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TOURNAMENTS => UMKC => Topic started by: jonahfeldman on September 26, 2012, 04:22:11 PM



Title: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jonahfeldman on September 26, 2012, 04:22:11 PM
UMKC did an awesome job this past weekend.  Everything ran right on time, the food was incredible, the hotel was really really nice (especially considering the price), and shuttles to and from the airport were provided with no waiting time.  Thanks to all the UMKC crew and Symonds for a great tournament.

Despite the existence of a high quality alternative, most of the top teams in the country decided to make their beginning tournament Georgia State, even though District Six already has 2 other major tournaments.  I think this is worth having a public discussion about because the regional distribution of tournaments is clearly heavily skewed.

The tournament schedule should be designed with the goal of providing as many debate teams in the country with the opportunity to have debates against top level competition at a reasonable cost to the program.  Instead, the current schedule is the result of tradition, self-interest, and nepotism.  A realignment is in order that prioritizes intentional choices by the community to further equitable objectives.

I am skeptical that this realignment will come about voluntarily and so it's worth revisiting some of the ideas that have been proposed to utilize the first round voting system.  If first round voters were limited in their consideration to results from a list of regionally diverse tournaments than it would significantly alter the tournament distribution landscape.

I would love to hear your agreement, disagreement, or thoughts.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: tcram on September 26, 2012, 05:00:22 PM
Agree STRONGLY, partially because of my social location in a district that spans roughly a quarter of the contiguous United States and partially because of my social location as a director of a relatively small, poor program.  Largely, however I agree based on the conviction that we all hang together when it comes to the long-term sustainability of this activity.  

Can a market solution work?  Perhaps.  Collective action problems can be overcome, but only if director's are willing to make a short-term sacrifice with the knowledge that balance and equity are more important long-term drivers of whether debate will be around for students.  I've seen encouraging moves on this front at least within my own district.  We made the choice to shift tournament hosting for the district tournament to a location that will raise my squad's cost of attendance by about a factor of 3 (even with generous subsidies), but I supported that decision because I recognize the economic privilege I would enjoy by having NDT/CEDA hosted much closer to home while those on the outer fringes of the district would still have to pay a lot.  Thus, it made sense to pay a price in order to make sure that we can ALL compete more in the future.

But, the viability of a market solution is somewhat discouraged for the same reasons that Jonah cites... bigger squads get to play with a bigger grub-stake and these issues are not as immediately troubling to them.  Some districts can also achieve tournament scalability easier than others, meaning squad in those districts can more easily 'take their ball and stay home' without paying a competitive price for their students.

A modest proposal to get things going: attendance at at least one tournament in all 8 NDT districts is an eligibility requirement for applying for a first or second round to the NDT.  Not saying that's the best way forward and I can see a few problems immediately, but it will hopefully get people talking


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson on September 26, 2012, 09:18:04 PM
I think 8 is too many (some squads don't even go to 8 tournaments before the district process) but making some kind of percentage play into it could work. 75% of districts must be visited or something.

Jonah is right: voluntary solutions fall prey to a prisoner's dilemma.

There are some barriers: good regional tournaments are easier to host in Districts 6, 7, 5, and 8, because the drives are a lot shorter...so many of the Western locations are still unmanageable drives. Having some mechanism to funnel national teams to those regions is a move in the direction of equitability.



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: cramhelwich on September 26, 2012, 10:35:32 PM
Two caveats:
1) We sent teams both UMKC and GSU (might be the only program that did so), and sent our more experienced teams to GSU--clearly did not vote with our feet. I am willing to discuss our rationale via backchannel if anyone is interested.
2) UMN is geographically disadvantaged (nothing like Whitman, but still)--it is a 6.5hr drive from the Cities to Chicago or Kansas City, and there are hardly a wealth of "regional" tournaments in the neighborhood. We would clearly benefit from most imaginable schedule reforms.

That said, the number and geographic distribution of majors both have serious problems. There are too many "must" tournaments (9 unless you get a pass through districts). They stretch out the calendar, force students to miss too much class time, and escalate "buy in" costs for programs who want a national profile.

Either of the Bruschke proposals (4 mega regions, consolidation to six regions--designated 'bid' tournaments in each region) would help address this problem. I believe that they are worth reconsidering.

As Gordon Stables frequently says, there's never a good time in the calendar to discuss meta-community issues, and 9 days out from KY is hardly ideal, but if not now, when?

best,
dch



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit on September 26, 2012, 11:08:13 PM
Just a couple of thoughts:

Even if you think D6 should lose a major national, why GSU? Atlanta has a major international airport that saves people money on flights.

Even if you think other districts are in need of national tournaments, why D3? They already get half the bids to the NDT. Why make it easier on them? :)



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson on September 26, 2012, 11:16:36 PM
Just a couple of thoughts:

Even if you think D6 should lose a major national, why GSU? Atlanta has a major international airport that saves people money on flights.

This is good point and worth of discussion

Even if you think other districts are in need of national tournaments, why D3? They already get half the bids to the NDT. Why make it easier on them? :)

I assume this second point is a joke, because of the smiley face. If not, well, if you're going over budget to get to the NDT in that distrct every year, that still sucks




Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: GFrappier on September 27, 2012, 12:38:27 AM
"designated 'bid' tournaments in each region"

this. each district gets to designate a tournament as their "qualifier" for a given year. only those 8 tournaments are included on bid sheets. this idea gained a lot of traction a few years ago thanks to the work of jon and others, and then kinda lost steam as the pro free market crowd put up quite a fuss. apparently our community is very anti regulation when it comes to travel schedules.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jonahfeldman on September 27, 2012, 06:32:18 AM
The discussion of the logistics of how a bid system to promote regional distribution would work is great and I hope it continues.  But, I want to make sure that we don't lose the fundamental premise at the core of the issue while disagreeing about some of the details.  

