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Author Topic: Proposed ADA Rule Change  (Read 6737 times)
Ryan Galloway
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« on: October 19, 2009, 07:20:07 PM »

Greetings from Birmingham,

I just arrived home from a wonderful tournament at Vanderbilt University.  ML was great, all the debaters fought hard, and we look forward to returning next year.

However, the final round I judged ended at approximately 2AM.

After the debate, I walked out in pitch black to the SUV I had left in the parking lot at the tournament.  Not planning on staying the night originally, I drove around the streets of Nashville to find a place to stay.

My fine motor skills were weak.  I was having difficulty steering the SUV even down the street and navigating a few U-Turns to find a hotel in a strange city.  I was very concerned I'd hit something.  I seriously contemplated taking a nap in the van.

Meanwhile, Abi drove our kids home after we lost in the semis, and arrived home at after 5am.  She has been suffering from exhaustion and throwing up.  The motivation to not stay was to make sure our students who were competing late at Richmond (another ADA tournament that did 5 rounds in a day) could get back home to go to school.

Folks, this isn't safe.

A cause of this problem is that the ADA rules clear half of the teams.  Vandy did 5 debates in a day and the awards ceremony.  The first debate had almost everyone getting a bye, delaying the start of the octafinals until almost noon.

I would like to suggest a minor modification to the ADA rules on this question.

*If clearing half the teams would require a partial double-octafinals means that there are less than 3 debates taking place in the double-octafinals, that the tournament not clear said teams, that the teams receive a double-octafinals award and points appropriate for winning such a debate.  For purposes of CEDA, ADA, and NDT points, those competing in the Octas will receive the equivalent number of points as if they had won a double-octafinals debate.

5 debates and an awards ceremony in a day is too much.  National tournaments increasingly believe this, now it may be time to clean up the ADA rules for the regional tournaments for the health and well-being of all participants.

The Vandy tournament had 2 varsity debates in the Octas and 1 close-out.  Meanwhile THIRTEEN TEAMS received a bye through the Doubles, meaning they had to wait at the tournament till apx 11:45AM to start their first debate of the day.

The Vandy tournament had 1 jv debate in the Octas and 7 teams advanced with a bye.

Novice Octas was reasonable, 4 debates three byes.

My proposal is just a conversation starter.  I'm the biggest fan in the world of getting more debates for people, but we've got to have a compromise at some point.  A handful of double-octafinal debates that cause a tournament to try to get 5 debates and an awards ceremony in a day may be a reasonable start.

Recognizing that this may not be popular, but may be necessary...

Dr. Ryan W. Galloway
Director of Debate
Samford University
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kelly young
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 08:34:00 AM »

I agree with Ryan on this. I thought the single round doubles debates at Richmond the weekend before were bad too. Except at ADA Nats, I really don't understand why we don't just cap tournaments at half the field with no more than Octas. Perhaps Octas is a bit too much, but if we are only going to get 6 prelims, I'd rather have the extra elim debate. But that's me.

Kelly
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SHolbrook
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 09:26:16 AM »

Agree 100%. After judging the varsity quarters we hit the road at close to 9pm for the drive back to Carrollton, arriving at the school to drop off students at close to 2am. Hardly an ideal situation, can only imagine how much worse it was for those who needed to stay until the 3am finish.
I'll also say that if we are going to have a few rounds with most teams receiving byes PLEASE release the information to us about which teams will be debating when the list of teams clearing/judges needed is released. We had to have all of our judges and teams on campus around 730am when many could have caught up on more sleep (especially those who would have to drive late into the night). This would at least somewhat help offset the late ending.

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A Numbers Game
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 03:06:02 PM »

The Vandy tournament had 2 varsity debates in the Octas and 1 close-out.  Meanwhile THIRTEEN TEAMS received a bye through the Doubles, meaning they had to wait at the tournament till apx 11:45AM to start their first debate of the day.

The Vandy tournament had 1 jv debate in the Octas and 7 teams advanced with a bye.

It is never the case that more than half of clearing teams must wait, if some of the teams getting byes are willing to debate earlier. This assumes judging and room constraints are not prohibitive.

As a simple example, consider breaking five teams to partial quarterfinals. Normally, seeds 4 and 5 would debate, while seeds 1,2, and 3 would have a bye. But seeds 2 and 3 are simply waiting to debate each other. If they are willing to debate at the same time as 4 and 5 debate, then the losing team can go home earlier. The winner would wait while 1 debates the winner of the 4 vs. 5 debate.

