[eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Tue Dec 4 01:45:55 CST 2007


Joe--We've never met (as far as I know, though my team was judged by Justin this weekend at John Carroll and found his critique to be tremendously helpful), so I hope you're not suggesting that I'm supporting rigging the game so that I can collect lots of points in JV.  My students sometimes get mad at me because they're pushed into higher divisions while "better teams" are allowed to stay in lower divisions.  My students almost never have high school experience.  We're disadvantaged in the SQ tremendously.  I agree that we should make the game as fair as possible (within the constraints I've already discussed).  What I'm saying is that:
1.  We should protect novices most of all, because there's the highest chance of them leaving (no data to support this claim, but I think it's common sense);
2.  I've grown tired of evaluating (and sometimes making) claims that coach X should have moved debaters Y up to Open or JV because they're too dominant.  I probably (almost certainly) would move them up if they were WVU debaters, but I can afford for sweepstakes points to be less important.  If they're acting within the eligibility guidelines that we as an organization have passed, then I don't want to evaluate the competing claims about program imperatives, being seniors, how they might quit if forced into Open, etc.
3.  That said, I agree with you that the second line (the one between JV and Open) should probably be moved as well.  If you want to propose something stricter, I probably will support it.
4.  I want to think about it some more (and hear from others), but I think my idea to increase the points value of late-season tournaments may serve to restructure the incentives in a way that encourages just the behavior that you're talking about.
Best wishes (as well as congrats on what you've done to get your program off the ground),
Neil
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Zompetti, Joseph Perry<mailto:jpzompe at ilstu.edu> 
  To: NEIL BERCH<mailto:berchnorto at msn.com> ; Jim Hanson<mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu> ; Andy Ellis<mailto:andy.edebate at gmail.com> 
  Cc: edebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at www.ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 12:47 AM
  Subject: RE: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility


  I will answer Andy and Neil together - for what it's worth.  It seems that the community is so hell-bent on competitive success that our arguments for a more equitable debate world are falling on deaf ears.  Andy, without naming names, even called me a "hater."  
   
  Would I like our teams to be more competitive, absolutely.  Do all debate coaches want their teams to win, of course.
   
  But what I want more than those things is for my debaters to not quit.
   
  Again, as I said in an earlier post, I don't think competitive success and fair JV divisions are mutually exclusive - but apparently the coaches who want to win at all costs think so.
   
  I am sure there are occasions when debaters don't want to be pushed into Open.  I'm even more convinced - especially now having read the deluge of emails from coaches who want to protect their right to win at all costs - that coaches want to place their advanced debaters into JV for the CEDA points, for the victories, for the success and trophies they can bring home to their administrations.  All of which are valiant goals.  I just don't understand why those goals need to come at the expense of debaters' education and other programs who are trying to stay alive.
   
  Perhaps we have been arguing in circles.  It seems that some believe their choice in sending Open-qualified debaters in JV are justified because the eligibility rules permit it.  What I have been arguing is that such eligibility shouldn't allow such actions.  Maybe we need to redefine those eligibility requirements.  But if the recent posts on eDebate are any indication, my proposal for revising such requirements will suffer a bloody death.
   
  Someone argued that debate is about winning and losing, so debaters should be prepared to lose, regardless of what division they are in.  Of course that is true - it's almost a truism.  However, why should debaters be prepared to compete in a rigged game, weekend after weekend?
   
  Again, I come back to the troubled paradox:  How can the community want programs to thrive and to not drop like flies, yet also promote the mentality that "competition-at-all-costs" is more important than having fair and equitable JV divisions?
   
  Don't think that Justin and I are giving up, or that we won't continue to try to make our teams competitive.  The problem is - and again, I seriously doubt we're the only ones who feel this way - that mis-matched, unbalanced and competitively rigged JV divisions severely hamstring our ability to make our teams competitive, give them the self-confidence they need to continue, and the assurance they deserve that debate is a fun, important activity that justifies the time, energy, and money they commit each week to.
   
  zomp
   
   

  ________________________________

  From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com> on behalf of NEIL BERCH
  Sent: Mon 12/3/2007 7:48 PM
  To: Jim Hanson; Andy Ellis
  Cc: edebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at www.ndtceda.com>
  Subject: Re: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility


  I think Andy is right on several things below (third time this year!!).  I'm going to propose some (hopefully) out-of-the-box ideas for dealing with these issues, but first my now-standard reminder:  three divisions=large imbalances inevitable.  It's just a matter of choosing which imbalances are most salient.
   
  Andy touched on something that I'd been thinking about all day long.  Maybe collapsing divisions isn't such a bad thing (especially for those with less experience among the debaters in the collapsed division).  We've had a very positive experience with Towson's combined open divisions (with breakouts and speaker awards for JV, and, in one case, novice).  Moreover, my earlier conversation with Jim Hanson reminded me that in his other (parli) world, single division tournaments are not unusual (with awards for best novices, etc.), and two division tournaments are not unusual.  Another parli idea that we could consider is Jim's NPTE system, whereby teams earn points toward qualification for a season-ending elite tournament.  We could do that for each of the two lower divisions, and a system that awarded more points toward that for performances in higher divisions could encourage moveups.
   