The regional distribution of tournaments is heavily skewed in favor of the southeast.  This is an undeniable fact.  The only question is whether or not you consider this to be a problem.  Who are the people that think this is not a problem?  Who are the defenders of the free market that Frappier alluded to that defeated the Bruschke push?  What are your args?

Once a critical mass is reached on this issue then it becomes a matter of how, not if.  I have no doubt that the "how" issues will be complex but it seems easier to fully hash that out once there is some agreement that this needs to be done.  


@Whit - Accepting this proposal does not necessarily mean that GSU isn't the designated tournament for D6.  I think this issue should be approached with all options on the table.  I would imagine GSU, UMKC, or whatever tournaments were chosen would be flexible about dates.

@DCH - I agree that having 8 "must" tournaments would be too many.  Perhaps people could be allowed to miss one or two if they were able to provide a good reason and "I went to a different tournament instead" is not an acceptable reason.  Any chance you could rehash the mega regions/6 regions debate for those of us who weren't involved in the original discussion.

If not now, when?  Rabbi Hillel couldn't have said it better himself.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: antonucci23 on September 27, 2012, 07:01:47 AM
"designated 'bid' tournaments in each region"

this. each district gets to designate a tournament as their "qualifier" for a given year. only those 8 tournaments are included on bid sheets. this idea gained a lot of traction a few years ago thanks to the work of jon and others, and then kinda lost steam as the pro free market crowd put up quite a fuss. apparently our community is very anti regulation when it comes to travel schedules.

I missed this whole discussion, and may have been coaching high school at the time.

Where is a good place to find the proposal details?  I assume it's just this, essentially - wholesale replacement for current system?

I don't know if it's a good or bad idea.  I can definitely imagine more efficient regulatory designs.  I can also imagine "phase-in" designs that would provoke substantially less backlash.

I strongly agree with the core principle that a completely free market in debate tournaments is toxic in the long term.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit on September 27, 2012, 08:19:33 AM
Just a couple of thoughts:

Even if you think D6 should lose a major national, why GSU? Atlanta has a major international airport that saves people money on flights.

This is good point and worth of discussion
Then please discuss. So far I've only heard, "I'm sure D3 would be willing to take any of D6's tournaments." I got the sense from facebook and forum posts that there was every intention to host UMKC on top of GSU again next year and that this was all a push to get more people to come to UMKC.

Why was the decision made to go after GSU? The justifications just don't seem to make sense in this case. There are other D6 tournies that are more expensive to travel too.

Even if you think other districts are in need of national tournaments, why D3? They already get half the bids to the NDT. Why make it easier on them? :)

I assume this second point is a joke, because of the smiley face. If not, well, if you're going over budget to get to the NDT in that distrct every year, that still sucks

Perhaps more tongue in cheek than joke, but I don't know how to do that emoticon. But seriously, D3 has a vibrant regional schedule and is not struggling competitively. Why are they first in line to get a major national? Seems like we're robbing the rich to give to the richer. The Texas two step already competes with the coast (the west coast's only major national) and Texas already competes with Northwestern (our district's only major national...even if on amicable terms).


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: andreareed on September 27, 2012, 09:45:21 AM
Well, I for one am glad that this conversation is now taking place in public rather than behind closed doors.  I totally agree with the problem identified (OMGeez, someone in D6 actually agrees that we have a geographic benefit to us that raises costs for others not in D6, has your head exploded yet???).

My comment here is more meta.  The trash talking of coaches about other coaches, programs about other programs, tournaments about other tournaments has got to stop.  The current level of discourse in the community is really low right now, which is sort of pathetic given that we are a bunch of communication experts.  My specific request is that I'd ask that the people spreading the rumor that UK threatened NU and Georgetown's round robin invitations if they didn't go to GSU to stop immediately.  This was apparently a popular topic of conversation at the UMKC tournament.  Its really quite low, and I would have hoped, obviously a vicious and unbelievable lie.  I've heard this is being used as evidence that D3 should also get to take the Kentucky tournament too.  If people are going to advance arguments in favor of this proposal, it would strengthen this position to use quality args rather than lies.  Just saying.

Ross said debate is fundamentally about people, but sadly, I'm really not feeling that right now.  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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jonahfeldman on September 27, 2012, 09:58:12 AM
Witt.

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.



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Ermo on September 27, 2012, 10:21:07 AM
Perhaps more tongue in cheek than joke, but I don't know how to do that emoticon. But seriously, D3 has a vibrant regional schedule and is not struggling competitively. Why are they first in line to get a major national? Seems like we're robbing the rich to give to the richer. The Texas two step already competes with the coast (the west coast's only major national) and Texas already competes with Northwestern (our district's only major national...even if on amicable terms).

A coordinated solution, via the NDT Committee or otherwise, could address the concerns which led to UMKC, as well as Whit's concerns, and perhaps other concerns as well (weather, facilities, etc.). The various "designate" solutions could also factor in airfare and other total-cost factors.

Such proposals could be formal and binding, but they could also be less formal. If a plurality of 1st round voters announced well in advance (e.g. please don't do this for fall 2012) they would primarily consider a specific list of tournaments for their elim depth metric*, the effect would be huge. It's not exactly comparable, but many high school programs evaluate possible tournaments by the number of TOC bids.

