
>
> John Bretthauer JUDGED our JV team during the 2005-2006 season and then
> DEBATED the SAME TEAM in JV the next season. Obviously this is an issue we
> have with the Chief and not with you and pointing out another wrong
> doesn't
> make it right- but, our actions this weekend are FAR more legitimate than
> the majority of eligibility indiscretions one would normally encounter in
> the average season.
>
> Binghamton received over 35 CEDA points for placing the 14th speaker at
> CEDA
> Nats in JV at the opening tournament of the season against real JV
> debaters........How are we supposed to come even close to them in the
> sweepstakes race?
>
> I understand your frustration, I totally do. But our debaters are far from
> ineligible in JV.
>
> Sarah
>
>
>
>
>
> On Dec 2, 2007 12:16 AM, J Stan < jstan1979 at gmail.com
> <mailto:jstan1979 at gmail.com> > wrote:
>
>
> My post sought an answer to why, "Most of have had a team for one reason
> or
> another dominate a division and could debate up"  The reason they dominate
> a
> division is because they should be debating up.  If they should be
> debating
> up then why are they dominating a division that they should not be in. I
> am
> not referring to any team who simply goes 6 - 0 at a tournament.  That is
> going to happen.  I am referring to a team who has broken at multiple
> national tournaments in open and makes a choice to debate down in JV
> division at a regional tournament.  Bid teams being excluded from regional
> tournaments is both unnecessary and irrelevant.  Bid teams don't usually
> debate at regional tournaments and if I had a team who had three years of
> experience in college and thus out of JV eligibility I would hope they
> could
> feel comfortable in a majority of rounds in open because they would not
> hit
> a bid team in a majority of rounds. I think if given three years I could
> coach a team to feel comfortable in the open division at regional
> tournaments.  They may not win those tournaments but they will feel
> comfortable in most of the rounds they compete.   However, my team with a
> little over one year of experience in their life hitting a team in JV who
> has open outround appearences at National tournaments makes little sense
> to
> me.
>
> Second, I don't think fairness can be imposed through legislation,
> although
> I think legislation it is probably needed, but won't really solve all of
> the
> problem, just some of it.
>
> What is needed is people to just stop putting people in these divisions or
> give me a reason that I haven't thought of why it is being done so I can
> learn what it is that I am missing. I am sure there is a reason that I
> haven't thought of yet.
>
> Justin
>
>
> On 12/1/07, Andy Ellis <andy.edebate at gmail.com > wrote:
>
> I think the problem with all of these discussions is that they assume
> fairness can be improved through such legislation, but there are always
> people who dont fall into a catagory convieniently, we have all had
> novices
> or varsity debaters who are out of lower divison eligibility but would
> seriously benefit, and most have us have had a team who for one reason or
> another dominates a division and could debate up, but i guess part of me
> asks why the same standard doesnt apply to open? Is the purpose always to
> win the ndt? Should bid teams be excluded from regional tournaments?
>
>
> On Dec 2, 2007 12:23 AM, J Stan <jstan1979 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> 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.
>
> Justin
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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