Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by STADB9

  1. I have always felt that DCI is the state championship that the community recognizes, and KSHSAA State is the state championship that administrators and other non-debaters recognize. KSHSAA trophies mean more money and support for programs throughout the state, in every classification. They mean more respect for debaters in the school hallway and more novices enrolling the following year. They mean increased job security for coaches. These are purposes worthy of service; serving them doesn't require us as a community to indulge the pretense that the tournament provides an absolute determination that a given team or school is the best in Kansas. I haven't entered teams in 4-speaker in several years and may never do so again. I don't think anyone ought to attend it in the expectation that the format or judging will provide a terribly legitimate test of debating excellence as we understand it. I fully understand the criticisms of four-speaker raised in this thread. I just don't consider them relevant to the tournament's actual purpose, and I don't know why anyone would have a problem with its existence or would seek to eliminate it. Two sets of state title trophies mean that more outsiders in positions of authority wind up caring about debate, funding it, and protecting its interests. That can only be a good thing.
  2. I don't have the packet. Top three were BVW BS, Buhler BS, and Manhattan PW. If I remember correctly, top three speakers were Saiedian, Pei, and Birzer.
  3. I argued above that MPJ was difficult/impossible to implement at NFL. Explanations why, following the lines of Patrick's arguments. I’m not seeking a line-by-line debate so much as I’m trying to create a mechanism that ensures that I address the issues fully and directly. 1. LAY JUDGES ARE PREFERABLE TO TRADITIONALISTS. I don’t entirely disagree, but that’s not really relevant at NFL. You are attempting to qualify to a national tournament that will be judged largely by traditionalists, and very seldom by outright laypeople. The tournament judging pool ought to select for teams that will succeed in that environment. 2. MPJ BENEFITS. Many of the problems here occur as a result of tournament mechanics. -Unlike most tournaments with MPJ, there is no impartial central authority figure to serve as a “deciderâ€. If you have a human being engaged in the process of “balancing†the panel along Patrick’s guidelines, you’re going to create protracted arguments among the nine coaches watching as to whether the selection of a particular judge creates balance or not. Imagine this environment as it applies to rounds involving the balancer’s own teams. -The nature of the judging pool is substantially different than is the case at most tournaments with MPJ in that many judges enter and leave the pool from round to round. Not only does this create a constantly shifting pool in terms of the overall number of lay/flow/flay judges available, it also necessitates a system where the tournament runs on time—if it doesn’t, big sections of the judging pool simply leave due to other commitments. The panel-creation process isn’t conducive to the tournament running on time. -Unlike other MPJ events, judge scarcity becomes a massive issue. With a pool of judges that isn’t much larger than the number of debates, you can certainly accommodate the debates at the top of the bracket—but once you reach the bottom of the bracket, you are left with the judges you’re left with. This wouldn’t be an issue at most tournament with MPJ because that would be a debate between winless teams. At NFL, the “bottom†debate is an elimination debate between teams with one loss, and is every bit as important in the overall scope of the tournament as the “top†debate. -Judge absences are epidemic at many NFL qualifiers, and generally one finds out about these absences when the judge isn’t present to take the ballot in question. Obviously this is even more true when the tournament is running behind, as above. The problem with an MPJ system is that the absence must be filled with a judge who satisfies the requirement for “balanceâ€â€”and that will range, under the circumstances we’re discussing, from difficult to completely impossible. -The easy solution to the problems above is to have a computer program assign judges. Most of the MPJ programs of which I’m aware, though, employ an algorithm involving the assignment of ranks by teams to individual judges, which is a different animal from what Patrick seems to be suggesting, and creates problems of its own. In any case, this doesn’t solve for the problems of absences and rebalancing, nor does it appear to be within the scope of the capabilities of the tournament software with which NFL has saddled us. 3. AN IMPERFECT SYSTEM IS SUPERIOR TO A RANDOM, UNBALANCED ONE. If your goal is to make teams relatively happy with their judging over the course of the event, this might be true. If your goal is to qualify teams capable of succeeding with nationals judges who are assigned to rooms at random, I am not as sure. That imbalance will exist is a regrettable given, but I tend to think that the creation of a representative judging pool is a better means of assuaging that problem than the attempt to accommodate preferences within a non-representative pool. Ideally one would do both, and I could see myself endorsing a combination proposal that didn’t creative massive logistical problems. 4. FIRST YEAR OUT JUDGES. I am OK with this. I know of no other coach in Kansas who agrees with me. Nor are these judges permitted at NFL Nats. Patrick and I will both have to lose on this one; it is a more or less settled issue. 