[eDebate] Novice Rules...ans jackie

Darren Elliott delliott
Tue Nov 20 15:13:36 CST 2007


Thanks for the dialogue.  I think you know me enough to know I was not patronizing you about this issue.  I know how committed you are to a full service program.  Don't deflect my concerns by making me out to be something I am not.  At least not in this instance! : )

As for NCA the amendment passed, but now it goes to the membership for a vote.  So yes the populace matters and the cabal has not ruled supreme.  Ok so that was sarcastic, but I know you can appreciate that.

Before answering each of your arguments I want to make 3 points that I think are a common theme for me and should tip the balance for anyone on the fence.  1st, You havent answered the waiver process--it exists now and checks back all your "move em up too early and theyll quit" arguments.  As a caveat I know Neil does not necessarily like the waiver process but it exists and I dont see it going away anytime soon.  2nd, you have not answered the claim that as a persuasive coach you can convince an incoming frosh with 50 rounds of LD that they should be in JV.  3rd, I think we disagree over what constitutes a novice.  So if you travel people with over 50 rounds of HS LD and/or Policy, I am not persuaded by claims that you are an authority on Novice coaching and retention (this isnt aimed at just you Jackie, but anyone who makes this claim).  IF for example, I took 10 teams out in Novice and they had over 50 rounds of HS LD, I shouldnt get to in a public forum talk about how I know so much more about novices and I am great at participation numbers because I have 20 "novices".  Of course I could claim to be an expert but it would not be genuine.  Because I would have debaters in a division they dont belong in and of course its easier for them to stay there.

You--I do not think you will ever convince me that we need more rules on issues where we just have to trust people won?t do it.  Like sending text messages or email to debaters or telling students who they debate the next day if the coach is in the tab-room.  We cannot make a rule every time we feel someone done somebody wrong.  I am not saying we need no rules, but I am saying there is a point where rules are not the answer.  Martin is my antagonists, I don?t give him much weight in lengthy posts.

Me--You cannot always legislate ethics.  I have conceded that.  But you continue to concede that coaches HAVE abused the LD rule.  It HAS driven away novices THIS YEAR.  And you better believe there should be a rule, in fact there is one and the NDT committee reaffirmed it at NCA, that coaching once the 1AC starts is not acceptable.  Why?  Because Joel caught someone doing it at UCO a few years back over instant messenger.  Just like the need to protect novices when competition and ethics collide.  Martin's antagonism or not, he is dead on on this issue.

YOU--So here is my on the ground question for you, since it has to be asked.  I know how the current rule serves as a bridge to get LD debaters into college policy debate.  Every year, count this, every year I have students who cross that bridge.  I know that they would not do it if they were pushed into JV.  I got faces for my examples, not theories.  My argument is we bring more people into policy debate because of the current rule.  It serves an effective bridge.  You have apparently destroyed this bridge at NCA.

ME--Come on now, no one at NCA destroyed any bridge.  My argument is twofold.  1st, you can convince good LD debaters (ones with more than 50 rounds) they should be in JV.  2nd, the lack of the rule has caused people to leave this year.  So we both have evidence and faces.  The difference is your faces stayed because it was easy.  The faces who left were the ones who had it hard.  Neil asks how do you weigh these faces.  I say the waiver for one and the need to protect the debaters most vulnerable--those with no experience--not those with some.  You have ignored the waiver issue and the ability to get kids to move up based on coaching persuasion.

YOU--Straight up, I coach more ?novices? in one year than most do in three.  I got faces for my examples.  I do not need ?advice? on what is best to get people to debate.  This is almost patronizing.

ME--I am not trying to be patronizing and I think you know that.  But we disagree on the definition of Novice, so I am not persuaded by the argument you coach more novices, when I think I and a large part of the community would not consider them novices when they have over 50 rounds of LD in HS.  Novice by current definition yes, but ethically I think a lot of "novices" in this country are actually average JV debaters.  Hence the amendment.  We disagree on what a Novice is.  I am not saying this is the case with all OU novices or any of them in a given year.  But if it does apply, we disagree on the definition and I think the community will have to decide the competing interpretations question.

