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Author Topic: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments  (Read 14751 times)
Ermo
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Posts: 243


« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2012, 10:35:13 AM »

Our community is small.  Maybe too small.  We lose programs every year.  If we think we can continue to be a healthy activity while also cannibalizing ourselves, I'm quite scared for our future.  I know we can be better than this.

Although we both gain and lose programs in most years, this resonates with me.

Most programs just want good competition, and hate the stress involved in deciding which of their friends (we are all connected) to support. I think this argues for a collaborative solution over the "free market" option of the SQ, since the free market approach can become overly personal. Disputes over publicly selecting the location of CEDA/NDT/Districts are generally much less tense.
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Paul Elliott Johnson
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Posts: 134


« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2012, 10:36:46 AM »

It is quite cheap to fly into Atlanta, but Atlanta is a less doable drive for a lot of squads. If you look at the least of teams that can drive to GSU vs. the list of teams that can drive to Kentucky, the latter category contains almost the entirety of the former (minus mostly schools in Florida, where, to be frank, it already suck to drive anywhere. But they can still drive to Wake).

On the other hand the schools that can drive to Kentucky but can't drive to Atlanta (parts of D7, most of D5, parts of D4 and D3) are damned lot of teams. Many of those schools can drive to a major in D3, drive to Kentucky, and then fly to the Shirley.

Also the marginal costs btwn flying to X or Y location are radically different than the costs between flying or driving. Time has a cost and I am open/sensitive to those arguments, too, but time is more or less equivalently distributed, while money is not. (Not the case exactly for squads with only a couple coaches vs those with say, 5, but the number of the latter is small).

It sucks that Denver does not have a strong debate program. That would be a great city to host a debate tournament in. Big airport, connects through almost everywhere, drivable for some of the schools marginalized by the current travel schedule. District 7 does not currently host a major national tournament, and offers a drivable option for many schools located in Districts 5, 6, and 8. We should also be clear that we will never entirely equalize it because even regional travel requires flying for parts of the West and upper northeast. But the impossibility of pure equality is not the barrier to working in its name.

The point, Whit, isn't just about "being competitive" (although I daresay its part of the reason why the UMKC/GSU split is generating such conversation). The point is about not busting your budget TO BE competitive. How many programs make margin calls to not attend Harvard because they think they can't justify the expenditures to their departments, and only go when they think they've got a shot at a first round? Between GSU and UMKC there were almost 200 teams competing last week...the problem isn't just about being competitive, its about what you can afford to do, and with two strong tournaments options available, those did what they could in terms of cost. Which created two pretty great tournaments. I don't think its fair to say that the Texas swing and the Coast "compete:" they don't, really, the vast majority of the top teams go to the Coast. If they competed, you would see a pendulum like shift year-to-year in terms of which teams went where. Instead, programs go to the Texas Swing to save money (and to eat Snuffers. I, for one, welcome our new Cheese Fry overlords). People gave Oklahoma a lot of crap on the courts topic for heading to the two step, but my understanding (risk of SFOs) is they made that decision so they could send their younger teams to tournaments over the break. Ideally, decisions like that shouldn't be politicized and made a part of a first round voting process, but the gains to other squads aren't intelligible because our metric for what counts as success (first rounds) is far too reductionist. I don't think its nefarious or intentional: I think that at the end of the season, if one team was in the quarters of UMKC and another team was in the octas of GSU, the community will judge the latter to matter more, even if what it in part reflects is the opportunity cost of a budget protecting decision rather than a competitive failure on the part of students and coaches.

Debate budgets are not keeping up with the pace of inflation. Period. Many schools are cutting back. Communities exist on the basis of sacrifice. The issue is not that no one is sacrificing now. The issue is that programs that are not geographically proximate to the southeast are sacrificing constantly, but that sacrifice has been normalized and routinized as the ordinary conduct of affairs, which is unfair. Count me among those who would be amazed, happy, and ecstatic if the major season openers both happened on the same weekend, and both received a healthy numbers of teams of all stripes, with perhaps a more even distribution of teams at the top.

I am glad that the Obama presidency has enabled us to discuss the redistribution of wealth. Thats why I voted for that socialist!



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Whit
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Posts: 79


« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2012, 10:38:00 AM »

Witt.
It's Whit.
Please help me understand a little bit more about what your objective is.