5. CHANGING COMPETITION DATE. Creates massive, massive problems with the calendar. 6. ALLOW JUDGES TO JUDGE MULTIPLE DEBATES. This works within the context of a strict MPJ approach but could not be made operational under any other format. I am envisioning a situation under Patrick’s “balanced panel†proposal in which a team is being heard for the third time in their qualifying round by a judge who the team DIDN’T prefer—the judge is being used for “balanceâ€â€”and has already voted against them twice. Your tab room had better be soundproofed. That there are three judges will be scant comfort under these circumstances. This may also require a change in national procedure; I don’t recall offhand whether this is permitted under the national guidelines for district tournaments. 7. PAY JUDGES. Many schools do pay their school judges; judges seeking to be paid need do no more than seek affiliation with one of these teams. I’m honestly a little bit puzzled by this suggestion—are there judges out there who seriously cannot find a paying sponsor for NFL weekend? 8. KANSAS SHOULD SEEK TO CHANGE NATIONAL PROCEDURE. Well, yes. But the attempt to do so presumes a consensus among programs in the state that can only arise as a result of the reforms actually having been implemented locally and having proven popular—so, where we are talking about NFL district tournament rules, there is kind of a chicken/egg problem in play. I think it might be more productive in the short term to discuss those changes that can be enacted within the NFL’s parameters. Another idea would be to experiment with some of these suggestions at the CFL qualifiers, where the coaches have complete leeway.
  4. Phil also asks a reasonable question as to what makes the NFL district tournament distinct from other events which require school judges, such as CFL, DCI, and State. I think the best way of answering this is to say that the NFL district tournaments do not exist as a separate category; rather, each individual NFL district tournament is a separate entity. There are NFL district tournaments which do not seem to be meaningfully distinct in any way from DCI or State. There are district tournaments which produce results which, clearly and consistently, represent a departure from those produced at invitationals, DCI, and state. There are other district tournaments which fall somewhere in between these extremes. As to WHY such a result might take place, again, the answer varies based on the individual procedures of the district in question. In some cases it may be a product of the existence of a community pool that doesn't exist at other school-judged events. In other cases it might be the requirement that schools bring more judges than they need to provide for DCI or State--for many schools, their sixth choice of a school judge is much less typical of the nationals pool than their second choice. In other cases it may be a matter of schools with different debate styles than those which predominate at DCI, State, and NFL Nationals constituting a greater proportion of the pool than is the case at those events. The discussion in this thread was brought about by competitors in my own NFL district. I don't regard my district's national qualifiers as in any sense unworthy; in fact I will go further and predict that all three of our teams will clear to elims at NFL nats. I am clearly a coach whose team has profited more by the existing judging system than has suffered from it. I still think it's worth discussing the issue in a public forum. NFL IS different. In some ways, radically so. It is fair to ask what effect those differences affect our state's performance at NFL nationals.
  5. As I’m advocating a greater role for coaches as judges, I will address Phil’s concerns related to that proposal. 1. WILL COACHES JUDGE INVITATIONALS AT WHICH THEY DON’T COMPETE: no, which is why I don’t advocate the district swap proposal. I find this argument and others against the swap to be persuasive. 2. COACHES RUN THE TOURNAMENT: as best I can tell, the tournament requires the host school coach, to address facilities issues, who can also double as a ballot collector, and a second coach to enter the ballots into the tournament software (preferably two). Every other tournament duty (matching, ballot distribution, coaching) occurs between rounds as opposed to during them. The real reason we don’t judge at districts is that we don’t want to. “We have to run the show!†is a convenient excuse, nothing more. 3. COACHES ARE AWARE OF IMPLICATIONS: I’d say a number of things about this. Firstly, if this were a real concern for us, we would PROHIBIT coaches from judging; no district of which I’m aware does so. Second, there is a certain standard of professionalism expected of coaches, and the willingness to fairly adjudicate important rounds is pretty clearly part of that. Thirdly, it is hardly as if information about the performance of teams is unavailable to other members of the judging pool; any coach who wishes to alter the results of any round can do so through instruction to his or her school judges, and the fact that accusations of this sort occur so seldom suggests that this is not a very serious possibility. Fourth, we are not dealing with a choice between a coach and an experienced and impartial debate judge; my system explicitly creates a choice between a coach and a layperson in the back of the room. If my team is in that room, I will prefer another coach—even one who is fully aware of the implications of the round—every single time.
