TOC Announces 2012-13 Bid Levels


To facilitate the discussion of bid distribution, here is a graphic. Octos bids are in red; quarters bids are in green; semis bids are blue; and finals bids are yellow.


AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER- Octafinals at the 2012 TOC

The following LD debate tournaments are OCTAFINAL qualifiers for 2012-2013:

Apple Valley (MN)
Berkeley (CA)
Bronx Science (NY)
Glenbrooks (IL)
Greenhill (TX)
Harvard (MA)
St. Mark’s (TX)
Valley (IA)
Victory Briefs (Archer) (CA)
The following LD debate tournaments are QUARTERFINAL qualifiers for 2012-2013:

Alta (UT)
Blake (MN)
Crestian (Pine Crest) (FL)
Emory (GA)
Lexington (MA)
Meadows (NV)
Stanford (CA)
Sunvitational (University School) (FL)
Yale (CT)
The following LD debate tournaments are SEMIFINALS qualifiers for 2012-2013:

College Prep (CA)
Dowling Catholic (IA)
Golden Desert (NV)
Grapevine (TX)
Hendrick Hudson (NY)
Iowa Caucus (IA)
Isidore Newman (LA)
Ohio Valley (KY)
Presentation HS (CA)
Princeton (NJ)
University of Puget Sound (WA)
University of Southern California (CA)
Walt Whitman (MD)
The following LD debate tournaments are FINALS qualifiers for 2012-2013:

Brophy Prep (AZ)
Colleyville Heritage (TX)
Columbia (NY)
Federal Way (WA)
Houston-Memorial (TX)
Myers Park (NC)
Newark (NJ)
Omaha Westside (NE)
Ridge (NJ)
Saint James (AL)
Scarsdale (NY)
Vestavia Hills (AL)
Wake Forest (NC)
Whitman (WA)
Winston Churchill (TX)
The following tournaments/awards are INELIGIBLE as qualifiers:
-Any round-robin, summer institute, NFL, CFL, or state championship tournaments (even if conducted or hosted by schools/colleges/universities which host TOC-approved tournaments)
-Any speaker award at any tournament (even if earned at TOC-approved tournaments)
-Any tournament not on this approved tournament list unless added by the TOC Tournament Director.

  • John Scoggin


    The bigger point here is that your model is arbitrary (Q: why is San Juan Capistrano in SoCal, but not Carlsbad? A: you just decided that.) chalked full of errors, and doesn’t even do what it says it is going to do. If we change ‘driving tournaments’ to 6 hours rather than 8 you want to know who is 2nd on the list, DES MOINES, IOWA. That is correct, it goes 1. NYC 2. Des Moines, does that seem right to you? I could then make the point that LA has a population roughly 20 times that of Des Moines and has actually had competitors in outrounds of the TOC the last 2 years. Most of us are just spectators in this, you are actually on the TOC committee. You advocated for Valley to get its bid increased even though it is the most over-served part of the country. You have no place telling others who can and cannot complain about bid allocation.

    But on to the content of your reply:

    Traffic is a bigger problem in LA than in other places. Given that your model is based on time rather than distance “For the purposes of this analysis, a tournament is considered “home town” if it takes place within on hour’s drive of a region.” I know you have been editing the numerous errors out of the article but this part of it seems pretty clear. If you account for traffic in Des Moines the same as traffic in LA then your model is so comically inaccurate that it probably isn’t worth posting on the internet. You make it sound like accounting for traffic is some impossible thing to do: it literally tells you on google maps (you know that site you used to look up the distances) how much time it takes in traffic. I encourage you to go on at 8am PST and verify the following:

    14 schools from LA (you missed St. Francis), 18 total after you add the schools from San Diego that you arbitrarily excluded. 10/18 or 55% could not make it in under an hour in normal morning traffic in LA. (St. Francis, Flintridge, Honor, PV, San Marino, St. Margarets, Carlsbad, Torrey, La Jolla, LCC) Based on your own definition that would make it so for the majority of SoCal schools VBT is not a local.

  • Quinn Olivarez

    texas needs a quarters bid tournament. there, i said it.

  • John Scoggin


    You are probably right that I am being a little unfair to Princeton specifically given that I have never attended. At the same time if I thought the tournament was good enough to attend that would probably undermine my criticism. I will lay out why I think this particular bid increase is bad in a more complete way than my previous post had. I think there are two primary arguments:
    1. Saturation. I did some quick calculation about debaters from particular regions and how they fare outside of their region. I took a look at three big regions that I thought would be helpful to compare against one another, SoCal, Texas, and the NE. I calculated how many people from that region qualified to the TOC, how many bids they earned at tournaments outside their region, and the number of debaters from each region to qualify solely on bids from their region. The numbers:

    NE: 18,24,6
    Texas: 13,25,4
    SoCal: 12,37,0

    (Note: I am including the WW debaters in this, if they are removed the numbers are 14,15,6)

    Compare this to the amount of bid tournaments, descending from octos:

    NE: 2,2,2,4
    Texas: 2,0,2,3
    SoCal: 1,0,1,0

    It seems pretty clear from the numbers that bids need to be directed away from the NE.

    2. Strength of competition. I don’t want to compare debaters (Harker vs. Princeton) directly because I think that is a little too personal, but an aggregate look at the field shows it is not close. It is even worse when you compare the debaters in the field without the bids they earned in their region. It is even worse when you go back over the past few years taking into account information like what Fritz wrote in his post. Basically given that the northeast is not hurting for bids in any way, I think you have to show why this tournament is significantly superior to most of the other tournaments in the semis category.

    It has been common knowledge in the debate community that the NE has had too many bids for as long as I can remember. I would have an easier time accepting your defense of Princeton if you could identify some other tournaments in the NE that need to be reduced.

    I want to point out that at the core of this issue is fairness. Pretty much every thread on this site has some type of reference to looking out for people from small schools. The easiest helpful thing we can do for the lone wolf is to equitably distribute the bids in the country. When we concentrate a large amount of bids in the NE, that increases the cost of participation to everyone not in that region. A lot of states also have straight up geographical limitations for where they can travel to, functionally excluding large swaths of the country from even being able to try to qualify to the TOC. A lot of the cost issues that people discuss have no solution but to get increased funding and direct that towards lower income individuals, and increasing funding is a very difficult thing to do. We have the opportunity to make the activity more fair simply by a few people’s vote at a meeting, and I think that given how easy that is I think we should take that opportunity.

    The tl;dr version is as follows: My issue is more with regional distribution of bids than with Princeton, but I think the bid distribution is such that bumping the bid level of a NE tournament seems wrong. Unless it can be shown that Princeton is of such high quality that it is better than most semis tournaments it shouldn’t have been bumped, I don’t think that case can be made.

    • I dunno, I have some quibbles. 

      Doesn’t it make sense that the most densely populated part of the country has the most bids concentrated on it?  The urban corridor that stretches, in our terms, from Lexington to Walt Whitman has some 50 million people living in it, twice the size of Texas, and substantially larger than the entire state of California, much less just SoCal.   
      It also makes sense that a compact area with high population density and closely spaced bids would have more debaters not leaving the region to qualify.  They simply don’t have to.  I would prefer it if that were true for most regions of the country, myself.  But the answer isn’t to starve the one area of the country where it is possible. 

      Last year the Northeast had by far the most at-larges, which barring nefarious political influence that I don’t think we have, would seem to indicate that in some years at least, there aren’t enough bids in the NE.  Last year was an unusually deep & strong year in our region; this year wasn’t as deep.

      SoCal had a really strong showing at this year’s TOC, but doesn’t that indicate that there’s not really a problem here at one level; and it’s a really small sample size, a handful of kids, that makes for a “strong showing”.  not enough to put together a tournament.   Bids usually follow the deserving tournaments, and it’s hard to put together that kind of tournament in a region without as many strong judges and competitors.  We’ve institutionalized well-run tournaments to some degree in the Northeast as well.  