In the case of Vanderbilt's open division, nineteen teams cleared. Instead of

17 v. 16
18 v. 15
19 v. 14
all others: bye

the schedule could be:

17 v. 16
18 v. 15
19 v. 14
4 v. 13
5 v. 12
6 v. 11
7 v. 10
8 v. 9
1,2,3: bye

One disadvantage to this is that the winner of 8 v. 9 would get extra prep time in the second round as 1 debated the winner of 17 v. 16. On the other hand, the total number of byes that would have to be given is 7, making the expected length of Monday 2.3 rounds for each team, as opposed to 2.6 rounds under the traditional method of running partials.

This method doesn't change who debates whom, but it does change when they debate. There's still no circumstance under which the 1 seed debates the 2 seed any time before the finals.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 04:13:29 PM by A Numbers Game » Logged
stables
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 05:26:41 PM »

Two questions:

1) How much of this would be resolved by returning to the earlier sweepstakes practice of not counting points for the partial elimination round debate (i.e, one that involves up to half of the field)?

2) Is this ultimately about the length of tournament days or scheduling? It may seem minor, but there is an important difference in how the community moves forward.
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
Ryan Galloway
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 07:34:12 PM »

Working on wording, but here's what I've got so far.

Please feel free to comment, especially those who've gotten rule changes before...

Proposed Rule Change

The change would be to AMERICAN DEBATE ASSOCIATION
STANDING RULES OF TOURNAMENT PROCEDURE

VI. RULES GOVERNING SWEEPSTAKES COMPETITION

As currently written:

7. The first elimination round held in any division of debate shall include no more than or less than half of the teams competing in the preliminary rounds of debate in that division. In divisions with an odd number of teams entered, the number of teams clearing will be rounded down to the next whole number. A tournament may depart from the provision under only 3 circumstances: a) building space is unavailable to hold the required number of elim round debates on the final day of the tournament; or b) the announced prelim round tournament schedule would have to be altered to accommodate the required number of elim rounds. Results of all elim round debates will count toward sweepstakes points unless the elim bracket contained more than half of the teams competing in the preliminary rounds.

If an ADA tournament 'breaks' to a partial elim round bracket, the partial bracket should involve the maximum number of teams eligible to break (with the exception of a double-octo-final bracket or beyond). Prior to the start of the first debate, the tournament director must announce the size of the first elim round bracket for each division. Once announced, the elim round bracket decisions are final.

Change to:

7. The first elimination round held in any division of debate shall include no more than or less than half of the teams competing in the preliminary rounds of debate in that division. In divisions with an odd number of teams entered, the number of teams clearing will be rounded down to the next whole number.

Insert:  If clearing half the teams would require a partial double-octafinals, and there are less than three debates taking place in the double-octafinals, the tournament shall not clear said teams, and will move straight to the Octa-finals of the tournament.  Each team that did not clear who would have cleared into the Doubles, should receive an appropriate double-octafinals award, and receive  CEDA, ADA, and NDT points as if they had won the Doubles debate.  Those now competing in the Octas will receive the equivalent number of points as if they had won a double-octafinals debate.

A tournament may depart from the provision[s related to teams clearing] under only 3 [two] circumstances: a) building space is unavailable to hold the required number of elim round debates on the final day of the tournament; or b) the announced prelim round tournament schedule would have to be altered to accommodate the required number of elim rounds. Results of all elim round debates will count toward sweepstakes points unless the elim bracket contained more than half of the teams competing in the preliminary rounds.

If an ADA tournament 'breaks' to a partial elim round bracket, the partial bracket should involve the maximum number of teams eligible to break (with the exception of a double-octo-final bracket or beyond). Prior to the start of the first debate, the tournament director must announce the size of the first elim round bracket for each division. Once announced, the elim round bracket decisions are final.

*Rationales for the change:

Safety:  Elimination round days with 5 debates are creating major concerns for schools to get the debaters home safe.  The concern is that someone who was not planning on staying an extra night may need to rush kids home after late elims for classes, and risk an accident.

School:  The longer elim days are affecting students’ ability to get back to participate in school in an effective and timely manner.

Too rough on the tournament host:  The hosts are required to maintain staff and support well beyond the reasonable number of hours.  There are exhausted, and simply can’t make accommodations well into the AM hours of the next morning.

Time:  5 round elimination debates are simply causing people to go beyond the point of reasonable exhaustion.  There is a reason we have labor laws that mandate no more than 14 hour days under any circumstances.  There are tournaments where the day is going from 8AM to 2AM the next day in the status quo…a full 18 hours for people to work…and a lot of prep goes into the morning that isn’t being counted.

