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University Of Tennessee Round Robin Announcement.

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Greetings Policy Debaters,

 

We here at the University of Tennessee wanted to take this opportunity to announce to you all that we are going to be hosting a by-application round robin here in Knoxville on October 6-7. You can check out all the information here: http://utkdebate.weebly.com/the-gauntlet-high-school.html. The application can be found on that website as well. The short version is that we plan on accepting the 24 applications we receive (regardless of school and location) and bringing you to Knoxville for a round robin of the best of the best. Your entry fee covers food, tshirts, and some cool gifts. The tournament will be unique in a lot of ways, so make sure to check our the invitation and application. If you have any questions at all feel free to get in touch with us at debate@utk.edu. The tournament will also have an LD and PF round robin, so direct anyone and everyone you know to the website so we can truly have the most competitive experience in the nation. We hope to see you in October.

 

Thanks,

Nathan Johnston

University of Tennessee, Coach and Tournament Director

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We will not be allowing oral disclosure in the round.

 

In my humble opinion thats silly and hopelessly impossible to enforce as a norm. Is this debate from the 1990s? Even LD discloses these days--and at the top level. I don't know if thats the policy at NPDA and IPDA touraments or not. But it is at all 3 policy levels in college: NDT, CEDA, & the ADA. Consistently, the best minds in those activities agree that the transparency, communication, and education benefits trump the other concerns that might arise.

 

I don't think much of the community accepts this as a policy except maybe at a couple of isolated tournaments (and even if its the "official policy" my guess is its violated). And giving after round critiques becomes almost purposeless when this is the policy....because participants are pretty much just trying to figure out how you voted by your post-round. Also, the risk that someone would hold back on a particular criticism--because it might indicate or win or loss is also a consideration.

 

There are a couple of reasons:

1. Personal experience and seemingly community experience has demonstrated that post-rounds enhance the educational process. Thats why the majority of national circuit tournaments favor more transparency and more communication (not judges hiding behind silence....which hasn't exactly worked well in government, corporations, or education).

2. This is held up by research based on feedback (known as deliberative practice). Quick and specific feedback via post-round discussions is better than reading a ballot no one can interpret. You can read a bit more about it here. Moreover, there is also a robust literature in education science around the value of feedback--and presumably feedback thats clear and very, very soon after the event....ie 5 to 10 minutes after....versus 2 days.....and feedback which encapsulates a dialog to clarify any issues of misunderstanding).

3. Students need to understand the full context of RFDs....not just 3 to 10 words scribbled on a ballot. Thats not quality feedback. Not even close.

4. Transparency helps judges to be forced to account for their decisions and to actually get better at making those decisions. This improves the community--and makes community norms on such issues clearer. So it serves the interest of fairness & of debater improvement.

5. In fact, something learned from a judge in round 1.....can be used in round 2 through outrounds/elimination rounds.

 

By participating in debate....especially at the top levels....these debaters can take the ego-blow of learning they have a loss. Plus its easier to take it round by round--as you learn how you are doing--rather than all at once (oh....I thought I went 4-2, but I really went 1-5).

 

Good luck on getting policy and LD programs to commit.

 

That said....I'm glad to see the University of Tennessee commit or re-commit to supporting debate and the speech community.

 

It might be that novices.....might benefit from their first tournament....but even then....I don't see the justification or rationalization as holding much weight.

 

If I came to the tournament as a judge or competitor I would expect the rule to be violated.....if it wasn't.......I wouldn't return (and I wouldn't top programs to either). The norm is simply that important to the debate process and the learning process and the marketplace of ideas (something that debate should stand up for). A speaking or educational activity that places such a high value of secrecy and silence--is simply beyond me. That the community accepted this norm for so long---is equally beyond me. Thank goodness it changed--because participants and the activity are better for it--much better for it. What if your professors used that model.....that they didn't tell you ongoing assignment, quiz, or test grades and waited until the end of the year for any info on your grades????? Students would storm the President's office--I don't know why it should be any different in debate.

 

And let me be clear--its great that UT is putting on an event--it would be nice if that event was consonant with what we know about education and learning--and what works and helps the community versus what doesn't.

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In my humble opinion thats silly and hopelessly impossible to enforce as a norm. Is this debate from the 1990s? Even LD discloses these days--and at the top level. I don't know if thats the policy at NPDA and IPDA touraments or not. But it is at all 3 policy levels in college: NDT, CEDA, & the ADA. Consistently, the best minds in those activities agree that the transparency, communication, and education benefits trump the other concerns that might arise.

 

I don't think much of the community accepts this as a policy except maybe at a couple of isolated tournaments (and even if its the "official policy" my guess is its violated). And giving after round critiques becomes almost purposeless when this is the policy....because participants are pretty much just trying to figure out how you voted by your post-round. Also, the risk that someone would hold back on a particular criticism--because it might indicate or win or loss is also a consideration.

