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Dci Reform

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I feel as though the prevailing sentiment among members of the Kansas debate community is that DCI has grown too large and requires reform. Several debaters and coaches expressed such opinions back in January, but as far I know, no concrete action has been taken in order to shrink the field. In this post, I’ll explain why DCI’s current size is a problem and propose a couple alternatives to the current system. Please keep in mind that as my high school debate career is now over and I’m [currently] not coaching anywhere, I have no bias toward any particular high school or style of debate. My only aim is to make DCI a better tournament.

 

Problems with the current size of the tournament

 

Let me be clear: I do not wish to reform DCI because I feel as though the tournament has “wronged†me in some way or because I was disappointed by my results. In fact, I was a beneficiary of DCI’s size. Due in part to the reasons I will outline next, Alaina and I managed to finish in 5th place, while teams such as BVW MN (one of three teams in the state with a TOC bid), placed outside the top ten.

 

There are several reasons why the number of teams that compete at DCI is a problem.

 

First, and most importantly, the combination of the tournament’s structure and number of participants destroys the possibility of a “fair†tournament. I will explain why this is the case while simultaneously responding to an argument I’ve heard several times before:

 

“A team with two octos bids got 2nd place. If the field was smaller, they wouldn’t have been able to participate.â€

 

This argument falls apart under even the most cursory of examination. A quick check of the Bid Tracker and NFL website reveals that after qualifying for DCI by receiving a bid at each of their first two tournaments, this team departed for the national circuit—their last three tournaments were Caucus, KCKCC, and Glenbrooks (plus qualifiers and postseason tournaments). Thus, the reason they failed to acquire any more DCI bids: they didn’t really try to. Had DCI qualification necessitated 3 bids, for instance, they would have spent more time on the local circuit before venturing out to Iowa and Illinois.

 

Furthermore, I believe the above argument is a demonstration of the problems a 47-team tournament presents, rather than a reason to let the pool remain large. Statistics from this year’s tournament make it crystal clear that huge variations exist in the schedule difficulty of teams who placed near each other. Consider the following:

 

·      This year’s 2nd and 3rd place teams each had 24 opp wins—the fewest of any medalists.

·      The 5th, 6th, and 7th place teams each had 32 opp wins. This means the 2nd and 3rd place teams’ opponents lost more rounds than they won, while those other three teams’ opponents averaged (roughly) 4.6-2.4 records.

·      11 4-3 teams, seven 3-4 teams, four 2-5 teams, and even a 1-6 team had more opp wins than the 2nd and 3rd place finishers (or the same number).

·      Neither the 2nd nor 3rd place finishers had to debate the 1st place finisher.

 

The trend should be the opposite—in order to place among the top few teams in prelim rounds, a team would ideally debate several of the other top teams to ensure the highest possible degree of accuracy in terms of where each team places. Usually, power matching takes care of this…but as the tournament’s size increases and the number of rounds remains the same, this degree of accuracy decreases. (This is simply a statistical truism—this year, a one-round tournament wouldn’t have been accurate at all in determining who the best teams were, while a 46-round tournament where each team debated every other team would have provided a virtually perfect picture of whom the best teams were.)

 

In January, Birzer provided statistics that shed further light on DCI’s skewed results:

 

·      Only 2/7 teams that were in quarters at KCKCC placed in the top 10 at DCI (KCKCC is arguably the best judged tournament in the state, bar none)

·      Only 3/19 NFL qualifiers place in the top 10 at DCI (this includes teams that did not attend DCI)

·      BVW MN who is 1 of 3 teams in the state with a TOC bid and cleared at multiple TOC tournaments did not break top 10 (referenced above)

·      SMS MO who also cleared at multiple TOC tournaments did not break the top 10

 

Clearly, allowing so many teams entry into DCI is skewing the results by forcing some teams to face a series of very difficult opponents en route to a medal (or no medal) while other teams have a comparatively easy road to a solid record. This is especially important considering that at the current pace, there will be at least one 5-2 team at who doesn’t medal at this year’s DCI.

 

I should add that I certainly mean no disrespect to any of the aforementioned teams. SME RT beat us head-to-head for 2nd place in Round 7, and Hutch CK is clearly a great team, judging by their finishes at NFL and CFL. I’d be willing to bet both teams will make repeat top-five appearances at DCI in 2014. My point is merely that the combination of DCI’s current tournament structure and size makes large disparities in schedule strength inevitable, which is a threat to the tournament’s integrity (since the tournament lacks out-rounds to make up for these imbalances).

 

Second, the volume of teams dilutes the judging pool. This fact is simple—as more teams qualify, more inexperienced judges must be recruited to satisfy the number of judges the tournament requires. This is especially true given that, as Chris pointed out several months ago, DCI falls on a weekend where a huge proportion of college debaters are at the Texas and Cal swings, which limits our ability to recruit experienced judges. To quote OMac, “If the 2AR in round 7 of DCI starts with ‘My dad once told me...’ then there is a problem with the system.â€

 

Third, allowing so many teams entry into the tournament decreases its prestige. When it comes to postseason tournaments, “the more the merrier†does not apply, as some have previously suggested. I am sure that none of us want DCI to go down the same road as State, which is largely low quality and uncompetitive until the last few prelims and out-rounds.

