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Nfl Judging Reform

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I hope that that last post was a joke. You guys have no respect for anybody that qualified. Maybe in THIS forum you attempt to hide it, but a quick check of your twitter pages should resolve your last post. Stop posting trying to change something. Dubois said it perfectly, the NFL and the Joy of Tournaments keeps us from changing anything. When you post and say things like "we need better judges", you're insinuating that you were "screwed over", and should have qualified yourself instead of others. Learn to adapt, what do you think the prelim rounds at NFL look like? The level of respect and professionalism I've seen displayed over the last few days both at the tournament and after is disgusting. Debaters screaming the F word in a hallway in front of parents and screaming at coaches in tab and trying to enter the tab room after they lost is not okay.

 

The last post before yours was mine, and I certainly wasn't joking. I don't think any of the individuals involved in this thread were "screwed over"; I think we qualified three outstanding teams out of TTNFL, and that the national results will justify that conclusion, as they almost always do; and I still think it's reasonable to review the processes by which national qualifiers are selected, with an eye to replicating the NFL Nationals pool as closely as we possibly can.

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Lol, where were the judging reform requests after BVW qualified to CFL with the same judging pool that we had at NFL?

 

We were allowed strikes at CFL, and schools like SMS and SME have great assistant coaches who judged multiple rounds. Also, Mr. Dubois recruited a lot of people (as he always does) and that helped (in MY opinion) create a good judging pool. These suggestions were meant to help everyone have a better qualifying experience. If I didn't want to do that I would say "give SME, BVN, BVW, SMS and WaRu infinite strikes and let everyone else have the rest". That's certainly not what I'm suggesting.

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I didn't mention the names of any people or their schools. I was pointing out how you guys come across when you do well at a tournament and say nothing, then turn around and have temper tantrums and demean other's accomplishments the next weekend when you get knocked out. If you want people to think that you've entered a "productive discussion", you should act like it all the time. Don't post things elsewhere to the contrary of what you're saying right now. It makes all of you look two faced and like sore losers. (Note, I'm not saying you're two faced sore losers, it just comes across that way) I'm sure you felt the same way last year, Sarah, when people were saying these things about "not qualifying the best teams". It happens every year which is why I'm laughing at this. I felt like this needed to be said, and it's unfortunate it didn't happen sooner.

 

I don't understand what anyone from the West squad who participated in this thread posted to Twitter other than judging needs to be reformed? I think that all of us are purely interested in making judging better and more reflective of NFL. We have never intended to disrespect who qualified at this tournament this year, and I think that you are the only one who interpreted it that way.

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I don't think anyone can deny that there is a bit of an issue when the best team in the state doesn't qualify. No one will deny that Blue Valley West Birzer/Yeamans is the best team in Kansas and one of the top teams in the nation. The fact that they are not representing Kansas at the NFL national tournament is a shame and reflects a problem with the way the national qualifiers work in Kansas.

 

Would it surprise you to know that BVW BY were eliminated in a round in which they lost the ballots of two four year debaters and national qualifiers and picked up a parent? The exact sort of panel that the BVW participants in this thread are calling for more of? We have the rounds for a reason, and the inclusion or exclusion of any one qualifying team proves nothing about the legitimacy of a given tournament. Even good teams take legitimate losses.

 

This discussion ought to have nothing to do with the specific results of one particular district tournament--and to their credit, the individuals who initiated this discussion are not making it about that. The question ought to be about whether the processes of judge selection are producing a pool of judges that resemble those that these teams will be debating in front of at the national tournament. I am interested in further discussion along those lines. I have ZERO interest in claims that "result x invalidates the tournament/qualifiers' accomplishments".

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I'm certainly not the only one. I know others feel the same way every year. And I'm not going to say names as I think the participants have embarrassed themselves publicly enough, but it doesn't take much searching, Zach. And it's not just BVW....

 

Ok, would you like me to post pictures of Jared, Chris and my twitters? We love this activity and the people and only want judging to get better!

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I hope that that last post was a joke. You guys have no respect for anybody that qualified. Maybe in THIS forum you attempt to hide it, but a quick check of your twitter pages should resolve your last post. Stop posting trying to change something. Dubois said it perfectly, the NFL and the Joy of Tournaments keeps us from changing anything. When you post and say things like "we need better judges", you're insinuating that you were "screwed over", and should have qualified yourself instead of others. Learn to adapt, what do you think the prelim rounds at NFL look like? The level of respect and professionalism I've seen displayed over the last few days both at the tournament and after is disgusting. Debaters screaming the F word in a hallway in front of parents and screaming at coaches in tab and trying to enter the tab room after they lost is not okay.