      Personally I tend to think the bid pool overall is probably a bit thin.  I’d personally like to see a system when the threshold for getting a bid was just a touch lower, with a few more bids spread around, and to balance that off, no at-larges.  I would prefer an NDCA style automatic qualification method; they just lay it out in stark terms, but I don’t know that the TOC is ready to adopt that sort of thing, and there are issues with basing geographical draw based on number of states that naturally would favor the Northeast even more and CA even less.

      • Chris, I
        don’t think your post provides a compelling reason for why the Northeast should
        continue to have as many bid tournaments as it does. I’ll use some examples for
        how Southern California is bid-deprived, but I think that bids need to be
        spread to other areas, as well. The Pacific Northwest and the Mountain West, in
        my opinion, could use another bid tournament or two, and I also think that the
        South is being unfairly denied bids. I have not heard a compelling
        justification for why the Northeast should continue to have as many bids as it
        does (and this doesn’t just apply to your post).

        it make sense that the most densely populated part of the country has the most
        bids concentrated on it?”

        Sure, maybe
        population density should equate to more bids. But, that doesn’t mean the
        Northeast should have so many bids. I think it is still arguable that the
        Northeast is still oversaturated with bids, even with respect to its population
        density. Southern California, comparatively, is lacking in bids proportional to
        its population density. Southern California has almost as many people as the
        whole state of Texas, but it has way less area and much fewer bids than Texas,
        and far fewer bids than the Northeast.

        high population density is a worthwhile consideration, but I also think that
        low population density is also a valid consideration, due to concern for travel
        costs. Just to highlight the distance that is required to travel for many SoCal
        debaters to earn bids (which is a problem I discussed earlier), I want to think
        about the bid-saturated DC-Boston corridor that you talk about. According to
        trusty Google Maps, it takes exactly 14 more minutes to drive from Washington
        D.C. to Boston than it does to drive from San Diego to Oakland. There are lots
        of bid tournaments in California, but they are too geographically spread out to
        be viable options for a lot of students. But, geography is an even bigger
        concern for students who happen to live in between the West Coast and the Upper
        Midwest, where there are pretty much zero bid tournaments. For example, there
        were three debaters at the TOC from Colorado this year, and the closest bid
        tournaments to those students were in Utah and Iowa, respectively.

        also makes sense that a compact area with high population density and closely
        spaced bids would have more debaters not leaving the region to qualify.
         They simply don’t have to.”

        And that’s the problem. It’s ridiculous that resource-poor debaters in the
        Northeast get to go to more tournaments than resource-poor debaters in Southern
        California, or the Northwest, or the South. It gives an unfair advantage to
        students based upon where they live. That is unfair. Furthermore, it isn’t “starving”
        a region of bids when that region (a) is already gluttonously engorging itself
        with bids (to extend the metaphor) and (b) the reason you are moving the bids
        around is to equalize opportunity for regions that are already starving.

        year the Northeast had by far the most at-larges, which barring nefarious
        political influence that I don’t think we have, would seem to indicate that in
        some years at least, there aren’t enough bids in the NE.”

        makes no sense. Having a massive slew of at-larges from a certain region is
        probably an indication that there are TOO MANY bids in that certain region,
        because it indicates that there are more students who, after going to a zillion
        bid tournaments, manage to squeak out one bid. There are probably more
        at-larges from the Northeast because there are more bids being earned in the
        Northeast, which means there are more at-large applicants from the Northeast.

        had a really strong showing at this year’s TOC, but doesn’t that indicate that
        there’s not really a problem here at one level; and it’s a really small sample
        size, a handful of kids, that makes for a “strong showing”.  not
        enough to put together a tournament.”   

        aren’t enough strong debaters in SoCal to put together a tournament? What? In
        good traffic (and the key here is good traffic), Harvard-Westlake, Brentwood,
        Loyola, and PV Peninsula are all within 40 minutes of one another. Southern
        California is one of the most competitive LD circuits in the country.

        are plenty of good judges here, too. This is a trend that will continue, as
        well, as more former debaters matriculate to schools like USC, UCLA, and the
        Claremont Colleges.

        “Personally I tend to think the
        bid pool overall is probably a bit thin.  I’d personally like to see a
        system when the threshold for getting a bid was just a touch lower, with a few
        more bids spread around, and to balance that off, no at-larges.”

        might be a good idea. I think before at-larges are eliminated altogether,
        however, there needs to be FAR more even distribution of bids then there is
        now, not just some simple tweaking of the current system.

        would prefer an NDCA style automatic qualification method; they just lay it out
        in stark terms”

        I think
        an NDCA-style system could solve some problems. Ironically, however, I think a
        system like this might actually give an unfair advantage to a state like
        California. As far as I know, NDCA points give preference to students who
        attend tournaments that have a large field, because the size of the field
        determines how many points you earn. California tournaments are pretty big.
        There are some non-bid tournaments in California, like Long Beach and La Costa
        Canyon, with fields of close to 150. Needless to say, tournaments like Berkeley
        and Stanford are massive.



      • John Scoggin

        1. Numbers (SoCal v NE)
        22 million in SoCal, look at the bid distribution, 2,2,2,4 vs 1,0,1,0. Even if you tripled the amount of bids in SoCal there would still be more in the NE. SoCal qualled 12 to the NE’s 18, indicating that a random SoCal debater was more likely to qual than a random NE debater, so a distribution of bids that properly accounted for strength of competition would give SoCal slightly more bids per capita than the NE, and given that its not even close (64 to 20 bids vs. 50m to 22m people) the numbers are clearly out of whack.

        I think this type of analysis is much more helpful than at-large stuff, because at-large decisions are subjective. Additionally when my argument is that the committee has gotten this wrong year after year, saying, “But the committee gave us more at-larges!” seems to be a fairly weak argument.

        2. Misc.
        a. Your point about more kids to qual solely from bid tournaments in the NE misses the two layers of analysis that I give (# of debaters and # of bids earned outside the region). Given that no debater who went deep at TOC just got 2 bids and stopped, it is informative to take a look at how they performed out of their region, and again the NE comes up short. If we take out WW which is in Maryland, 14 debaters from the NE got 15 bids outside their region, 12 debaters from SoCal got 37.
        b. Your point about a ‘strong showing’ vs. depth is again contradicted by the numbers. 12 vs.18 doesn’t justify a 3:1 advantage. SoCal has been on the rise for quite some time, making bigger and bigger dents in the national circuit with very few bid opportunities in our backyard.
        c. Your point about 1 year/small sample size. I don’t think I suggested we totally overhaul anything or make it so that SoCal has more bids than anywhere else. It seems to me the point of adjusting the bids every year is supposed to take into account the changes that occurred in the last year. The Northeast didn’t lose a single bid, SoCal did not gain a single bid, that doesn’t seem correct.
        d. Absent some type of evidence I am not convinced that the tournaments in the NE are run better than those out west — and I am not sure that this should be relevant. If your region has more tournaments than it deserves you get more practice running those tournaments, left unchecked this would make it so over time more and more bids would be concentrated in smaller and smaller areas. This strongly contradicts our goals of fairness and regional diversity.
        e. Judging – 1/9 judges in semis or beyond was from the NE even though 2/4 competitors were from the NE. 6/9 were west coast judges that judged at the only octos bid tournament in SoCal. And the 1 is a former WW debater, which requires a very generous definition of NE to include at all.

        3. Alternate Qualifications
        I don’t have a problem with other forms of qualification, I strongly agree with increasing bids and getting rid of the at large system. I don’t understand why introducing subjectivity in the qualification process is helpful, and it seems to just upset people for the most part.

        • Dave McGinnis

          Your copmarison is off. There are basically three kinds of tournaments in terms of access:
          1) Home town: I can attend this without renting a hotel room.
          2) Driving: This tournament is far enough away that I have to rent a hotel room rather than commuting, but I can reasonably drive to the event rather than fly.
          3) Flying: This tournament is far enough away that I have to fly.

