At least for me trying to take a position on this is hard because after reading all of this I still don’t really know what is going on (mainly because there is no agreement as to what exactly happened). But I will say a few things.
1. In theory, selling the topic seems like an ok idea to me. 150k? That is a lot of cash that could probably do some good. The obvious questions are who decides where the money goes etc. It should be fairly obvious that I should get to decide where any topic sale revenues are spent, but odds are likely that due to “politics” the NFL would get to decide. I have long thought the NFL spent a bit too much money on promotional elements and not enough reinvesting into debate, and I worry a similar thing would occur with their new cash cow.
2. The topic process as it works now in both HS and college debate is I think pretty dumb. They say a camel is a horse made by committee, and these topics clearly reflect that. I think there should be some sort of like Enders game system where we just pick a really smart debate person and have them craft the topic for a year all by themselves so there doesn’t have to be any compromising or dumbing down. Then next year pick a new person. So the idea that letting outsiders “buy” the topic somehow destroys our awesome topic process doesn’t really hold a lot of weight with me. Democracy doesn’t work people.
3. I don’t want to get into a whole policy vs public forum thing here, but it does seem to me that the very purpose of public forum is to engage the public at large in a way that policy can’t (and shouldn’t). And getting the NFL corporate sponsorship seems like a big part of why pofo came about, giving debate a more marketable face.