  But Andy (and Sarah, and Jackie, etc.) have an equally good point.  If we go to the trouble of setting eligibility standards, we shouldn't get on people for not voluntarily giving up opportunities within those standards.  If we want to applaud people for doing so, that's cool (like Nick Landsman-Roos, deciding not to defend his JV Nats title, even though he was eligible).  But the converse is not the case.  An example:  just this morning I heard a debate by the noted philosophers, "Mike and Mike in the Morning," on ESPN radio.  It concerned the tribute paid to the late football player, Sean Taylor, by his coach and teammates.  They played the first play of the game against the Buffalo Bills with only 10 players.  Apparently, people were upset with Buffalo for taking advantage of this gesture and running for 22 yards.  It turned out that Buffalo didn't even know that Washington was short-handed, but the philosopher kings of sports radio agreed that there was no reason why Buffalo shouldn't try to score within the rules.
   
  In the past, I've sometimes been critical of people for not moving folks up.  My concerns have largely focused on scaring off novices by having people with significant experience in Novice.  The more I think about it, though, the less sense this makes to me.  If you've got a handful of teams in a novice division with significant experience, other teams may suffer a rout or two over six rounds.  However, power-pairing will kick in, and they'll inevitably get some rounds that are quite competitive.  We should be able to convince students that they can't win all the time.
   
  One other thing:  if someone leaves a debater in a lower division "too long", that's good for the rest of us.  The fact of the matter is that I have yet to meet a debate coach who is not competitive.  So, if you let your novices stay in novice most of the year beating up on rookies, your novices (no matter how talented will not progress as quickly as other novices debating in JV or Open.  They're wasting a good number of their rounds.  The person who first pointed this out to me was Tuna Snider.  I would add that when Andy coached the famed Bard/Vassar, he took two novices (very smart seniors named Ruth Zisman and--I can't remember the other one!!), put them in JV and Open most of the year, and then a first-year "program" won Novice Nationals (and I remember hearing a complaint that it was "unfair, because they're a varsity team!").
   
  So, I'm just going to do what I think is best for my students and their development, with a focus on winning end-of-season championships.  Five further notes:
  1.  For those who think the two lines (novice/JV and JV/Open) are drawn in the wrong place, they/we should pursue amendments to the by-laws (this is perhaps a change from some of my earlier posts).  
  2.  Chief has done that.  After considerable analysis, I decided that his line makes more sense than the one in the status quo, so I'll be voting for his amendment.
  3.  I'm not going to have time to repeat my analysis for Novice Nationals, but I will let folks in on what I found a few years ago when I looked at this in somewhat less detail.  Success in the Novice division at the Eastern version of JV/Novice Nats appears to depend greatly on two factors:  number of rounds that year and number of rounds in JV and Open.  I didn't run previous experience as a variable.  Eyeballing the data for the last couple of years suggests that previous LD experience would be statistically significant (and would mitigate but probably not eliminate the impact of the "number of JV and Open rounds" variable).  Success in the JV division of that tournament (and at CEDA Nationals) was largely a function of number of rounds debated that year.
  4.  An off-the-wall idea:  maybe ADA has it right in a different way.  They award 50% extra sweepstakes points for ADA Nationals.  CEDA could develop a rule that awarded 50% greater points to all tournaments held after February 20 (or so).  That would include regionals, the various JV/Novice Nats, CEDA Nats, and some other tournaments.  It would then encourage people to point toward end-of-year success (which might encourage them to "debate up" more often).
  5.  Binghamton (which probably has about the 50th or 60th highest travel budget in the country) is successful for many reasons, but like other successful programs, the biggest reason is that Joe, Scu, and their debaters work their butts off.  If I were going to investigate Schatz for something, it would be whether he uses supernatural means to get novice debaters to go to 6-7 tournaments a semester and do 15+ hours of work per week (plus research!).
   
  --Neil Berch
  West Virginia University

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Andy Ellis <mailto:andy.edebate at gmail.com<mailto:andy.edebate at gmail.com>>  
  To: Jim Hanson <mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu<mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu>>  
  Cc: edebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at www.ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 7:32 PM
  Subject: Re: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility

  This weekend with some success and some unfortunate pairings we ran an open/jv division with a total of 23 teams 10 jv teams and 13 open teams. We broke to a partial octas, and then a jv semi as a set of breakout rounds. I prepaired rd 1-2 within division rd 3-4 where paired off of 1-2 in an open division. Round 5 to the best of my ability was powered within division and rd 6 was again in the open pool. Basically i ran three tournements within 1 a varsity division a jv division and a combined open division. There where no doubt some jv teams that went 2-0 and debated some ndt quality teams in rds 3-4 or some 1-1 jv teams that some varsity teams got to debate in rd 3-4. 

