[eDebate] Andy Ellis and how I learned to love framework

Darren Elliott delliott
Tue May 12 10:31:03 CDT 2009

Before I get to the part about how like Obama inherited a bad economy, the CEDA EC inherited a youtube video crisis of someones ass to begin my term (more on that below) I couldnt resist and I couldnt let Andy post on some other subject without commenting on it.  And Andy things I say here might indeed piss you off.  Are you ready?  You sitting down?  Fingers ready to type a qucik response?  Cause here it comes!!  

I agree with Andy about 2 things he has posted.  Didnt see it coming did you?  Now you are gonna change your mind huh?  Dont become too angry.  But seriously, reading the evidence discussion intrigued me and Andy's arguments about framework and its analogous application to scholarly produced work by coaches and academics in our community made me consider it even farther.  I havent seen a good response to that.  Academically produced work probably should hold a higher place of consideration than regurgitated framework blocks that some 19 year old produced at 2am before the Wake tournament.  So common ground.  See thats a starting point.

Thing 2 I agree with (man you are going through some dissonance now), in large part.  And this I never made fun of in any of my posts nor disagreed with.  And that is the idea of an ED for CEDA.  In fact rewind the tape.  NCA.  Miami.  2002 I believe.  CEDA round table discussion on the future of the organization.  Steve Koch from Capital gives a rousing presentation on the need for an Executive Director for CEDA.  Likens it to NFL (as Andy does below).  Discussion ensues with the players at the time.  Baker, Warner, Steinberg, Sandoz.  They were all there.  And I was there.  And Uncle Frank and Auntie Em.  You were there too.  I lobbied for it then.  Baker presented a different model that he thought would be better for CEDA.  He rolled it out at the CEDA summer meeting in Mississippi.  We created charges and benchmarks for CEDA committees.  We created working drafts of the organizational model for efficiency.  It caught on and worked well...for about a year.  I continued to discuss the Executive Director position for CEDA.  As all discussions go they come and well usually go.  But Steve Koch's presentation always had me convinced.  Baker's model would be a good mixture of that idea and efficiency.  So Andy and I have common ground again.  

As for the other stuff below:
Only good at debate!  Not an academic.  Inadequacy.  Ouch.  Sticks and stones my boy sticks and stones!  (I bet you dont get called out by Tuna for being mean--wanna make a wager?).  I'm offended you dont know me better!  Did you know that in the last 3 years I have coached 2 National Championships in Women's Softball.  Did you know I am a certified baseball and softball umpire, working majors and regional champsionships?  Certified at both the semi-pro and major level!  Did you know I'm an avid pet owner and care taker?  Did you know I have a beautiful 5 year old daughter I do a damn good job of taking care of?  And not to brag but I can cook a damn fine brisket if I do say so myself.  Oh yeah and Im learning how to use that interweb thing and the youtube whatchamacallit.  And besides did you know Gordon was a Yankees fan?

As for your indicts of my administration, I will simply say I think we accomplished a lot.  There are more CC's debating now than when I started.  Others, through a lot of work on my part, will join the fold next year, and the year after.  We had a great CEDA Nats.  Whether you realized it or not, I paid very close attention to detail.  You are right about one thing--people often get bogged down with other commitments and decisions are slow and time consuming.  Part of the reason I have faith in the EC process--people are willing to invest time as opposed to making uninformed votes sometimes.  Its why we have an EC.  I believe the time is worth the wait.  I'm pleased with a lot of what was accomplished.  I wish we could have done more--we all do.  But a ton of work was completed this summer at my meeting and a lot of it is rolling out still.  CEDA received compliments as we were the first to adopt a professional ethics document.  The other organizations are adopting our language almost verbatim.  So I am happy with what we did but will also defend your right to criticize.  If things got off to a slow start, remember the EC was mired with the youtube Shanahan video to begin my term and in one day had over 100 emails from members and the media.  Just like Obama didnt create this financial mess the U.S. is in, he inherited it, and has to deal with it.  The CEDA EC inerited something none of us wanted.  So please consider that when criticizing that the nuts and bolts didnt get tightened right away.  I appreciate the compliment about rocking that which I am passionate about.  I like to think so.  And I brought up the Baltimore thing because I was truly interested.  Your comments are helpful.  I think it is a model that can work and will happen across the country as budgets tend to tighten.  When debates that dont fit our model begin to happen in Baltimore and elsewhere, wouldnt it be nice to have a way to showcase that kind of debate at our organization's year end event as well?  I would think so.  Maybe the conversation is the beginning.


