[eDebate] [CEDA-L] Tournament Structure

Stefan Bauschard stefan.bauschard
Thu Oct 23 10:14:53 CDT 2008

The common reaction to releasing pairings for any day the day before  is
that "people will stay up all night."  This was the initial primary reaction
that I got when I continually pushed people on releasing the elim pairings
Sunday night (a practice that had long been common at national high school
tournaments run by high schools).

These are my arguments:

1) It is more difficult and more time consuming to prepare for many
potential elim debates than it is to prepare for 1 elim debate and your
projected elim bracket.  If find myself getting more sleep since this
practice has become more common - -you can make sure your bases are covered
for the first elim, think about what can wait until sides are determined,
figure out who from your program may or may not be judging or debating so
that daylight hours can be used productively, prioritize getting cards cut
during the day on Monday if you expect/realistically hope to be around for
2) Releasing the bracket helps teams with a limited number of coaches who
cannot practically make sure the team is prepared for multiple potential
debates in the morning.
3) People already stay up as late as they possibly can.
4) A lot of coaches waste a lot of time trying to figure out the bracket and
some are better at it than others.  This puts everyone on the same playing

I had never really thought of releasing rounds 5 & 6 before because I
thought it was nice to have one night "off," but when I saw people working
so hard at Harvard last year on Saturday night, it made me think that they
were probably preparing for many debates they wouldn't have that weekend (or
at least Sunday am), and that if I had simply given them the pairing at 10am
they may have gone to sleep by 1am.

On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 9:53 AM, Kuswa, Kevin <kkuswa at richmond.edu> wrote:

> releasing 5 & 6 is a little frightening (everyone stays up all night?), but
> probably a good idea as well.
> Thanks, Dallas.
> ________________________________
> From: edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com on behalf of Dallas Perkins
> Sent: Thu 10/23/2008 10:45 AM
> To: edebate; EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU
> Cc: ceda-l at ndtceda.com
> Subject: [eDebate] Tournament Structure
> This is a very interesting discussion.  I agree with both sides.
> One solution that everybody would like is to make the rounds go faster
> without compromising prep and decision times.
> I have two ideas on the subject, and I wonder what the community thinks
> about them.
> First, we could release the pairings for rounds five and six on Saturday
> evening at 10PM, after most people are done with dinner.  This would not
> keep people from staying up all night working, but it might at least mean
> that they are well-prepared to begin both rounds punctually, with minimal
> time between the two.  I wonder if the community sees this as a useful
> innovation?
> Second, we could reshape the post-round discussion following elims.  As it
> is, the minority judges usually speak first, telling the winners why they
> really lost, then the majority judges tell the losers that in fact they
> really lost, and everyone sits and listens and argues about it all.  This
> can take upwards of forty-five minutes after contentious debates.  I
> propose something like this:  after the decision is announced, each judge
> delivers a brief summary decision, lasting no more than 2 minutes.  If the
> winning team wishes to discuss specifics with any of the judges,
> convention will allow them to go first, ask their questions, demand
> amplification from the dissenters, whatever.  Once they are satisfied, it
> will not be considered discourteous or otherwise inappropriate if one or
> both of the winning debaters excuse themselves from further discussion and
> get on with prepping for the next round.  Given this new convention, I
> think that tournaments would be justified in pushing the schedule
> considerably faster on elim day.  This is especially true at the
> increasing number of tournaments where the elim bracket is published
> Sunday night.
> I would be very interested in community input on either of these schemes,
> as we might try to implement one or both at Harvard this year.
> dp
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Stefan Bauschard

President & Co-Founder, PlanetDebate.com
Director of Debate, Lakeland Schools
Debate Coach, Harvard Debate

(c) 781-775-0433
(fx) 617-588-0283
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