 

I'm wondering what I said on twitter that got you so riled up Wesley. Was it the "I hate losing" tweet? Or the "that's all she wrote..." tweet? How about after I found out we lost our go round to you and I shook your hand, looked you in the eye, and congratulated you.

 

I agree that blowing up in the hallway isn't the best way to express your anger, but I also don't think I have ever done that. In fact, the person you're passive aggresively calling out hasn't even posted on this thread yet, and I'm not even sure how he feels on this issue.

 

Good luck at nationals and all, but if you're done distracting us from the big-boy conversation we were previously having, maybe we can go back to being on-point and productive.

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I interpret this thread to be discussing two primary issues. A: The judge pool itself. B: How the judges from the pool are placed in rounds. I have a couple thoughts on B and figured I'd throw in my two cents.

I too agree with Amanda and Mr. Dubois in that a 5 judge panel with each team getting a strike ultimately results in a panel that doesn't have one judge that satisfies the desires of one (or maybe both) of the teams. I do not know how doable this is with the computer software or if NFL would allow it, but it would seem beneficial if each team is given a judge preference (lay, flay, flow) in the software and each judge has one of the labels attached to them. When the rounds are created, the software puts one judge that satisfies the wants of each team in the back of the room and the third judge is either random or the same as the others if both teams want the same profile.

This ensures that judges are judging teams that want to have them as judges, and judging as a whole is a bit more predictable and catered towards the wants of each team, resulting in the most enjoyment and satisfaction from all debaters at the tournament.

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I think I am one of the people you are talking about, and I'm sorry if I actually offended anyone, the tweets were in frustration about not qualifying when I felt, given the way the rounds went, we deserved to. That being said, I wish nothing but the best for the qualifiers and hope they do well. I know that I consider, for example,the bvsw kids, sme, and Cody and Sahil friends of mine. I never meant to take anything away from them. Hopefully, this thread can get back on track regarding ways to make the tournament better in the future for all debaters.

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I have ZERO interest in claims that "result x invalidates the tournament/qualifiers' accomplishments".

 

Me too. I don't think that's the point people are trying to make, though. I do understand why it might sound like that, though, as this is a tough issue to work through. Rather, I think a more appropriate statement is "result x raises some eyebrows about how we conduct the qualifiers". I realize some stuff is in place at the national level and we can't really have much of an impact. But it seems like there are some things that we as districts have more control over. Here's my thoughts on a couple:

 

1) No freshman judges: I think DuBois said this was a district issue. I frankly don't see the need for this, especially considering many freshmen have never even competed against a Kansas team, which should resolve some bias issues (it's not like we don't let all the freshmen judge at invitationals). You say there's not a constituency for this change, but I think we need to ask ourselves why this is the case. Someone smarter than I can probably tell me about it. This is one change that would be a small but important improvement to the qualifiers. By the way, I can confirm that no freshmen judges is the rule at nationals.

 

2) I think this forum has seen a fight about this before, but, is it time to start taking a look at not hosting the qualifiers all on the same weekend? It seems like a reasonable way to perhaps expand the judging pool without substantially altering the way qualifiers work. Maybe I'm totally wrong and this is a national rule, but I've always thought it was another "silly kansas thing".

 

I also suggest no one pay much mind to people who want to do nothing but disrupt a civil discussion between bright competitors and some really experienced community folks, all because they got upset over something on Twitter.

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I normally do not post anything on cross-x, but Amanda texted me and asked me what I think about this subject. I know a lot of the discussion is about solving a problem but as I said to Amanda… I might disagree on the existence/extent of the problem.

 

First of all, debate is a communicative activity. The goal is to persuade the judge to vote for you, not the flow. To me, this means the problem to solve is not about the judging pool but instead how debaters adapt to the judges they have in the back of the room. I am not saying that debaters who prefer flow can’t and didn’t win lay judges, I am saying that maybe if debaters spent more time in the state or more time focusing on lay debate as well as flow debate, they could more consistently win lay rounds and probably qualify out of NFL.

