[eDebate] GSU College Tournament Invite- Increased Judging Commitment

Dr. Joe Bellon debate.gsu
Mon Jul 21 20:04:48 CDT 2008

Mike's post does a good job reflecting our thinking. Let me just add a
couple of points.

I respect Aaron's concern, but I disagree with his conclusions. This is a
decision we made after several years of complaints filed by teams and
coaches attending our tournament. Our desire has always been to create a
tournament that serves as many of the interests of our competitors as
possible, while still creating a high-quality competitive environment. One
of the most frequent complaints we have heard regards the difficulty of
creating highly preferred matchups between judges and teams, especially in
late prelim rounds.

Over the years, we have tried many different tactics to solve this problem.
Almost every year this tournament has been in existence, we have spent money
hiring quality local judges to supplement the pool. Every single year Mike
and I have spent time begging folks for extra rounds of judging, whether
during registration or on the second day of prelims. Many of you have been
generous enough to provide extra judging, compensated or not. For the past
several years, Mike has gone through the entire pool by hand, holding back a
group of highly preferred judges until the second day of prelims so we might
have a better chance of mutual preference on the second day.

All of this has not been enough. Although we are proud of the work we have
done to improve the mutuality of judging at our tournament, we continue to
hear complaints, and we continue to find ourselves in bad positions in
rounds seven and eight. There have been many discussions about the reasons
for this, and Mike has a much better knowledge of the statistics on this
than I do. The point is that there is a problem and, given current community
preferences and constraints, this is the best solution we can come up with.

Let me stress one part of the invite that has not received enough discussion
so far: if your financial situation prevents you from sending all the teams
you want AND all the judges you need, contact me. We are reasonable humans,
and we want as many teams as possible to be able to attend the tournament.
Every year, we waive or reduce fees for programs in trouble. We will work to
find a solution to your problems.

Finally, allow me to second Mike's call for better solutions to this
problem. We want to be creative, and we want to solve the problem without
putting an additional resource burden on everyone. Many of the changes we
have made this year have been designed to reduce overall costs.

Dr. Joe Bellon
Director of Debate
Georgia State University

On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 8:11 PM, Aaron Kall <mardigras23 at hotmail.com> wrote:

> ------------------------------
> "JUDGING REQUIREMENTS. Schools must supply 5 rounds of judging for every
> team, regardless of division. If you have two teams, for example, you will
> need to provide 10 total rounds of judging.  If this requirement is going
> to create a serious financial hardship for your team, please contact Joe
> Bellon (joe.bellon at gmail.com) so we can discuss possible alternatives."
>  this e-mail is not directed specifically at the gsu tournament, which i
> have always enjoyed.  i'm especially happy with the new tournament hotel.
> the gsu tournament just happens to be the first major tournament of the
> college season and it appears they've decided to increase their judging
> requirements.  i think this is a bad idea in general and think a dialogue on
> this idea and judge preferences in general needs to be started.  so,
> hopefully this e-mail will facilitate this process.
> i think it's generally a bad idea for our community to start increasing the
> size judging commitments and i hope other tournaments won't consider doing
> the same thing.  unless someone is being paid specifically to judge, four
> out of eight rounds seems to be an appropriate judging commitment .  i know
> directors and the like aren't going to be eager to judge a fifth debate, so
> this new policy will likely only add to increased tournament costs.
> considering recent increases in travel costs associated with oil prices,
> luggage, etc., it seems like this is possibly the worst time to further
> increase tournament costs/fees in this way.
> There are obviously many reasons, but in my opinion (after talking with
> many tab directors) the greatest reason college tournaments are constantly
> short on judging is because several teams are providing the requisite amount
> of judging, but not providing the requisite amount of "mutually preferred
> judging".  Tournaments routinely lose dozens of rounds of committed
> judging because several judges can be placed in few or zero rounds.  This
> problem gets exacerbated when a team fulfills their judging commitment with
> a non-mutually preferred judge and this same judge hires his or her other
> half commitment out to another team so they can also fulfill their judging
> commitment.  A new policy of increasing the size of judging commitments
> doesn't really get at the root of this problem.  It basically punishes
> everyone to make up for the rounds lost from teams that don't bring enough
> mutually preferred judges.
> One potential way to deal with this problem- If schools don't end up
> providing the requisite amount of mutually preferred judging at tournaments,
> they should pay the tournament the appropriate hired judging fee.  The
> tournament can in turn use this money to hire local mutually preferred
> judges and/or pay other mutually preferred judges at the tournament who have
> extra rounds available and want to judge additional rounds for money.
> If this type of system is viewed as unfair or too elitist (certainly
> reasonable concerns), I think we have to re-examine the whole concept of
> mutually preferred judging.  If the requisite amount of mutually preferred
> judging can't be provided by asking teams to provide half judging
> commitments, we should re-evaluate the system of mutual judging.  If this
> year it's 5/8 round judging commitments, 6/8, 7/8, or 8/8 won't be that far
> off in the distance.  At the NDT last year, we had to provide 24 rounds of
> judging for only one team.  I'm generally in favor of some type of mutual
> preference judging system, but not if the only way to achieve it is through
> increased judging commitments and fees.  I would personally rather get an
> A- or a B instead of an A+ judge, as opposed to subjecting the entire
> tournament to increased judging commitments/fees.
> Aaron
> ------------------------------
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