YOU--I wish maybe others would acknowledge when the discussion is about perspective and not attempt to provide ?evidence? when none is possible.  Everyone is right in some way.  The question for me is how do I get more participation.  You claim your experience to be ?true?. Come on.  And I am lying?  Your evidence is overwhelming and certifiable?

ME--We agree on this.  We both have "evidence" about the novice participation question.  And this is largely about perspective.  I also have the same starting point--how do I get more participation?  You think you get to count novice participation by putting superstar LD debaters in Novice because the rule allows it.  I think its a bad rule/lack of rule that actually hurts participation on one end, and see no reason you cant convince kids who are 50 or more rounds experienced why they cant debate JV.  Again, we disagree on what constitutes a true novice.  And all of this calls into question the ethics stance.  Seems like as long as they are ruled novices, you will call them novice and say how many novices you coach.  I think that is part of the problem.  And when I say you it isnt just you Jackie, its anyone who is doing it.  And my guess is, all of those "yous" will vote no on the amendment to preserve a system that allows you to call someone novice who really shouldnt be.  

YOU--This was my main concern actually.  Not just a comment.
Look, in the rationale.  You say ?National Circuit LD?  It?s still pasted below.  You also said 50 rounds, not 100, which you unfairly use in the following posts while making your argument.  Here is your rationale again, just to remind you.  I am still not sure what this critical/policy jargon means?.

ME--When rationales get posted on the ceda website they are not meant to be inclusive of all the arguments behind them.  And its been posted there for a month.  Why just now engage on this?  But beyond that I am concerned because there are some with over 100 rounds.  That is ridiculous no matter how you cut it.  And I think 50 is too much so I set the bar there.  I also think when I say National Circuit it means something different than when you and JT hear it.  Regardless, 50 rounds does not a novice make in my opinion.  The critical/policy jargon issue has been explained numerous times.  The novice rule existed in a world where "college policy" debate was actually that.  Now that is has morphed into a world of policy, non-policy, critical, performance, etc. there is no longer a reason to see LD as distinct given that many of the critical authors run today in college are being run in HS LD rounds.

YOU--Where is the problem?  Look, novice divisions are small in our region.  Now you want to gut a few more teams from novice, assuming they will just be put in the JV pool, but it is inevitable you will lose debaters who will not make the transition.  How does the change increase participation?
Since you got jumpy and made a pepsi challenge for JT, I got one for you and every person who voted at NCA.  Produce 2 novice teams next year, keep them all year and travel them.  Its easy to make rules about things that people are not associated with.  I know the past rule was good for increasing participation, and your ?certifiable evidence? does not scare me.

ME--The problem perhaps cuts both ways.  I think superstar novices kill participation in Novice.  It has happened this year and every year before.  You think pushing them into JV kills their participation.  You can cite examples.  We both have evidence.  If you truly want to increase participation Jackie, where is your alternative?  You have not answered mine.  The waiver process solves your move em up too soon argument.  There is nothing to solve the Novices we are losing.  So are you ok with us losing novices as long as some other novices dont have to move up too soon to JV?  As for Pepsi--I actually made 4 without ever getting jumpy! : )  But to yours I say talk about patronizing.  Am I not associated with Novice?  Do you even know who voted at NCA?  I remember the people in the room and they were overwhelmingly novice friendly and novice coaches.  And the amendment passed their muster.  And quite frankly in our Region it is hard to get 2 novice teams and travel them all year when others travel teams who are not novices by the spirit of the rule.  Yes, the current definition allows people to call the debaters I am talking about novices.  But it doesnt mean those people get to wave the flag of increased participation and at the same time sleep comfortably at night under the blanket of security it provides.  I guess the alt for those of us refusing to stack Novice with HS LD debaters is to either quit fighting the fight (meaning your novices will have to move up anyways because there will be no novice division) or take our novices to regions that ethically and legislatively prevent abuse (again killing novice in our region and making your disads inevitable).  Do you really want that?

Finally, Jackie if we both want the same thing: increased participation, then we need to come to some agreement over how to get there.  What are the alts if you dont like the amendment?  We both have evidence of what might make a debater quit.  But I am the only one pointing to solutions AND to current processes which check the harms you cite.  Youve offered nothing for the Novice who gets pounded until they quit by debaters with HS experience.


Darren Elliott
Director of Debate and Forensics--KCKCC
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