Is your objective to preserve the Georgia State tournament?  If so, then if anything ever comes of the regional distribution proposals discussed in this thread than you should definitely make a case that it should be one of the tournaments that gets designated as part of the bid evaluation process.  I also think it's worth recognizing that even though there are tournaments on the existing schedule that are good tournaments, it's possible to have a travel schedule that also has good tournaments but in more regionally diverse locations.

Is your objective to limit the number of tournaments in D3?  The proposal I'm suggesting would have one major tournament in D3.  They currently have .5 major tournaments.  Doesn't it seem reasonable that a district of their size have at least one major tournament there?  If you are invested in seeing regions that are struggling get more tournaments (stealing from the rich and giving to the poor) than you should definitely be on board with moving some of the D6 tournaments to regions that don't have any major tournaments there right now.

While the UMKC vs GSU contest was formative for my understanding on this issue, for me this is not fundamentally about UMKC vs GSU but rather the way the schedule is determined for the whole year.  I guess I'm just asking you to broaden your perspective a little bit beyond merely UMKC vs GSU but rather to see the overall issue that this dispute is indicative of.

My objective is that people be open and honest when attempting to change the entire nation's travel schedule so that it is done in a manner that makes sense.

I understand the grievance to be this:
Many national tournaments are held in the south, which creates economic problems for squads that are further away.

If economic concerns are really the issue, then going after GSU doesn't make sense. Speaking as a squad that would have to fly to either, switching to UMKC would not result in a substantial financial savings.

I'll ask it again... WHY WAS GSU CHOSEN? It's a question no one wants answer. I have my suspicions about why. Make a case for why D6 deserves to lose GSU and D3 deserves to gain UMKC that would not lose to the "take another tournament" or "give it to someone else" pic.

Andrea is right. There is a lot of "behind closed doors" talk about this. It's clear that people have other motivations than the economic bottom line. Go ahead and air them, because the numbers just don't add up.

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Paul Elliott Johnson
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Posts: 134


« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2012, 10:43:38 AM »

"If economic concerns are really the issue, then going after GSU doesn't make sense."

Actually the cartel dealing Underground Speech Docs has a long history of anti-Atlantaism, dating back to when General Sherman first burned Atlanta for the League of Shadows.

More seriously, more teams can drive to UK than Atlanta.
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Malgor
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Posts: 220


« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2012, 10:52:55 AM »

Whit, why don't you go back read the posts again.  I think you're confused.  Jonah is talking about creating a new structure that, if the community wanted it to, could PRESERVE GSU.  Why are you so fixated on 'taking gsu bad?'  Your counterplan of 'taking a different tournament' is not competitive because it is in fact part of what Jonah is saying.  We should talk about which tournaments need to stay and go.  The only person fixated on GSU seems to be you.

UMKC hasn't attended GSU since my senior year, mostly bc we were a team convinced by the shiny first round to head southeast.  Fall of 2006 was a long time ago, but we had a poor enough experience that we've never felt compelled to go back.  Some may agree, some may disagree, but the focus of this talk should be "why is the national schedule so skewed toward d6, how does that effect decisions made by programs, and what can we do to change it?"

If you really want to pull the curtain back, this discussion is an appeal to the squads that consistently get bids.  The reality is that THEY determine our travel schedule.  Does anyone doubt if the teams at the very top shifted to the midwest, that many others would have followed?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 10:54:55 AM by Malgor » Logged
gabemurillo
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Posts: 165


« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2012, 10:56:52 AM »

A couple of things

1) Secrecy - I could not agree more - we should be open and public. In fact when OU was considering hosting a season opener we e-mailed directors in every district including d6. Every district replied, except for d6. I don't mean to point any fingers or start any fights, I consider the directors in d6 to be close friends of mine, but it seems odd to be calling for openness when that same request was denied when this whole discussion began. After an open dialogue amongst districts and directors who agreed to talk to us, we came the conclusion that logistically UMKC would be a better host for our season opener. This was hardly a private discussion but one that was open to all districts and directors who were willing to have a discussion.

2) d3 should have a major - yes we have a very successful district, and yes it is very large but there are reasons we should have at least one full time major national -
a) our success comes at a cost for d3 students and coaches. for example, in order to travel teams to major nationals OU drove to GSU (14 hrs), Kentucky (14 hrs) and Wake (18 hrs). Just replacing one of these drives with a tournament in the district makes a huge difference to the health and well being of d3 competitors and coaches. The idea that d3's success is based on it being a "rich" district is just not fair. d3 works for what it has stretching budgets and increasing travel opportunities for large number of students via tough budgeting decisions like driving 14 or more hours to each major.

b) Ultimately its not just that d3 should have a full time major but that majors should be equitably  distributed and one of those majors should logically be in d3. It creates a systemic disadvantage for teams west of I-35 when nearly every major is east of the mississippi. To make the argument that d3 is doing well enough to not have a major ignores the fact that any tournament west of the mississippi is probably better for a whole bunch of schools.