 

There are a couple of reasons:

1. Personal experience and seemingly community experience has demonstrated that post-rounds enhance the educational process. Thats why the majority of national circuit tournaments favor more transparency and more communication (not judges hiding behind silence....which hasn't exactly worked well in government, corporations, or education).

2. This is held up by research based on feedback (known as deliberative practice). Quick and specific feedback via post-round discussions is better than reading a ballot no one can interpret. You can read a bit more about it here. Moreover, there is also a robust literature in education science around the value of feedback--and presumably feedback thats clear and very, very soon after the event....ie 5 to 10 minutes after....versus 2 days.....and feedback which encapsulates a dialog to clarify any issues of misunderstanding).

3. Students need to understand the full context of RFDs....not just 3 to 10 words scribbled on a ballot. Thats not quality feedback. Not even close.

4. Transparency helps judges to be forced to account for their decisions and to actually get better at making those decisions. This improves the community--and makes community norms on such issues clearer. So it serves the interest of fairness & of debater improvement.

5. In fact, something learned from a judge in round 1.....can be used in round 2 through outrounds/elimination rounds.

 

By participating in debate....especially at the top levels....these debaters can take the ego-blow of learning they have a loss. Plus its easier to take it round by round--as you learn how you are doing--rather than all at once (oh....I thought I went 4-2, but I really went 1-5).

 

Good luck on getting policy and LD programs to commit.

 

That said....I'm glad to see the University of Tennessee commit or re-commit to supporting debate and the speech community.

 

It might be that novices.....might benefit from their first tournament....but even then....I don't see the justification or rationalization as holding much weight.

 

If I came to the tournament as a judge or competitor I would expect the rule to be violated.....if it wasn't.......I wouldn't return (and I wouldn't top programs to either). The norm is simply that important to the debate process and the learning process and the marketplace of ideas (something that debate should stand up for). A speaking or educational activity that places such a high value of secrecy and silence--is simply beyond me. That the community accepted this norm for so long---is equally beyond me. Thank goodness it changed--because participants and the activity are better for it--much better for it. What if your professors used that model.....that they didn't tell you ongoing assignment, quiz, or test grades and waited until the end of the year for any info on your grades????? Students would storm the President's office--I don't know why it should be any different in debate.

 

And let me be clear--its great that UT is putting on an event--it would be nice if that event was consonant with what we know about education and learning--and what works and helps the community versus what doesn't.

 

We aren't necessarily opposed to the idea of disclosure, our concern is that - as you can tell from the schedule - too much post-round discussion and with two judges adjudicating each round we could be forcing the tournament to run quite late. That being said, when I competed in LD and PF in high school disclosure was discourage for times sake, but it happened anyway. It is a rule that we know can and will be violated. For expedience sake, however, we are attempting to limit that cost somewhat. Moreover, that invitation goes on to say that we expect judges to be open for critiques post-round. Even if that means immediately, the main goal is to get ballots in and get the next round going. If judges and competitors find time to discuss once ballots are in and before the next round then we most certainly encourage that action. Also, we will be having the running scoreboard on Sunday for students to see where they sit in records.

 

Education, we believe and as you said, is one of the most important reasons we do debate (there is theory on this in our beloved world of parli too). Thus, we are not trying to do anything to limit education. And as I have just said, we encourage it. We encourage post-round disclosure, we encourage discussion of ways to improve, and, most importantly, this tournament hopes to improve education by bringing the best of the best together for a fantastically competitive tournament. We just want it to work within a framework that gets kids time to rest and doesn't make them miss plane flights.

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Rohan,

 

I appreciate your factual & nuanced correction.

 

I make an argument that education & communication favor disclosure. I'm saying the master has no clothes. Especially given the work on deliberative practice & I don't have the work on feedback, but I'm sure that many education and training scholars would say that its 25% to 40% of the value of the activity--not just the ballot.

 

Thats why the best of any sport have coaches and also why we have post rounds. When you have rounds against the best--and the rounds are decided on the very narrowest of margins--thats when you need those critiques the most.

 

We encourage post-round disclosure, we encourage discussion of ways to improve, and, most importantly, this tournament hopes to improve education by bringing the best of the best together for a fantastically competitive tournament.

 

Thats not what the invitation said. Plus, you're playing both sides of the fense in more ways than one here (if thats what you feel....we don't have to engage in this discussion at all). So, given decisions isn't as much as the issue....as the post-round explanation of the decision.

 

If its a time issue.....why not articulate that as the reason rather than just saying its not allowed on the invitation.

 

Personally, instead of going to bed at 10 or 10:30--I would rather say up another 50 minutes to an hour to hear my decisions and to hear them explained.

 

And I think there are plenty of tournaments that run on time with disclosure & talk. Certainly thats one thing that slows them up--but accidental "prep stealing" (in policy) and abuse of pre-round prep are also problematic in that equation. It would seem the better way to deal with it is to limit pre-round prep to 15 minutes (assuming 5 minutes of travel) and really enforce that--in a round robin scenario this shouldn't be particularly bad. There are alternative ways of achieving your objectives without short shifting the overall educational objectives.