 

How to shrink the field

 

As has been demonstrated by previous discussions, there is no “perfect†solution to the problems that exist in the status quo. But the fact of the matter is, any action intended to shrink the field is better than sticking with the status quo (see previous section), and I believe some pretty good options exist.

 

As I made clear throughout the first chunk of this post, I believe the ideal approach is to limit the size of the field. Not only would such a course of action solve schedule strength disparity, judging pool dilution, and tournament prestige, but it would also prevent the necessity of out-rounds. (The community has long rejected the possibility of out-rounds at DCI, and I probably agree with that stance; such a tournament would likely require three days to complete, and most teams would leave before the announcement of the winner.)

 

There are two [primary] possible ways to decrease the number of teams at DCI:

 

1. ADJUST THE NUMBER OF BIDS GIVEN OUT

 

Various alterations in the way bids are distributed have been proposed in the past, but this year, the coaches settled on handing out 16 bids at each qualifier tournament. This does seem to make sense considering all qualifier tournaments exceeded 48 entries last year, and this system prevents novices/JV folks from being thrown into the unforgiving world of Varsity debate only to reach the 48-team threshold. By leaving this policy alone and toughening the qualification requirements (see below), we can limit the size of the field while preventing the young, innocent debaters from being corrupted and disheartened.

 

2. CHANGE THE THRESHOLD FOR QUALIFICATION

 

I would support raising the threshold for qualification to either 2+2 or 3 bids. Either system would limit out teams who would previously have qualified with two octos bids, etc. The reasons I would specifically support a 2+2 cutoff are as follows:

 

·      Last year, a 2+2 cutoff would have weeded out 25 of the 56 qualifiers, leaving us with approximately 31 teams (after adding the teams that would have gone to more local tournaments in order to qualify, and subtracting the teams unable to attend due to illness or lack of will). From a mathematical perspective, a ~31-team, seven-round tournament makes a lot more sense than the ~50-team, seven-round tournament that we’re headed for in the status quo.

·      If a top team wants to travel to 3-4 national circuit tournaments but still attend DCI, they should still be able to qualify for DCI in two tournaments. In order to qualify in a three-bid system, however, such a team would have to attend at least three local tournaments. (Finals appearances and bids earned at qualifiers would create exceptions.)

 

As previously mentioned, no solution is perfect. But given the problems that have arisen as a result of the relationship between DCI’s size and structure, doing nothing is not an option.

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I believe that the majority of coaches agree that the DCI tournament is too big. Not all, but most. For the coaching community, the debate isn't necessarily about the size of the tournament, it's about the mechanism we choose to shrink the tournament, and thus far, no proposal has received a majority vote.

 

The sticking point with most proposals seems to be about the floor, not the ceiling. In those years when a handful of very talented teams attend a whole bunch of bid tournaments, the bids are less widely distributed, which means that fewer teams qualify for DCI. Most proposed mechanisms intended to shrink the size of DCI work really well when the bids are evenly distributed, but under different circumstances, create an intolerably high threshold that would not only over-shrink the tournament, it would also jeopardize the perception that the system accurately invites the best teams in the state. If this were to happen, the outrage about the more-talented teams that didn't get in would be equal to or greater than the current outrage about all the less-talented teams that did get in. Given the choice between the two, we choose the latter, although we like neither.

 

It is absolutely true that every round at DCI should feel like an elimination round, and the coaching community is very interested in finding better ways to make that happen. But we haven't discovered yet anything that would ensure a comfortable floor and a comfortable ceiling - everything swings too wildly in one direction or the other. One possible solution would focus on moving away from the simplicity of two or three bids. If two is too big and three is too small, we may have to think outside the box, and this opens up a whole new level of possibilities.

 

I would invite all students and coaches to begin a discussion that could result in a) a proposal that includes some statistical modeling using data from previous years, and B) widespread support of the prosal from the coaching community. There is no reason why anything proposed and discussed here coudn't be the system we eventually adopt. Debaters are also highly encouraged to discuss this with their coaches.

 

Keep in mind that there a few things that are working really well with the bid system, and most coaches would be reluctant to adopt a system that threatens or diminishes these advantages:

 

First, there is almost zero support for retuning to a system where the coaching community ranks and rates individual teams via application. While that could guarantee a precise cutoff, it also over/under values teams based on perception, and we want all teams to be considered based on performance, not reputation.

 

Second, the bid system does a good job of creating a magnet tournament each weekend to attract the top teams so that these teams get lots of exposure to each other. So creating multiple bid tournaments each weekend is probably a non-starter for most coaches. In olden days, schools would drive all over the state chasing their competition only to discover that their competition went somewhere else. Not only did our top teams miss the opportunity to debate each other, but our sophomores and juniors missed the opportunity to get wholloped and learn from it.

 

Third, there is a widely held respect for the varying capacity of teams to travel and the distance they must do so. For this reason, geographic diversity is equal to and often greater than the perceived strength of a particular tournament when selecting bid tournaments. Any proposed model should ideally make it equally easy for any debater to qualify for DCI regardless of his or her zip code. Yes, there are are some realities that make this a very challenging goal, but any proposal must at least demonstrate some deference to it.

 

I hope this becomes a forum where great ideas are elevated to the top. To do so, I would ask that any debates not central to the premise of finding a better system be set aside or started in another thread.

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Luke's post is very respectful and well thought out. 