          Given that, SoCal has slightly less home-town tournament access than New York City (and its surrounding region) and slightly more driving access than New York City. 

          The tournaments in question are closer together in the Northeast, but a New York school still has to rent hotel rooms at Yale because it’s not reasonable to drive two hours each way overnight. 

          This is probably exacerbated by the fact that driving in the northeast is more difficult than in other parts of the country. 

          Once a tournament crosses that threshold I’m not sure why it matters in terms of access that you have to drive 2 or 3 hours vs. 4 or 5 hours. In each case you have to have the rental vehicle and the hotel rooms. 

          I know when you look at the map it looks like the northeast is a locus of bid opportunities, but if you break it down, SoCal is actually roughly equal:

          • “The tournaments in question are closer together in the Northeast, but a New York school still has to rent hotel rooms at Yale because it’s not reasonable to drive two hours each way overnight.”  

            You conveniently cherry-pick Yale because it’s a tournament that’s just slightly out of “local” range for students in New York City. Curiously, you neglect the fact that a student who lives in New York City could pretty easily attend Columbia, Princeton, Newark, Ridge, Scarsdale, Hendrick Hudson, and Bronx Science without paying for a hotel. And, the only one of those tournaments where there would be a real risk of losing a bid round to someone from outside the region would be Bronx Science.  

            Apart from those local tournaments, that New York City debater could attend Harvard, Lexington, Yale, and Walt Whitman and have to pay for a hotel, but not have to fly. At those tournaments, the NYC debater would have to wade through tougher competition than at a NYC-area tournament, and would stand a greater chance of losing a bid-round to someone from outside the area, but they would still be viable options. Comparatively, a student who lives in Los Angeles could attend VBT and USC without paying for a hotel. That’s it. Any other tournaments, and you have to pay to stay overnight. One of those two tournaments (VBT) gives most of its bids to students from outside of SoCal, because its a really tough and competitive tournament (much like Bronx Science is). That basically leaves USC, a pretty tough semis-bid which this year was closed out by two debaters who both were in out-rounds of the TOC, as the only local bid tournament for the entirety of Southern California. Fight on, I guess?

            After that, the Los Angeles debater can pay for a hotel and attend, without air travel, Meadows, Golden Desert, Stanford, Berkeley, CPS, Presentation, and Brophy Prep. At almost all of these tournaments (save for Brophy Prep, which I don’t know anything about), this LA debater, much like the NY debater attending Harvard, Yale, Lexington etc., could expect to face tougher competition from other areas, but these tournaments would still be viable options for bids. But, this means that the number of tournaments that an LA debater can drive to, WITH hotel expense, is equal to the number of tournaments a NYC debater can drive to WITHOUT hotel expense (7 tournaments). And, it means that a lot of the tournaments available to the LA debater, that require hotel expense, are far more competitive than a lot of the local NYC tournaments, and are therefore much tougher bids. (I think it’s great that MPJ exists at Northeast tournaments. That doesn’t mean driving 6.5 hours to bid-hunt at Stanford is comparable to driving 40 minutes to bid-hunt at Ridge)

            Basically, NYC debaters have a decent number of regional bids available, and tons of local bids available. LA debaters also have a decent number of regional bids available, but very few local bids available. So, how can you argue with a straight face that Los Angeles is equal to New York in bid opportunities?

          • Sophie Ruff

            Just thought I’d point out that I’m pretty sure it’s false that NYC debaters can go to Princeton, Ridge, Newark, and Hen Hud without paying for a hotel (or getting housing, which virtually every student at those tournaments would be doing. This of course is not an unreasonable advantage that northeast debaters have, it’s just great that we have tournaments that provide housing.) Maybe I’m slightly off on Princeton/Ridge/Newark/Hen Hud since I didn’t debate out of NYC, but I’m 99% sure I always saw those kids in hotels or at housing at those tournaments, because it was unreasonable to drive back and forth >1 hour.

            Maybe a student from NYC could verify that.

          • I’m from LA, so maybe my threshold for driving through traffic is a little bit higher (it comes with the territory). According to Google Maps, Princeton, NJ, for example, is 1 hour and 11 minutes from NYC. That’s about the same amount of driving time as it took to get from VBT from my house back in high school, and we drove back and forth to that tournament, with no hotel. I’m not saying all NYC debaters will go to those tournaments without springing for a hotel, I’m just saying should be possible.

          • Dave McGinnis

            I don’t mean to cherry-pick data. Yale and Harvard are examples of my point that not all tournaments in the NE are in a single region with respect to accessibility. For planning purposes, tournaments in Connecticut or Boston are not “local tournaments” from the perspective of New Yorkers because they still have to make hotel arrangements. Treating the Northeast as a single region leads to inaccurate results for that reason. If I’d really wanted to drive the point home I’d’ve “cherry picked” Harvard, since it’s an octos bid. 

            I don’t argue that LA is equal to New York in bid opportunities. A math error aside, my observation — it’s really not an “argument” — is that SoCal and New York have “no-hotel” access to 20 and 28 bid opportunities, respectively. So clearly NY has more. My assertion that they were “roughly equal” takes into account the background data — that, for example, debaters in New Orleans have 4 in-town bid opportunities while debaters north of NYC, in Philadelphia, in Albany, In Kansas City, San Diego, Nashville, and Denver all have *no* in-town bid opportunities. From their perspective, a region with 20 in-town bids complaining about equity relative to a region with 28 in-town bids may seem odd. 

            You can also make a very fair point that the next tier of tournaments are much farther away for SoCal schools than for New York schools. I count Yale, HenHud and Harvard as “hotel” tournaments for New York because they are more than an hour away, but they are closer than 3 hours away, while the NorCal and southwest tournaments that Angelinos could drive to are more like 5-7 hours away. So while in both cases debaters would have to drive and get a hotel, in the case of LA debaters, they have to drive farther. 

            From a tournament planning perspective, that doesn’t change some things (hotels, vans, buses or other rental vehicles) but it does change some other things: longer drives are certainly less convenient. Depending on schedules, a school heading to a tournament that is 2-3 hours away has a much easier time driving after school than a school that has to travel 5-7 hours. The geographic concentration of bids in the NE definitely makes travel easier in that sense for New York and Boston teams. 

            But if we’re really concerned about bid distribution, it seems like we should be paying more attention to the south, with regions like Florida or Birmingham that have far, far fewer in-town and drivable bid opportunities.

            And no one is advocating on the part of Denver, a twelve hour drive from the nearest bid tournament.

          • John Scoggin

            Actually by your own ‘operational definitions’ VBT is not a local tournament for many students in LA. It took the PV kids three hours to drive to outrounds at Harvard Westlake. Luckily my student that was competing in elims lived close enough that it was under an hour drive, but for many of my students that live in southern LA it is not a local. That means for many LA students the real number is 4 not 20. And for those students that choose to go to Apple Valley that makes the number 0. You are really off base with your analysis of SoCal, from your math errors to the cherry picked data that doesn’t account for the fact that most of the bids in your arbitrarily selected time frame are in fact in NorCal which many schools feel like they have to fly to. (And I know of at least one school that the administration mandates flying for travel of that distance.)

            This means you listing ‘Los Angeles’ as having 20 bids within a 1 hour drive is inaccurate and you should make yet another correction to your flawed data set and misleading graphics.The one thing you say that makes sense is that Denver should have a bid tournament, given the success that Kent Denver has been having maybe that would be a good place to host a tournament? Just a thought.