  6. Let me propose a hypothetical problem with the judge swap idea. Let's say that two neighboring districts host NFL tournaments which usually produce diametrically opposite sorts of qualifiers. One district's judging pool generally produces qualifying teams that are on the more contemporary side; the other district generally produces qualifying teams that are on the more traditional side. If you're a coach whose team emphasizes the style that your district tends to qualify, why would you want to swap judge pools?
  7. Liam raises good points. I think a distinction needs to be drawn between the rules that are set in stone by the National Forensic League for the qualification process, the non-rules which nonetheless have a way of becoming standard practice based on the requirement that we submit a document created by the tournament software, and the rules which are left at the discretion of the district tournament operators. The two-downs-and-out system is, unless I am badly mistaken, a set-in-stone rule. The coaches do not have the slightest discretion to alter this process nor can we use ballot count as a replacement. If this were to change, it would have to change at the national level. Judge strikes, by contrast, are solely at the discretion of the coaches in the individual district. It's pretty clear based on Liam's description that the strike process is radically different in EK than in TT, where schools are permitted only a single strike from the entire tournament pool. What are the procedures in EK, exactly? In other districts?
  8. 4. COACHES SHOULD EXPECT TO JUDGE TWO ROUNDS EACH, AND COACHES SHOULD FILL JUDGE VACANCIES BEFORE LAY JUDGES DO. This is the big one and the reform that I am certain has the least chance of being adopted. On the whole head coaches do not like to judge debates; they do too much of that over the years and during the week, and they do not want to face accusations of bias or the sort of nastiness that occurs on cross-x.com. This is regrettable, because the NFL national tournament is judged PRIMARILY by head and assistant coaches of qualified teams; in other words the coaches are a PRECISE model of what you’ll see at NFL nats, and if you can’t win rounds with them in the back of the room, you shouldn’t be going. Coaches ought not to be able to absent themselves from this process; if you want the chance to qualify teams to nationals, you need to take personal responsibility for evaluating debates at the qualifying tournament.
  9. 3. RECRUIT A SPECIFIC SUBSET OF 6-9 QUALIFIED JUDGES WHO DO NOT ENTER THE POOL PRIOR TO THE PROJECTED FINAL ROUND. This can be the responsibility of the district committee or of the competing schools (one judge per school); either way, this needs to be done well in advance of the tournament so that it is understood that these judges cannot be hired as school judges or placed in the community pool.
  10. 2. SEPARATE JUDGES WITH DEBATE BACKGROUND FROM LAY JUDGES, AND ENSURE THAT ALL JUDGES WITH DEBATE BACKGROUND ARE USED PRIOR TO ANY LAY JUDGES BEING ASSIGNED. “Debate background†in this case refers to background as a competitor, not to being an attorney or to having judged a whole lot of debates. Again, our goal here is not to make a judgment of whether a college debater is a BETTER judge than an attorney; it is to model the national judging pool, which includes more college debaters than local attorneys. In “Joy of Tournamentsâ€, this separation implies putting only judges with debate background into the program, and filling the vacancies manually. If we can agree that lay judges should not be deciding qualifiers to the national tournament, then it makes no sense to have a hospitality room full of experienced debate judges while competition rooms are full of people who have never seen a debate before. The downside here is that you burn all of your judges prior to the qualifying rounds, so…
  11. It needs to be understood that modifying procedures at NFL district tournaments is a very difficult task. Each district has procedures of its own that are determined by a consensus of coaches in that district; to change those procedures requires one to change the minds of several individuals, not just one. Furthermore, there are procedures that are set in stone by the NFL, and other procedures which are highly encouraged as a result of the Joy Of Tournaments program design. With that understood, what I’m proposing below is what I, PERSONALLY would do if I had sole authority to decide a district’s judging procedures within the NFL’s guidelines. I recognize that other people's standards will be different. 1. INCREASE THE PERCENTAGE OF THE JUDGE POOL THAT IS PROVIDED BY THE COMPETING SCHOOLS. It is not an insult to tournament hosts to say that a large percentage of the first-time judges at district qualifiers are community judges. This is simply an unavoidable consequence of the fact that host schools are asked to provide the largest number of judges, as well as judges who can judge the school’s own teams free of bias, and fresh judges for later rounds. A judge provision formula that requires competing schools to provide at least one judge per team competing creates a situation where at least 2/3 of the pool can be composed of school judges, and it is a great deal easier for any individual school to find four judges with a debate background than twenty. Competing schools should also be clear on the expectation that judges with a background in debate, recent or otherwise, are preferable to lay judges at this particular tournament; smaller programs or newer programs will struggle to meet this standard and all involved should take that fact into account. The downside here is that this will increase hiring costs to teams and will reduce the willingness of some teams to send “filler†to NFL to ensure that the threshold for a third/fourth qualifier is met. I can live with that.
