[eDebate] Alternative Stories

Josh jbhdb8
Fri Apr 11 16:31:54 CDT 2008


In 2006 Jack E. Rogers wrote the following in Contemporary Argumentation and

*Rogers, 2006* (PHD LSU; Director of Forensics, University of Central
Missouri; Contemporary Argumentation and Debate; Vol 27; p. 9-10)

Because Table 1 represents resource data from CEDA programs, some
comparisons to the CEDA data reported by Rogers (1991) can be advanced. *In
1991 the average operating budget for a Top 20 CEDA program was $41,346.00.
The 2006 average is $45,900. If operating budgets had been adjusted for
inflation by even 2%, a figure well below the national inflation average,
over the 15 year period, the current adjusted average budget should be
$55,646.00: an almost $10,000 deficit. Obviously, budgets have not kept pace
with even modest inflation rates. During that same 15 year period, the cost
of gasoline has risen from $1.15 to over $3 per gallon, 12 passenger rental
vans have risen from an average of $45 to $95 per day, a single night's quad
hotel room has risen from approximately $45-50 to $75-85, tournament entry
fees are up by 50 to 75%, and the average cost of tuition has risen by an
average of 6% per year, or, for the author's programs from approximately $65
per credit hour to just over $194.1 How individual programs have adjusted to
meeting rising costs with little or no budget increases would be
speculative; however, it is interesting to note that in 1991, the average
CEDA Top 20 program attend 21 tournaments each season while the average for
those same programs had dropped to 16 tournaments in 2006. Additionally, 27
students was the average number of competitors per squad in 1991. In 2006,
Top 20 CEDA programs were serving an average of just 11 student competitors*
Aside from noting that gas prices are projected to rise to $4 per gallon
this summer (Morehead News 4/11/2008) this seems to really peg many of the
problems we face as Director's of Debate today.  Most programs are running a
1991 budget for a 2008 team. Let us remember, in this discussion of
"opportunity" and the "face" of debate that money (more than most other
factors) has a HUGE impact on what programs can afford to embrace or
accomplish.  As the Director of a program that has to raise a travel budget
and salaries I stress every single day about how I can continue to assure
that our students get access to debate.  I want to suggest, that coming to
agreements about how best to deal with the disparate impact of travel costs
on different programs, coming to new agreements about how to best use
technology to replace the need for "as much" travel, and using technology to
decrease the costs of travel might have MORE of an impact on WHO gets to
compete and what privlege means then changing a TOPIC or METHODS of debate.
That is not to say I am un-supportive of different topics (I am in support
of topics that address all of the concerns raised) and am supportive of most
alternative methods (presuming they are predictable and fair so that
meaningful debate can occur.

Many people ask - why does Michigan not attend CEDA nationals - easy two
part answer 1) Dont have enough money to attend both 2) Michigan's history
is as an NDT program and every alum is conversational in the NDT.  Would I
like to attend both, of course!   Can I attend both, nope.  I think most
programs deal with the double pinch of trying to figure out how to continue
to justify University support in an environment where Universities get less
public funding and the budget serves less and less students.  If we really
truly care about access...I mean really....we have to address this
deficit...otherwise, no secession by traditional CEDA programs or change to
an all race debate 24/7 is going to fix the problem (aside from the programs
with large endowments etc.).  This has been THE growing problem since
1991 and likely explains CEDA's and NDTs dropping numbers better then any
hypothetical counter-examples.

A wise man told me a few years ago that our only hope is to raise our games
as Directors...We have to find ways outside of our departments to defend our
programs.  I sure am trying, but its not easy.  Aside from trying to find
endowment money and widen the streams we get income from our only hope is
creating a concert that starts to revisit HOW we do what we do.  Debate is
going to continue to serve less and less people with less and less programs
otherwise.  I have suggested this a few times before.  I will leave with
more words from the conclusion of the study by Doctor Rogers (yes, this was
a study),

Rogers, 2006 (PHD LSU; Director of Forensics, University of Central
Missouri; Contemporary Argumentation and Debate; Vol 27; p. 26-27)

However, *two generalized conclusions would seem valid from the data
presented here. First, budgets have failed to keep pace with even modest
inflation rates. How individual programs have adjusted to meeting rising
costs with little or no budget increases would be speculative; however, the
data support the conclusion that the majority of programs are serving fewer
student competitors* (down by 60% across program formats) *and traveling to
fewer tournaments* (down by 35% across program formats). *Second, when
compared to the coaching population of 15 years ago, the forensic programs
of today are increasingly served by a coaching population that reflects
those professional standards reflected by their peers across departments,
colleges and universities*. The majority of coaches serving programs today
holds terminal degrees, has successfully attained both tenure and promotion,
and has publication records commensurate with both their experience and
peers. In conclusion, it would seem logical to make the observation that a
competitive funding environment has created a climate of change. Forensic
professionals have responded to the need to be both more professionally
competitive in the marketplace and more efficient with those resources
provided to the programs they shepherd. As a result, *forensic programs have
been streamlined. This formula for efficiency has resulted in both fewer
students being served and fewer tournament opportunities. This doubled-edged
sword is more efficient in terms of resources, but savvy administrators
should ask themselves "at what cost?" If a successful forensic program
serves the institution's mission and goals, can it continue to remain
effective with fewer and fewer student ambassadors traveling to fewer and
fewer opportunities to spread both the name and reputation of their

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