I'm not convinced that tournaments which impact 2nd rounds more than 1st rounds present the same concerns, as that travel schedule is a bit more diverse. I'm certainly not opposed to discussing that as well.

The designate proposals thus far have discussed primarily invitationals. Rounds robins play a significant role in the SQ, and have a nice cost-to-significant round ratio (significant = likely to impact the bid sheet of attending teams). The fact that Pitt drew such strong attendance last year illustrates that many agree.

*I'm not presently one of them, and I'm not sure this is a good way to do it. My point is that there are many more options available than have been discussed thus far.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Adam Symonds on September 27, 2012, 10:23:34 AM
Couple of thoughts pertaining to this discussion:

1. Geography x Cost is really the calculation that we need to make. Certainly, the majors are geographically concentrated in one region - that adds significant cost to the travel of anyone running a program that is mid-West to West. The northeast has to fly to those tournaments as well. But we should also be considering geography in terms of the cost of airports, travel time from airports to tournaments, and the cost of food and hotel in a location. That being said, if we move to a regional designation system, we are likely to find ourselves traveling to some locations that address geographical diversity but may very well add costs in terms of these other components. It's a tough balance to strike, but ideally districts select more logistically convenient locations.

2. I agree with the general broad outlines of a system that designates tournaments that count. I also agree that 8 majors is probably too many. However, I am worried that a push to re-district in order to construct mega regions is a bit too ambitious to generate support or adoption. Without redistricting, I think we could still ask every existing district to designate one tournament for the year that would count for the purposes of first and second round rankings. Instead of requiring teams to attend ALL of those tournaments, however, we could say that the minimum attendance threshold for application for a bid is 5 or 6. In fact, if we were worried about built in incentives for teams to attend all 8, we could even say that the maximum that will be counted is 6.

3. T Cram is a smart guy. We do sink or swim together. Currently, geography of the west is making it hard for folks to keep their heads above water. More than 15 years ago the NDT numbers were dwindling and the decision was made to adopt the CEDA resolution to reinvigorate the community. UMKC's tournament this weekend demonstrated there are more teams out there there waiting for a chance to debate. GSU had about 140 teams this weekend last year. Between both tournaments there were more like 260 that competed last weekend. Guaranteeing that there are high quality, large, well-attended tournaments across the country means more of those teams get to travel on less money. It also means we start sharing a little of more of the cost burden for maintaining competitive teams. I know we all have to be constantly vigilant about our own teams' self-interest out of sheer self-preservation, but advanced planning seems like a better strategy for preserving programs than writing letters at the zero hour when a program is about to go belly up.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Malgor on September 27, 2012, 10:31:42 AM
The purpose of the UMKC tournament is to get a yearly national tournament in D3. No one in D3 has ever been secretive about this. The decision to go on top of GSU was pragmatic.  It seemed that more people were willing to leave the GSU tournament.  Hell, UMKC wasn't even our first choice-the problem is the largest schools in our district either have airports harder to access or, more importantly, would be on top of local football games (OU, Texas) some seasons making hotel and travel arrangements very cost ineffective.

Whit, if your point is that D3 deserves no national tournament, I couldn't disagree more.  D3 is an important part of the college community.  Yes, we have many regional tournaments, but no national tournament.  There is no "must attend" D3 tournament for a team competing for a first round.  There is a real problem in equity if a district that frequently supplies 1/3 - 1/4 of the first rounds, and usually clears 7-9 teams into the outrounds of college debate's most competitive tournament, is forced to go travel to another district 3 times.  Why all this respect for D6?  WHERE'S THE LOVE FOR US?!?

All of your concerns are things that can easily be re-structured.  If GSU needs to stay, that's a conversation d6 and the rest of the community could have. If you don't think there is a big enough national tournament on the west coast, that's another conversation we can have.  As someone who has been pushing for d3 to fight for a national tournament for several years, it's all about the first rounds.  Teams love the first rounds.  Everyone wants to be one, or debate one, and for some reason people think the value of a debate tournament without first rounds is incredibly low.  This has never made sense to me since most teams will never debate said first rounds at a kentucky tourn etc, but it is an undeniable pulling mechanism.  It took us several seasons to get full buy in from d3, and it was pretty awesome that all of the d3 directors stuck by their word. I couldn't be more proud of our district for that.

Personally, I think we should keep things split in the middle AND at the top.  What is the harm of having a couple of weekends each semester where the community is split?  Would it have been the end of the world if 12 first round applicants were at GSU and 12 were at UMKC?  When did we stop caring about getting more college students involved in argumentation?  When did the focus come on following the whims of 32 students, instead of the other 100s that debate?

Think of it this way- this last weekend there were more teams debating at that time than any year previous.  In 2011 GSU had 120 open teams.  This year they were just under 100 and we were just above 80.  That doesn't include two medium sized jv divisions and novice.  As educators, shouldn't we be proud that more students were learning the benefits of argumentation on this weekend than ever before?  And if you split the teams at the top, both tournaments would likely get larger still!

I have no illusions this would ever happen- the first round process is the shiny object that completely determines the directions of a lot of programs every year, even those who don't get first rounds.  But damn, can't we center this conversation more about quality AND quantity of competition?


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Ermo 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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson 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!





Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit 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.



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson 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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Malgor 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?


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: gabemurillo 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




Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit 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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson 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?


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit 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.



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit 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???


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Adam Symonds 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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson 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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: cramhelwich on September 27, 2012, 11:26:36 AM
I say this *not* to poke old wounds (or maybe just a bit  :) ), 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


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Malgor 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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit 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.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: William Mosley-Jensen on September 27, 2012, 11:40:19 AM
I think that D-Cram makes a good point. Why the push to have "national" tournaments at all? How many teams are truly going to be competitive for a first-round bid at the end of the year? 20-30 at most. For the rest of the community to chase that metric of success ultimately makes no sense.