 

I agree with pretty much every point. My idea would be to take the top 32 plus ties (or perhaps some other number that makes sense). IIRC this would have put the cut line at 2+2 last season and the number of qualified teams would have been around 38. Some years the cut might be 2, some it might be 2+1... 32+ is flexible. 

 

When I proposed this on the Ad Astra forum Mr Dubois noted that the + rounds aren't "official", but I don't see any reason why they couldn't be. We'd all agree that going 4-1 and breaking to qtrs is better than going 3-2 and getting an octos bid... The + rounds account for that. 

 

I can think of 2 main arguments against this:

 

1. There could be some teams "on the bubble" that may not be able to get to 8 tournaments if they don't get in. 

 

2. It may be difficult for some teams to attend the extra bid tournaments required due to geography/scheduling problems

 

My response to this would be a couple of things:

 

1. This is functionally no different than the pre bid system application days. Some teams were left out and had to scramble to find another tournament to fill their 8 after X-Mas. Perhaps someone would want to host a hard-luck state warmup on DCI weekend?

 

2. I think that the incentive for teams to attend extra bid tournaments is a good thing. There were more than a few teams that got 2 and stopped going to bid tournaments, this could create a feedback loop that would decrease the # of teams with bids and increase the talent level at bid tournaments. 

 

3. The scheduling thing is what it is. Some people complain in the SQ, there will be no way to ever completely solve this. I don't think that this proposal would make the problem much worse.  

 

edit: One bonus negative argument w/ response

 

What constitutes a team's bid total? Jimmy has 4 bids and Susie has 2!

 

This one is a little tougher, but there are many ways to address it. One example is that  the team bid total = the highest numbered individual as long as each member has at least 2. 

 

You could also make a rule that each team has to have attended 1 tournament together in order to attend DCI (with exceptions for scheduling issues/illness). This would prevent schools from splitting up a 4 bid team (for example) to go with different partners who didn't quite make the cut. 

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The sticking point with most proposals seems to be about the floor, not the ceiling. In those years when a handful of very talented teams attend a whole bunch of bid tournaments, the bids are less widely distributed, which means that fewer teams qualify for DCI. Most proposed mechanisms intended to shrink the size of DCI work really well when the bids are evenly distributed, but under different circumstances, create an intolerably high threshold that would not only over-shrink the tournament, it would also jeopardize the perception that the system accurately invites the best teams in the state. If this were to happen, the outrage about the more-talented teams that didn't get in would be equal to or greater than the current outrage about all the less-talented teams that did get in. Given the choice between the two, we choose the latter, although we like neither.

 

The expansion of all qualifier tournaments to octos bids probably solves the bid distribution issue. Under a system where we're guaranteed to give out over 200 bids, I don't think it's mathematically possible for a few power teams to hog so many bids that a 2+2 is an "intolerably high threshold". The 2012 season is the only concrete evidence we have of what an all-octo-bid season looks like, and we ended up with 56 qualifiers. If 2+2 had been the cutoff, approximately 31 teams would have attended DCI, which is darn near perfect (in my opinion).

 

It is absolutely true that every round at DCI should feel like an elimination round, and the coaching community is very interested in finding better ways to make that happen. But we haven't discovered yet anything that would ensure a comfortable floor and a comfortable ceiling - everything swings too wildly in one direction or the other. One possible solution would focus on moving away from the simplicity of two or three bids. If two is too big and three is too small, we may have to think outside the box, and this opens up a whole new level of possibilities.

 

Agreed. I think 2+2 (or a similar number) is a good compromise.

 

Keep in mind that there a few things that are working really well with the bid system, and most coaches would be reluctant to adopt a system that threatens or diminishes these advantages:

 

First, there is almost zero support for retuning to a system where the coaching community ranks and rates individual teams via application. While that could guarantee a precise cutoff, it also over/under values teams based on perception, and we want all teams to be considered based on performance, not reputation.

 

Second, the bid system does a good job of creating a magnet tournament each weekend to attract the top teams so that these teams get lots of exposure to each other. So creating multiple bid tournaments each weekend is probably a non-starter for most coaches. In olden days, schools would drive all over the state chasing their competition only to discover that their competition went somewhere else. Not only did our top teams miss the opportunity to debate each other, but our sophomores and juniors missed the opportunity to get wholloped and learn from it.

 

Third, there is a widely held respect for the varying capacity of teams to travel and the distance they must do so. For this reason, geographic diversity is equal to and often greater than the perceived strength of a particular tournament when selecting bid tournaments. Any proposed model should ideally make it equally easy for any debater to qualify for DCI regardless of his or her zip code. Yes, there are are some realities that make this a very challenging goal, but any proposal must at least demonstrate some deference to it.

 

I concur with all three of these statements. These are all reasons why I believe it's a good idea to simply raise the threshold for qualification; such an approach does not require applications and allows the current tournament structure to remain in place.

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I agree with pretty much every point. My idea would be to take the top 32 plus ties (or perhaps some other number that makes sense). IIRC this would have put the cut line at 2+2 last season and the number of qualified teams would have been around 38. Some years the cut might be 2, some it might be 2+1... 32+ is flexible. 

 

When I proposed this on the Ad Astra forum Mr Dubois noted that the + rounds aren't "official", but I don't see any reason why they couldn't be. We'd all agree that going 4-1 and breaking to qtrs is better than going 3-2 and getting an octos bid... The + rounds account for that. 

