[eDebate] Available to Judge Clarion University Tournament

JP Lacy lacyjp
Tue Aug 5 22:11:06 CDT 2008

Honestly, this post made me laugh...But, then I thought about it.

I think this post highlights the reality where we live.

Many highly qualified judges are "excluded" from the activity because we 
cannot pay them what their time is worth.

Art's numbers seem absurd at first glance. Honestly, they aren't 
unreasonable to any professional. Do the math.

Thirty dollars an hour equates to a decent job. Not a dream job. Not 
enough to justify four days of travel, especially if you are taking time 
off from work & family.

Most of our tournaments require judges that work at a far lower than the 
real market rate for a weekend of travel & true intellectual engagement.

Alumni judges show up when they have the opportunity, most at a monetary 

We should celebrate those people. They put in the hard hours to educate 
our debaters in real competition. They do a fantastic job, with little 
financial reward. Far less financial reward than their time is really 

Debate funding puts us in a difficult circumstance:

Good judging is, in reality, worth more than any of us are capable of 

Many alums cannot afford the luxury of judging for "free." (Given the 
time, travel and work expectations.)

I really do hope for a day when we can pay debate alums what it costs 
them to travel & judge at a debate tournament. Their input into the 
development of good debate can be and has been astronomical.

Until then, we rely on dedicated volunteers to judge debates.

(Yes, that definitely applies to *all* you coaches, assistants, grad 
assistants, and everyone else who shows up to judge a tournament who 
could be making 'bank' in the private sector. Compare your pay to the 
fairly reasonable 30 bucks an hour...)

You "volunteer" judges and your passion for debate have built 
generations of great debaters.

Good coaches help, but good judges help more. In all honesty, I think 
debaters learn more from judges than just about anyone else in the activity.

The reality is that most debates teams can't afford to pay people what 
they're worth: A competent professional capable of judging a debate 
round could make a good deal more in similar circumstances.

Until we can reimburse volunteers what they are really worth, we'll 
continue to depend on "volunteers" and their love for debate.


ps -- For you volunteer judges: Be sure to incorporate your hourly 
travel time, time off work, carbon offsets, gas money, housing costs, 
food allocation, plus entertainment and so on into your tax return. I 
hope I'm not belittling what it takes to get to a debate tournament. If 
it really does cost you more than a grand to judge at a debate 
tournament, you should at least be able to write it off...

Art Kyriazis wrote:
> Dear Folks:
> I'm available to judge at the Clarion University PA tournament.  I'm 
> based outside of Phila.  the drive is @ 310 miles each way for me, 
> which is about 6-7 hours each way.  I'd need to drive all day thurday 
> and much of sunday or monday plus i'd require full reimbursement in 
> advance for housing thursday, friday, saturday and possibly sunday 
> (preferably you pay with your credit card).  I have no objection to 
> sharing rooms to save money or to being housed.
> i'd want to be paid for judging fees for all the rounds, plus mileage 
> (310 miles x 2 x 50 cents per mile = $310) plus an hourly fee for 
> travel each way (7 hours x $30 x 2 = $420).  Alternatively, I could 
> fly to Pittsburgh, rent and drive to Clarion or you could pick me up 
> from the airport in pittsburgh.  the airfare varies but usually only 
> US air flies the route, and its usually around $300 or more roundtrip 
> unless i book in advance.  the tournament looks like six rounds plus 
> at least one elim = 7 x $30 = $210.
> finally, if you're coming through philly you could pick me up.  i'd 
> still want to be paid for travel time as well as judging time and 
> lodgings.  just email me and we can work out details.
> --art kyriazis
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