[eDebate] Debate history gems

Mitchell, Gordon Roger gordonm
Thu Aug 6 20:27:27 CDT 2009

I picked up these stories from Zarefsky this summer; thought I better share them before they disappear under a paper mound:

1968: Dartmouth beat Northwestern (Zarefsky-Denger) in NDT quarters, and there was quite a brouhaha about the judging panel featuring too many friends of Dartmouth coach Herb James on it. Thomas McClain was the Northwestern coach, and the judge selection process was apparently pretty lax back then, kind of smoke-filled room stuff. This event was the catalyst for implementation of the MPJ system we still have today.

1973: OPEC retaliated against the U.S. for its support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War with an oil embargo, causing gas shortages and rationing (including gas station closures on Sundays). Big national debate tournaments, previously Fri-Sat-Sun affairs, switched to the Sat-Sun-Mon default model we still have today. Apparently there are stories about some teams getting stuck/buying bootleg gas to get home on Sunday trips before the switch.

* * *

Gordon R. Mitchell
Associate Professor of Communication
Director of Graduate Studies
Director, William Pitt Debating Union
University of Pittsburgh
CL 1117, 4200 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: (412) 624-8531
Fax: (412) 624-1878

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