 

Interesting idea. It seems to solve all of 2+2's offense while guaranteeing that we will never over-limit the number of teams in the tournament (Anderson's offense). I can see only one problem: the fact that the threshold would [likely] change from year to year means teams who want to debate on the national circuit once they're DCI-qualified would find it difficult to determine when they're actually qualified. In other words, until the conclusion of the NFL qualifiers, there would be a lot of teams "on the bubble" (most years). However, this issue seems minor relative to the [slight] risk of over-limiting the number of DCI participants. I would certainly prefer your proposal over the squo method.

 

Also, I intended to respond the the "+ rounds aren't an official stat" argument in my first post, but it looks like I forgot. You're exactly right - even though the statistic isn't yet an "official" qualification parameter, it does a great job of differentiating between teams with equal numbers of bids.

 

I can think of 2 main arguments against this:

 

1. There could be some teams "on the bubble" that may not be able to get to 8 tournaments if they don't get in. 

 

2. It may be difficult for some teams to attend the extra bid tournaments required due to geography/scheduling problems

 

My response to this would be a couple of things:

 

1. This is functionally no different than the pre bid system application days. Some teams were left out and had to scramble to find another tournament to fill their 8 after X-Mas. Perhaps someone would want to host a hard-luck state warmup on DCI weekend?

 

2. I think that the incentive for teams to attend extra bid tournaments is a good thing. There were more than a few teams that got 2 and stopped going to bid tournaments, this could create a feedback loop that would decrease the # of teams with bids and increase the talent level at bid tournaments. 

 

3. The scheduling thing is what it is. Some people complain in the SQ, there will be no way to ever completely solve this. I don't think that this proposal would make the problem much worse.  

 

I agree that neither of those two arguments poses much of a problem. The main issue with having "bubble" teams, I believe, is the concern I raised above.

 

As far as the geography argument, I would even take your response a step further; there is functionally no difference between the status quo and your plan in terms of teams being put at a geographic disadvantage. In "The Fowler System", I would anticipate that, in the foreseeable future, DCI qualification would never require three bids. This means that teams on the bubble may be motivated to attend one, maybe two, more DCI-qualifier tournaments, which is not a travel burden that is substantially higher than the one that exists in the status quo (where teams often travel to extra tournaments in search of their 2nd bid).

 

What constitutes a team's bid total? Jimmy has 4 bids and Susie has 2!

 

This one is a little tougher, but there are many ways to address it. One example is that  the team bid total = the highest numbered individual as long as each member has at least 2. 

 

You could also make a rule that each team has to have attended 1 tournament together in order to attend DCI (with exceptions for scheduling issues/illness). This would prevent schools from splitting up a 4 bid team (for example) to go with different partners who didn't quite make the cut. 

 

This is indeed a complex problem that could be addressed in many ways. I would advocate a simpler solution: each individual debater counts as half of a team. This way, debaters qualify on an individual basis (as they do in the squo), and they are eligible to attend the tournament with any other qualifier from their school (again, same as the squo). Individual qualification also prevents qualifiers from attending DCI with non-qualified partners.

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If we require much more debating in kansas to qualify for the TOC doesn't that penalize teams that want to go to the national circuit (because thanks to KSHAA we're only allowed 8 tournaments total)

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Let me start this quick post by saying I agree with almost everything that has been proposed by proponents of DCI reform.


That being said, MPJ is the real problem. Raise the entry fees for DCI tournaments, place a "tax" if you will on all money a school makes on entry fees and save all of it from each tournament, and buy the software. It is available to be purchased, and it works much better than the "Rank your top 5 '1s', top 75 '3s', and top 625 '5s'" system that was used this year. If you buy it from joyoftournaments you can allow teams to set their prefs the night before the tournament (instead of the 3 and 1/2 minutes before round 1) and it makes scheduling easier.That (to me) was more attributable to certain teams success (or lack thereof) than the size of the tournament. 

 

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Let me start this quick post by saying I agree with almost everything that has been proposed by proponents of DCI reform.

 

 

That being said, MPJ is the real problem. Raise the entry fees for DCI tournaments, place a "tax" if you will on all money a school makes on entry fees and save all of it from each tournament, and buy the software. It is available to be purchased, and it works much better than the "Rank your top 5 '1s', top 75 '3s', and top 625 '5s'" system that was used this year. If you buy it from joyoftournaments you can allow teams to set their prefs the night before the tournament (instead of the 3 and 1/2 minutes before round 1) and it makes scheduling easier.That (to me) was more attributable to certain teams success (or lack thereof) than the size of the tournament. 

I think that raising entry fees is not feasible. Schools are already pressed on budgets, and raising entry fees would just crowd people out of these tournaments because they cannot afford it. That said, I think that the MPJ system needs to change. I already articulated my views on this when I posted in January (see the link that Luke included), but the way that the MPJ system worked this past year was not sufficient to be called an MPJ system. A better solution, in my opinion, would be to reach out to the college community for help. I know that Chief has a good understanding of the MPJ system and runs it well at his tournament without using the expensive Joy of Tournaments option, and I would be willing to bet that he would at least help the Kansas community know what the financial options are for that kind of thing.

 

As much as I agree that MPJ is part of the issue it is only a small part. Size is a much larger issue. There are already a limited number of qualified judges in the pool which means that even if there is a complete MPJ system, too many teams are left being judged by inexperienced judges.