I think that it is awesome that both UMKC and GSU occurred and that means an additional 80-100 debate teams were debating at any given time. There doesn't need to be a trade-off unless we assume that there is/should be only one tournament on any given weekend. Why not have some regional diversity, with 2-3 national tournaments during the course of the season?

There are many great regional tournaments that teams could choose to attend. Gonzaga is an excellent west-coast opener. The UNLV tournament is a great alternative to travelling east to Kentucky. Perhaps instead of approaching this question from the perspective of "how do we create a system where there is a national tournament in each district," perhaps we should ask instead "how do we promote healthy regional circuits?"


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: kelly young on September 27, 2012, 11:42:37 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?


Wayne State drives to GSU.  We are pretty hardcore.

4life


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: tcram on September 27, 2012, 11:49:43 AM
I think that D-Cram makes a good point. Why the push to have "national" tournaments at all? How many teams are truly going to be competitive for a first-round bid at the end of the year? 20-30 at most. For the rest of the community to chase that metric of success ultimately makes no sense.

I think that it is awesome that both UMKC and GSU occurred and that means an additional 80-100 debate teams were debating at any given time. There doesn't need to be a trade-off unless we assume that there is/should be only one tournament on any given weekend. Why not have some regional diversity, with 2-3 national tournaments during the course of the season?

There are many great regional tournaments that teams could choose to attend. Gonzaga is an excellent west-coast opener. The UNLV tournament is a great alternative to travelling east to Kentucky. Perhaps instead of approaching this question from the perspective of "how do we create a system where there is a national tournament in each district," perhaps we should ask instead "how do we promote healthy regional circuits?"

We should ask 'how can we promote healthy regional circuits', but only as a 'both/and' to the current conversation.  I am so far away from thinking that first rounds should be the only metric of debate success (and that it is insane to mold our activity around it exclusively), but we can't have a conversation on how to improve debate and make it sustainable WITHOUT addressing the cost equity of majors.  A few reasons jump out at me:

1. Circles back into the same prisoner's dilemma especially in years when squads who do not have one or two bid teams every year nevertheless have a team that is in contention, because it is cost prohibitive to split your own squad on the same weekend in many instances.

2. There is a massive educational benefit from getting to debate against elite competition and (even though lots of the field won't directly debate them) getting to see lots of out-rounds of the elite competition.  There is a considerable impact here that is much easier for some squads to achieve rather than others.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jasonlrussell on September 27, 2012, 12:03:27 PM
I'll bite on this one: the reason I chose to target GSU was pretty simple: I felt that logistically the tournament was not as well run as others in D6 and the fees were going up while the service provided was going down. I stated this case openly when I discussed it with your boss, Witt. We chose to stick to GSU but move the tournament to UMKC to consider airfare for programs that can purchase very cheap tickets to Atlanta (prices to KC are much cheaper than OKC). It wasn't a behind closed doors thing.

Andrea, others suggested that Kentucky be involved in that conversation if travel costs were calculated openly, and I said I was willing to consider it but felt that the round robin would make it infeasible. After hearing many complaints this summer that individuals were choosing to attend GSU because of the round robin, either explicitly or implicitly, I've personally come to view the RR at Kentucky as tied to the difficulty in getting teams on the East coast to attend a D3 major. I strongly suspect alternatives to Kentucky's round robin in the future and will support them.

This isn't a conspiracy against anyone or anything. The decision to move UNI's major to GSU was as behind-closed-doors as the decision to support a major at UMKC. Let's don't act like this happened in the long-long-ago. It was a rational decision then and updating the schedule is a rational decision now. If it doesn't work for Michigan or anyone else, I respect that. I appreciated Aaron's input regarding a D3 opener a ton; it helped us in D3 to create a very successful tournament.

As far as the round robin goes, RR's are what they are. They're a huge boon to a very limited number of teams. All of the decisions about a pre-season round robin are subjective. They're an enticement to attend a particular tournament's invitational as well. I am certain that Kentucky won't "go away" as a result of competition, but I so suspect that some healthy competition could inform more open and objective decision-making.

That said, Jonah's obviously right. We should be considering policies to make these decisions less personal and more institutional. If the NDT (AFA?) and CEDA would organize to have a travel schedule that governed the first-round application process, that would be ideal. The rationale is even more pertinent today than it was 14 years ago when I first heard of it. I'd be glad to talk to anyone about this and my ideas regarding it.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: gabemurillo on September 27, 2012, 12:03:52 PM
Whit - I'm going to try to repeat what others have said, maybe in a different way (probably the same). this is not about UMKC vs. GSU. a lot of your frustration seems to be stemming from people answering questions of yours that are not what the major deal here is. umkc was scheduled when it was this year because the consensus was that more people were more dissatisfied with GSU. this decision was made after an attempt at transparency amongst all the districts. this decision only happened in this way because there was no community rule or consensus that supported regional equity. if there had been a rule similar to what most people are proposing then the decision about which tournament in d6 was considered the d6 major would have been up to d6 or some other group the community decided on. ultimately the discussion of which d6 major to "sacrifice" puts the cart before the horse. the reason people feel decisions were made behind close doors and the reason people feel defensive is because of how the current tournament system is structured. if there were a change which more or less mandated regional equity over free-market decisions for tournaments then the process would be more open, and the discussion of which tournaments to keep as majors could be based on the merits of the tournament (based on community consensus). I think UMKC was important because it showed that there are teams (100 or so) that are excluded from competing at majors that can make it to tournaments further west. now that the experiment was (in my opinion) a success, its time to start a discussion about a more inclusive travel schedule. THAT is the question at hand, after that is resolved there can be a more open and productive discussion of the particulars of which tournaments are our new majors. trying to do that before is counterproductive and non-responsive to the question at hand.  
gabe


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Adam Symonds on September 27, 2012, 12:10:41 PM
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.