 

I don't know why any educational administrator would send their kids on a $1,000 to $1,500 trip and not get quality feedback from "experts" in the back of the room. Especially given that most judges see themselves as educators (not merely adjudicators) you put them in a very weird position. And I think the selective enforcement of this ends up being just as bad--because 33% to 60% of your judges are still going to give post-rounds and still reveal their decisions. This will result in 2 types of selective enforcement:

1. at the judge level due to different levels of desire to follow the rules

2. at the runner level

Your policy doesn't seem to deal with it in a clear way--which truly communicates the reason for your principle or rule. The former means that you're tournament is likely going to run at the same time--its just that only 35% will get value for that time.....versus 100%.

 

I'm not for anyone missing their planes.....tournament efficiency shouldn't come at the cost of education & clear communication--which is the reason people and educational institutions invest their money in the activity in the first place.

 

As an FYI, I'm not unaware of the time issue. I've administer in some way, shape, or fashion at probably a 8 to 10 tournaments. So I certainly empathize. But ideally a round robin should be easier to administer and run on time (you're dealing with 15% of the people & resources--but still have a decent sized volunteer staff to cover the bases).

 

I realize it sounds like I'm throwing stones--I just think that some in the community might like a better policy around such issues--if you really want to get the best of the best--and you really want to have an educational event.

 

I don't know how you hold judges accountable for only taking X amount of time to make their decisions or explain their decisions or conduct a round from X starting point--but it seems that its not beyond reason to enact a rule against excessive or too lengthy explanations which make the tournament run behind rather than excluding them altogether. This seems like a better compromise position & it seems to serve everyone's interest far, far better.

 

I haven't seen how restrictive your schedule is now....and i have no idea who you have running your tab room. However, it would seem that if you modeled yourself after a round-robin that ran on time and adopted their model--and had someone with extremely proficient round robin tournament experience--along with a clear rule with great enforcement--that would be great. Inevitably this is going to cause problems--I would hope that you could minimize these problems both before hand as well as at the tournament by reforming your stipulation to reflect both your end goals of education & efficiency--not just efficiency.

 

You might even ask on here...or a debate listserv which round robins have disclosure that run on time....and that people don't tend to miss their flights (or whatever).

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We aren't necessarily opposed to the idea of disclosure, our concern is that - as you can tell from the schedule - too much post-round discussion and with two judges adjudicating each round we could be forcing the tournament to run quite late. That being said, when I competed in LD and PF in high school disclosure was discourage for times sake, but it happened anyway. It is a rule that we know can and will be violated. For expedience sake, however, we are attempting to limit that cost somewhat. Moreover, that invitation goes on to say that we expect judges to be open for critiques post-round. Even if that means immediately, the main goal is to get ballots in and get the next round going. If judges and competitors find time to discuss once ballots are in and before the next round then we most certainly encourage that action. Also, we will be having the running scoreboard on Sunday for students to see where they sit in records.

 

Education, we believe and as you said, is one of the most important reasons we do debate (there is theory on this in our beloved world of parli too). Thus, we are not trying to do anything to limit education. And as I have just said, we encourage it. We encourage post-round disclosure, we encourage discussion of ways to improve, and, most importantly, this tournament hopes to improve education by bringing the best of the best together for a fantastically competitive tournament. We just want it to work within a framework that gets kids time to rest and doesn't make them miss plane flights.

 

High level debates are going to have decisions that take a long time anyways. (I've waited ~30 min for a decision before, and I'm far from a high level debater). Even without judges disclosing, 90 minutes between rounds is nowhere near enough time. There are 64 minutes of speeches, 10-20 minutes of prep (probably closer to 20), and you have to give debaters and judges time to get to the room. Your tournament would probably be a lot more successful if you only had 7 or 8 rounds (still a ton for a high school tournament) and gave time for disclosure, transporation, etc.

 

The more I look at the schedule, the more problems I see. You don't allot any time to lunch or dinner, and forcing 8 rounds in one day would be next to impossible. At other large national tournaments, 7 rounds takes 2 full days, and there's a good reason for that. Starting a strong new debate round robin will be difficult enough; sticking to this schedule, for policy at least, would make success impossible.

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High level debates are going to have decisions that take a long time anyways. (I've waited ~30 min for a decision before, and I'm far from a high level debater). Even without judges disclosing, 90 minutes between rounds is nowhere near enough time. There are 64 minutes of speeches, 10-20 minutes of prep (probably closer to 20), and you have to give debaters and judges time to get to the room. Your tournament would probably be a lot more successful if you only had 7 or 8 rounds (still a ton for a high school tournament) and gave time for disclosure, transporation, etc.

 

The more I look at the schedule, the more problems I see. You don't allot any time to lunch or dinner, and forcing 8 rounds in one day would be next to impossible. At other large national tournaments, 7 rounds takes 2 full days, and there's a good reason for that. Starting a strong new debate round robin will be difficult enough; sticking to this schedule, for policy at least, would make success impossible.