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I think that raising entry fees is not feasible. Schools are already pressed on budgets, and raising entry fees would just crowd people out of these tournaments because they cannot afford it. That said, I think that the MPJ system needs to change. I already articulated my views on this when I posted in January (see the link that Luke included), but the way that the MPJ system worked this past year was not sufficient to be called an MPJ system. A better solution, in my opinion, would be to reach out to the college community for help. I know that Chief has a good understanding of the MPJ system and runs it well at his tournament without using the expensive Joy of Tournaments option, and I would be willing to bet that he would at least help the Kansas community know what the financial options are for that kind of thing.

 

As much as I agree that MPJ is part of the issue it is only a small part. Size is a much larger issue. There are already a limited number of qualified judges in the pool which means that even if there is a complete MPJ system, too many teams are left being judged by inexperienced judges.

 

 

I agree that the tournament should be shrunk, but it seems clear that a majority of coaches either favor an inclusive tournament, or are incapable of compromising on a mechanism(s) by which to shrink the pool.

 

There does however seem to be some shared sentiment that MPJ can be useful. The price of the MPJ software offered by joyoftournaments.com for 1-249 entries is $150. With 11 DCI tournaments with at least (based on 2012) 48 entries would raise the price of an entry fee $.28 per entry. This means a school sending 4 teams has to pay $1 more. 

 

I agree MPJ treats a symptom not the problem itself, but anything that improves the tournament should be considered and there's certainly no reason why both can't be accomplished. 

 

 

EDIT: I misread the website, it is actually $125 for one copy of the software licence. 

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Here should be the schedule for the Sunday after Round 7

 

Octo's 8am

Quarters 9:30

Semi-Finals at 12:30

Finals at 2:30

 

Coaches and the DCI committee can thank me later. Most of the field could be home Sunday mid afternoon, which is good as we are almost all still young.

 

Field size the way it is you really need elimination rounds. I might even be talked into replacing Rd 7 with a partial doubles round.

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Here should be the schedule for the Sunday after Round 7

 

Octo's 8am

Quarters 9:30

Semi-Finals at 12:30

Finals at 2:30

 

Coaches and the DCI committee can thank me later. Most of the field could be home Sunday mid afternoon, which is good as we are almost all still young.

 

Field size the way it is you really need elimination rounds. I might even be talked into replacing Rd 7 with a partial doubles round.

My only comment would be that an hour and a half is not a lot of turn around time for a big elims round at an important tournament, but then again, a half hour bump up on subsequent rounds probably solves, and certainly the premise of your original post still applies.

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Here should be the schedule for the Sunday after Round 7

 

Octo's 8am

Quarters 9:30

Semi-Finals at 12:30

Finals at 2:30

 

Coaches and the DCI committee can thank me later. Most of the field could be home Sunday mid afternoon, which is good as we are almost all still young.

 

Field size the way it is you really need elimination rounds. I might even be talked into replacing Rd 7 with a partial doubles round.

I could be entirely wrong, but I would put a sizeable wager that this would be rejected by 90+% of debate coaches. 

 

1.  So at 4:00 on Sunday, we would have a winner.  There would be at most 2 other schools there to congratulate them (the opposition and the host school, unless the host school is also the opposition, in which case there would be one).  While it is not 100%, there is a sizable, vocal, and influencial portion of the coaches who very much want DCI to be more about a celebration of the best of Kansas with everyone in attendence than just another tournament like the rest claiming to crown a champion. 

 

2.  But that isn't what I'd bet on.  What would make me willing to borrow money to increase the size of the bet against this concept is that by that point in the season you are asking men and women to work for 13 straight days without a break after they just spent the entire season working 6 days a week missing family and friends for their dedication to the activity.  I can't think of anything that would be more brutal or unfair to the very people that would be making the decision for the change.  You might as well include 30 minutes between quarter finals and semifinals for unlimited wedgies, swirlies, and kicks to the groin.  I believe the likelihood of that would be about the same as asking people who already sacrifice during the longest season of any extra curricular activity in high school, to not only give up the Saturday that they have been doing but also give up the Sunday.  That right before state the head coach would not have a single day off for themself and then head into the tournament their administration most likely cares the most about without any downtime.  Because I don't believe any coach in the state of Kansas believes that DCI is so currently flawed that it would require that kind of human sacrifice, I would take that wager anytime.

 

However, I might lose that bet, so feel free to push for a Sunday addition.  The only thing I can say with absolute certainty is that I wouldn't be there.

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I could be entirely wrong, but I would put a sizeable wager that this would be rejected by 90+% of debate coaches. 

 

1.  So at 4:00 on Sunday, we would have a winner.  There would be at most 2 other schools there to congratulate them (the opposition and the host school, unless the host school is also the opposition, in which case there would be one).  While it is not 100%, there is a sizable, vocal, and influencial portion of the coaches who very much want DCI to be more about a celebration of the best of Kansas with everyone in attendence than just another tournament like the rest claiming to crown a champion. 