          • Dave McGinnis

            Los Angeles region schools attending VBT in 2012:

            Aliso Niguel – 64 miles, 1 hour 12 minutes, 1 student

            Archer School for Girls – 3 miles, 8 minutes, 1 student

            Brentwood – 3.1 miles, 8 minutes, 9 students

            Chaminade College Prep – 21.4 miles, 34 minutes, 2 students

            Flintridge Sacred Heart – 27.9 miles, 40 minutes, 1 student

            Harvard Westlake Upper – 7.9 miles, 18 minutes, 10 students

            “Honor Academics” – 35.8 miles, 42 minutes, 4 students

            Immaculate Heart – 10.3 miles, 25 minutes, 3 students

            Loyola HS – 14 miles, 20 minutes, 3 students

            Marlboro – 8.2. miles, 23 minutes, 1 student

            PV Peninsula – 26.4 miles, 41 minutes, 3 students

            San Marino – 28.6 miles, 39 minutes, 5 students

            St. Margaret’s – San Juan Capistrano, 1 hour 17 minutes, 1 student

            Total “Los Angeles” region students attending VBT in 2012: 44

            Total students living within 1 hour drive time of UCLA: 42 (95.4%)

            My analysis identifies San Diego as a separate region because it’s more than 50 miles outside of Los Angeles. As the graphics indicate, there are far fewer “in town” opportunities for San Diegans. Those schools include Torrey Pines, La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad, La Jolla and Mira Loma.

            Traffic can certainly affect drive times and I have no trouble believing that a 39 minute drive from San Marino to UCLA could turn into a drive of over an hour depending on the time of day. My definition of regions doesn’t take into account traffic, which is certainly a fair criticism. Traffic is kind of hard to predict and quantify, so it’d be hard to put together a similar analysis with comparative traffic models. I imagine traffic in New York is also sometimes congested, so the failure of the analysis to take traffic into consideration probably doesn’t disadvantage Los Angeles debaters relative to New York debaters. 

          • John Scoggin

            Yea the ’40 minutes’ from PV took 3 hours. Even in 11:47AM traffic the drive is over an hour, out rounds started right around rush hour. Not accounting for traffic in LA is a mistake only an outsider would make. The reason you chose the definition of a local tournament is because over an hour commute is reason to get a hotel, the fact that you would then use distance to determine what an hour is rather than how long it actually takes to drive there is nonsensical and not consistent with the reason behind choosing your definition. 

            Additionally many of the schools you list are private, the students don’t live at the school. Almost none of my students live around Loyola so the distance between Loyola and UCLA is irrelevant. The out rounds on monday were at HW and your analysis also doesn’t account for that.

            The point about Apple Valley also is not addressed.

          • Dave McGinnis

            I get that traffic is an issue but unless it’s a uniquely Los Angeles issue I don’t think it affects anything. The purpose of operational definitions is to create stably defined concepts for the purposes of a given discussion. Part of critiquing any study is pointing out weaknesses in the operational definitions, and no operational definition can ever be perfect. If you can come up with a way to operationally define geographic distribution that **accounts for relative probability of traffic delays** then I applaud you and I look forward to reading that analysis. 

            Most schools will drive an hour to a tournament. If traffic is an issue, they will plan to do their best to avoid traffic. Your own example proves my point. The PV Peninsula kids got really unlucky with the traffic — but they don’t get a hotel for VBT. My analysis doesn’t account for tournament simultaneity, but I don’t think that’s a weakness. The TOC committee can’t control which tournaments run on which weekends. To the extent that we consider regional distribution, we consider geography, not date. To wit, we consider Alta to be a bid opportunity in SLC even if it runs against another tournament that schools might attend instead. Put another way, USC is a bid opportunity — if you elect not to take advantage of it because you are instead flying to MN, you can’t forward a claim that you didn’t have a chance to go. You chose not to.

    • As someone who debates in the northeast and hugely benefits from the diverse number of tournaments available i will defend the “bid saturation”. I think there is a consensus that a tournament being well-run and not exactly having the highest level of competition while still being satisfactory is enough to give it some bid status. With that said, the northeast absolutely deserves the amount of bids it has. The “traveling tab room” that the northeast has at nearly every tournament is always extremely well run by very dedicated people. Every tournament at the northeast also makes sure to provide free housing for participants, drastically cutting hotel costs for teams, and there are very few if any tournaments in the northeast that anyone seems to hate or find inefficient. If you can point me to a region with such consistency and amount of tournaments, then I would 100% support bids going elsewhere but no such place exists. As Fritz Pielstick pointed out, other regions just dont have the tournaments to give bids to, but the coaches in the northeast have been committed to helping debate grow in the region which is why tournaments like Scarsdale which was created relatively recently are able to get bids.

      Not only that, but due to the vast number of people who live and debate here, tournaments always have diverse showings of debaters and lack the regional dominance that exists by some bigger teams in other areas, even if there seem to be a bunch of bid tournaments here, most of them are finals bids which are very hard to get because very good competition still shows up, and two of our biggest tournaments Bronx and Harvard are barely “northeast tournaments” and a majority of those who attend do not live in the northeast.

    • Sophie Ruff

      Did you notice that Princeton got bumped from finals to semis and Columbia got bumped from semis to finals? I think that this alone responds to most of your post, since it seems to presuppose that we are adding bids to the northeast. Good redistribution in my opinion – the “traveling tab staff” that David does a great job of defending contributes to the tournament quality in the northeast. The Columbia tournament, to my knowledge, consistently refuses to cooperate with them (someone can correct me if I’m wrong about that, but last I heard this was the case), while Princeton welcomes them and hires judges etc. Long story short, David’s post is spot on: stop directly comparing competition among the tournaments, and instead realize that if a tournament has sufficient competition due to the diverse and large entries that are *always* present at northeast tournaments combined with housing offered to students, many hired judges, and an excellent tab-staff, they deserve the bids they have.

      But besides that, the first part of your post about saturation seems a little unsound. You grab the first set of numbers, which are not really hugely different for say, the northeast and Texas, and then show that the northeast has more bid tournaments, which is unfair given that the first set of numbers is similar. It seems obvious to me that the number of bid tournaments is probably contributing to the first set of numbers, and so I’m not really sure why your first point has any meaning – all of those factors affect each other, you can’t just say each one and try to show a meaningful relationship, especially with just one year as an example. That said, this is my own interpretation…all you provide for interpretation is that it “seems pretty clear”, but it’s not clear to me, so it’s totally possible that I just don’t understand what you are trying to say.

      Not to be repetitive from my last post, but you kind of force me to by referring to the “too many” bids in the northeast as “common knowledge” – maybe it’s common knowledge to you, but it’s not common knowledge to people in the northeast, just like SoCal’s “starving for bids” is not common knowledge for us. However, you don’t see me denying your claims for more SoCal bids, but you insist on saying the Northeast needs fewer. Not only have you not been to Princeton, but you don’t go to any northeast regionals. You cannot possibly know what the common knowledge consensus is if you only talk to people who have not experienced our tournaments in the last four years. Combine that with the fact that you refer to the “too many” northeast bids as common knowledge for as long as you can remember. It would be so much easier for me to accept what you are saying if I felt like you had at all updated your opinions in the last 5 years. I have personally witnessed the huge improvements in northeast tournaments. I’ve discussed with Menick the merits of MJP and seen him implement every feature that he has decided deserves a try without hesitation. The northeast now is not the one it has been for “as long as you can remember”, so I’d appreciate it if you stopped speaking of it as such.

      I agree with everything CP and David say, and although if I have time I’ll make a more thorough response later, one thing that bugged me in your response to CP is that you say we have more practice running tournaments because we have too many that we don’t deserve. Not actually true, since you guys could have as many tournaments as you want to get practice; you don’t need bids to practice running tournaments. The fact that we have so many tournaments speaks to the dedication of coaches in the region to running these tournaments, not tournaments that are “unfairly allocated”. The TOC committee doesn’t give regions tournaments, it gives them bids.

      My TLDR version: Stop attacking tournaments you never go to based on raw, unprocessed numbers. Bids were redistributed in the northeast, not added.