That's about as totalizing a K as you can get. I haven't said a thing about specific tournaments, because it doesn't much matter to me, provided I don't have to spend $3500-4000 3 times in the fall just to take 2 teams to majors that are all in the southeast. And while there are productive conversations that can be had about the benefits of GSU vs Kentucky vs Wake, the relative cost differences between the 3 are far less important than the cost differences of the concentration of all 3 in the same region vs 2 being distributed elsewhere. I'm perfectly content to let D6 choose their regional. Hell, rotate it every 3 years between the 3. So the "you're picking on GSU for ulterior motives" shtick really misses the boat.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit on September 27, 2012, 12:19:20 PM
But it is about "GSU vs. UMKC."

I have not seen a proposed schedule that equally distributes national tournaments amongst regions from anyone. All I've seen is "everyone should come to UMKC next year." Would it be awesome if the NDT committee all told us where to go? Perhaps, but that probably isn't going to happen. Instead we have these ad hoc tweaks to the schedule that (in my opinion at least) are based more on what is convenient than on the stated goals.

For what it is worth, I thought GSU was well run this year.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit on September 27, 2012, 12:25:42 PM
Also... all of this "D6 can have their one tournament wherever they want" talk is funny. Am I to understand that Texas will stop hosting its tournament when D3 gets a major? I wouldn't want you having 1.5 nationals, because that is just unfair.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: ScottyP on September 27, 2012, 12:30:27 PM
Don't remember who mentioned it but the 2 tournament each weekend idea thing seems awesome. Have one tournament that is like 70ish teams of a caliber likely to be at the NDT, have another tournament for the next 100 or so teams. Basically debate tracking.

Advantages
-less mismatched debates no one enjoys- having been on both ends of these they suck
-less judge pool dilution
-smaller tournaments run better, have more potential hosts etc
-younger inexperienced debaters aren't exposed to NU MK

Disadvantages
-coaching staffs would have to split in some instances
-some sort of labeling theory nonsense

This doesn't have a lot to do with "regional equity" or whatever but coordinated 2 tournament weekends seem like a good idea.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jregnier on September 27, 2012, 12:31:37 PM
But it is about "GSU vs. UMKC."

What we in the argumentation biz call a claim without grounds or a warrant.

I have not seen a proposed schedule that equally distributes national tournaments amongst regions from anyone. All I've seen is "everyone should come to UMKC next year." Would it be awesome if the NDT committee all told us where to go? Perhaps, but that probably isn't going to happen. Instead we have these ad hoc tweaks to the schedule that (in my opinion at least) are based more on what is convenient than on the stated goals.

This is putting the cart before the horse.  I think some want to jump too quickly to proposals for ways to change the schedule without coming up with a clear and comprehensive definition of what the problem is and the criteria that we should use to evaluate proposed solutions (thank you John Dewey).



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jregnier on September 27, 2012, 12:40:38 PM
Also, I'm not sure that I understand all the conspiracy talk.  Of course the GSU weekend was picked.  GSU is not really a major.  Even at its strongest, it is not Kentucky, Harvard, or Wake.  If you had to pick a weekend to put a competing tournament on, then of course you would pick the one that would be most likely to draw teams away while also not jeopardizing your bids.  That's what Malcolm means by "pragmatic."  There is no secret cabal of freedom haters out there trying to get GSU.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit on September 27, 2012, 12:44:11 PM
But it is about "GSU vs. UMKC."

What we in the argumentation biz call a claim without grounds or a warrant.

I have not seen a proposed schedule that equally distributes national tournaments amongst regions from anyone. All I've seen is "everyone should come to UMKC next year." Would it be awesome if the NDT committee all told us where to go? Perhaps, but that probably isn't going to happen. Instead we have these ad hoc tweaks to the schedule that (in my opinion at least) are based more on what is convenient than on the stated goals.

This is putting the cart before the horse.  I think some want to jump too quickly to proposals for ways to change the schedule without coming up with a clear and comprehensive definition of what the problem is and the criteria that we should use to evaluate proposed solutions (thank you John Dewey).



The second paragraph was the warrant. There is no blueprint for your alt (fully equitable tournament division). So all the talking just leads to UMKC replacing GSU, which doesn't even come close to resolving anyone's problem and just helps out the district that dominates most of the NDT anyway. That's what we in policy debate call the cede the political da.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: gabemurillo on September 27, 2012, 12:51:30 PM
Whit -

yes, under my ideal proposal d3 would have to decide on one major. this isn't funny or something people haven't thought of - its the obvious consequence of each district having one major, i don't think i've ever made the argument that all majors should be in d3 this is counterintuitive given the larger claim for regional equity. and if you haven't seen anything other than arguments for umkc over gsu you are either not reading very thoroughly or honestly, I'm not sure which one. under the current system yes i believe people should come to umkc because its a way to increase regional equality in the current system, but i think i am making clear that my larger goal is persuade the community to restructure the current tournament schedule, if you'd like me to rehash that i can. regnier is right, the call for a specific tournament schedule again puts the cart before the horse. whats really missing from this discussion is a defense of regional inequality - so i'll reraise here, whats your argument for keeping the current tournament structure? i don't think you're trying to make this argument which is why i'm confused about the animosity.

gabe


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: andreareed on September 27, 2012, 12:56:25 PM
Andrea, others suggested that Kentucky be involved in that conversation if travel costs were calculated openly, and I said I was willing to consider it but felt that the round robin would make it infeasible. After hearing many complaints this summer that individuals were choosing to attend GSU because of the round robin, either explicitly or implicitly, I've personally come to view the RR at Kentucky as tied to the difficulty in getting teams on the East coast to attend a D3 major. I strongly suspect alternatives to Kentucky's round robin in the future and will support them.