 

This concern I can see. We named our tournament the Gauntlet because we are well aware that it will be one of, if not, the most taxing tournaments (physically and competitively. That being said. I can entirely see this concern. Maybe we could cut policy back to 9 rounds (18 teams), but based on the schedule there is no reason for PF and LD not to run on time.

 

 

Rohan,

 

I appreciate your factual & nuanced correction.

 

I make an argument that education & communication favor disclosure. I'm saying the master has no clothes. Especially given the work on deliberative practice & I don't have the work on feedback, but I'm sure that many education and training scholars would say that its 25% to 40% of the value of the activity--not just the ballot.

 

Thats why the best of any sport have coaches and also why we have post rounds. When you have rounds against the best--and the rounds are decided on the very narrowest of margins--thats when you need those critiques the most.

 

 

 

Thats not what the invitation said. Plus, you're playing both sides of the fense in more ways than one here (if thats what you feel....we don't have to engage in this discussion at all). So, given decisions isn't as much as the issue....as the post-round explanation of the decision.

 

If its a time issue.....why not articulate that as the reason rather than just saying its not allowed on the invitation.

 

Personally, instead of going to bed at 10 or 10:30--I would rather say up another 50 minutes to an hour to hear my decisions and to hear them explained.

 

And I think there are plenty of tournaments that run on time with disclosure & talk. Certainly thats one thing that slows them up--but accidental "prep stealing" (in policy) and abuse of pre-round prep are also problematic in that equation. It would seem the better way to deal with it is to limit pre-round prep to 15 minutes (assuming 5 minutes of travel) and really enforce that--in a round robin scenario this shouldn't be particularly bad. There are alternative ways of achieving your objectives without short shifting the overall educational objectives.

 

I don't know why any educational administrator would send their kids on a $1,000 to $1,500 trip and not get quality feedback from "experts" in the back of the room. Especially given that most judges see themselves as educators (not merely adjudicators) you put them in a very weird position. And I think the selective enforcement of this ends up being just as bad--because 33% to 60% of your judges are still going to give post-rounds and still reveal their decisions. This will result in 2 types of selective enforcement:

1. at the judge level due to different levels of desire to follow the rules

2. at the runner level

Your policy doesn't seem to deal with it in a clear way--which truly communicates the reason for your principle or rule. The former means that you're tournament is likely going to run at the same time--its just that only 35% will get value for that time.....versus 100%.

 

I'm not for anyone missing their planes.....tournament efficiency shouldn't come at the cost of education & clear communication--which is the reason people and educational institutions invest their money in the activity in the first place.

 

As an FYI, I'm not unaware of the time issue. I've administer in some way, shape, or fashion at probably a 8 to 10 tournaments. So I certainly empathize. But ideally a round robin should be easier to administer and run on time (you're dealing with 15% of the people & resources--but still have a decent sized volunteer staff to cover the bases).

 

I realize it sounds like I'm throwing stones--I just think that some in the community might like a better policy around such issues--if you really want to get the best of the best--and you really want to have an educational event.

 

I don't know how you hold judges accountable for only taking X amount of time to make their decisions or explain their decisions or conduct a round from X starting point--but it seems that its not beyond reason to enact a rule against excessive or too lengthy explanations which make the tournament run behind rather than excluding them altogether. This seems like a better compromise position & it seems to serve everyone's interest far, far better.

 

I haven't seen how restrictive your schedule is now....and i have no idea who you have running your tab room. However, it would seem that if you modeled yourself after a round-robin that ran on time and adopted their model--and had someone with extremely proficient round robin tournament experience--along with a clear rule with great enforcement--that would be great. Inevitably this is going to cause problems--I would hope that you could minimize these problems both before hand as well as at the tournament by reforming your stipulation to reflect both your end goals of education & efficiency--not just efficiency.

 

You might even ask on here...or a debate listserv which round robins have disclosure that run on time....and that people don't tend to miss their flights (or whatever).

 

I'm still not 100% sure I see the distinction here. Take these two scenarios:

1. Debaters walk outside, wait, judge deliberates. Ballots are filled out. Debaters come back inside, judge discloses and discussion ensues. (what you're advocating, and claim to be most education).

2. Or debaters walk outside, wait, judge deliberates. Ballots are filled out. Judge says "lets talk on the way to ballot table" or says "let me turn this ballot in and then we can talk" (what we are advocating as policy as our tournament).

 

In both of those scenarios education happens at its fullest level, and in the second we are able to expedite the tournament process. Conceivably, on our end, we can mitigate this problem entirely just by introducing ballot runners to whole equation and students can talk to judges in the same rooms without judges having to worry about getting ballots in. Additionally, this idea of cutting from 11 rounds to 9 in policy may be a good decision.

 

All this being said, we do not want to hurt the educative value of our tournament at all. And no one has made any comments to the format of the tournament (which we must be agreeing is really quite good). So if all it takes to put our tournament completely over the top is making disclosure a little more accessible by maybe cutting 4 teams from the Policy division, we can most certainly make that happen.

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Who is going to do better on the SAT?

