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DCI Reform Proposal (For Real This Time)

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A couple hours ago, Mr. Dubois posted the following DCI reform proposal on Ad Astra. For what it's worth (which isn't much), I think the idea is brilliant.

 

Comments/thoughts/concerns should be voiced on Ad Astra so that the discussion is centralized.

 

Members of the Kansas debate community:

There has been a great deal of discussion and debate over the mechanics of the DCI. The challenges posed by an expanding field, and by the logistics of hosting the tournament alongside an ever-larger Novice State event, have made the duties of the tournament host and the DCI bid committee progressively more difficult. This year we have the added difficulty of having lost our awards supplier to a fire. The committee is asking for the community’s support in making rules adjustments to make the process of putting DCI together more manageable.

Central to our difficulties is the unpredictable nature of the tournament field. The coaches have collectively expressed a preference for an inclusive approach to DCI qualification as opposed to an exclusive one. This principle, however, has produced an environment where the size of the field is wildly variable and subject to chance. It has become nearly impossible to budget for awards, arrange for meals, or set aside an appropriate block of rooms. It is not necessary to make the tournament radically smaller to solve these problems; it IS necessary to establish criteria that place the number of potential qualifiers within a narrower range.

The committee has discussed many possible approaches to this problem. In our collective opinion, raising the threshold of the number of bids required to attend the tournament is not particularly helpful—the data suggest that doing so would shrink the tournament substantially without providing any significant degree of predictability. It has been impossible to establish a clear consensus of what form of bid “tiebreaker†would be least arbitrary. Proposals that a fixed number of teams should qualify (as opposed to however many teams meet a fixed standard) run afoul of the same tiebreaker problems. Nor does the committee support the elimination of the bid system in favor of either admission by coach vote or a hybrid system involving a coach vote; we feel that objective rules for qualification will always be better than subjective decisions made by interested parties.

The committee has come to a tentative proposal that we feel would provide for a reasonable degree of predictability while still preserving an inclusive approach. We would like to see this proposal discussed and possibly modified with an eye towards an eventual vote at the DCI coaches’ meeting and possible implementation in 2014.

Under our proposed system, the present system of bid assignment would be adjusted to a system in which bid points are awarded. The champion of a DCI bid tournament would receive 5 bid points; the runner up, four points; losing semifinalists, three points; losing quarterfinalists, two points; non-advancing octofinalists with a .500 or better record in prelims, one point. A bracket closeout would afford both teams with the points that the winner of the round would have received. Qualification from an NFL or CFL qualifying tournament would be worth two points. The majority opinion of the committee is that debaters who received four bid points over the course of the year would be considered qualified for the DCI. This is not the universal sentiment of the committee; below, we present data for your consideration as to how both a four-point threshold and a three point threshold would affect the size of the qualified field.

A four-bid threshold means that a debater could qualify to DCI with a single finals appearance at a DCI invitational; a three bid threshold would allow a semifinalist to auto-qualify. Under either standard, qualification to both national tournaments would be sufficient, but a team qualifying to only one national tournament would need to earn points elsewhere.

The primary category of debaters included under the old system but excluded under the new would be debaters who currently qualify as non-advancing octofinalists at multiple tournaments. The number of qualifiers in this category varies wildly from year to year and is the principle source of the field predictability problem; we expect this unpredictability to increase now that there are a far larger number of octofinals bids in play. While there are no doubt many good arguments to be made as to whether one team or another in this category “deserves†to go to DCI, the fact of the matter is that it is unmanageable to include all such teams and engage in reasonably accurate event planning.

Seen from this perspective, we see the points system as the least worst option. The proposed system places a premium on winning elimination rounds at bid events; unlike the current system, it does not treat a team that finishes 3-2 with poor speaks but slips into 15th place as the equivalent of a top seed which drops on a 2-1 in semifinals. We feel that the new system rewards teams for excellence at Kansas tournaments and provides all teams, regardless of geography, style, or travel preferences, with a fair opportunity to attend Kansas’ premier tournament.

We invite discussion of this proposal, as well as suggested alterations. We will try to make available data on the affects alternate proposals would have on the size and predictability of the DCI field. We do ask that all discussion participants make their identity known in their post. The forum moderators will not look leniently on posters who decline to do so.

-Steve DuBois for the DCI Committee

 

FOUR POINT THRESHHOLD

2008 – 33 teams (smaller by 3 teams)
2009 – 32 teams (smaller by 6 teams)
2010 – 39 teams (smaller by 4 teams)
2011 – 31 teams (smaller by 10 teams)
2013 – 37 teams (smaller by 19 teams)

THREE POINT THRESHHOLD
2008 - 37 (+1)
2009 - 44 (+6)
2010 - 42 (-1)
2011 - 43 (+2)
2012 - 46 (-10)

Thanks to Eric Skoglund for crunching the numbers.

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Keep in mind that allowing some teams to qualify earlier would disincentivize going to additional DCI tournaments, for the national circuit or otherwise, opening up more bid opportunities for other teams. This would potentially lead to an increase in qualifying teams. This is a small downside, but could also easily be solved by requiring "points" at 2 separate tournaments.

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Keep in mind that allowing some teams to qualify earlier would disincentivize going to additional DCI tournaments, for the national circuit or otherwise, opening up more bid opportunities for other teams. This would potentially lead to an increase in qualifying teams. This is a small downside, but could also easily be solved by requiring "points" at 2 separate tournaments.

 

In this regard, there is functionally no difference between the proposed system and the status quo. With a point requirement of four, a team must make it to finals to qualify for DCI in one tournament. (And in the status quo, a finals appearance is enough to qualify a team for DCI.)

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Thank you for posting this here, Luke.

 

I would encourage anyone interested in posting thoughts/comments to do so on the ad astra thread so as to keep discussions together and in a central location. (By all means, post them here too, if you like.)

 

The link is:

http://z3.invisionfree.com/Ad_Astra/index.php?showtopic=126&st=0&do=findComment&comment=22010508

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Thank you for posting this here, Luke.

 

I would encourage anyone interested in posting thoughts/comments to do so on the ad astra thread so as to keep discussions together and in a central location. (By all means, post them here too, if you like.)

 

The link is:

http://z3.invisionfree.com/Ad_Astra/index.php?showtopic=126&st=0&do=findComment&comment=22010508

 

My mistake - I attempted to include the link in my original post, but it appears as though I inadvertently deleted it. I've edited the post to include it.

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Will roadmaps be on time or off time at DCI?

I don't know the answer to your question, but at topeka a few weeks ago a judge told us roadmaps were on time, so we just spread them really quickly.

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