Forgive me Russell if I misunderstand the argument you are making... I had to reread what you wrote several times, but I'm pretty sure it makes no sense.  If every round robin team chose UMKC instead of GSU, then UMKC would be king of the hill and the GSU tournament would die or become more regional.  Both WHY teams get that invite and WHY people follow them is because they are perceived as the top teams, the ones that coaches want their teams debating.  That has nothing to do with what the next or previous tournament in the schedule is.  So if OU were to decide to host a tournament on top of Kentucky, and say, create an OU round robin, those teams invited to the OU RR would then go to the OU tournament that it is attached to.  Saying that its only the Kentucky RR that ties people to the UK tournament (or even GSU) is a pretty nonsensical argument.

No one has argued that the current failures of the market based system are not based in the idea that the good teams want to inevitably follow the good teams.  Saying there should be a RR somewhere other than Kentucky is merely shifting things around but not changing WHY people want to go to round robins.  Reading this is thread, more geographic distribution is all people want anyways.  So is the answer that D6 should lose BOTH GSU and Kentucky as majors?  From reading these posts, some people would give a resounding yes to this question.  I think Paul made some pretty persuasive arguments about why the Kentucky tournament is geographically located in a place that is optimal for a large number of people (including many of the schools that are disadvantaged by the location of the GSU tournament)... not really sure what the answer to this is, except for, well, we like Wake more and D6 only gets 1 under our dream proposal.  Ok, fine, have us cannibalize each other.  Great, now I have to defend my own tournament against the Wake tournament, one that I love dearly and gave me the very training to run my own.  I'll apologize to Wake, Ross, and the rest of the Deacs in advance if I'm forced into that position.

And, did anyone even read my post?  Why are we treating our fellow colleagues like such crap?  Or like they have some sinister motives, divorced from yours which are oh-so-holy and solely about teaching your students.  Thank god I have a lot of research to do to prep my team for their next tournament, because thinking of any other part of my job right now beside cutting cards is making me feel seriously depressed.  


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson on September 27, 2012, 12:56:51 PM
But it is about "GSU vs. UMKC."

What we in the argumentation biz call a claim without grounds or a warrant.

I have not seen a proposed schedule that equally distributes national tournaments amongst regions from anyone. All I've seen is "everyone should come to UMKC next year." Would it be awesome if the NDT committee all told us where to go? Perhaps, but that probably isn't going to happen. Instead we have these ad hoc tweaks to the schedule that (in my opinion at least) are based more on what is convenient than on the stated goals.

This is putting the cart before the horse.  I think some want to jump too quickly to proposals for ways to change the schedule without coming up with a clear and comprehensive definition of what the problem is and the criteria that we should use to evaluate proposed solutions (thank you John Dewey).



The second paragraph was the warrant. There is no blueprint for your alt (fully equitable tournament division). So all the talking just leads to UMKC replacing GSU, which doesn't even come close to resolving anyone's problem and just helps out the district that dominates most of the NDT anyway. That's what we in policy debate call the cede the political da.


I thought making things better was called pragmatism.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: gabemurillo on September 27, 2012, 12:59:26 PM
whit-

cede the political? really?!?! you're argument is that the status quo is too overpowering (they'll never change the rules etc) so we shouldn't have a discussion about changing the CEDA AFA and NDT rules to mandate regional equality, and we are ceding the political? you are literally saying we shouldn't even discuss changing the documents that make rules... i don't even understand where you're coming from on this one.

gabe



Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jregnier on September 27, 2012, 01:00:09 PM
The second paragraph was the warrant. There is no blueprint for your alt (fully equitable tournament division). So all the talking just leads to UMKC replacing GSU, which doesn't even come close to resolving anyone's problem and just helps out the district that dominates most of the NDT anyway. That's what we in policy debate call the cede the political da.

The second paragraph is mostly a link of omission (I know I'm a K guy, but come on...) except for the part that is just a caricature of a statement that I haven't seen anybody say on this forum.

As for the cede the political da, this is pretty much a demonstration of why that argument is one of the dumbest arguments that wins rounds in debate.  You shouldn't have a "blueprint for your alt" before, as a community, you've defined exactly what factors play into the creation of the problem, which values you want to promote with a solution, and what criteria you would use to evaluate whether the plan is a good idea.  Decision-making *ends* with the solution.  It doesn't start there.

D3 made a very specific decision to have a viable season opener in their region.  That's done.  It's time to move on.  Now the questions are, "What should the tournament schedule look like?" and, "What courses of action, if any, should be taken to make that a reality?"


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Whit on September 27, 2012, 01:09:49 PM
whit-

cede the political? really?!?! you're argument is that the status quo is too overpowering (they'll never change the rules etc) so we shouldn't have a discussion about changing the CEDA AFA and NDT rules to mandate regional equality, and we are ceding the political? you are literally saying we shouldn't even discuss changing the documents that make rules... i don't even understand where you're coming from on this one.

gabe



Gabe, I never said that. I in fact said the opposite of that. Show me a petition or something that says an equitable division of tournaments should be set up by some governing body and I'll sign it. I just fear that that will not happen. My fear is that the only thing that will come of this is that UMKC replaces GSU. I don't see that as better. At best it is a lateral move. Should D3 have a major? Yes. Should it be at the front of the breadline? No. There are plenty of regions that are struggling that would benefit more from a major national tournament. I'm all about the grand bargain, but I don't like the way the incrementalism looks to be playing out.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: cramhelwich on September 27, 2012, 01:10:07 PM
Plan:

Designate five geographically diverse tournaments as pre-bid qualifiers for the NDT. Develop a point system to measure a team's performance at each tournament. Allow each team to count (up to) their best four point totals. A rough geographic distribution would include a tournaments in the 'west (LAX, PHX, SFO, SLC, LAS), 'north central' (ORD, STL, KC?), south central (DFW, HOU, KC?), southeast (GSO, ATL, LEX), northeast (BOS, DCI, etc).

Adv1: regional travel--removes penalty for 'bad losses' (which deters regional competition), frees up weekends and travel resources for regional 'mid majors'. For example, I and some others would like to see a "Big10 Invitational", but it is really hard to fit it into our calendar as currently constituted
Adv2: fiscal equity--it's not a perfect solution, but it helps
Adv3: burnout--fewer tournaments means fewer class days missed for students and profs--folks could (and many would, I am sure) choose to travel to more than 5 pre-NDT tourneys, but the pressure for 14+ tournament seasons (which many of our colleagues experience) would decrease

If we want the West (and upper Midwest, for that matter) to remain viable, we need to think about how to lower travel costs for existing programs and work on making our product more attractive to potential new programs (welcome Houston!) and potential crossovers (NPTE, anyone?).

I am not committed to this proposal, but it is a starting point--it reflects my memory of one of the Bruschke proposals.

best,
dch


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: gabemurillo on September 27, 2012, 01:20:28 PM
I posted what I think is a very similar proposal on a new thread "regional equity proposal" - I'm hoping to move this discussion away from this one which I feel has devolved beyond recognition. I hope a new thread can focus the discussion on proposed solutions. in my opinion, all the fights happening on this thread are BECAUSE of the way tournaments are structured now. the insults and underhanded comments in all directions are not bringing us anywhere closer to a solution to what is obviously a very serious problem. i hope to redirect this discussion more productively on a new thread

gabe


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: ScottElliott on September 27, 2012, 01:45:26 PM
200 Debate Teams debate the CEDA/NDT Policy resolution last weekend. Where's the love?


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Malgor on September 27, 2012, 01:46:11 PM
good god, whit....are you even trying to understand the words people are typing lol. 


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: Malgor on September 27, 2012, 01:51:20 PM
everyone is getting quite defensive.  I guess that makes sense since this discussion inevitably entails the transformation of some regional tournaments to national ones and national tournaments to regional ones.  but everyone does seem to agree (except whit...don't really know what his position is) that the tournaments are unequally distributed to the southeast.  Well, if you agree with that, and want to fix it, it's time right now to be open that yes, that DOES mean that a national tournament in d6 will go regional.

But I'm tired of one area of the country having a monopoly.  I wish we could all promote debate, instead of promoting debate primarily at places where the top teams go.  Since I think we can all agree that the top teams will dictate the travel schedule (that culture shift seems much more difficult to pull off than a mere changing of the travel schedule), the next best solution is to at least diversify where those teams go.  There will be lots of pouting no doubt, but the points made about UNI make it clear that this is not unique and travel schedules do change over time.

What is the most productive way to move such initiatives forward?


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: jasonlrussell on September 27, 2012, 06:15:33 PM
I posted a reply earlier, but Stables must have stolen it because of all of the curse-words (JK Gordon, I know you love cursing). Actually, I don't have any personal insults to make and haven't made any thus far -- a first for me, I should add. My position on GSU and UMKC (originally OU) was made public and the rationale was as well. It was not posted to CEDA forums initially because it was exploratory and was never posted to CEDA forums by me because the tournament turned out to not be one I was running (since UMKC ultimately hosted the D3 opener), but it was in no way a secret. It went to a ton of directors nationally, including the director of the University of Michigan, whose advice about the cost of travel to Atlanta compared to OKC became a large part of the rationale in finding a more suitable airport near which to host the tournament. I'll add only this about the notion of a conspiracy: all tournament travel decisions made in private are conspiratorial. The entire system we have set up today is designed to be covert, and that uncertainty about attendance of powerful school impacts the likelihood of travel to certain tournaments. It's not nefarious; it's just the natural outcome of having no organizational control or collective decision-making about the travel schedule. I believe that my decision to replace GSU was one of the only openly discussed travel decisions in the modern history of debate, no big deal.

As for Andrea's confusion and feelings, I don't know what to say really. It's not about you? I'd like to be clear that it's nothing personal and I'm real sorry you feel that way. I don't think it's personal that D6 didn't want to come to Oklahoma when we wanted to have a tournament. It would have been pretty silly for me to do so, honestly. Instead, I saw D6 as protecting their own self-interest, as I suspected all along that they would. And that's the problem with the existing system is that it allows for self-interest to dictate the entire system without any collective decision-making or organizational control. I know you don't want to choose between Kentucky and Wake. I don't want to choose between taking our team to UTD and UNT and driving 950 miles to Winston-Salem each year either. But it is a choice the existing system hoists on us. The Eastern Time Zone has the following bid relevant tournaments: GSU, KY RR, KY, Harvard, Wake, Dartmouth RR, and sometimes UGA/WGA. The rest of the nation has: Gonz, USC, Fullerton, NU/TX, and now UMKC. Gonz has been declining in non-West coast participants in recent years, a product of the free market. UMKC had one school from the Eastern Time Zone. Many schools attend neither USC nor Fullerton. That the travel schedule is regionally inequitable is basically unarguable. That the result of this is largely due to the over-representation of tournaments in D6 is observationally and statistically evident. The question is: what to do about it?