    • John, ignoring the question of whether or not the Northeast/SoCal deserve less or more bids, I think a major consideration is what tournament would take on those bids. As Sophie pointed out, part of the reason why the Northeast has more bids than other regions is because there are always people willing to tab/host bid tournaments who are very good at running tournaments. As you also previously noted, it is incredibly unclear what tournament in SoCal would be willing to take on the responsibility of hosting a bid tournament. Even last year, Harvard-Westlake ran a tournament and ended up giving up their bid (not 100% sure but I remember hearing that they just didn’t want to run the tournament anymore). From helping run the inaugural Beltway Invitational, I know that it takes a lot of work to get sponsors, a good field, good judges, etc. if you don’t want to lose money on a tournament. If a tournament that was willing to take on that burden were to apply for a bid, I have no doubt that the Advisory Committee would take into account your concerns about it being a bid-starved region. To the best of my knowledge about the committee’s procedure, however, I’m fairly sure that a tournament needs to apply for a higher bid status or any bid status at all. I imagine that USC probably didn’t apply for a higher bid status, so it might be worth it to voice your concerns to them. Otherwise, there needs to be another tournament that is willing to put in the work to be a worthy bid tournament, or the rest of your concerns are more or less impossible to resolve.

  • I do believe that the Crestian should be a quarters bid. I think that the level of competition was as hard as any other quarters bid right now. Jacob Pritt and Jim Huang are very good debaters who took the closout. Semi-finals had a quarterfinalist from the toc in Carlton Bone and another very good debater in Terrence Lonam. The competition is tough and it is only going to be harder due to the change in dates. Also, the hospitality and comfort zone that this tournament gives you is one of the best for all of the tournaments i went to this year.

    On another note, I am surprised no one has brought up yale as an alternative when they kicked out emory (I believe Emory should be octos anyway) Yale has been a strong tournament for a very long time. 7 of the 8 people who got a bid there qualled at the toc.(also Andrew Eckholm got a ghost bid) This tournament seems to be very solid.

    Additionally, I agree with Jeff that Emory should stay as an octas bid. The hospitality is going to improve next year and the level of competition was very good. 

    Finally, having one less octas bid seems counterproductive to me for young debaters like me to grow. I look forward to going to those types of tournaments because I know that I am going to face people that are very good. Making Emory a quarters bid will deter more people from going and making the competition worse.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, compared to Ohio Valley, NCFLs is an amazing tournament.

  • I am not one for nsdupdate tirades. I’m  not going to comment on any of these individual posts, though support is appreciated. If anyone is interested in a conversation about what just happened to Emory, email me at msigalow61 AT gmail DOT com or message me on facebook. Long story short: I’m working on it.

  • Anonymous

    This is kind of an aside from the argument about regional diversity, but I’m pretty surprised that Emory was demoted after one year of questionable hospitality despite its strong history of a difficult field.

    My senior year (’11), Emory’s field was incredibly difficult. I recall at the time thinking that the tournament might have been more rigorous than TOC because of how concentrated the field was. Here is my recollection of who was in octas at Emory in ’11 (the list is incomplete because VBD has made its archives inaccessible):

    Jeff Liu
    Larry Liu
    Josh Roberts
    Me (Steven Adler)
    Sophie Ruff
    Ben Sprung-Keyser
    Marshall Thompson
    Alex Zimmermann
    Hamilton Bloom
    Josh Feinzig
    Shawn Tuteja

    I can’t recall the other five debaters (maybe the University kids?), but all of those eleven were either in the run-off or deeper of TOC that year with the exception of Shawn, who opted not to attend. I think that such a strong field warrants at least a provisional period to try to improve the tournament before docking its bid level.

    I also think Martin’s presence there means they’re at least somewhat accountable to the LD community and are really dedicated to improving. This demotion seems very premature to me.

    • Alex Kramer

      Competitive field is definitely not the only determination of bid level, although it is an important one. My (brief) understanding regarding Emory is that the issues which caused it to be demoted were viewed as fairly systematic across committee members. Yes, a lot of people complained about it very vocally this year, which gives the appearance of a prematurely reactive demotion, but I get the feel that it had probably been “on the radar” for further scrutiny for a while.

    • Anonymous

      How can we be sure this “Me” you speak of his actually Steven Adler? I refuse to accept that without an IP address. 

      • Anonymous

        Probably because Steven Adler is a smart guy that tries to help the activity. This account constantly gives thoughtful commentary. Close enough at least.

  • As Ian has argued, the bid redistribution argument is just wrong; St. James has had its finals bid for years. Blue Key also lost its bid this year, so a total of four bids were taken from the South. Having at least one octos bid tournament here is crucial to students having the opportunity to compete at a big time tournament in the region. Anyone who has recently attended a finals bid in the South knows that they are not much more than local tournaments. Judging is mostly lay, the few good judges are usually not prioritized on outrounds panels, and national circuit competition is thin.

    Mischa argues that Emory will be motivated to improve. But when was the last time a tournament lost its octos bid and then regained that bid status later? 

    The quality and diversity of the field determines the quality of the tournament, and stripping a tournament of its bid significantly undermines the tournament’s ability to attract top debaters. Tournaments like Vestavia, Homewood, and Samford lost their bids and never recovered. Stanford is a more recent example: their tournament quality has not improved since losing their octos bid. The tournaments that will achieve octos bid status in the coming years will be up-and-coming tournaments with large fields like Blake, not traditional tournaments that the TOC committee views as relics.

    The double standard that has been applied here should be eye-opening as well. It’s almost as if the TOC committee got together and said “We have too many octos-bids, let’s demote one!”, and it just happened that Valley, St. Marks, and VBT all had advocates for their tournaments on the committee (Dave, AT, and Bietz)–so, Emory had to go. St. Mark’s retained its octos-bid status in 2011 despite running a tournament with a sub-80 field size, all Texan judging, and no prefs; this year, they improved. Emory should have been given another chance.

  • Anonymous

    where did presentation come from?

    • Anonymous

      also crestian as a quarters bid is insane, 3 out of 8 people who got a bid there never even got to a bid round at another tournament, and im pretty sure (could be wrong) no one who was eliminated in the bid round ever got a bid or another bid round

      • Anonymous

        Durham’s Raghav Bansal, who lost in the bid round at the Crestian, had a bid elsewhere, as well as at least one or two other bid rounds, but the general trend seems to be true.

        • Anonymous

          Mr. Adler is the trend you’re referring to the claim that many of the recipients of bids at the Crestian were not successful (in terms of reaching bid rounds that is) elsewhere?

      • Mathew Pregasen

        Crestian is now before Yale.  Before it conflicted with Lexington (so even being a Florida school we went to Lex over Crestian.  This year I think there will be a bigger attendance.  

      • Anonymous

        Your statistics are completely wrong and even if they weren’t your conclusion would still be wrong. 5 out of the 8 people who got a bid qualled to the toc. (Will from Ben Franklin, Pritt, Terrence Lonam, Jim Huang, and c-bone.) Robbie steirn lost in the bid round on a 2-1 (panel was Liu Liu *Wilson). He had a bid at a different tournament and lossed in 2 other bid rounds all on a 2-1. Also, Raghav Bansel from Durham Academy lossed in the bid round where he got a bid before.

        • Anonymous

           ??? Adler already correctly pointed out raghav and i was not aware of the other debater (Although, his bid was from blue key which just LOST* -not lossed- its bid). And what I said was that “3 out of 8 people who got a bid there never even got to a bid round at another tournament”, so I was right.

          At any rate, nearly half of the people who bid at a quarters bid not completing their bid is far too many. Perhaps it would be more respectable if the 3 who never completed their bids actually, ya know, did well at other tournaments and came close to bidding, but two of them never reached the bid round at another tournament, and one of them went to harvard IN JV. 

          You never pointed out how my conclusion was wrong, Emory was demoted to a quarters and everyone who bid at emory ended up going to the TOC, Crestian should be a finals bid at best.

          • Anonymous

            On your argument that 3 out of the 8 didnt get a bid somewhere else. Jeff greenberg barely travels on the circuit but still is a good debater. Alec basically had one good tournament this whole year and he shouldnt have even broke because he lied in his last round. And then Brandon has progressed this entire year and has a good chance of qualling next year.
                Your conclusion is wrong because 5 out of 8 still went to the toc which is good. (I dont see you rambling about alta which had the same 5 out of 8). Your thing about alec going to Harvard in JV. 1 thats his fault dont blame that on the bid list. 2. there were two judges in his octos round who had the same view which made it unfair.When you say final at best, thats honestly a joke. You’re saying terrence, carlton, and will mcgrew who had good success this year do not deserve bids!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!     smh

          • “Your conclusion is wrong because 5 out of 8 still went to the toc which is good. (I dont see you rambling about alta which had the same 5 out of 8)” 

            Actually 7/8 at Alta fully qualified. The 8th debater still reached the bid round at the 5 other tournaments he attended, and got an at-large. Those debaters earned a combined 30 bids. There were also several debaters at Alta who fully qualified to the TOC, and who didn’t even get a bid there, or even make it to the bid round. Alta had its shit together this year. 
            I don’t understand why it’s controversial to say that a quarters bid tournament where 3/8 bid earners didn’t qual should be a semis bid instead. Calm down.

          • Anonymous

            Sorry my statistics were wrong. I completly agree alta deserves where it is at. I also completely agree with you that crestian should stay a quarters.

          • Anonymous

             “Jeff greenberg barely travels on the circuit but still is a good
            debater. Alec basically had one good tournament this whole year and he
            shouldnt have even broke because he lied in his last round. And then
            Brandon has progressed this entire year and has a good chance of
            qualling next year”

            Honestly, I dont care. The TOC *supposedly* allocates bids based on how well those who bid at the tournament did elsewhere bid wise. If someone can supposedly lie in their last round, bid and choose to go to harvard in JV they dont really sound like they deserve of bidding. Whoever Brandon is, his progression doesnt mean crestian still deserves a bid, and just saying someone is a good debater doesnt mean crestian deserves a quarters bid. You are obviously a florida debater who probably did well at crestian and wants to defend it, but once again everyone in FL knows its crap.

            “When you say final at best, thats honestly a joke. You’re saying
            terrence, carlton, and will mcgrew who had good success this year do not
            deserve bids!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

            All of those debaters got more than 2 bids and crestian would have been irrelevant to them.

          • Anonymous

            As a teammate of Jeff Greenberg and also a South Florida debater, I agree that Crestian probably does not deserve to keep the quarters bid and was shocked to see it still listed as a quarters on the bid list. I don’t get to travel much either, so I favor having more bids close to home, but compared to Sunvitational, for example, Crestian was nowhere near as good. I dropped the bid round at Crestian to Carlton, and that was a difficult round that maybe could have taken place as the bid round at another tournament (sorry if that sounds like me giving myself too much credit; I tried to avoid it), but the majority of bid rounds this past year were either extreme mismatches or rounds between two debaters who probably wouldn’t have made it that far at another quarters bid tournament. 

            Now, regardless of that, I am beyond excited to see that Crestian retained its bid level and look forward to attending next year. I do not object to them keeping their bid status, but it’s surprising, to say the least. Crestian has always been one of my favorite tournaments and probably will be again next year.

          • Anonymous

            They still went which means it is a good tournament. I also dont think alec deserved the bid because he probs lost in octos. When you say i did well at crestian, you are right! I think this is irrelevant anyway because 5 out of 8 is still good.

          • “All of those debaters got more than 2 bids and crestian would have been irrelevant to them.”
            I actually only received two bids (here and Emory) so I would have been extremely disappointed if the Crestian didn’t have the bid. I had 5 bid rounds and it was mistakenly posted that I had the sunvite bid earlier tho. I would also like to defend the Crestian as one of the hardest working tournaments in the Southeast with great judging comparable to any other quarters bid and a staff that provides enough hospitality to the tournament that it takes a loss at the tournament every year

          • Mathew Pregasen

            Though Terrence, although I too believe Crestian should be Quarters because of the move to an earlier tourney, you still did get to Semis. 

          • That literally has nothing to do with this. I would have gotten the bid if it was a semis-bid but considering the field, that would have been unreasonable imo

          • Anonymous

            Hey I am not one to argue with people on the update but here are my two cents. 

            Mr. Lewis’ dedication to the Crestian Classic has not been given enough weight. The quality of judges at that tournament are on par with Quarters tournaments around the country, indeed with a final panel of Matt Wilson, Alex Zhang, Wade Houston, Avi Jayaraman, and Michael Hassin when Fried won the tournament in 2011, in my opinion indicates that the judging is anything but subpar. 

            Now the other thing people are griping about are the quality of the out-round competitors, again though this year didn’t really have a litany of TOC qualled debaters, we shouldn’t be too quick to assume this is the norm. As a matter of fact in 2011, quarters included: 
            Robbie Steirn – 1 bid
            Bryan Wilder – 4 bids
            Martin Sigalow – 4 bids
            Josh Feinzig – 4 bids
            Michael Fried – 6 bids (?)
            Randy Ahluwalia – 1 bid
            Josh Tupler – 6 bids (?)
            Carlton Bone – 1 bid

            This totals up too, 28 bids and 6 out of 8 qualling, even more bid rounds that I can’t document, and this doesn’t take into account the fact that between these debaters numerous tournaments were won, Apple Valley, Dowling, Sunvitational, Harvard + Harvard RR, and more. Finally, in that mix we have a TOC Semi-finalist, Quarterfinalist, and the 32nd seed, which I don’t think many other quarters bid tournaments can match.

            Whats more Jim Huang and Christian Morris were in octos, who had qualled with multiple bids (3 I believe) and the latter with a bid and multiple bid rounds under their belt. In addition Robbie and I reached a few other bid rounds and experienced “some” success on the circuit. To say that Crestian has not cleared many debaters to the TOC is only really true of this year, so if we are going to count ONE bad year as a reason to demote the tournament so be it, but I think the consensus, particularly with Emory is that it doesn’t.

            It seems like we’re also not accounting for all the amenities Crestian has to offer, free breakfast, lunch, and dinner by top notch chefs, a beautiful campus located in Florida during the winter (great weather), an efficient tab run by Mr. Schappaugh who’s own tournament is evidence enough of his skill in doing so, a solid MJP system that I think many of those who attended can attest too, a new Round Robin – the champions of which all qualled to TOC, and more things. 

            Y’all aren’t taking bid allocation in context, the committee considers tournament history and y’all seem to be caught up in this one year.

          • Go Carlton.

          • Mathew Pregasen

            I think the conclusion should just be: the tournament had a bad year but now it is moved which might prevent that.  Regardless lets just watch and see what happens.  

          • It’s probably not going to help, but I’ll try and defend myself. I have no clue what you are referring to when I supposedly “lied” in my round. I do agree that Robbie should have won that round, but I did not lie. Also, it was not my fault I attended JV at Harvard. My coach put me in JV, and I did not know until it was too late to switch to Varsity.

      • I will not anonymously defend the Crestian.  All of you people complaining about the Crestian are probably just upset because you weren’t good enough to get one of the eight bids there.  I’m not going to go through and defend each person that did or didn’t win in the bid round.  The quality of the field at the tournament is only going to improve next year since the tournament is moving its weekend to no longer conflict with Lexington.  It would be ridiculous to take away the bid this year when the tournament has taken a great step to improve the quality of the field.

        Besides the quality of the field issue, the Crestian is one of the best tournaments I attended this year in terms of hospitality, judging, and location.  Mr. Lewis does a great job running that tournament; it’s always on time and the judging is phenomenal.  Almost all of my judges would have been ones on a pref sheet at any tournament, including TOC.  I also went without a coach and the tab staff, students, and tournament director were all very accommodating.  

        Stop trying to take bids from the South.  The Crestian is a great tournament.

        • Guest

          I agree 100 percent with this post

      • Crestian should definitely stay a quarters bid. It has better judging then both the other two quarters bid tournaments I went to this year and moving it to a date with no other big tournament guarantees the field will be way better, even though I think that the field was already pretty damn good.

      • Even though I am one of those 3 people, I have to agree. Prelims and double octos was mostly just pref-to-win, and octos was mostly by luck. 

