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my argument is that higher resource demands for basic competitive
success lower participation. the theory explains well what happened to
the NDT and what is happening to CEDA now. no one has answered the
1) Steve argues:
"Mike has no proof or real analysis why "smaller" (whatever that means)
programs will be hurt by an earlier release. I believe people are
jumping to the conclusion that early release means tougher to compete."
that is NOT my argument. my argument is early release means more work,
more effort, more time necessary to compete successfully. the programs
and students that go full blast for an extra month will set the
standards for what is needed to debate successfully. those that are not
or cannot use the extra time to do MORE will compete less successfully.
many students and programs will decide that 5 extra weeks committed to
debate is too much. they'll decide to bail.
i do not argue that only "small" schools will bail. many of the
programs which cannot or will not INCREASE their commitment will be
small schools that decide it is worth it to hurt themselves this way.
we are ALL hurt because we have to spend more resources to continue to
2) Steve argues:
"Allow me a turn, I think early release makes it EASIER to outreach to
new programs, or small programs, because they can focus on debate before
classes, rather than trying to learn a new activity, and a new topic,
all in conjunction with the crunch of the start of school."
perhaps. but the controlling factor seems to me what it takes to keep
existing and new and "small" programs in the activity. the existence of
handbooks 5 weeks earlier, research starting earlier, etc. will soon run
into a wall. existing programs and "larger" programs and programs which
can devote more time, energy, and effort than them will also have those
5 weeks. the fall semester will be a tougher welcome to these programs
also, the 300 existing CEDA programs ALL need to work harder and more
just to keep up with each other. what do you do when you need to
explain to a "new" prospective program that they need to start August
1st to have any hope of competitive success. folks are rational actors:
many will say, "hunh? just to debate? why would i hurt myself that
way? i go to the beach over the summer." or they'll just say "no. i
have to work over the summer to pay for school. thanks."
3) Steve argues:
"Even without an early release of a specific topic, most schools you and
I have both been affiliated with give out huge summer research projects
on generics, assuring an ample supply of briefs when the topic does come
so true: not Korcok the Barbarian because i'm easy-going. and you and
both know that the summer assignments are nothing in comparison to the
research that goes on during the year: we both understand that a lot of
it is going to be much less valuable, on-point, and developed. and our
students like that because they get to take it easy and do non-debate
work over the summer, visit the beach, etc. an early topic release
means both of us put them to work full blast. and August is gone.
4) Steve argues:
"I challenge you to specifically indicate how more "money" will be
involved to the individual program due to a mere 30 days difference in
the release date."
i accept the challenge. more go to workshops which may cost a bunch of
cash and which trade-off with summer employment. more evidence gets
produced so more copying costs (a month of a dedicated debater's output
here is about $100 per student in just copying THEIR stuff, much less
the combined output of the squad. they pay out of their own pockets).
more resource demand will convince some students and programs that it
isn't worth it anymore. cash is only ONE part of "resources". i think
the combined increased demand becomes huge. adding 5 weeks of
commitment over the summer as a "requirement" of competitive success is
a lot. i think many students and programs stand at the brink of
deciding that more of their resources would be too much. if you think
there's room for much more commitment before folks bail, please argue
WHY you think so. NEDA, the flight to Parli, the fast current dropout
from CEDA all convince me you're pretending that things are fine.
5) Steve argues:
"Please cross apply your own argument:"if you aren't ready with a
september release date, you won't be ready with an august." That seems
to moot your point to me. Programs choose their level of competition
REGARDLESS of topic release date. I think your equating release dates
of the topic with programs quitting is unprovable and intentional
inflammation of the issue."
well, this is an opinion without a warrant. my warrants have been
above. the "arms race" is what has been happening for the past 6 years.
NO one has argued that the demands for competitive success have NOT
escalated massively over that time.
well, "if you're not ready in september, you won't be ready in august"
is the tag line to explain why "wow. we get 5 more weeks to prepare!
great. we'll be ready to compete then!" is a fool's calculus.
EVERYONE gets the 5 weeks. if you're having trouble doing decently with
3 weeks prep, expect at least as much trouble doing decently when
EVERYONE gets 8 weeks prep. and in the process, we ALL will have done
MUCH more work to get ready (5 more weeks worth of work).
and how DOES that "invalidate" my argument?
6) Steve argues:
"Of course its always helpful to want to "stay the course" when your
programs budget and scholarship level far outstrips any others in your
region, and most of the nations."
thank you. just to clarify (i know you didn't mean it that way): we
have NO, nada, zip scholarships. our students and their parents work
their asses off so our students can come and stay here. debate adds
Pam started the program with nothing. she built it into a decent
program by doing it right. perhaps that should indicate that she has
some wisdom on questions of program-building. or do you really think
that somehow money grows on trees out here? if it did, you'd see me in
much better clothing at tournaments. perhaps i could finally buy a
car ... damn it, it isn't "luck" and it isn't "wealth" and it isn't
"ivy league": it IS a dedicated group of folks that know what they're
doing in BUILDING a program and working their butts off to do so.
7) Steve argues:
"I admire your psychic powers and suggest you open a 900 number for
thanks for the advice. but this one requires no special powers, only
some clear thinking regarding what drives participation and how we
behave and what programs are telling us. remember the theory is Gary
Larson's and everyone agrees he has seen deeply. the application is
mine, but no one has yet to present an argument explaining why it is
8) Steve argues:
"I don't think better debate requires more resources, but better
leadership. It does not cost more money to make smarter arguments. I
hope that you continue to offer competitive leadership and cutting edge
thought, and hope other programs will seek it out rather than turn away
me too. "better" debate does require leadership and better ideas.
"competitive success" requires resources: time, money, skills training,
energy, effort, and will. those things trade-off with the other parts
of our lives. increase the resource demands of competitive success and
many folks will say "no more".
Korcok the Barbarian
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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