 

2.  But that isn't what I'd bet on.  What would make me willing to borrow money to increase the size of the bet against this concept is that by that point in the season you are asking men and women to work for 13 straight days without a break after they just spent the entire season working 6 days a week missing family and friends for their dedication to the activity.  I can't think of anything that would be more brutal or unfair to the very people that would be making the decision for the change.  You might as well include 30 minutes between quarter finals and semifinals for unlimited wedgies, swirlies, and kicks to the groin.  I believe the likelihood of that would be about the same as asking people who already sacrifice during the longest season of any extra curricular activity in high school, to not only give up the Saturday that they have been doing but also give up the Sunday.  That right before state the head coach would not have a single day off for themself and then head into the tournament their administration most likely cares the most about without any downtime.  Because I don't believe any coach in the state of Kansas believes that DCI is so currently flawed that it would require that kind of human sacrifice, I would take that wager anytime.

 

However, I might lose that bet, so feel free to push for a Sunday addition.  The only thing I can say with absolute certainty is that I wouldn't be there.

 

While I certainly understand where you are coming from, I feel like the success of KCKCC among other 3 day tournaments disproves your argument. You are right that having to work for both weekend days is hard, but perhaps the head coach could send a trusted assistant for one of the days. Additionally, not every school would have to stay for all three days. I don't think there is a huge impact to your first argument. The celebration that you are talking about could still happen at the awards ceremony and everyone would still find out who the winner is.

 

Perhaps you are right that a three day tournament structure is not feasible but some change is necessary; the alternative is that DCI turns into just another tournament and the top teams will start deciding that it is not worth one of their tournaments to attend.

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Let me start this quick post by saying I agree with almost everything that has been proposed by proponents of DCI reform.

 

 

That being said, MPJ is the real problem. Raise the entry fees for DCI tournaments, place a "tax" if you will on all money a school makes on entry fees and save all of it from each tournament, and buy the software. It is available to be purchased, and it works much better than the "Rank your top 5 '1s', top 75 '3s', and top 625 '5s'" system that was used this year. If you buy it from joyoftournaments you can allow teams to set their prefs the night before the tournament (instead of the 3 and 1/2 minutes before round 1) and it makes scheduling easier.That (to me) was more attributable to certain teams success (or lack thereof) than the size of the tournament. 

 

 

PlustTab 2.3 is freeware, and runs with MPJ capability out of the box.

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I could be entirely wrong, but I would put a sizeable wager that this would be rejected by 90+% of debate coaches. 

 

1.  So at 4:00 on Sunday, we would have a winner.  There would be at most 2 other schools there to congratulate them (the opposition and the host school, unless the host school is also the opposition, in which case there would be one).  While it is not 100%, there is a sizable, vocal, and influencial portion of the coaches who very much want DCI to be more about a celebration of the best of Kansas with everyone in attendence than just another tournament like the rest claiming to crown a champion. 

 

2.  But that isn't what I'd bet on.  What would make me willing to borrow money to increase the size of the bet against this concept is that by that point in the season you are asking men and women to work for 13 straight days without a break after they just spent the entire season working 6 days a week missing family and friends for their dedication to the activity.  I can't think of anything that would be more brutal or unfair to the very people that would be making the decision for the change.  You might as well include 30 minutes between quarter finals and semifinals for unlimited wedgies, swirlies, and kicks to the groin.  I believe the likelihood of that would be about the same as asking people who already sacrifice during the longest season of any extra curricular activity in high school, to not only give up the Saturday that they have been doing but also give up the Sunday.  That right before state the head coach would not have a single day off for themself and then head into the tournament their administration most likely cares the most about without any downtime.  Because I don't believe any coach in the state of Kansas believes that DCI is so currently flawed that it would require that kind of human sacrifice, I would take that wager anytime.

 

However, I might lose that bet, so feel free to push for a Sunday addition.  The only thing I can say with absolute certainty is that I wouldn't be there.

 

That's it, I'm sold on this model!

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Back in the day, all tournaments were 6 prelims QSF... at some point, people decided to go 5 rds OQSF... Shortly after, tournaments stopped doing octos altogether, so now we're left with 5 rds QSF.... Today's debaters are losing out on 20-30+ rounds over the course of their careers. 

 

My point is that you can do DCI in the old 6 rounds QSF format.... You can do 3 rds on Friday, lunch, assembly and still have time to do elims. Theoretically you could do rounds at 8, 10, 12, Lunch and assembly after rd 3. Qtrs at 4, Sems at 6, Finals at 8. In reality, the finals would probably start at 9 (or later)... 

 

Every tournament used to operate this way, It can be done. Yes, 6 rounds in a day is a grind... but only 2 teams have to worry about that and they have the adrenaline of being in finals to carry them through. It is also a grind to attend 8 tournaments in 1 semester, but that's how we do things in KS. This format could preserve the assembly by recognizing every team and announcing the break rounds. You could even do special recognition by bringing up all of the top 8 and facing them off in matchups like a boxing or ufc press conference (I've always wanted to see a tournament to do this)   :)

 

Edit: Volen is right. The coaches won't go for Sundays. I'm not sure I like the idea of it either.  The tournament in it's current size would be better served by 6 prelims QSF + MPJ reform. If we get the numbers down to 25-35 (which some might call "too small"), the current 7 round tournament would be fine (with some tweaking to powermatching and MPJ). 

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Chris and Tim have an excellent Sunday proposal for DCI that I would be on board to support. Right now, Kansas Debate tournaments are a lot like CFL - which, having never been there, is best described by a friend in the community as the "Battan Death Match" of debate tournaments.

 

Currently, there is only one in-state tournament that is 3 days - KCKCC. If you add DCI to the list, that's a grand total of two tournaments that are different than the rest of ones on the schedule that are ALL one or two day tournaments. If DCI is so special, then why don't we make it three days?