 

Second, I am not sure why debaters seem to glorify flow debate or flow judges. A “flow judge†is, by definition, just someone who flows the round. A “flow judge†is not necessarily the most objective judge or even the smartest judge. In college, I have seen panels of three, highly qualified, extremely smart debaters who arrive at their conclusions for completely different reasons. They all have tight flows but they still perceived the debate differently. I have had judges’ decisions about who won/speaker points influenced by how they personally feel about an argument i.e. we gave an argument they hate too much credit in how we answered it and consequently took a speaker point hit. My point in all of this is that, flow judges are not perfect. I am a flow judge and I know that I am not the best judge for certain styles of debate because of my personal opinions about the activity.

 

Third, a debater and I were talking and he told me that lay panels are just so varied in their responses to rounds that it makes debate too hard. I guess I don’t see what is so bad about that. If you don’t have a judging philosophy of the parents who are judging you, it just means you will have to cover your bases and analyze your argument from a variety of different perspectives. This seems like a good thing. I guess my issue with this desire for more flow judges is that it implies something is wrong with lay judges. I think most people who debated me my senior year are well aware of my main argument… the credibility DA. I read that DA in front of lay and flow panels and made similar arguments in both types of rounds. I just communicated the DA differently depending on how I thought the judges would perceive my arguments. That skill has been SO valuable in my life and certainly brought me competitive success. Basically, I think lay debate is awesome.

 

Fourth, Amanda and I were talking about how the qualifier should try to be close to the national tournament in terms of the judging pool. It was said on this thread earlier that “judges flow at NFL nationals.†Well, some of them do. For those who have never gone to nationals in policy, you get two judges in the back of the room and they are frequently two judges with entirely different backgrounds and philosophies. In one round, I picked up a ballot from a woman who did not flow, did not take notes, and said, “I just thought you were incredibly persuasive. I don’t know the mechanics of debate, but I believed what you said because of how you said it.†In that same round, I picked up a ballot from someone whose decision included mostly debate jargon. This person flowed. It should be noted that, if I remember correctly, this was actually one of my elim rounds. I don’t remember the third judge which either means I am wrong it was an elim round or maybe I just remember the first two because of how different they were in nature. Now, someone may be able to say that they had all flow judges at NFL Nationals. If so, that only strengthens my point that people NEED to be prepared for all types of rounds because NFL has a diverse judging pool. The only reason I was able to win my speaker award is because I was able to adapt and I owe that success to my district where I was forced to adapt. My senior year at NFL qualifiers I had a round with six off in it and another round where parents had minimal judging experience.

 

Fifth, I also think there is much to be said about the idea that debaters should just recruit the judges they want so badly. I understand that you don’t think there is an incentive to recruit good judges who can’t judge you, but as some of you have stated, this isn’t a bitter discussion about making YOUR experience better but rather about improving the experience for everyone. I don’t know if there is anything that can be done about when this tournament takes place, but I really wish I could have judged. Unfortunately, it’s a three hour drive for me that I don’t have time to make the weekend before finals. Maybe if this tournament was moved to a weekend that didn’t clash so much with most college schedules, more flow judges could attend.

 

Sixth, I wasn’t at the tournament so I don’t know exactly what happened in terms of people getting really angry, but, based off of some of the Internet posts I have seen, I think, even if this discussion has been relatively civil, people should be a little more mindful of how they are representing themselves and the activity. I know some “lay judges†who have been exposed to debate and are incredibly smart but, because they don’t flow or don’t flow the way we think they should, won’t judge. And why would they if they are going to feel ridiculed after? Also, I think a lot of debaters who may have been angry and are seeking more of a flow tournament want to be like the TOC champs or first round teams they follow on tabroom.com. Well, I was talking to a college debate friend tonight about some of our best wins of the season. I debated a team that meets both of the previously mentioned standards and when we won they were SO gracious. They didn’t argue or make us feel bad or anything. They are at a competitive level that I personally emulate and if I were to achieve that level of competitive success I would also want to emulate their maturity and respect for the judge.

Debating in Kansas was an amazing experience for me. Specifically, I loved debating in the Three Trails district. I am so proud of how well our state has been doing in policy, especially now that I live in a state where policy debate is a struggling activity. I know what it’s like to qualify in policy and clear to elim rounds one year only to miss out and go in a different event the next. My sophomore and senior years, the years I went in policy, were amazing experiences. I wish the best of luck to those of you who have qualified to NFL Nationals in policy and I really do feel for those who didn’t. Good luck, good job, and if any of you need advice for the national tournament or any upcoming tournament, don’t hesitate to ask me or probably any of the college debaters who have posted here.

