College Policy Debate Forums

ORGANIZATIONAL DISCUSSIONS => CEDA News => Topic started by: RobGlass on July 01, 2020, 02:06:48 PM

Title: CEDA Scheduling Working Group Update:
Post by: RobGlass on July 01, 2020, 02:06:48 PM
Hey all,

Speaking on behalf of the CEDA tournament scheduling working group I wanted to give the community a quick update to our findings and a sense of where we are going from here.
To start, a few people have reached out concerned about a lack of guidance on the year ahead, this is understandable and we are cognizant of these apprehensions. However, the working group is stuck between a rock and a hard-place until more universities release their plans for re-opening and their academic calendars:

-        Release recommendations too early and those recommendations will be rendered moot when Universities release their plans to reopen.

-        Or, hold off on releasing recommendations and potentially be too late to be able to effectively offer guidance going forward.

We have erred on the side of caution, but are trying to move forward as best we can. To give at least one example of an area where we have deep concerns going forward is how a shrunken academic calendar may require universities to move classes to late nights and weekends, potentially directly conflicting with tournaments, drastically reducing the number of days available for a tournament to be run.


To better facilitate planning and in the interest of transparency we do want to discuss a few conclusions that the working group has come to for how the year ahead based on discussion and previous fact finding, and discuss how these conclusions effect how tournaments will be run.

Our first conclusion is that all tournaments in the fall semester will be purely online tournaments with no in-person debating. Given current outbreaks in the South and mid-west it seems unnecessary to go into too much depth about this assumption. Given the decision by the NDT and ADA to plan for online end of year championships we also assume that the Spring semester will be largely, if not wholly, online and that any change will only come after a vaccine is developed and widely released.  As there should be lead time between the announcement of the vaccine’s development and the widespread dissemination of the vaccine the working group has opted not to concern itself with potential hybrid tournaments or a resumption of in-person debating as there should be sufficient time to explore those issues before they become pressing when those developments arise.

Our second assumption is that debate tournaments will be temporally constrained to account for the physical separation of debaters. Partially this is for the obvious reasons that debaters on campuses will not be travelling and thus will be debating across time zones. However, more concerningly, given campus closures, fear of contagion, and the availability of hybrid and purely online classes the working group believes that many debaters will opt to stay away from campus, with many staying with families at home. This presents a unique challenge to tournament hosting in that many debaters will be expected to participate in tournaments from a shared space with family, roommates, or other cohabitants, and often need to share limited resources (rooms, internet connections, etc.) with others while limiting their noise. As such, expectations that debaters will be able to participate in a tournament from dawn until late evening every day across the country becomes unreasonable. Tournaments will need to ensure that debaters from all time zones, and in as many home situations as possible, can participate and not be unduly inconvenienced. This has knock-on effects on other scheduling concerns (notably, food times) that the working group is aware of and is trying to remedy. But, the end-point of this is that tournaments will begin later and end sooner than they have in previous years.

Third, debate rounds, at least at the start of the year, will be substantially longer. Transitioning to new interfaces will take time and will have hiccups. Our best estimate for the minimum length of a round is 240 minutes at the start of the year based on the following breakdown:

-        45 Minutes of pre-round prep time. (This is longer so as to allow coaches time to cycle through rooms and prep teams.)

-        135 minutes of Debate Time (including time spent debating, judge time to render a decision, and RFD)

-        20 minutes of Tech Time (time to allow for computer crashes, internet hiccups, etc.)

-        30 minutes of break time from screens and replacement meal/snack times

-        10 minutes of tabulation and pairing time


The working group does hope that acculturation to online debate will allow this time to be reduced by October or November, but thinks that the amount of time that it can be reduced is probably not more than thirty minutes without running into significant hurdles. This does mean, realistically, that for tournaments that draw from all four time zones will be limited to three prelims a day.

We are working from these assumptions and previously collected data to develop a series of potential tournament models to distribute to programs and tournament directors.

To help facilitate this we would like to ask debaters, coaches, judges, and other stakeholders to fill out the following form and give us more information about what priorities you think are important in the year ahead and what models of tournaments you would be interested in participating in. We also would like to invite people to propose their own models of tournament structure and give other feedback at the end of the form.

We would also like Directors of programs to fill out the following form to get a sense of willingness to host and participate in tournaments at the Director's level: