[eDebate] [CEDA-L] MPJ across divisions

V I Keenan vikeenan
Wed Nov 12 13:54:06 CST 2008

I think the tab from West Point (Patrice/Rubino) and the tab from West Conn
have pretty good counter-examples of using preferred judges across divisions
that we may want to examine.  West Point does use an ABC/strike system in
all divisions.  Of course, they also put the "lay" judges in Open Finals ...
but overall the recent move to prefs has worked very well for both years.
Joe and Kathryn may have some specific insight on this if we do a formal

Neil Berch was primarily tabbing West Conn, which gave each division the
same amount of strikes I believe, but no additional prefs.  Any tournament
that has Ken Strange judging multiple jv rounds and Sherry Hall giving
feedback to novices in prelims may also give us some insight into how to
ensure we allow our emerging debaters to have some of the best feedback
available.. (Sherry also judged elims in nov and jv, as did Ken).  Also, 3
of our most preferred judges in the entire region (based on past prefs) also
judged all three divisions in the tournament.

One common thing I know about both of these tab rooms is that they primarily
leave things to the program, with only minor changes (Neil was very excited
when the computer decided that only women would judge in Open for one
round).  But this may be affected by a second criteria - division numbers.

West Point broke to partial-doubles in novice, West Conn broke to Octs.  In
both tournaments novice was clearly the largest division.  Assuming it is
the "biggest" division that is paired first or has the most break rounds, it
could conceivably change the ordering priorities of tabulation.  Of course,
these are also examples of tournaments where novice debate itself is a very
high priority.

Finally, Jake brings up an interesting point about how "novice only
eligible" judges may skew preferencing.  One criteria I would emphasize that
affects this is the availability of judging philosophies.  Many novice only
judges don't have them.  In fact, if there is a lesser known judge with a
philosophy, versus one without, I think many of us prefer the more known
quantity.  Most judges aren't a Jessica Yeats or a Josh Kernoff, who will
get rounds at Harvard whether or not they have a philosophy up (yes, that's
a reminder).  A novice only judge is likely to have little-to-no reputation,
making them automatically less preferred.  In our region we have a number of
Open debaters who regularly judge - and some can fill a commitment, and some
can't, but if all other criteria are equal, in theory there shouldn't be as
much of a skew.

I think an interesting tournament to look at might be Richmond - they have
offered the same type of prefering in ALL divisions for years (previously
just strike, now multiple categories).  It might be a good start for a
"control" if we want to analyze the data.  It has some novice only judges,
as well a diversity of argumentation leanings by both the debaters and the
judging pool, so it forces some choice more than some other larger Open
tournaments.  The Novice teach in round might even offer an interesting
comparison for pairing 2 versus 3 divisions.

I think ultimately it is important to understand that the MPJ rule will NOT
change the competitive or educational focus of a tournament that has existed
historically.  And I think that intent is a lot more of a factor than any
rule we can possibly make for the CEDA constitution.


2008/11/12 <Jacob.Thompson at unlv.edu>

> I'd like to second Jon Bruschke's concern about problems related to MPJ
> across divisions.  Based on our experience at the UNLV invitational
> tournament this year, respecting MPJ across divisions creates an odd
> problem.
> Most teams/coaches appear to simply copy the prefs (or copy them with
> slight modifications) for their JV and novice teams from one of their open
> teams.  This means that the judges who are only Novice or JV elegible will
> be struck or ranked incredibly low by most JV and novice teams.   Darren's
> example of his novice or JV teams wanting feedback from some of the most
> preferred judges in the country exemplifies this point... It means that they
> are much less interested in feedback from new judges who are
> learning/developing their judging skills.  While I sympathise with Darrens
> point, in the end, we lost many, many, many elegible rounds of judging at
> our tournament because of MPJ across divisions.  As Jon points out the other
> serious downside of this quandry is that many of the judges who could have
> learned and improved in the novice and JV divisions were summarily excluded
> from judging.
> I think the rule needs some serious revision (or at least the development
> of a new community understanding),
> 1) at a bare minimum, coaches or the folks who fill out prefs should not
> summarily dismiss novice or JV only elegible judges from judging their
> students.
> 2) Ideally, I believe that we should consider MPJ across divisions, but
> only within discrete judguing pools for each division.  Here is my vision of
> how the system would work: if I bring a JV or novice team to a tourney, I
> could select a UNLV judge for that division (or even split that judge
> between 2 divisions--i.e. 2 uin JV and 2 in Open.  That judge would be on
> the pref sheet only for the divisions that they were slated to judge in and
> would be ranked accordingly.
> Here are the benefits:
>         a) each division still gets prefs
>         b) fairly good judges would be entered in the pool for the JV and
> novice divisions--any of my assistant coaches are a perfect example.  I'm
> sure that         Darren's team would get great feedback from Grace Saez,
> etc.  We'll take at least 1 JV team to the cal swing, and would be happy to
> dedicate a judge         to that division only.
>         c) the judge for your team judging in novice or JV can better coach
> the novice or JV team(s) they are judging for.  They may have judged/scouted
> the         competition and can give the team they are coaching more
> specific pre-round prep advise.
>         d) no massive loss of elegible judging
> My two cents.
> Jake
> Jacob Thompson, Ph.D.
> Director, Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum
> Assistant Professor In Residence
> Greenspun College of Urban Affairs
> Department of Communication Studies
> University of Nevada, Las Vegas
> 4505 Maryland Parkway Box 45052
> Las Vegas, NV 89154-4502
> office (702) 895-3474
> fax (702) 895-4805
> cell (702) 809-9670
> Rebel Debate on the web:
> www.unlv.edu/orgs/debate
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Vik Keenan
Director - Baruch Debate, CUNY
Assoc. Director - New York Coalition of Colleges
212/992-9641 or 347/683-6894
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