Bottom line, I cannot imagine an argument in favor of regional inequality, and am willing to engage if someone presents one. But if we all agree this is a problem the discussion should be focused on what structural changes do we make, and then we should discuss which tournaments are effected. for example if only one major per district counted towards NDT eligibility, then the districts could decide amongst themselves which tournament they maintained as a "major". Yes under any of these proposals d6 will lose majors, but the whole point is that the concentration is hurting debate debaters and coaches across the country, surely nobody thinks that's the right way to do things.

gabe


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Whit
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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2012, 11:02:29 AM »

More seriously, more teams can drive to UK than Atlanta.

I have my doubts about this. Please provide a list with schools and travel times. Also, what about Wake? My guess is that it's further away from Atlanta for most of the schools who find driving to Kentucky easy. Also, there is no cheap/convenient airport for Winston-Salem. Yet I hear no one making even thinking of making a run at Wake.
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Paul Elliott Johnson
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2012, 11:09:18 AM »

Teams that can drive to UK that can't drive to GSU

Pitt
MSU
NU
Michigan
Clarion
Binghamton
John Carroll
Capital
Illinois State
Iowa
Northern iowa
Concordia
Minnesota
Missouri State (I think they drive to Atlanta, but the one to Lexington is less bad)
For Mary Washington, UK is 120 miles closer than Atlanta
GMU (difference of almost 200 miles: same is basically true for all DC schools, including GW, Gtown)
Wayne State

Already the difference made for districts 4, 5, and 7 is immense.

Do you still want me to google map everything?
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Whit
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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2012, 11:13:01 AM »

Whit, why don't you go back read the posts again.  I think you're confused.  Jonah is talking about creating a new structure that, if the community wanted it to, could PRESERVE GSU.  Why are you so fixated on 'taking gsu bad?'  Your counterplan of 'taking a different tournament' is not competitive because it is in fact part of what Jonah is saying.  We should talk about which tournaments need to stay and go.  The only person fixated on GSU seems to be you.

UMKC hasn't attended GSU since my senior year, mostly bc we were a team convinced by the shiny first round to head southeast.  Fall of 2006 was a long time ago, but we had a poor enough experience that we've never felt compelled to go back.  Some may agree, some may disagree, but the focus of this talk should be "why is the national schedule so skewed toward d6, how does that effect decisions made by programs, and what can we do to change it?"

If you really want to pull the curtain back, this discussion is an appeal to the squads that consistently get bids.  The reality is that THEY determine our travel schedule.  Does anyone doubt if the teams at the very top shifted to the midwest, that many others would have followed?

If the purpose of the thread is "let us more evenly distribute tournaments," then I'm all for having that discussion. However, if this thread is "come to UMKC next year instead of GSU," then I'll say again that it doesn't make sense.

Your comment in the previous post about having two good tournaments on the same weekend that are both attended by large numbers of people is the most spot on thing I've heard. I fully support that. I realize people have a fear of how the first round voters will react. I have a few thoughts on that. First, I don't think teams who chose to go to gonzaga were punished in the past. Second, I don't think teams that have missed one or two majors in the past few years have been punished. Third, (I know it's not the same but...) when I do my coach's poll rankings, I won't be penalizing anyone who was at UMKC.

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Whit
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Posts: 79


« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2012, 11:15:21 AM »

Teams that can drive to UK that can't drive to GSU

Pitt
MSU
NU
Michigan
Clarion
Binghamton
John Carroll
Capital
Illinois State
Iowa
Northern iowa
Concordia
Minnesota
Missouri State (I think they drive to Atlanta, but the one to Lexington is less bad)
For Mary Washington, UK is 120 miles closer than Atlanta
GMU (difference of almost 200 miles: same is basically true for all DC schools, including GW, Gtown)
Wayne State

Already the difference made for districts 4, 5, and 7 is immense.

Do you still want me to google map everything?


What about the schools that can drive to GSU but not Kentucky?