  12. The question of whether lay judges are legitimate is not really relevant to this thread. Lay judges serve a purpose in that they ensure that everyone can participate in debate, and they insure that Kansas debaters have a solid foundation in basic logic and communication skills. It does not follow from this that they ought to be deciding who our national qualifiers are; if we are seeking to choose qualifiers for the national tournament, our judging pool ought to mirror the nationals pool as closely as possible. Do not make the mistake of thinking that there's a strict dichotomy between "lay" and "flow" judges. If you intend to compete at nationals, you are going to have to defend your arguments in front of a whole lot of judges who have a lower threshhold for "intervention" on issues than you're used to, who value communication skills to some extent, and who evaluate strictly defensive arguments as round-winners, and who may despise topical counterplans, but who are nonetheless flowing the round accurately and have a reasonable grasp of debate jargon. In my experience, actual LAY judges at nationals are a rarity. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t judges who make decisions along the lines that Mr. Trent specified earlier, involving the failure of teams to meet basic persuasive thresholds with certain arguments (usually contemporary ones). What you’re looking at there are coaches and judges from an old-school stocks background, of which there are PLENTY at nats. The skills required to win with a judge who is a complete newcomer to debate are not the same as the skills required to win with a judge who debated in the 1970s.
  13. This question might be better directed at the people who designed the tournament software, or at those who mandate that it be used, than at the people running the tournaments. That having been said: who, exactly, is going to make the decision as to which judges are "most qualified"? At an invitational, that decisions is obviously made by the tournament host, who is both impartial and in possession of unitary authority. But at NFL, you have between seven and twenty coaches in the tab room, every one of whom has a direct stake in the outcome. This, actually, is a far from unique problem. Ask competitors in the late rounds of the national tournament(s) what they think of the process for assigning judges to those rounds. I don't mean to be dismissive of the question, by the way. It's one of the long-standing questions regarding national qualification, and it ought to be discussed openly (and respectfully) rather than grumbled about in backchannels. And it's a question I don't have even the vaguest answer to, given that mutually preferred judging is a near-impossibility at NFL.
