I'm intrigued by this, but I think getting consensus on the question Vega asks would be vital. It should probably be in one's interest to enter the runoffs with 4 wins instead of 3.

One option is Double elimination.

Those with 4 wins get two losses; those with 3 are treated as already having one. If after a particular round the break is clean, the tournament is over. If there are more teams eliminate than needed to be, as many as twice that many teams compete for the final slot(s) in a single runoff round based on normal bracketing (and breaking brackets so schools don't hit, I assume).

So, from the 10 teams remaining, one of the 3's will get a pull up. After that round, there will be either 7 or 8 teams remaining (2 or 3 eliminated)

If 7 (the pull up loses), we have our field and go home early.

If 8, (the pull up wins) then you would have 2 teams with no downs (hopefully they can hit!) and 6 with 1 down. Assuming the two without downs can hit, you will have those 2 teams and 3 others qualified (3 "eliminated").

So, 3 remaining teams for 2 slots. One could give the 9th seed to the one with the most ballots, and let 10/11 debate for the final slot. That way, we end after 9 rounds. Or, you could let 9 and 10 debate, and the loser gets one more chance against 11. That makes the day run a bit longer.

VARIATION

A minor variant on the above would be to have the two 4-2 teams that won get into the 4/5 slots automatically (Mathematically, neither would have been eliminated with a loss in the 2nd runoff). Now you are down to 5 slots for 6 teams. In the 2nd runoff (round

, 3 qualify and 3 lose. The remaining 3 compete for the final 2 slots.

PROBLEMS

1. If we had to bring a 2-4 into the mix, both UTD LR & UNT are tied on ballots, so speaker points are back in play. On the other hand, neither had really "earned the right" to be there anyway, so it's more of a bonus than a denial.

2. 3 teams for 2 slots means 2 debates using our current system, so we still get 4 rounds of runoff.

3. If more affirmative than negative teams are eliminated in the 1st runoff, someone will be on the same side in the 2nd runoff. We can use traditional side equalization principles to resolve the question.

4. If we are treating this as a sort of elim bracket, we have to decide if (a) brackets can be broken to protect schools from hitting themselves - technically, this could happen now, and (b) if teams that hit in rounds 1-6 should hit again and reverse sides if that's what normal power matching would require. Technically, that can also happen now, but with more runoffs it might happen more often.

CONCLUSION

I like the idea (narrowing down the teams to improve judge prefs), although I assure you that we start with bubble teams for judge prefs now. As the tab director, I'm concerned about people not liking what happens - particularly as relates to #3 & #4 above. It is important that those issues are well understood by everyone going into it.