1. The person who was studying while they were driving/distracted/thinking about the next thing on the agenda

or.

2. The person who is able to focus their attention

 

95% or more of the time, I'm going to say #2.

 

Or how about this--how about if your professors graded papers in the same environment, which one do you pick?

1. Distraction & while walking down the hall

2. In their office or their location of choice

 

Again, 95% of the time, I'm going to say #2. Actually I'm going to say 1000% of the time they should grade papers in the second manner.

 

Or how about this....if you don't think distraction in these contexts is important.....how about all that texting while driving....and the impending deaths....small changes make big differences.

 

Given that sooooooo much of the educational value at debate tournaments is quality and reflective feedback from decision-makers who have spent 5 to 20 years in the activity (thats the work of Anders Erikson on experts and deliberative practice as well as the work on experiential learning by Kolb as well as the work on feedback)--the extra 10 minutes per round for quality feedback is more than worth it. Debaters need to be able to be scientist-like in their evaluation of how they are doing--without quality data from quality outside sources--this can't happen--the data is skewed or shorted or a bare minimum on the walk in a hall. I can't imagine having a 90 minute debate...only to have 2.5 minutes of feedback in the hall between various distractions on the way.

 

Distraction. Attention. Read Brain Rules or listen to any neuroscientist or education researcher on multi-tasking (or even communication scholars on background noise & distraction). Admittedly, walking down the hall isn't seemingly all that difficult--but the shear amount of info you take in is different. The nature of the exchange is fundamentally different. Moreover, our brains naturally shift to the next task once we enter the hall--which complicates the value of the exchange (who are my teams hitting? who am i hitting? who is my judge?).

 

Perm. Both those types of conversations are good--even if the later is imperfect. And the disad of going to bed later simply doesn't fly--debaters do it all the time. Also, lots of tournaments actually run on time or build time into the schedule so everything works.

 

Without quality feedback.....no change happens (or at least not much change). There's no acculturation to how judges make decisions or how to think like a judge....(it also builds better judges in the future...because there is an ongoing dialog and because students learn how to think like judges over time--which improves debates and improves judging when they graduate and return to judge).

 

Feedback is also part of what it means to grow and make meaning as a community--in terms of mutual meanings & in terms of something that resembles mentorship more than random disorganized tips or advice.

 

Also, students are more likely to say "that was a crappy judge" if they fully understand what the rationale was (and perhaps even how to fix it)--rather than just a W or an L....or a scant overview in the hall between rounds. The perceived legitimacy and full understanding of decisions is also important (its analogous to relationships where someone dumps you for seemingly no reason versus relationships that end with a quality conversations about reasons---so you can prevent those in the future). Communication relationships also require actual face to face conversations....not 90 seconds in the hall.

 

Small differences can make a big difference (and the science of all of these 3 fields: neuroscience, education, and psychology/expertism all conclude that quality feedback in focused situations is critical--so those extra 4 to 5 minutes do really make a meaningful difference in the education and lives of debaters). For instance, if face to face and quality time wasn't important--all conferences would be online. Events like this provide time for quality exchanges because thats what it takes the build relationships (particularly quality ones)--thats what it takes to build community.

 

Judge says "lets talk on the way to ballot table" or says "let me turn this ballot in and then we can talk"

 

This is what ballot runners are for. At a round robin having more than enough ballot runners shouldn't be a problem--even with just student volunteer staffing.

 

Moreover....the time difference between the two shouldn't be that much either (especially if you have runners or some other mechanism to make this run smoothly and on time).

 

Whether you value the quality of the feedback in the process says ALOT about your commitments and principles as a tournament--where your heart, head, and time are invested what is one of the core engines of the activity or not. Hopefully, you will reconsider your original decision....for one more grounded on the education of students.

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Shoving policy rounds into consecutive 90 minute time slots is madness. Scheduling eight policy rounds in one day will quickly get you checked into the nearest mental asylum. (Not that it'd be necessary—you won't even fill half the field if you try to pull this stunt off).

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Agree with the Hutt. I would never consider bringing a team to a tournament format of that nature. I would even be willing to say that it is unhealthy. I would have a hard time convincing parents that it is in the best interest of thier children to have them debate for 18 hours straight. Insert breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you have to advocate 24 hours. Not worth it, and not safe! You are asking coaches to stay up during that time as well to judge and coach and then safely get thier students into a vehicle to transport them. Does not come close to safety regulations that alot of schools are required to follow. I don't even like 5 round days but live with them if they run on time, this will get you zero entries from any logical coach.

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Yes, yes. We have heard all of your concerns. We are more than willing to redraw the policy schedule to make sure everything fits. Keep in mind, these concerns exist only for policy, with 1.5 hour spacing for LD and PF there is more than ample time to fit the schedule including breaks for meals and other things.