  14. A couple of informational items related to questions in the thread. -There were approximately 200 teams in play at the beginning of the six NFL qualifying tournaments. It is more or less necessary under NFL district tournament regulations to panel every round of the district tournament; this means that on NFL Friday, 300 judges are needed throughout the state. The pool has to expand on Saturday because most of the early judges will be unable to judge most of the remaining teams. Needless to say, it is very difficult to model the NFL nationals pool when operating under those constraints. -Judges are recruited both by competing schools and by the host school. It goes without saying that the host school cannot pay judges who are going to be evaluating its teams. Host schools with short program histories will struggle when it comes to recruiting experienced judges, particularly when they are having to produce 30-50 judges for a given round. Competing schools, meanwhile, who recruit experienced judges will lose the benefit of being evaluated by those judges--they will be struck from the school that recruits them. It stands to reason that many of the more contemporary-oriented schools will hold off on hiring some of the more experienced community members in the hope that someone ELSE will bring them in as a judge. -It is extremely difficult to get experienced judges to come to the NFL district tournament given that they have to spend a lot of time sitting around. Most district tournaments now use the NFL's required software which allegedly assigns judges "at random". At best this means that an unlucky break can leave a judge sitting for six hours at a time; I can say from experience that unless the program is configured EXACTLY right (a nearly impossible process), it tends to leave certain sections of the judging pool unused. One of my school's best hired judges, a regular figure in varsity divisions from Manhattan to KC, once sat out for nine consecutive rounds at NFL district tournaments. All of this having been said, I personally agree with the sentiment expressed that the district tournament pools should mirror the national tournament pool as closely as possible. My program hires its district tournament judges in accordance with this philosophy, and I have been frustrated at times by the occasional omission of excellent teams from the Kansas NFL Nationals delegation. I hope this post helps to clarify the reasons why it is very, very difficult to achieve the judging standard being sought. If the commenters in this thread want to actually do something about the issue, the best thing they can do is politely approach their own coaches about it and strive to see that their own programs recruit judges whom they would see as highly qualified.
  15. Mods, this should probably be un-stickied to avoid confusion with this year's qualifier threads.
  16. I'm guessing there won't be a lot of public criticism of the events on this board given that one of the coaches frequents cx.com and the other is McComas. SMW Hruska/Hui won STA. I'll put up Topeka results on the bidtracker when they're sent to me.
  17. No. No way in hell. You don't get to hide behind an anonymous identity, play the troll for months, and then suddenly be taken seriously because your mood changes. Identify yourself by name, the way virtually everybody else in this thread has. Take some level of personal responsibility for your rhetoric. Let us know what you've contributed to the debate community--what you've done to make Kansas debate a better place, the way Chris and Ideen have. And then MAYBE we'll give your arguments some consideration. Until that time, you're just a silly little boy in a troll mask, and any attention spent on your posts is wasted.
  18. I did read it, and the polite tone of the post is the reason I replied to it. I am attempting to explain why a number of readers may not receive this post in the spirit in which it is intended, and why it may in fact produce results that are not of the sort that the authors were looking for. I am also attempting to provide an explanation as to why at least one of the tournaments in question is limited entry; I trust that the explanation is satisfactory.
  19. The DCI bid committee places no restrictions on the nature of tournaments which conduct DCI invitationals. If we did, people would not agree to host them. This year in particular, it was difficult to find schools which were willing to host these events. There was one particular weekend on which no team offered to host. We sent out an invitation to all schools which had been denied bid events on their host weekends; none of them were able to fill the gap. In order to ensure that the students of Kansas would have the opportunity to earn a bid every week, a school stepped forward to fill the gap. This school agreed hosting their second invitational of the year, on a weekend on which their coach is unable to be there. In order to make the event possible, they have limited entries for each school. As a result of this, they are now apparently the target of student criticism in a thread on cross-x.com. Which may, in part, explain why schools are unwilling to host DCI bid events.
  20. STADB9

    W-east Varsity

    I don't update the bidtracker until I have complete results, and at present I don't have them.
  21. STADB9

    Travel Question

    I have always been told that it's road miles.
  22. Worth a try. Frenzy in 3...2...1...
  23. STADB9

    Washburn Rural

    That's been the deal the last few years; the sixth preliminary round would make it hard for them to fit in an Octo. Eighty teams is by a comfortable margin the largest varsity field in the state. There were 9 5-1s or better two years ago and 6 last year. Bear in mind spots 9-16 also earn single bids.
  24. Remember, folks, that there is no longer an individual cap on debate or speech points. You are looking at a residual advantage that applied only under the old system; within two years its effects will be gone. To the extent that the split season helps us, it does so by providing us with a longer competitive year than those states that effectively run from October to March. I do think that Kansas (and South Dakota, which is like Kansas in many ways) have created communities which provide healthier local debate circuits than those present elsewhere. I would look more to per capita participation, though, as opposed to NFL point metrics.
  25. Your conclusion is probably true. However, after the debacle that resulted from the lifting of the point limits, I'm increasingly unwilling to identify NFL degree status as a sign of a region's relative health.
  • Create New...