The wording is clunky:  I don’t even understand why one section references three circumstances when there are two, the provision on a double octo final debate is unclear and confusing.  It may even be that the current rule allows for an “escape hatch” out of the doubles entirely—if that is the intent—it should be clarified.  BTW, can someone explain to me what “Once announced, the elim round bracket decisions are final” means?  No breaking brackets I assume?  What about, “we released a pairing with the wrong seed order, it is wrong, here is the new pairing” 40 minutes before the debate.

 

Proposed ADA Rule Change #2:  Judge Time For A Decision

Proposed Modification to:

I. RULES GOVERNING THE CONDUCT OF A DEBATE

Current rule wording:

14. RESPONSIBILITIES OF JUDGES--Judges should listen conscientiously and in a manner designed to promote recognition and recall of positions advanced in speeches and question periods. Judges are encouraged to provide verbal and nonverbal feedback to encourage comprehensibility and to discourage violating the rules of debate. Further, judges will attempt to avoid verbal and nonverbal feedback which degrades, humiliates or otherwise belittles the efforts of the debater speaking. Judges should listen to all proofs offered by debaters and render a decision based on the clash in the debate, uninfluenced by the judge's preconceptions about the proposition or the type of proof called for in a given situation. Oral critiques by judges are encouraged for all rounds so long as the critique does not delay teams or the judge from getting to the next scheduled round before the forfeit time. Judges should refrain from long critiques when debaters need to get off campus to eat during meal breaks. Judges must render a decision in which one of the teams participating in the debate is declared the winner.

Proposed modified rule wording:

14. RESPONSIBILITIES OF JUDGES--Judges should listen conscientiously and in a manner designed to promote recognition and recall of positions advanced in speeches and question periods. Judges are encouraged to provide verbal and nonverbal feedback to encourage comprehensibility and to discourage violating the rules of debate. Further, judges will attempt to avoid verbal and nonverbal feedback which degrades, humiliates or otherwise belittles the efforts of the debater speaking. Judges should listen to all proofs offered by debaters and render a decision based on the clash in the debate, uninfluenced by the judge's preconceptions about the proposition or the type of proof called for in a given situation.

Insert:  [Judges are expected to render a decision in an hour or less.  The normative rule should be that a judge sets a timer for one hour at the conclusion of the debate.  Upon the expiration of time, the judge may receive a five minute extension of the decision time.  At that moment in time, if the judge is still unable to decide, the tabroom should randomly decide a winner by coin flip].

Oral critiques by judges are encouraged for all rounds so long as the critique does not delay teams or the judge from getting to the next scheduled round before the forfeit time. Judges should refrain from long critiques when debaters need to get off campus to eat during meal breaks. Judges must render a decision in which one of the teams participating in the debate is declared the winner.

*Rationales for the change:

*No rule now:  Nothing currently exists in the ADA rules to govern judge decision-making time…a rule presenting this may help prevent long decisions

*Longer decisions aren’t better:  Evidence that decisions going over an hour are “better” in an objective sense is questionable at best

*Time & safety rationales apply:  the longer the day goes due to even one judge taking more than an hour, the time for the tournament is held up.

*In the spirit of other rules:  The rule augments and is in the spirit of the already existing wording of: “Judges should refrain from long critiques when debaters need to get off campus to eat during meal breaks.” Arguably, the long “critique” may exist as part of the decision making time in the debate…but confusion logically exists as to whether this is referring to the oral rendering of the decision, or the time to make the decision.
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lacyjp
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2009, 08:53:33 PM »

I like Ryan's time rule, but I think one change could help.

Insert:  [Judges are expected to render a decision in an hour or less.  The normative rule should be that a judge sets a timer for one hour at the conclusion of the debate.  Upon the expiration of time, the judge may receive a five minute extension of the decision time.  At that moment in time, if the judge is still unable to decide, the tabroom should randomly decide a winner by coin flip].

Amend to: Judges are expected to render a decision no later than two and a half hours after the announced start time of the round. The normative rule should be that a judge sets a timer for 58 minutes at the conclusion of the debate.  Upon the expiration of time, the judge may receive a five minute extension of the decision time.  At that moment in time, if the judge is still unable to decide, the tabroom should randomly decide a winner by coin flip.

Rationale: Puts the onus on judges & debaters to start on time. As written, Ryan's rule shortens decision time, but doesn't address a larger problem: People lose track of time when they are coaching & preparing to debate because there is no incentive to start on time. Tab rooms will have do some work to determine a reasonable amount of time for room moves & pre-round prep. In the end, its worth the effort to keep a tournament running on time.