        Its a nicely run tournament, but I think its more of a semis bid.

    • I may be wrong on this, but I believe the Presentation tournament is just the Harker tournament, moved to another location (sort of like when they moved VBT from the Archer school to UCLA).

      • Anonymous

        ah okay. they still put (archer) after vbt so i would have thought they added (harker) after presentation too

  • Because I like to complain about things:

    Why the hell are there only two TOC-bid tournaments in Southern California? There are tons of really good debaters here, but not many bid tournaments. Northern California has a much smaller population than Southern California, but it has an octas bid, a quarters bid, and two semis bids. For students in LA and San Diego, there is a fairly tough semis bid (USC) and an octas bid (VBT). That’s it. After that, the closest bid tournaments are either in the Bay Area or Las Vegas, which means you either have to buy plane tickets or drive a pretty long distance to attend them. You also have to pay for a hotel. That makes attending TOC-bid tournaments really difficult for resource-poor teams in Southern California. Going to Berkeley, for example, isn’t that much cheaper for a student who lives in San Diego than it is for a student who lives in Seattle. I really wish the TOC committee would stop loading most of the TOC bids in Northern California. People from elsewhere in the country don’t realize how big California is, and how much that disadvantages debaters from Southern California.

    • just want to say amen to this. i lived in SD and going to berkeley/stanford/harker would end up costing 400-500 dollars (including tickets, fees, food, and hotels). or it would take an 8 hour car ride…

    • John Scoggin

      I agree with this in spirit, but the practical implications I think are a bit difficult. I don’t know that we could perform better, (2/4 semifinalists at Glenbrooks, 2/4 semifinalists at TOC, someone could count the bids but I’m quite certain it is in excess of 40) at the same time where would you put the bids? Give a bid to the Jack Howe again… that tournament is so horribly mismanaged that it hardly deserves it. I will be pushing for USC to be bumped to a quarters bid next year, but I think bumping it up this year probably was a bit premature.

      I think LA is starving for a new bid tournament, it is unclear who would be willing to host it though.

      • Yeah, I’m not sure which tournament you’d give the bid to. 2-4 years back when Bietz and Dan were running tab at the La Costa Canyon tournament, and there were multiple TOC-level debaters in deep outrounds of the tournament, it seemed like there was a decent case to give it a finals bid. That tournament was pretty weak this past year, though (probably because almost everyone good from SoCal either stayed home or went to Alta). But honestly, I think LCC is the best candidate for a finals bid. It has a bid in everything else (including policy) and in the past has been arguably the most competitive non-bidded tournament in California. 

        I’m not sure what would happen if USC were bumped up to a quarters bid, because Apple Valley is that weekend. On one hand, maybe upgrading it would help draw more competition from Northern California and elsewhere in the West. On the other hand, people might just go Apple Valley anyway, and it would be a really weak quarters bid. 

        If someone could just kick out the entire tab staff at Long Beach, hire some judges, and rework the schedule, it might be deserving of a finals bid. That’s kind of a pipe dream, though. 

        It seems really strange to me, though, that a region with a population of over 20 million, that has cleared multiple debaters to out-rounds of TOC each of the past few years, would only have two bid tournaments.

  • I’m disappointed that Emory was demoted to a quarters bid. The strength of the Emory field seemed comparable to most of the other octos bids–arguably stronger than Valley and St. Mark’s. There aren’t very many bids in the South, and for many debaters in the South Emory is one of their only chances to bid all year if their school doesn’t travel much. Even I only attended four bid tournaments my senior year, and Emory was a tournament I looked forward to every year.  I understand that the judging and hospitality were quite subpar this year, but what was the rationale for taking bids away from a bid-hungry region, when other octas-bids like VBT or St. Marks (which, admittedly, improved a lot this year) also received complaints about judging and hospitality?

    • It might have been a result of the size of the field this past year. I wasn’t there, but wasn’t the field at Emory like 94 debaters or something? 

      • nothing to do with that: we had to artificially limit the number of entries to the tournament to keep the population low enough to stay legit.

        other concerns/grievances that hopefully i can try and fix.

        this saddens me greatly

        • Anonymous

          having 94 debaters in the pool would only make it harder because the chances of facing a good kid increases.    also 15-16 debaters who got a bid at emory qualled to the toc. The other one got an at large. Thats still impressive. #givesiggyhisbidsback.

          • ehh
            1) lots of schools do not fly to tournaments ever for cost concerns, so don’t forget driving
            2) Emory is a long tournament meaning that you end up paying more just because you have to be there longer
            3) that’s amplified by the fact that lodging near the Emory campus usually tends to be a bit pricier than your average hotel

            I’m not assuming that southerners should just be happy with what they’ve got. I am saying that many southerners should be hopeful about the fact there are other cheaper bid tournaments near them that are relatively inexpensive and where they can at least sort of hope to not debate against whitman, apple valley, mountain view, etc. It seems historically true that more often than not smaller bid tournaments are more likely to end up with debaters from the same region as the tournament keeping the bids.

            Also not assuming that the south doesn’t deserve more bids. There are plenty of other bid-rich regions that I would like to see giving up some bids to the dirty dirty. On the other hand, Ian, it seems like a lot of the tournaments on that 10 years ago list have had a handful of things happen that made bid levels seem beyond what they ought to be (anyone else remember when you could win Vestavia with a 3-3 prelim record? Because that happened. Wasn’t there something similar at Wake Forest in recent history?) as much as I might be pleased to see other tournaments lose bids in favor of southern tournaments, it seems hard to call this a systematic attempt to choke off the south when at least this year there is *no* net decrease in bids to the south this year.

            Maybe Ari can help me out here — St James is just now getting it’s bid back right? Wasn’t it without a bid for some time? Not trying to undercut Crawford or Ian’s old school knawledgez of SJ but if I remember correctly it lost its bid a few years ago, and *before* that it had its bid for an extended time.

          • Anonymous

             st james had a bid last year, Jacob Nails won with Will McGrew as runner up

          • No, that’s just wrong.  St. James has had its bid since at least 2003-2004.  It has never lost it.  It has always been a Finals bid.

            Why should I be hopeful that there are tournaments out there in the South where my students don’t have to debate Whitman, Apple Valley, and/or Harvard-Westlake?  

            That idea starts to cause a couple of issues 1) now Southern bids aren’t of the quality of above the Mason-Dixon line bids because the competition was weak 2) some assumption that Southern debaters cannot hack it with these other programs 3) maybe I like when my students see different styles at more regional tournaments.Now Ian’s 12-Year study does fail to take into account specific things that happened at those tournaments to merit the downgrade.Isidore Newman went from Semis to Finals because of a combination of post-Hurricane Katrina numbers, inconsistent coaching and oversight.  I’m sure one of the only reason that it kept its bid during that period is because Greg Malis stayed involved even though he was at GBN because of his love for Newman.Vestavia started to decrease in size as a tournament.  The downgrade preceded the reduced size though.  The tournament at its largest was in 2003 when it had 6 prelim rounds (for the first time ever).  That was much to the hard work of Cyndy Woodhouse, Marilee Dukes and Ben Osborne.  Dukes retired & Woodhouse returned to Iowa.  By then it was already at Semis and in the past 7 years it was taken to a Finals bid.  Homewood’s tournament slowly decreased in size with the lack of involvement from regional programs and inconsistency in the Head Coach position.I’m ecstatic that Newman has been awarded a Semis bid after their tournament this year.  Greg Malis and Alma Nicholson have worked tirelessly to return that program and tournament to its former glory.  I don’t think you could find two people who cared more about preserving debate in Louisiana, and in turn the South, with the same passion and care that they have.
            The simple fact is that the bids in the South aren’t being off-set.  

            Emory’s bids were taken away because of hospitality and the whole lag-pairing issues.  They were given no chance correct an experiment that wasn’t received well.  However, as it was pointed out, almost all of the students who received bids qualified and debated in the TOC.  5 of the students with bids from Emory in the 2012 year debated in outrounds at TOC.