 

Also, I am mostly just posting this to share my thoughts as requested by a friend. And, I just have an undying love for the lay judge and felt like saying my piece. I totally understand wanting the judging pool to cater to your skills, but trust me, lay debate is important. I wish you all the best of luck in trying to make the pool more diverse if it truly wasn’t mixed enough this year. Also, if anyone chooses to do a line-by-line response to this post or something I can’t guarantee I will respond. Finals are, unfortunately, calling my name!

 

Also, it took me a really long time to remember my username and password. But, I did it! I even got the little basketball through the hoop to verify I was human after five minutes of trying.

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Don't get me wrong, I love a good pitch-fork and torch-burnin' mob, but can we return to what we were talking about earlier?

 

2) I think this forum has seen a fight about this before, but, is it time to start taking a look at not hosting the qualifiers all on the same weekend? It seems like a reasonable way to perhaps expand the judging pool without substantially altering the way qualifiers work. Maybe I'm totally wrong and this is a national rule, but I've always thought it was another "silly kansas thing".

I agree a lot with what Mac said. I don't think a blanket-rule that disqualifies all freshmen from judging every round is educational, or even a smart use of potential judges, especially judges that are extremely qualified.

 

The best example I can give for this is Sean Duff, a freshmen at KU and currently an assistant coach at SMNW. Since he has come to Kansas, I've said a total of about 4 words to Sean, and I'm not even sure he knows my name. He has no affiliation with me, Owen, or any other debater at BVW. In fact, he debated in Iowa, and has very few (if any) super-personal relationships in the Kansas debate community. Not to mention, he's a great judge and (from what I hear) one of the better critics in the Kansas debate community. But, he can't judge at qualifiers because he's a freshmen.

 

I agree with parts of Amanda's post; I think there are some scenarios in which it could be awkward judging a senior that you debated when you were a senior in high school. However, I think in the vast majority of these situations, it shouldn't (and wouldn't) affect your evaluation of the round. And, if it truly does, then you can excuse yourself from judging certain schools before the tournament starts. Again, a strike system would prevent any type of "bias" from freshmen judges.

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The best example I can give for this is Sean Duff, a freshmen at KU and currently an assistant coach at SMNW. Since he has come to Kansas, I've said a total of about 4 words to Sean, and I'm not even sure he knows my name. He has no affiliation with me, Owen, or any other debater at BVW. In fact, he debated in Iowa, and has very few (if any) super-personal relationships in the Kansas debate community. Not to mention, he's a great judge and (from what I hear) one of the better critics in the Kansas debate community. But, he can't judge at qualifiers because he's a freshmen.

 

 

This being said, I'd like to repeat my idea that I said before. Why can't judging for qualifying tournament be anyone for any school (every judge viewed as a community judge) and the only circumstance for a forced strike is if the JUDGE feels that he or she would not be able to judge the round objectively?

 

 

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This being said, I'd like to repeat my idea that I said before. Why can't judging for qualifying tournament be anyone for any school (every judge viewed as a community judge) and the only circumstance for a forced strike is if the JUDGE feels that he or she would not be able to judge the round objectively?

 

Still doesn't solve the "No Freshman" rule, although I agree that I think this makes the most sense. However, then if there ever is an egregiously unfair judge who intentionally votes a team down for personal reasons and also doesn't have the decency to excuse themselves from the round, it could lead to another set of problems. This is also why I think ultimately, any "reform" should include some form of a strike system.

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This being said, I'd like to repeat my idea that I said before. Why can't judging for qualifying tournament be anyone for any school (every judge viewed as a community judge) and the only circumstance for a forced strike is if the JUDGE feels that he or she would not be able to judge the round objectively?

 

A couple other forced strikes come to mind:

 

a) can't judge a school you debated for

 

b ) can't judge an immediate relative

 

c) can't judge a school if you're an immediate relative of a debater there, regardless of what school recruited you

 

Other than that, I agree with Zach.

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Still doesn't solve the "No Freshman" rule, although I agree that I think this makes the most sense. However, then if there ever is an egregiously unfair judge who intentionally votes a team down for personal reasons and also doesn't have the decency to excuse themselves from the round, it could lead to another set of problems. This is also why I think ultimately, any "reform" should include some form of a strike system.

 

And this is a reply to Mac too-

 

I think that the honors system works to a substantial degree here. The debate community backlash from an obviously biased judge would probably check for this. I still hold to my original "all judges work for all if the judge feels ok" principle. I know that I would be able to be as objective as any other round next year if I watch my best friend Sahil debate.

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I know the "no freshmen" rule applies to a lot of different qualifiers, but does it apply at the NFL tournament itself?

 

I believe so.

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