 

Currently, based on these concerns we are looking at the following schedule:

Pre-8 - Breakfast

8-10 - Rd 1

10-12 - Rd 2

12-1 Lunch

1-3 - Rd 3

3-5 - Rd 4

5-7 - Rd 5

7-9 - Rd 6

 

Pre-8 - Breakfast

8-10 - Rd 7

10-12 - Rd 8

1-3 Elite 8

3-5 Final 4

5 Championship Rounds/Awards/Banquet

 

This schedule allows everyone time to disclose. Rest. And get to the next round. That also still gives us 18 debaters in the Policy round robin rather than the 24, but still a good number. Does that tend to absolve the problems?

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last comment on this. Other glaring problems, which if your schedule was not enough, that would cause me to never be willing to bring a team.

 

"Eliminated competitors can and will be used to judge the bracketed rounds"

Out rounds will be judged by competitors! We don't pay entry fees to get judged by other students in the pool. We can stay at home and have practice rounds for free.

 

This attempt to make money off of high school teams without the concern of those students and thier coaches is what has set alot of other coaches off over the years about college's hosting HS debate tournaments. That they feel they are used just to make money. This is exactly what this feels like. How many teams can we get here to over-charge entry fees on. and cram into 2 days so it seems like they are getting something, when in reality your format would result in people being angry about coming in the first place. Becuase when people gave you thier reservations about the issue, you assured them it would be okay, and then the end result is exactly what they expected, which will result in them never to return again.

 

And appologies, I just double checked your schedule you want 8 rounds a day. Just as bad. 90 minutes for a debate when you have 8 crammed into a day, is a schedule that I gurantee won't run on time. Coaches during a round robin not being able to coach is what you have, most will object. Hell if I was a debatere I would object to the time. A debate without stop (using a running clock, which no one does) takes 84 minutes. You have 90 alloted. In your perfect world that gives debaters 6 minutes to move rooms, judges to make a decision (they will read cards and think), and start speaking in the next debate. Based on this schedule I would not be surprised to see that Round 8 ends up starting at 12AM at the earliest. That is being generous in granting you 30 minutes for post round and pre-round (assuming judges can get done in 30 minutes), and an hour for lunch and and hour for dinner.

 

If you wanted to actually do this. Then this schedule needs to be broken up into 3 days. You can't so this in 2 at this pace, or you have to adjust how the pods are broken down.

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last comment on this. Other glaring problems, which if your schedule was not enough, that would cause me to never be willing to bring a team.

 

"Eliminated competitors can and will be used to judge the bracketed rounds"

Out rounds will be judged by competitors! We don't pay entry fees to get judged by other students in the pool. We can stay at home and have practice rounds for free.

 

This attempt to make money off of high school teams without the concern of those students and thier coaches is what has set alot of other coaches off over the years about college's hosting HS debate tournaments. That they feel they are used just to make money. This is exactly what this feels like. How many teams can we get here to over-charge entry fees on. and cram into 2 days so it seems like they are getting something, when in reality your format would result in people being angry about coming in the first place. Becuase when people gave you thier reservations about the issue, you assured them it would be okay, and then the end result is exactly what they expected, which will result in them never to return again.

 

And appologies, I just double checked your schedule you want 8 rounds a day. Just as bad. 90 minutes for a debate when you have 8 crammed into a day, is a schedule that I gurantee won't run on time. Coaches during a round robin not being able to coach is what you have, most will object. Hell if I was a debatere I would object to the time. A debate without stop (using a running clock, which no one does) takes 84 minutes. You have 90 alloted. In your perfect world that gives debaters 6 minutes to move rooms, judges to make a decision (they will read cards and think), and start speaking in the next debate. Based on this schedule I would not be surprised to see that Round 8 ends up starting at 12AM at the earliest. That is being generous in granting you 30 minutes for post round and pre-round (assuming judges can get done in 30 minutes), and an hour for lunch and and hour for dinner.

 

If you wanted to actually do this. Then this schedule needs to be broken up into 3 days. You can't so this in 2 at this pace, or you have to adjust how the pods are broken down.

 

We know. We were entirely unaware to the timing concerns, which is why we have proposed the above mentioned schedule and alteration to the policy round robin. This is our first year, guys. We are trying to bring this community a great competitive atmosphere to compete in. We welcome this type of criticism. This a tournament for you guys, and we want to be able to make it something that you can come to and enjoy.

 

This by no means is a plot to make money of you guys in a quickest, cheapest way possible. Here in college, IPDA specifically, we use students to judge out-rounds and if we were to discuss educative value we find those to be some of the best experiences. We were hoping to bring that same experience to you at this tournament. If you feel, however, that is a bad idea, please let us know.

 

Too often we get quick to indict the system rather than reform it. In the case of this tournament, however, we are trying to work with you to make this the best event possible which is why we are trying to keep up with this post and alter around the concerns that you raise.

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Yes, yes. We have heard all of your concerns. We are more than willing to redraw the policy schedule to make sure everything fits. Keep in mind, these concerns exist only for policy, with 1.5 hour spacing for LD and PF there is more than ample time to fit the schedule including breaks for meals and other things.