The result will be to make some hard choices among tournaments. One of those happens to be Kentucky. While that is potentially unfortunate for Kentucky, overriding goals take precedence here. Can Kentucky still have a tournament? By all means. No one is taking your tournament away. But it may not be as big in the future if proposals in the works are passed. It would have to compete with other tournaments in your district to be the selection. The good news is that an organizational solution might preserve as majors all three of Wake, Kentucky, and GSU simply rotating the years they host a major. A free market solution may result in people who resent the stranglehold that D6 has on current travel structuring rejecting both Kentucky and GSU for good, choosing alternate sites to host permanently. At any rate, even that free market approach doesn't stop you from having a tournament, it just means your tournament might face competition. I'm certain Kentucky won't go away.

People do follow the best teams. I think maybe here is where you're a bit confused. GSU was tied to the KY RR because some have internalized a message that the opener should feature a cohesive round robin field. Some have suggested that idea came from Kentucky itself. Others I'm sure were just concerned about not having debates against potential KY RR competitors prior to meeting them. At any rate, and I don't really care which it is, the KY RR was a part of individuals' decisions to attend GSU this year. I strongly suspect that next year there will be an alternative to Kentucky's RR and I personally support that idea. I say personally because this isn't an OU policy and I don't make our travel decisions. If we were invited to and attended KY's RR, I would go as I have many times in the past. In the interest of honesty and openness, I believe people are interested in moving to a new RR because of real or perceived ties the RR has to GSU and because of concerns about the objectivity of the selection process. I think the GSU concern is the most relevant.

Whitte, cost was not the sole factor in my determining that GSU would be the place to start with moving tournaments from D6. It was the principle heuristic involved, but once it was determined that a D6 tournament should be moved, I considered a variety of factors, including logistics, administration, and procedures. Frankly, GSU ranked the lowest of the major tournaments in many categories. That was my subjective opinion, but one that was backed up by many years of attendance and afforded a degree of near-unanimity by many I spoke with. It's nothing personal against the GSU debate team or the people involved, but reflected the fact that other tournaments were, on a large number of criteria, better, making their costs and inconveniences more tolerable than those of GSU.

Cost is also not the sole factor motivating an organizational proposal, or at least it shouldn't be in my mind. I think there are a large number of benefits to an organizational designate system over a free market of tournament travel. They include:

A) Reinvigorating regional debate -- Having only a limited number of tournaments count for a pre-bid means that pre-bid competitors could return to the region and attend local tournaments at a low cost without fear that it would tank their bid. They could split up for weekends and debate with other partners for fun without worrying someone would punish their spot in the rankings. They could test out different styles and argument content at a non-bid tournament. A lot of teams that won't be pre-bids but have an outside shot that would benefit greatly from debating regionally also suffer from the chilling effect of "taking a bad loss" or "getting some regional judge". Exclusive designates solves this.

B) Improving tournament administration -- Tournaments would be accountable to the entirety of their district for promoting a quality tournament. Competition among tournaments for amenities, pricing, and quality administration would be expected. Applicants for a bid to be the district designate would drive up tournament quality greatly.

C) Objective pre-bid selection -- Having voters for the pre-bids is silly. We have too many diverse decision-making structures represented. The variance is and has historically been quite large. No doubt some bias creeps into even the most objective decisions and some decision-makers admit their bias openly. We shouldn't make decisions that financially impact the community so dramatically premised on purely subjective criteria. Incorporating some science into the scheme would be nice.

Of course, equity with the impact of cost matters greatly. It matters so much that I don't mind much if it hurts the feelings of a particular tournament director that their tournament could be on the list of contests that would no longer be national majors. Regional debate is fine, your tournament going regional is fine, and this system makes regional debate better also, so the impact is relatively small.

While I find it funny that I've been accused of both making personal attacks and being holier-than-thou, I think very few people would associate me with trying to pretend that I'm above the fray. If anything, I am the fray. I don't mind putting myself out there and fighting for what I believe in. I believe in this. The impact our regional travel schedule is having on programs west of the Rockies is dramatic. We should start moving some of the high impact tournaments from the East to the West immediately if not sooner. I'll tell you that in a backroom, on the Internet, or wherever else you'd like me to. Don't let accusations of gossip or conspiracy hide the fact that we should move west either through a planned organizational transition or through forcing the market if there is no other choice. Sorry about your feelings everyone.


Title: Re: UMKC and Regional Distribution of Tournaments
Post by: antonucci23 on September 27, 2012, 07:34:22 PM
We shouldn't make decisions that financially impact the community so dramatically premised on purely subjective criteria. Incorporating some science into the scheme would be nice.

Of course, equity with the impact of cost matters greatly. It matters so much that I don't mind much if it hurts the feelings of a particular tournament director that their tournament could be on the list of contests that would no longer be national majors.

As stated on the other thread, I strongly agree with your feelings about both science and equity.  Has there yet been any attempt to amass data on flight and travel costs, and how they might best be equitably distributed?

Your essential proposal here is a redistributive tax.  I find the prospect of income redistribution *very* appealing.  I do think, though, that redistributive measures require a good deal of fine-grained calculation, as well as a fair and democratic governing structure for their implementation.