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While I certainly understand where you are coming from, I feel like the success of KCKCC among other 3 day tournaments disproves your argument. You are right that having to work for both weekend days is hard, but perhaps the head coach could send a trusted assistant for one of the days. Additionally, not every school would have to stay for all three days. I don't think there is a huge impact to your first argument. The celebration that you are talking about could still happen at the awards ceremony and everyone would still find out who the winner is.

 

Perhaps you are right that a three day tournament structure is not feasible but some change is necessary; the alternative is that DCI turns into just another tournament and the top teams will start deciding that it is not worth one of their tournaments to attend.

 

 

Chris and Tim have an excellent Sunday proposal for DCI that I would be on board to support. Right now, Kansas Debate tournaments are a lot like CFL - which, having never been there, is best described by a friend in the community as the "Battan Death Match" of debate tournaments.

 

Currently, there is only one in-state tournament that is 3 days - KCKCC. If you add DCI to the list, that's a grand total of two tournaments that are different than the rest of ones on the schedule that are ALL one or two day tournaments. If DCI is so special, then why don't we make it three days?

I've got no dog in this fight.  By all means, continue to push for DCI reform to take the form of a Sunday elimination bracket.  I did think thefish's reply was very funny in response that I won't be there.

 

I only reply to give the supporters of DCI reform something to concider as they present their most persuasive cases to those who will make the decisions.  If you disagree with me, I completely understand, I truly only want to assist in identifying possible hurdles to your efforts.

 

Yes, KCKCC is 3 days.  That does seem to support that 3 days is a possibility.  However, please concider these two differences that perhaps makes KCKCC not a good model.  1st, many coaches do send their assistants or college kid sponsors to KCKCC rather than attend in person.  There are a variety of reasons for this, none of which are slights against KCKCC.  That was even given as a way to make DCI 3 days, utilize the assistants.  However, there is an issue with that.  It assumes that DCI is some kind of debate community event, which it is, but it ignores a key factor.  It is the Debate Coaches Invitational.  I think there would be some concern if the head debate coaches were not attending their own tournament.  Perhaps that doesn't mean anything to the students or loyal members of the community, but I believe it matters to the debate coaches, who are ultimately making all the decisions about the tournament and any possible reform.  So, if they include a Sunday format, I'm thinking it would be under the pretense that debate coaches are actually there all three days.  Again, I don't think they'd further submit themselves to such self sacrifice.

 

2nd, is the timing.  KCKCC is basically in the middle of the season.  DCI is at the end before State.  Debate coaches are human (for the most part) and most are exhausted both physically and emotionally by the end of the season.  They know they are working at State and it is a big deal to them.  To ask them to go without a single day off at that time would be problematic at best.  Perhaps for students and recent graduates working 13 straight days is no big deal.  You don't have a spouse who misses you or kids who need their parent.  Your body can go without rest for long periods of time.  But think of your coach.  Most have families at home.  Most are getting to the point that they are looking forward to the end of the season.  To submit them to a 3 day tournament at that point would be much more harsh than when KCKCC is doing their thing.  I will say this, if the vote is today, before the season starts, you will have a much better shot.  However, the vote for reform is often done at the DCI tournament itself, when the coaches are tired, so asking them at that time to stick around another day and then go back to school on Monday seems unlikely at best.

 

Listen, push for whatever you want.  Personnally I've posted multiple times that I think adding an elimination bracket is a huge mistake.  I think it would be more productive to focus possible reform to reducing the size of the tournament by increasing the requirements to get into the tournament.  I think that presenting multiple reform options decreases the chances that any of them are implimented, but a focussed, detailed concept of reform has a real chance of making actual change.  But that is just want I think, so you can take it for what you think it is worth.  I wish you all the success in your efforts.

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I agree that the tournament should be shrunk, but it seems clear that a majority of coaches either favor an inclusive tournament, or are incapable of compromising on a mechanism(s) by which to shrink the pool.

 

There does however seem to be some shared sentiment that MPJ can be useful. The price of the MPJ software offered by joyoftournaments.com for 1-249 entries is $150. With 11 DCI tournaments with at least (based on 2012) 48 entries would raise the price of an entry fee $.28 per entry. This means a school sending 4 teams has to pay $1 more. 

 

I agree MPJ treats a symptom not the problem itself, but anything that improves the tournament should be considered and there's certainly no reason why both can't be accomplished. 

 

 

EDIT: I misread the website, it is actually $125 for one copy of the software licence. 

 

Jared N. makes a point that I think people are overlooking, the coaches (with this knowledge) have actually moved to make the tournament more open/available than ever before.  I might stand in the vast minority, and I hardly post, so I just wanted to share a perspective (right or wrong) of maybe why this is happening.

 

First question- what is the purpose of DCI?  It used to be the tournament, when only a limited number of teams were allowed and the best hit the best.  Now, it is the process of qualifying.  I liken it to an all-star game.  The reward is not the game.  No one plays defense, no one reads new arg's the week before state, etc.  It's just for fun.  A coach once told me we disrespected DCI because we wore tacky sweaters.  We look at it as fun, an all-star game.  If we do well, great.  If not, we honestly don't care.