Let's recap 

you made an attrocious argument for why the ec should have powers that you 
can't explain a useful application of. 
In engaging that argument i made a passing reference to the idea of ceda 
hiring an ed. 
You responded to that argument with the inadequacy you normally bring to the 
table (like i said you really should let gordon do the talking, he is 
actually intelligent, an actual academic,not a dude for whom debate was the 
only thing he was ever good at) 

Now we are here...so a few things my argument is not here is my resume ceda 
should hire me as ed, while i would love to do the job someday there are 
millions of candidates more qualified to lead an orgaization with the size 
and scope of ceda. And hey for you there at least a million people less 
qualified than you...ok just kidding...not really, i thought you sucked as 
leader. Good job to sarah and you and the ec on a great ceda nats, and thank 
you. But for the bulk of your administration it seemed like ceda was at 
least your third priority.Things bumped up against deadlines, got together 
with last minute bursts of energy, and often seemed to be in situations 
where vision and implementation were not synced. In your defense, this is a 
problem with all ceda leadershp, as long as ceda comes third to its 
leadership and its leadership is entirely made up of particpants the ability 
to offer the kind of programing, research, support, and leadership that each 
member of the ec envisions the misson of ceda enabling is not a high 
priority AND decisions are made with allegiances to the second job(debate 
coach). I will talk more about the second part of it in a second. 

We could exchange insults all day. Really. and Im sure you agree...but i'll 
stop..look let me put it this way...you the ec gets to pick the ed, make 
sure it is somebody who understand the needs of academics, the nature of 
debate, the role of the ec, and the ability to qucikly bring the kind of 
funds that could make your third job her job and your third job a lot better 
and a lot easier...It actually increses the power of the executive, but puts 
those decisions in the hands of thinking about this day in and day out...i 
don't mind if an executive has power as long as they are focuesd on those 
decisions, but i don't by any means want somebody making final decisions who 
has at least two professional priorities prior to ceda. I'm not knocking you 
for being passionate about the parts of debate you are passionate about...ou 
know you rock that stuff, and keep doing it, it doesnt mean you arent good 
at it or appreciated for it, it means you should not also run a national 
organization which includes 200 members schools and sanctions a season worth 
of competition...see this is where the rub is..CEDA is largely driven by 
the intense personal commitment of those that care, the ec, and a chunk of 
directors and a smaller chunk of students, the CEDA that exists and can 
exist to those who care is different than the ceda that exists for those 
that are largely agnostic on the question except when the question directy 
effects them. Intense personal commitment often gets things done during the 
presidents term, but then another president comes in with their agenda, and 
so on and so on...this means that when tuna opens the door for the merger he 
is not around to manage it after its implementd...while that may be an 
interesting debate, for the point of argument the process would have been a 
lot different if he had implemented it in his first year and managed his 
vision of that partnership for the last dozen or so years...the events 
question (where the debate started) is simlar if gordon would agree to be 
the executive director of ceda...i wouldnt care if he added events in mid 
feburary, but i don't think your argument in defense of it was very good and 
you seemed to think it was...enough that it is a description of a reason you 
might agree to make this decision to add other events at nationals. I don't 
want to give that power to the executive generally, but an executive 
yes...especially if my elected leadership served as board to the ed of 
ceda...NFL Does it...it seems to work...or at least be worth investigating. 

You get a link to a spending disad, hasn't been your argument yet. Whats the 
rest of the offense? 

Now the other question...Some sort of outsider on the leadership structure 
would be good, some one who doesnt care about 5th years but understands why 
you do, somebodys whose job it is to reach across competitive rivalries and 
to guide the right way for the organization...i'm not suggesting some tyrant 
chalie sheen would play or something, you all work out the compensation 
package and terms, you all hire and fire the person, you all do committee 
work under non rotating leadership..uses your time well in your third 
priority...and lets you have say on the vision of the 
organization...president of ceda could be president of the board...still 
powerful because they set the vision and char ethe key committees, but 
without the thankless third job(something most of your non debate advanced 
degree having colleagues cannot understand) 

Recapping again...you have no disad, just some d...An executive director can 
be somebody who you like, who handles the day to to day things you handle 
third first. 

Ill address this baltimore thing. 

Reasons why Baltimore College Debate did not work as i had envisioned it. 
1)It never had the opportunity to come first, it was always at least second 
to my middle school job or my towson job. had to take care of the things 
where my job first and my volunteer work suffered. I beleive had it been 
funded in 2007 it would have succeeded, however i trained my eyes on one 
revenue stream, when it fell through there where no accesible methods of 
funding it to the level that it would have required to spur ceda debate as 
we recognize it here. 
2) I tried to tailor the league to ceda's definition of what a tournament 
is. I always focused on points eligible tournaments in order to attract 
outsiders, while ignoring the 1 day tournament experience of many of the 
local students, and debate leaders. 
3) Without fundraising there was very little i could do to expand services 
and help students justfy it to thier schools. 
4) I had to many tournaments in one place to alter peoples schedules to the 
extent that i would have needed to. 

There are other reasons and thats actually a conversation i am interested in 
having with some of you. I bet that at somepoint in the future lots of 
debates will be going on in Baltimore amongst college students in 
competitive forums, just not usually your competitive forum. 

Some of the reasons this failed are the same reason many good ideas 
fail...doing them is a lot more work, than thinking of them...i think this 
applies to the amendment this conversation all started with, and the reason 
it doesnt make sense to expand the ecs development responsibilities without 
increasing their capacity first. 

Finally...funding..yes its expensive to have an executive director...but if 
that is really the only concern...then lets talk about how to do that, i 
don't doubt the ec can come up with a good solution....in consultation with 
the membership of course. 

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