As I understand it, Ryan's rule applies to all debate rounds, including elims. If not, we need additional language.

-- JP
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Ryan Galloway
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2009, 01:23:51 AM »

Hi JP,

The rule is intended to apply to all debates, not just elims.

I agree that the pre-round prep issue is pertinent, and perhaps another rule/guiding norm could establish a solution to that problem.

Hope all is well in Winston-Salem, and we're looking forward to the tournament again this year!

RG
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V I Keenan
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2009, 12:31:22 PM »

In answer to Gordon's question:

It's sort of been the consensus in the East that this is entirely attributable to the "half the teams can clear = points" rule.

Also, some is scheduling, some is timing.

Richmond runs 8 prelims and a full day of elims, with a relatively short and efficient awards ceremony.  If folks knew who was debating in the morning and the judges for the partial were pulled from the teams debating more (and edebate had been working) I think Richmond would have had an easier elim day as many could have slept in.  I've done the team in finals/judge finals then drive home from VA before, and while the all nighter on the NJ turnpike sucked and pulling in at 7AM to go right to work wasn't ideal, I also had made sure I got a full night of sleep before, which IS possible at Richmond because the rest of the tournament ran on time.  Elim day is a little rough, but bearable because days 1 & 2 are humane.

As I mentioned on another thread, when the NE runs our 2-day DeathMarch (patent pending), we do the 6th prelim and 4 elims on Sunday.  I don't remember ever finishing at 2AM.  The regional championships finished at 11 PM last year because of the extra long awards and the fact that a judge started the first round of the day 45 minutes late.  10PM is the outlier finish time, but we can do it by 9PM if we're efficient.  That happens with enforced start times that limit pre-round prep and which create a community culture of not taking forever to decide a round.

As a 3 day example of 6 prelims, West Point runs 2 -4 plus partial doubs - octos to finals plus awards.  Even with a banquet, they're done by 9PM Sunday.  It was my impression that Clarion with a similar schedule was able to do the same thing.

Perhaps we need to start tracking where time goes at a series of different tournaments to work towards more optimal models? 

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neil berch
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2009, 07:43:07 AM »

A few points:
1.  I proposed an ADA rule similar to Ryan's proposal several years ago.  It was voted down because of concerns about points.  I think if the points are automatically awarded as Ryan suggests, that might help garner support.  And I think CEDA should adopt a similar proposal.
2.  I'm stunned at the length of time that we're talking about "allowing" for a decision.  We're willing to imposed strict limits on everything debaters do.  We should impose much stricter limits on the things that we do as well.  Limiting decision times (is there any real evidence to suggest that someone who hasn't decided after 15 minutes is significantly more likely to get it "right" after 40 minutes?), critique time, and prep/coaching time (case list use should reduce pre-round prep) would have a major impact.
3.  Despite all that, even in optimal conditions, we do things we should not do.  After "only" 4 outrounds and an awards ceremony at West Point, we still had an assistant coach drive 7 hours to conclude her 22 hour day.  The only reason I felt at all comfortable with that (and not totally comfortable by any means) was that we'd gotten out at 6:30 on Saturday (after 4 rounds and not having to debate in or judge partials), and she was thus reasonably well-rested (not unlike the Richmond example Vik cites).
4.  In the Northeast, it has become common practice when we have enough teams for partials in Novice, to run 5 prelim rounds in that division (all on Saturday) and 5 outrounds in Novice on Sunday.  In any case, not only do we routinely run 5 rounds on Sunday (ending, I would say, between 9:30 and midnight--I do remember pulling out of the parking lot at Rochester a few years ago at 12:05 am), but that is also after a very short sleep on Saturday night due to late ending and early Sunday start.
5.  There are multiple reasons for doing the "death march" schedule (and when your regional rep calls it a "death march" schedule, that says something), but they no longer suffice for me in the face of the safety and other concerns.  We will support Ryan's proposal on partial doubles enthusiastically.  We will also attend our remaining regional two-day tournaments this year (Regionals at Binghamton, plus tournaments hosted by the great emerging programs at West Conn and UMass--not sure we can call West Conn "emerging" anymore, as they may be "fully emerged".  However, for next year, we are not likely to attend two-day tournaments that require 10 rounds unless there are significant changes that speed up the tournaments.

Thanks so much to Ryan for raising this issue (I knew I'd find something good if I browsed the new Forums page long enough!).

--Neil Berch
West Virginia University
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