 

Currently, based on these concerns we are looking at the following schedule:

Pre-8 - Breakfast

8-10 - Rd 1

10-12 - Rd 2

12-1 Lunch

1-3 - Rd 3

3-5 - Rd 4

5-7 - Rd 5

7-9 - Rd 6

 

Pre-8 - Breakfast

8-10 - Rd 7

10-12 - Rd 8

1-3 Elite 8

3-5 Final 4

5 Championship Rounds/Awards/Banquet

 

This schedule allows everyone time to disclose. Rest. And get to the next round. That also still gives us 18 debaters in the Policy round robin rather than the 24, but still a good number. Does that tend to absolve the problems?

 

I would eliminate breaking 8 teams out of the pod. Break only the top 2 teams from each pod. It was a round robin. That allows you to eliminate a debate from day 1 and move to 5 rounds instead of 6 which is much more realistic. You still need a dinner break, as even ending at 9 makes finding food diffucult by the time you get out of the building (closer to 10). I would also eliminate students judging the outrounds. Hire some qualified people (even from your judging pool) or make all of the coaches be required to be available to judge those two final debates.

 

Getting rid of the break to 8 format gives a manageable schedule of:

Day 1:

8-10 Round 1

10-12 Round 2

12-1 Lunch

1-3 Round 3

3-5 Round 4

5-7 round 5 (end of the day is early enough to find dinner without working it into the schedule)

 

Day 2

8-10 Round 6

10-12 Round 7

12-1 Lunch

1-2 Round 8

then the rest of your stuff

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I would eliminate breaking 8 teams out of the pod. Break only the top 2 teams from each pod. It was a round robin. That allows you to eliminate a debate from day 1 and move to 5 rounds instead of 6 which is much more realistic. You still need a dinner break, as even ending at 9 makes finding food diffucult by the time you get out of the building (closer to 10). I would also eliminate students judging the outrounds. Hire some qualified people (even from your judging pool) or make all of the coaches be required to be available to judge those two final debates.

 

Getting rid of the break to 8 format gives a manageable schedule of:

Day 1:

8-10 Round 1

10-12 Round 2

12-1 Lunch

1-3 Round 3

3-5 Round 4

5-7 round 5 (end of the day is early enough to find dinner without working it into the schedule)

 

Day 2

8-10 Round 6

10-12 Round 7

12-1 Lunch

1-2 Round 8

then the rest of your stuff

 

See this is the kind of commentary we are looking for. Helpful information to reform the tournament to make it what this community wants. Going straight to the Final 4 could work for Policy (especially considering the decrease from 24 to 18 participants. As for the concern about food after 7 on Saturday. Knoxville's strip has ample food and hotels within walking distance so that isn't a large problem. We can certainly look into it, though. Any other ideas? Like I said, this tournament is for you guys. We can get rid of student judging to sub in coaches and our hired pools.

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We know. We were entirely unaware to the timing concerns, which is why we have proposed the above mentioned schedule and alteration to the policy round robin. This is our first year, guys. We are trying to bring this community a great competitive atmosphere to compete in. We welcome this type of criticism. This a tournament for you guys, and we want to be able to make it something that you can come to and enjoy.

 

This by no means is a plot to make money of you guys in a quickest, cheapest way possible. Here in college, IPDA specifically, we use students to judge out-rounds and if we were to discuss educative value we find those to be some of the best experiences. We were hoping to bring that same experience to you at this tournament. If you feel, however, that is a bad idea, please let us know.

 

Too often we get quick to indict the system rather than reform it. In the case of this tournament, however, we are trying to work with you to make this the best event possible which is why we are trying to keep up with this post and alter around the concerns that you raise.

 

I realize that, your post posted, while I was making my reply, see above to my continued suggestions.

 

Student judges, while that can be educational for your college community, it is for our students as well. I often make my teams watch outrounds and make a decision and explain it to me. They get the same experience, the only difference is that thier decision does not carry weight. Teams want to debate the best and be judged by the best. Kind of the point of a round robin. I would just have a hard time explaining why spending the money to go to a tournament and have our students judged by other students (and yes I realize it is only the outrounds, but administrators and parents don't see a disctinction usually) is a good use of often limited resources when we could stay at home and have practice rounds judged by other students or go to another full tournament instead of this tournament where that is not the case.

 

I realize the parli community in college does this often, but the reality is that the college parli community and the HS policy community (or even college policy) community are quite different.

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I realize that, your post posted, while I was making my reply, see above to my continued suggestions.

 

Student judges, while that can be educational for your college community, it is for our students as well. I often make my teams watch outrounds and make a decision and explain it to me. They get the same experience, the only difference is that thier decision does not carry weight. Teams want to debate the best and be judged by the best. Kind of the point of a round robin. I would just have a hard time explaining why spending the money to go to a tournament and have our students judged by other students (and yes I realize it is only the outrounds, but administrators and parents don't see a disctinction usually) is a good use of often limited resources when we could stay at home and have practice rounds judged by other students or go to another full tournament instead of this tournament where that is not the case.