  Our field was composed of varsity debaters with NDT experience, several teams who compete frequently at national circuit tournaments, jv debaters (many of whom ave debated novice the rest of the semester), experienced but younger debaters with high school experience and a whole plethora of other people. While Binghamton's teams did in fact close out in sems. And mary washington closed out finals in JV, i believe that the model that balanced divisions competition and education worked out well. JV debaters could get to varsity out rounds by winning their jv debates and debating well in their open debates(an option that doesnt really exist for many tournaments) but the youger debaters in the jv division still had the opportunity to qualify for break out rounds. 

  All of this protected what was largely a rookie division in novice.

  I encourage people to reflect on how the model works and i dont suggest that it can work in every situations, but i do think that there can be a lot of benefit in combined divisions with abundant breakout rounds. 

  Finally let me say this. People who talk shit about binghamton are guilty of at least a decent amount of jealous haterism. What other program (much less at a state funded school) has built from a student run student government club to a potential national points champion with a depth of good teams. Oh, and over a ten year period? Good job Joe, Good Job Binghamton. If you like ceda points and think they are valuable or even if you can see their value you cant convince yourself that there is a way in which they would be geared toward anything other than a competitive goal. And as long as there are rules that determine who wins and who doesnt jackie's question is correct. Are they eligible. 

  Also here is a suggestion.

  If you are in the business of winning tournaments and want your teams to constantly be in final rounds, then you gotta be able to beat people. If binghamton and oklahoma and k state wanted to come to every one of our tournaments i would be excited because our debaters could get good rounds against good debaters (move em up for the experience right) but i wouldnt bemoan losing because someone was good. Like when i take teams to big national tournaments we never argue(anymore) that TOC champison should not be there because they decerease our chance of winning. Its different/ Yes and No. Whatever division you are in at a competitive tournament if you place an emphasis on winning there will be people better than you, and if not, then people will talk jealous hater shit about you almost all the time.... 






  On Dec 3, 2007 12:59 AM, Jim Hanson < hansonjb at whitman.edu<mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu>> wrote:


  neil--let me respond to your hypothetical by saying: each of our choices has consequences. 

  when a coach puts in an overly good team into a lower division--that makes it real hard for the other debaters in that division. people have made that point quite sufficiently on this listserv (and it is a good point--I agree with it). 

  the other side of that coin hasn't been made. when a coach puts a weaker team into an upper division--several things happen: 1) good upper teams get at least one round that is less competitive/educational for them--the challenge that you put a lower division team into open for is not there for the open team; 2) the lower division does indeed lose one team, typically a decent team for that division, thereby making that division less competitive and less educational; 3) the team moved up typically loses rounds quickly and winds up moving into lower brackets and so may wind up getting rounds that are only marginally better than being in the upper brackets of the lower division anyway (depending on the tournament).

  directly answering your hypothetical neil: is it your fault? no, you are not responsible for the state of debate. but remember that when you and other coaches make choices--it affects the choices of other coaches.

  most of the tournaments we attend have no jv division and typically, an open division that is pretty cut-throat. when there is a jv division--it is that or throw these kids in to hit first rounds and top 40 and 50 teams that they will be crushed against or go against jv teams that they likely will crush. it is a lousy choice to have to make. and that is what I am saying.

  jim :)
  hansonjb at whitman.edu<mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu>

  From: NEIL BERCH <mailto:berchnorto at msn.com<mailto:berchnorto at msn.com>>  
  Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 1:01 PM
  To: edebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at www.ndtceda.com> ; Jim Hanson <mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu<mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu>>  
  Subject: Re: [eDebate] Novice - JV eligibility

  Jim--You usually make a lot of sense to me, but this one puzzles me.  Let's say that I have sophomores who only started debating in college.  They're in their third semester of debate, working hard, and perfectly capable of going 3-3 or 4-2 in JV.  They decide and/or agree to focus on the long-term, enter the Open division, take their 1-5 lumps, and learn a lot.  According to you, it's my/our fault (for having deserted the JV division) that the JV division is small and dominated by your equally hypothetical first-years who had 3 years of high school policy debate?  Wow!

  --Neil

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jim Hanson <mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu<mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu>>  
  To: edebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at www.ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 2:59 PM
  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<mailto:hansonjb at whitman.edu>


  From: NEIL BERCH <mailto:berchnorto at msn.com<mailto:berchnorto at msn.com>>  
  Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 8:16 AM
  To: Sarah Snider <mailto:sjsnider at ksu.edu<mailto:sjsnider at ksu.edu>>  ; edebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at www.ndtceda.com> ; J Stan <mailto:jstan1979 at gmail.com<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<mailto:jstan1979 at gmail.com>>  
  To: Sarah Snider <mailto:sjsnider at ksu.edu<mailto:sjsnider at ksu.edu>>  ; edebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto: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<mailto: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> <mailto: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<mailto: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<mailto: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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