What about Wake???
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Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2012, 11:18:31 AM »

I'll ask it again... WHY WAS GSU CHOSEN? It's a question no one wants answer. I have my suspicions about why. Make a case for why D6 deserves to lose GSU and D3 deserves to gain UMKC that would not lose to the "take another tournament" or "give it to someone else" pic.

Andrea is right. There is a lot of "behind closed doors" talk about this. It's clear that people have other motivations than the economic bottom line. Go ahead and air them, because the numbers just don't add up.

The CP is the Plan in this case. Jonah is advocating a regionally distributed system that could very well be "taking a different tournament" than GSU and could very well "give it to someone else." Specific tournaments would be the purview of the districts themselves.

"The numbers just don't add up" is based on your interpretation of how much it costs Michigan to fly to Atlanta vs. KC. If you consider the costs for other programs that can drive to UMKC but must fly to Atlanta, it becomes clear. There were 120 EXTRA teams competing this weekend across UMKC and GSU, so the numbers DID add up for a great number of programs. If your comparison is really "it would save more money to replace a different D6 tournament because Atlanta is the cheapest to fly to" then you are ignoring what Malcolm said: it was pragmatic to choose GSU. After talking with many programs, it was obvious that they were more likely to attend that weekend.
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Paul Elliott Johnson
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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2012, 11:23:12 AM »

florida? florida state? miami? i think samford drives to both, though admittedly, kentucky is a longer haul for Dr. Galloway.
its a smaller list, though.

as far as wake goes: i think people enjoy Wake because the tournament has innovated in ways that have radically changed debate, so much so that attending is as much about the benefit provided to the community by its existence as the debates. for example, wake first experimented with 9/6 speech times. Wake also had the debate in after 9/11. Wake also was one of the first tournaments to do side equalization. So yes, it might be more expensive, but I think the "Spirit of the Shirley" has delivered enough to the debate community in terms of bettering our norms/practices that folks are maybe willing to be put off a little bit more in terms of cost. There are no sacred cows, but the tournament's history for our community is such that we shouldn't take those innovations for granted.
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cramhelwich
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Posts: 67


« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2012, 11:26:36 AM »

I say this *not* to poke old wounds (or maybe just a bit  Smiley ), but rather to make an argument for structural reform over purely market-based approach:

UNI *used* to be the opener. 'Market forces' pushed a switch to Atlanta. Unless my memory is faulty, many bid-seeking D3 (and D4 and D5) programs who used to drive to UNI chose to fly to GSU because that's "where the competition was."

Problems like this are hard to address through incentives, pinky-swears, etc.

I am fine with having weekends where we have geographically mid-majors. Problems arise when you see "clumping" of bid-seeking teams. I remember Ross many years ago arguing for multiple, geographically diverse openers, followed by a big national on the second 'major' weekend (then and now, Kentucky). I am not sure why this type of model (perhaps more broadly applied) is not worth considering.

best,
dch
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Malgor
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Posts: 220


« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2012, 11:28:58 AM »

they actually both make sense, wit.  I think you are having a problem making sense of things.
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Whit
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Posts: 79


« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2012, 11:36:05 AM »

florida? florida state? miami? i think samford drives to both, though admittedly, kentucky is a longer haul for Dr. Galloway.
its a smaller list, though.

as far as wake goes: i think people enjoy Wake because the tournament has innovated in ways that have radically changed debate, so much so that attending is as much about the benefit provided to the community by its existence as the debates. for example, wake first experimented with 9/6 speech times. Wake also had the debate in after 9/11. Wake also was one of the first tournaments to do side equalization. So yes, it might be more expensive, but I think the "Spirit of the Shirley" has delivered enough to the debate community in terms of bettering our norms/practices that folks are maybe willing to be put off a little bit more in terms of cost. There are no sacred cows, but the tournament's history for our community is such that we shouldn't take those innovations for granted.

^^^ THIS... This is what Jonah's original post was talking about. The tradition argument. The nepotism. But no one seriously wants to go after it. I grew up in D6, and love all the tournaments. I wouldn't sacrifice any of them. This is why I can't take any of you seriously. You like to pretend that it's all about the economic bottom line, but you are all willing to admit that sometimes cost should lose out to tradition. None of you are willing to say Wake shouldn't happen.

Instead you go after the cheapest tournament D6 has. That's why I suspect that this is about opportunism and jumping on a tournament that was perceived to be in jeopardy. I assume this is the "pragmatism" that Symonds spoke of.
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