 

What we do care about is getting there.  My young kids go into the last weekend still thinking they have a chance.  They don't quit.  We now reward the process over the product at the end.  Look at KS debate over the past 5 years.  Some of our best teams probably made it too early as sophomores and were unstoppable as seniors.  KS debate over the past 5 years has been phenomenal.  Something I would never want to change.

 

Can we improve how it is scheduled?  Probably.  Can we add a third day?  Maybe.  I'll probably take my kids home.  I like watching the Chiefs over watching debates.  If it's playoffs, I'd rather watch another team than debates.  My point is, question #1 somewhat predicates how or what to do because it is mutually exclusive.  Openness checks exclusivity.  I will tell you that the success of KS debaters is second to none and I would hate to do anything that would reward the teams who already know they are really good.  The past few years, the champion has been a great team.  In some respects, the system still works very well.  I don't intend to argue or debate this, just wanted to share a few opinions about why I vote the way I do so maybe we can see more than one perspective on where it goes forward.

 

My second point, albeit a flawed one, is that you could add a few more awards to celebrate in-season success.  Most DCI bids during the regular season award.  Most team DCI bids to celebrate schools that had an awesome year.  Because the tournament is growing, maybe we could find more ways to celebrate more teams and schools.

 

Thanks everyone,

Jared Zuckerman

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Jared N. makes a point that I think people are overlooking, the coaches (with this knowledge) have actually moved to make the tournament more open/available than ever before.  I might stand in the vast minority, and I hardly post, so I just wanted to share a perspective (right or wrong) of maybe why this is happening.

 

First question- what is the purpose of DCI?  It used to be the tournament, when only a limited number of teams were allowed and the best hit the best.  Now, it is the process of qualifying.  I liken it to an all-star game.  The reward is not the game.  No one plays defense, no one reads new arg's the week before state, etc.  It's just for fun.  A coach once told me we disrespected DCI because we wore tacky sweaters.  We look at it as fun, an all-star game.  If we do well, great.  If not, we honestly don't care.

 

What we do care about is getting there.  My young kids go into the last weekend still thinking they have a chance.  They don't quit.  We now reward the process over the product at the end.  Look at KS debate over the past 5 years.  Some of our best teams probably made it too early as sophomores and were unstoppable as seniors.  KS debate over the past 5 years has been phenomenal.  Something I would never want to change.

 

Can we improve how it is scheduled?  Probably.  Can we add a third day?  Maybe.  I'll probably take my kids home.  I like watching the Chiefs over watching debates.  If it's playoffs, I'd rather watch another team than debates.  My point is, question #1 somewhat predicates how or what to do because it is mutually exclusive.  Openness checks exclusivity.  I will tell you that the success of KS debaters is second to none and I would hate to do anything that would reward the teams who already know they are really good.  The past few years, the champion has been a great team.  In some respects, the system still works very well.  I don't intend to argue or debate this, just wanted to share a few opinions about why I vote the way I do so maybe we can see more than one perspective on where it goes forward.

 

My second point, albeit a flawed one, is that you could add a few more awards to celebrate in-season success.  Most DCI bids during the regular season award.  Most team DCI bids to celebrate schools that had an awesome year.  Because the tournament is growing, maybe we could find more ways to celebrate more teams and schools.

 

Thanks everyone,

Jared Zuckerman

 

As much as I appreciate your team's deployment of sweaters. I think that I disagree with the purpose of DCI. During a discussion about the state tournament, Mr. Dubois said that the state tournament is the state tournament for the schools to brag about and the non debate community to commemorate while DCI is the state tournament for the debate community. I agree with this view. It is the only tournament where all of the best teams in the state attend. Wichita East, Washburn Rural, SME, etc. all require that the hosting teams not participate which takes out strong competition from the pool. Good teams consistently are unable to make the trip to KCKCC. The reason that the state tournament cannot remedy this is because class boundaries ensure that there are good teams in various classes.

 

The idea of introducing a Copeland Award equivalent has received a very negative response when introduced on this forum in the past. 

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As an aside, I believe that KSHSAA does not permit Sunday competition at high school tournaments.

 

My understanding is that non-KSHSAA schools can do whatever they want, and they typically call their Sunday rounds "exhibition rounds" to allow Kansas (and other states) to attend. While KSHSAA hasn't taken a firm stand on KS kids doing Sunday rounds at colleges and out-of-state tournaments, it would probably intervene quickly if a member school (like the DCI host) had any level of competition on Sunday, regardless of what they called it. Administrators would also likely prevent this from happening.

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As an aside, I believe that KSHSAA does not permit Sunday competition at high school tournaments.

 

My understanding is that non-KSHSAA schools can do whatever they want, and they typically call their Sunday rounds "exhibition rounds" to allow Kansas (and other states) to attend. While KSHSAA hasn't taken a firm stand on KS kids doing Sunday rounds at colleges and out-of-state tournaments, it would probably intervene quickly if a member school (like the DCI host) had any level of competition on Sunday, regardless of what they called it. Administrators would also likely prevent this from happening.

 

How do these nazis get elected?

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How do these nazis get elected?

 

I just want to know where KSHSAA gets the money they spend on advertisements, because they air a truly ridiculous number of highly misleading, totally unnecessary radio ads.

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I have nothing to add, but it is refreshing to see the same arguments every year on a thread just like this.

 

Also ... Hello all the old timers ... I miss seeing you all. Hopefully I can make it out to a few tournaments this year.

 

/bd

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