 

I realize the parli community in college does this often, but the reality is that the college parli community and the HS policy community (or even college policy) community are quite different.

 

Point taken. Now that we see that distinction we can get rid of the student judged out-rounds. Additionally, once we have our accepted competitors we will be creating a judge philosophy and competitor bio book. If your concern is that we are just doing this to make money, you can look at our fee structure and compare it to all of the things that we are giving competitors you can see that we genuinely are just doing this to give debaters a great experience, not that we are trying to make a ton of money.

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The invitation has been updated to hopefully address many of the concerns raised through this forum. I encourage more healthy discussion on things we can do to better serve this community. So please go review and let us know any other concerns you may have.

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The invitation has been updated to hopefully address many of the concerns raised through this forum. I encourage more healthy discussion on things we can do to better serve this community. So please go review and let us know any other concerns you may have.

 

This is definitely better, but it would still be really difficult to implement. Rounds will inevitably go over time, and that would probably be fine for rounds 1 and 2 because that would just leave debaters with a few minutes less to eat lunch. You would probably need to give an extra half hour or so after round 4 to give debates another chance to catch up. You could probably start debates at 7:30 to make up for this. You could release pairings the night before so kids wouldn't have to get there an hour early to see who they are debating.

 

Also, you may want to look at this website: http://theviewfromtab.blogspot.com/

A lot of the podcasts talk, at least in part, about hosting tournaments. Episode 32 (from November 4, 2010) would probably be especially useful since it talks about how to build up a new tournament. I haven't listened to very many episodes, and the more recent ones seem to focus more on debates than tournaments, but it still seems like a good proportion of the podcasts are at least partially useful.

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This is definitely better, but it would still be really difficult to implement. Rounds will inevitably go over time, and that would probably be fine for rounds 1 and 2 because that would just leave debaters with a few minutes less to eat lunch. You would probably need to give an extra half hour or so after round 4 to give debates another chance to catch up. You could probably start debates at 7:30 to make up for this. You could release pairings the night before so kids wouldn't have to get there an hour early to see who they are debating.

 

Also, you may want to look at this website: http://theviewfromtab.blogspot.com/

A lot of the podcasts talk, at least in part, about hosting tournaments. Episode 32 (from November 4, 2010) would probably be especially useful since it talks about how to build up a new tournament. I haven't listened to very many episodes, and the more recent ones seem to focus more on debates than tournaments, but it still seems like a good proportion of the podcasts are at least partially useful.

 

Just so everyone knows, since the tournament is round robin format we are going to go ahead and make all of the prelim postings in advance. Everyone has to debate everyone in their division so order doesn't necessarily matter. So when you check-in you will get all the postings for the prelim rounds. That should help out with timing at least a little bit (the posting will have start times for each round on them too).

 

We will certainly look into that podcast. Just so you guys know, we aren't just up and deciding to run a tournament with no experience. We host our college tournament annually, and have experience running some high school local tournaments.

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Also, are there any high school listservs that we can send this out on? We are aware and familiar with many at the collegiate level, but can't seem to find any at the high school level? We will take any suggestions you guys may have about how we can get word out for this tournament. Currently, we plan on posting it on Joy of Tournaments, but we don't know what else to do. Any suggestions are welcomed!

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www.the3nr.com is a pretty well-known policy debate website/blog, but I'm pretty sure you need to have one of the administrators post the invitational up on their website. Whether they'll do so is unknown.

 

As for an actual mailing list, you could try contacting the National Debate Coaches' Association. I'm not sure exactly what the NDCA can do for you, but it's definitely the biggest group of high school debate coaches in the nation. At the least, checking out some of their staff and finding emails would certainly help.

 

And for LD and PF, you could try www.victorybriefs.com. I'm not fully aware of exactly what they do, only that it's not too different from The 3NR, but it is primarily directed towards LD, PF and other divisions of debate.

 

This could have helped you, or I might have just made you bark up multiple wrong trees. I apologize if it was the latter.

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If its a round robin--I would directly solicit by specifically asking top individuals and/or programs if they want to attend. This way, you directly express interest in the people you want to attend. This may also encourage more interest as bigger names commit (and or at least express interest) to attend your round robin.

 

I would target at least 2 levels:

1. regional/south east

2. national (based on whatever criteria you might decide on)

 

TOC, Emory Eliminations, Wake Forrest Elims (given the regional focus), MBA Elims (and top attendees), or other Round-robin selection/attendance, etc...

 

This 2 pronged attack at possible attendees has significant advantages.

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TOC, Emory Eliminations, Wake Forrest Elims (given the regional focus), MBA Elims (and top attendees), or other Round-robin selection/attendance, etc...

 

I find it highly unlikely that an inaugural tournament with no bids would attract teams of this caliber.

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I find it highly unlikely that an inaugural tournament with no bids would attract teams of this caliber.

 

Our tournament is a round robin. So, to the best of our knowledge, we will never be bid eligible. We are desirable to highly competitive teams to other reasons (i.e. bringing together the best of the best and guaranteeing that they debate each other).

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