            Policy and Public Forum at Emory retained an Octas bid even though they suffered from the same pairing issues and the same hospitality issues.  (Although, PF was arguably better since it was off-campus).  One would hope that there would have to be a significant problem in the LD portion of Emory that didn’t occur in the other two debate events to merit LD specifically getting downgraded.

            The thought that Emory was “punished” because of something as trivial as hospitality or access to food is mind-boggling.  There are a number of very hospitalble tournaments that have great access to food, transparency in the tab room, decent draw from surrounding states, that remain off that list or at the smaller qualifier levels. 

            The simple truth is as bid levels decrease in the South (which they have drastically have in the past 12 years), tournaments will get smaller (Vestavia), eventually stop happening (Homewood), and the programs around them will grow smaller and smaller if they cannot find the money to travel outside the South or to the other side of the South to attend the tournaments that arguable give you national prominence when you succeed.  It’s been happening for years, and it will continue.  We will see new schools come into the area and compete and grow, but I don’t think it will ever be what it use to be.  But I guess I should just be hopeful that we can preserve our little world since those big schools like Bronx and Whitman won’t be down here in our cane fields looking for bids.

    • The Committee offset the eight lost bid opportunities from Emory by awarding four new bids to Sunvitational (now quarters), two new bids to Isidore Newman (now semis), and granting Saint James a finals bid. Hopefully, this change will increase the South and Southeast’s representation at TOC by spreading opportunities across the region.

      • sensible move in my opinion. spreading bids across the south seems like a good way to maintain opportunities for toc appearance while putting some pressure on emory to improve.

        also moving around bids seems like a good way to keep bids at tournaments in the south open to southerners. teams from all over the country come to emory, and it’s usually a more expensive venture for many teams than many other destinations in the south. a lot of emory’s entries are reserved for key schools whereas other tournaments have a much more open entry process. why go for 16 bids in georgia when you can have 8 in georgia and add 4 to florida and 2 to alabama and louisiana?

        never put much time into thoroughly analyzing bid distribution, but assuming that representation is a primary concern, seems pretty smart to me. plus emory ain’t dead; a quarters bid is, I think, is still a pretty respectable tournament in most people’s books.

      • St. James has had a finals bid for 5-plus years now; or put another way, since Mrs. Coody was still at St. James.

      • Anonymous

        St. James has had a finals bid for years.  I second Jeff’s disappointment.  It’s disheartening to see the committee to continue to diminish the South as a debate region.  

        12 years ago this was the bid situation in the South:Octafinals bid tournaments: Emory, Wake Forest
        Quarterfinals bid tournaments: Newman, Homewood, Vestavia, Crestian
        Semifinals bid tournaments: Samford, Jesuit
        Finals bid tournaments: Blue Key, North Miami Beach, Andrews
        Total bid count: 78 Now: Quarterfinals bid tournaments: Crestian, Emory, SunvitationalSemifinals bid tournaments: Newman
        Finals bid tournaments: Myers Park, Saint James, Vestavia, Wake ForestTotal bid count: 36In just over 10 years the South has lost more than half of its bids.  The committee is not “spreading” bids around the South.  It’s systematically taking them away.  I am delighted that Isidore Newman has been bumped back up to a semifinals bid – what Alma and Greg have done for that tournament and program is phenomenal and the bid is well deserved.  However, I fail to see why bids must be taken from one tournament in the South to be given to other tournaments in the South.  This mindset has seemed to me to be prevalent for years in the committee and seems to be an implicit assumption underlying other commenters’ views as well: 1) that Southern debaters should be satisfied that Southern bids weren’t decreased overall (even though they were decreased with 8 bids taken from Emory and only 6 total given to Sunvitational and Newman); and 2) that Southern tournaments should not receive additional bids unless they can be taken from other Southern tournaments
        Finally, it’s not easier to get to Louisiana or Florida when Atlanta typically has much cheaper flights than either New Orleans or Orlando since it handles more flights than any other airport in the U.S.

    • John Scoggin

      I have been to emory twice, and each time I thought it was the worst octos bid tournament I had been to of the year. The joke final panel, very little quality judging, and a very limited national draw are all unacceptable for an octos bid tournament. St. Marks has certainly declined in quality, but I still think is superior to Emory.

      However, while Emory certainly needs to improve, it makes even less sense to me that its bids would be redistributed to the east coast. In what world is Princeton a similar tournament to USC or Harker?

      • Anonymous

        Princeton gained a semis bid when Columbia lost its semis bid FYI.

        • John Scoggin

          The final round at Harker was a preview of the semis of TOC. The final round of USC was closed out by two incredibly successful debaters from PV. 5 People attending TOC in the field does not a semis bid make. Can you really honestly claim that Princeton is of similar quality to those two tournaments?

          • I remember a couple years back at the Harker tournament (back when it was still in March), the four bids went to students who had a combined 34 bids. CA tournaments are filthy. 

          • Anonymous

            A few good debaters locking up a tournament doesn’t make it good. If you say that people attending toc in the field is irrelevant, then why is the rest of your comment relevant? Colleyville Heritage was a match-up of an outround of the TOC, but it doesnt deserve a much higher bid status or acclaim because of it. Two debaters with a ton of bids and success won crestian but I pointed out elsewhere in the thread how it definitely does not deserve its bids. Princeton doesn’t have to match up to the best semis bids around, compared to Ohio Valley it is an amazing tournament.

          • Sophie Ruff

            I mean, not even to defend Princeton specifically, but everyone thinks the tournaments in their own region are hard. You don’t go to northeast regional tournaments like Princeton, so how can you say it’s so bad? If you think the northeast regional tournaments “don’t deserve” the bids that they get, you clearly don’t know what huge improvements have been happening. I was hired, with my transportation paid for, and housed, by the Princeton tournament, and they did the same for multiple other judges. Virtually every tournament in the northeast has MJP and open tab, due to the incredible devotion of multiple coaches in the region, like Jim Menick, Jon Cruz, and Joe Vaughan. I just wish you wouldn’t completely dismiss a tournament that I personally know you haven’t been to for the last four years at least.

          • John Scoggin

            I responded in a new comment so that we don’t run into the small width issue.

      • Anonymous

        The bids given to princeton are NOT being redistributed from emory. The bids given to princeton are the two bids left over from columbias having been relegated to a finals bid. Ari said earlier that the bids from emory were distributed to other southern tournaments.

        There are no new bids being granted in the northeast, they are just being spread around.

        • John Scoggin

          Who cares, can anyone honestly defend that a tournament like Princeton is similar in quality to the semis bids out west like Harker (Presentation) USC or CPS?

      • Anonymous

        1 the joke final panel is not an issue because the two debaters already have their bids. (i know they want to win but thats not an issue for this discussion).
        2 The quality of judging was very good their bringing in a lot of people (maybe u didnt like your prefs)
        3 Very limited national draw?!?!?! Look at my older post…
        emorys quality of debaters was superior than st marks.

        It makes sense to put the bids to the east coast because Emory is on the east coast. If not, the south would lose more bids. Note that columbia dropped so the princeton thing doesnt matter.

  • Erik Baker

    Someone else confirm this, but I think Blake remains the only quarters tournament to break to triples. I don’t understand why you ought to have to win three outrounds against a field the quality of Blake’s to get a bid. And no, I’m not just salty that I lost in octas this year.

    edited for awkward wording

    • Anonymous

      Yale had partial-triples this past year, which was an improvement from the year prior in which it held a do-or-die single-judge round to wield down the field–even for the undefeated debaters.

      I agree, though, that Blake is a very solid tournament and would be deserving of an octas-bid. Yale’s partials was also much smaller than Blake’s.

      • Anonymous

        Deleted by User

    • Just because I am procrastinating on an essay:

      Blake had 173 debaters, 27 triples rounds.
      Yale had 138 debaters, 14 triples rounds
      Stanford had 176 debaters, 11 triples rounds.