[eDebate] CEDA, NDT, the bids, and a host of associated issues

Jason Russell jasonlrussell1
Wed Apr 9 19:26:08 CDT 2008

FIrst off, Russia should be the topic. Let's be straight about that. I do
also like health care if we need to rotate for some reason, but if not,
Latin America has too few things that make it an awesome debate topic and
Russia has too many. Every idea Ive heard bandied about regarding Latin
America involves trade policy or aid policy, and, frankly, this is every
fopol topic we debate forever. Sanctions, pressure, constructive engagement,
etc. have all largely been about economic engagement, and I, for one, say we
need less harm diversity and more mechanism diversity. I've also heard that
people oppose a "Be nice to Russia" topic. Meh. Bad arg. We'll get a "Be
nice to LA" topic too. And, yes, that will be less awesome than containing
the Red Army, but Being nice to Latin America will be a snooze a minute
topic that will feature 6 decent cases, 1 good one, and a host of idiotic
Second, CEDA and the NDT both have flaws. But the elim judging at CEDA is as
good as the elim judging at the NDT. To win either, you must be great. The
prelims of both are occasionally disasterous because of the size of the
tournaments (3 judge panels at the NDT and 90 rounds at CEDA). Frankly, the
judging pool stress is about equal. And, MPJ largely fixes the danger of the
quadruple octas screw job these days, although not entirely. The same thing
can happen at the NDT where the panel requirements often end up with a
mutual A, B-C, and then lower if the teams preferences are not well-matched.
Clearly, all clash of civilization style K/Policy match-ups are hard to pair
with one judge everyone wants, much less three. The CEDA final round is
frequently lower in terms of absolute preference, but the Hansen amendment
has balanced this panel overall with non-mutual, highly preferred judges for
the disadvantaged team. Most of what that douchebag Andy Ryan is talking
about is ancient history from prior to even when he debated. He is a bitter
man who has nothing much to live for, as he has well-established through his
recanting war stories ad nauseam. Surely he knows practically everyone
wishes he were dead; I wont beat the horse. Scott's suggestion that we "blow
up" the NDT is silly. The NDT is fine, but different. That's why we should
have two championships. Everyone gets a shot in different formats.

Third, the bids. I had long convo with the Duck at the NDT regarding this.
Some people have alluded to altering the bid process to objectify it. We
should. The bid voters are largely unnecessary and anomalous. Their systems
arent unfair, but the entire process is too ad hoc and basically out-dated.
Here's what we should do: we should divide the country geographically into 6
regions: NW, NC, NE, SW, SC, SE and have each of those regions dedicate one
first-round bid tournament per year. Each of those tournaments would have
the same tournament procedures. The tournaments' participants would be
rewarded points for their performance as per the allocation of CEDA points
or some similar system. Teams would count 4 tournaments of these 6 toward
their bid to the NDT. The top 16 would receive automatic bids. In the case
of ties, we could use the extant tie-breakers in the Larson system or some
similar set of tie-breakers.


1. Objectivity, clearly -- The Zomp attack demonstrates some of the issues.
There have been others. No sense in this. It's needless. Fix it by making
the system objective.

2. Regional travel -- Two links:

a. The tournaments are evenly distributed -- No more southeastern monopoly
on bid relevant tournaments. It's not their fault. There is no cabal of
tournament hosts. But these tournaments have creates travel anomalies that
hurt smaller west coast programs. There are 5 schools west of Texas that
have received a first round in recent memory. That's unreal.

b. The tournaments are the only bid tournaments -- Reinvigorates small
tournaments. Bid hunting teams dont have to skip smaller local tournaments
for fear that a loss there will shatter their bid. It can't because only the
numbers at the majors count.

3. Deflates the significance of round robins -- Another big advantage. No
offense to KY and Dartmouth, two tournaments I love, but the advantage of
the head to head opportunities generated at these tournaments for the
limited teams invited hurts those teams that are left out, which include
many big battling teams. When a team invited to KY, especially, turns out to
be less impressive over the course of the season, but wins even just 2
debates at the rr, they have two head-to-head wins vs. bid teams, which
helps them over other comparably competitive teams who didn't receive this

Thats my bid proposal. Do it. It's better than the voters, who often make
human errors and flub the process accidentally, not because they are
conspiratorial (except Dallas, who is old and crazy and would not deny his
role in any shady back-room deal-- love you, DP).

Fourth, KU BJ, not goliath. Souders finally gets one thing right. I like
those nerds, though, especially Jennings. Ballin! Bricker, meh. Slightly
above average. Pretty dorky overall. I give him a B-. All of the cheering
when we won last year was either our debaters (we were at OU) or dudes who
wanted to see Jennings get so drunk he'd wear a Leprechaun hat and go
streaking, which I suspect he did almost instantly upon elimination.

Finally, race -- if you dont think there's a race problem in debate, you're
an idiot. It's debatable whether Deven and Dayvon have identified the proper
cause (white aesthetics), but it's not at all debatable based on even
circumstantial evidence that one exists. Some of the responses to Towson's
victory were clearly racially motivated, even if the clapping and
high-fiving were only celebratory. This is merely shuffling around the edges
of their point. Im sure someone out there is thinking, and this pisses me
off intensely, "liberal white male guilt" as I'm writing this. I'm hardly
that liberal. I believe in well-prosecuted arguments. I push teams on both
sides of the ideological stripe to think better and more clearly about their
approaches. I judge 95+% clash of civilization debates for this reason.
Navigating critical and policy approaches is practically a full time job for
me these days. Also, I'm barely ever accused of feeling guilty about
anything; shameless, more likely. I want to do something about the issue,
i.e. help improve the arguments on both sides and to change the debate
culture that gives rise to these practices that are exclusionary when theyre
found to be. If the energy spent bickering with Towson about tangential
issues were spent finding common ground, we'd be in much better shape. I
dont vote the liberal list. I dont hack. I really like Towson's arg, but I
think they're practically even in front of me. Other K teams can tell you
the same. I vote for debate, not ideology. The allegation that "white guilt"
is the reason people vote for Towson is one I've heard frequently, it's
infuriatingly racist, and it's wrong. Congrats guys. Hope to see you at ADI
and a lot next year.

As a final note, Andy Ryan: still a douche in 2008. Impressive staying

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