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Chsaa State Tournament 2012

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Region II (Metro Denver)

Cherry Creek Herbst/Schulze (4-0)

Cherry Creek Henthorn/Coffey (3-1)

Cherry Creek Clark/Ribovich (3-1)

Cherry Creek Heyse/Schlomann (3-1)


Region III (Metro Denver)

Kent Denver LaFontant/Moore (4-0)

Kent Denver Miller/____ (4-0)*

George Washington Pierce/Shen (3-1)

Littleton Thomas/Pittman (3-1)


*Sorry for not knowing Emma's partner's name; it's not Alex Patel, who's unable to compete at State this year.

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I'm not sure that anyone in Colorado reads Cross-X, but I'll post about what happened at State because I think it's important that it be posted somewhere. The intent of this post is objective reporting rather than commentary. As a coach, I'll say that I think some of the decisions made by the grievance committee, tournament directors, and (especially) CHSAA officials were antithetical to the educational purpose of debate. If you'd like to discuss, I'd be happy to do so in private; you know how to reach me.


Despite a small field, there were nine breaks:

Cherry Creek Clark/Ribovich

Cherry Creek Herbst/Schulze

Cherry Creek Heyse/Schlomann

Fairview Piper/Conway

Fort Collins Westerman/Graziano

George Washington Pierce/Shen

Greeley Central (sorry, I didn't get their names)

Kent Denver LaFontant/Moore

Kent Denver Miller/Kolberg


Seven teams drew byes to quarterfinals. A partial octafinals round was held on Friday night between Fairview and Fort Collins, which Fairview won. Seven debaters who had also broken attended the round: the four debaters from Kent, the two debaters from Greeley Central, and one debater from George Washington. The round was stopped after the 1NC due to concerns that notes were being taken in round on paper and on electronic devices, which violates CHSAA's rules. All observers were asked to leave the room and further observation was prohibited.


Rounds were halted until midday Saturday while the grievance committee met to discuss accusations that rules had been violated during the octafinal round. After several grievances and countergrievances, the grievance committee determined that it would allow the CHSAA director, who was in attendance, to determine the consequences for the use of paper and electronic devices in the octafinal round. He decided to disqualify those competitors who had been seen using paper, phones or computers: the four Kent debaters and the debater from George Washington. The Greeley Central debaters were determined not to have violated the rules.


A partial quarterfinal round was held between one of the Creek teams and Greeley Central, which Creek won.



Fairview PC d. Creek Herbst/Schulze

Creek CR d. Creek Heyse/Schlomann



Fairview PC d. Creek CR

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Sounds like the usual State Tournament Shenanigans that are observed in any/every state each year.


I think it's really unfortunate that a whole bunch of teams got disqualified at the Q-Final round--this throws the legitimacy of the entire championship into question.


I also question the decision of those teams to go and flow the round--I assume that the rules regarding flowing a round that you're not participating in are made clear to all involved? Antithetical to education or not (IMO yes, the rules are anti-educational), the rules are the rules and they are published as such.

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Sorry Greg, that sucks for GW (and Kent).


Two things, though.


1. I have to agree with TejaVepa - CHSAA is pretty clear about the no-flow policy. Obviously the correct remedy was to destroy the flows, not DQ the debaters, but nothing CHSAA does is correct anyway.


2. Hopefully this event will be a catalyst for change in the CHSAA regulations of tournaments. I mean, there's this, there's the non-optional requirement for judges to use a stock issues paradigm, the prohibition of Topical CPs, the 4 minute rebuttal (and 5 minute prep) times, and everything else that makes CHSAA so uniquely terrible.

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This is very, very frustrating.


I think the rule prohibiting other competitors from flowing elimination debates should be struck from the CHSAA rules. It appears as though the only way to do so would be to submit an amendment at their Legislative Council meeting in April. I would be interested in helping someone draft an amendment to such an end if they could attend the meeting and submit it.


I believe the rule is antithetical to parts of the CHSAA philosophy, specifically that "CHSAA seeks to provide a positive competitive speech experience for Colorado high school students by... Supporting a state-wide competitive speech program to provide students with the opportunity to

develop and to perfect communication skills" and also that they will fulfill that commitment by "Providing information and resources designed to make speech programs more effective."


There are many other rules that I would consider submitting amendments to, but I don't currently believe any of them are as destructive to the learning environment as the note-taking prohibition. Rebuttal times should be the same as the rest of the country, as an example, and perhaps the mandated paradigm and prohibition against oral critiques should also be reconsidered.


One particular rule strikes me as unconstitutional, and that is the rule about the presence of a laptop establishing consent for tournament officials to search a student's files. This rule reads: "By choosing to use laptop computers in the round, debaters are consenting to give tournament officials the right to search their files. Debaters who do not wish to consent should not use computers in the round." I am no constitutional or legal scholar, so I'd be interested what others think.


Many of the rules and regulations regarding the certification procedures for coaches and judges, while not on-face objectionable, seem to create a chilling effect on attracting coaches, judges and competitors to some of the activities. I have not been involved in Colorado policy debate in any meaningful capacity for many years, but it sure seems as though numbers are reaching frighteningly low levels.


I encourage those of you in coaching or tournament administration capacities to consider a few remedies that seem to be within your control. One is "running" for positions as district representatives and/or Legislative Council members. I do not know the process, but many of the rules seem to be protected by an insular community of coaches that have been in charge for a long, long time. Second is to not run your tournament according to CHSAA rules. They appear to only have the authority to impose the rules on regional qualifying tournaments and the State Tournament. Many tournaments use the rules either because their directors agree with them (not likely to change, I suppose) or as a convenience. How many tournaments do not use CHSAA rules these days? When I debated and coached, I believe it was only the Denver East/Creek Meet at the beginning of the season and maybe one other.


Greg - I would be interesting in hearing some more specifics about this situation or your more detailed opinions on some of the above. Feel free to Private Message me if you're not comfortable posting here.

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Chris -


The laptop search rule may possibly be unconstitutional, but it's taken from the NFL rulebook, not something that CHSAA made up.

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A post is coming with details, I just want to vet it with the head coach at GW lest I say something that ends up burning bridges. Chris - I'm happy to send you a PM with the full saga if Maryrose prefers that I not distribute certain information in an open environment. I'll keep you posted. As for amendments to CHSAA's rules: we have submitted these in the past with very little to show for it (the exception being the lifting of the moratorium on computers in debate).


@SlateEm - In my experience, CHSAA has gotten much more lax about notifying debaters of the rules directly. There was an incident many years ago when students competed under the wrong code in IEs - the grievance committee made the decision not to disqualify those students, but to disqualify any subsequent student whose coach had not made him or her aware of the rules. This has been used as a way to fault coaches, rather than the tournament staff, if students violate rules of which they are not aware (I don't necessarily disagree with the approach, but I disagree strongly with some of what it has been used to justify - more on that later). At this year's tournament, neither CHSAA staff nor the tournament staff reminded coaches, judges, or competitors that note-taking in rounds was prohibited. So to answer TejaVepa's question: no, the rules were not made clear, but CHSAA would argue that it's not their responsibility to do so. I can say with confidence that none of the five students in the room knew that they had violated the rules until after the grievance was filed and the round stopped.


Sorry for the incoherent language here, I'm tired.

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No, that's fair. If they didn't know, they didn't know. I was under the impression that it was a fairly well-known rule, but that's obviously a more provincial view than I realized. And yes, the remedy you detailed above was probably the best course of action.

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