Monthly Archives: March 2011

Help Us Compile The History of the Woodward 1st and 2nd Year National Championships

The 1st and 2nd Year National National Championships in Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate will be hosted this coming weekend by Woodward Academy in College Park, GA. In an attempt to preserve the institutional memory of the tournament, we have been efforting to create a comprehensive history of the event beginning with a list of each year’s champions, runners-up, and top speakers. If anyone can help us fill in the gaps, please let me know. Results packets from the missing years would also be greatly appreciated; if coaches could take a few minutes to dig through their archives, I would love to be able to complete our archive.

Fisher and Spies Make History at National Debate Tournament

Early this morning Matt Fisher and Stephanie Spies made history by becoming the first duo ever to win both the Tournament of Champions and the National Debate Tournament. Matt and Stephanie won the TOC in 2007 while at Glenbrook North High School and the NDT in 2011 while at Northwestern University. They also became just the sixth and seventh individuals ever to win both tournaments.

If that wasn’t enough, they also became the first duo ever to win both the National Forensic League National Tournament and the National Debate Tournament. Matt and Stephanie won NFL Nationals in 2007 and became just the fifth and sixth individuals ever to win both tournaments.

Most impressively, Matt and Stephanie became just the third and fourth individuals in debate history to win all three national championships — NFL Nationals, the TOC, and the NDT.

Who are the other two? Who has come closest? The answers are below the fold.

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Fiori on Performative Contradictions

In an article on the UTNIF blog, Nick Fiori—Assistant Director of Debate at Damien High School—highlights the frequency with which contradictions are made between a critique and the rest of the arguments presented in a first negative constructive speech. Negatives often present a security critique, for example, while simultaneously presenting disadvantages premised upon security logic.

[C]ertainly there exists a pre-disposition against performative contradictions in debate; only by mistake do negatives read a hegemony good disad and a hegemony bad disad in the same 1NC. But this type of contradiction is less problematic because any reasonably experienced 2AC could exploit the contradiction to their advantage by conceding some arguments and turning others. But with advocacies, by this I mean arguments that would produce a change over the status quo (counterplans, alternatives), it’s more tricky, and when those advocacies exists on conceptually different levels like a counterplan and Kritik, the contradiction seems to take on actual and not just debate practice problems. If it is true, as the negative’s had argued, that it wasn’t the effects of the plan that were the problem, but the rhetoric of the 1AC, then why is it that the negative is allowed to make such utterances but the affirmative cannot? I speak only from my personal experience, but it seems to me that there is a general default among debate judges that this position is perfectly defensible. Why is it so incredibly rare for the aff to be able to win on the argument that the negative links to their own Kritik when, on face, it seems largely unfair?

Head over the UTNIF blog to read the entire piece.

The Run For The Roses: Breaking Down The Tournament of Champions, 1996-2010

This May will mark the 40th running of the Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky. Founded in 1972, the TOC has long been considered America’s foremost debate competition. Ever wonder which schools have had the most success at the TOC? Curious as to which state has advanced the most teams to elimination rounds? Want to know which schools have put together the longest streaks of elimination round appearances?

While results dating back to the founding of the tournament remain elusive, I have recently been able to compile the elimination round results from the last fifteen runs for the roses. Below the fold is a comprehensive breakdown of the results from 1996 through 2010. Two notes before digging in:

  1. For the purposes of this review, the run-off round counts as an appearance in the elimination rounds. A win in the run-off round, however, does not count as an elimination round win.

  2. Preliminary round packets are not yet available for each of the years included in this review. When they do become available, it will be possible to include preliminary round results and elimination round seedings in a future study.

Without further ado, what follows is everything you ever wanted to know about the last fifteen TOCs (but were probably embarrassed to ask).

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Debating Politics Impacts- Focus on Evidence/Bias

There are many reasons politics is a popular disad on every topic, one of them is that it is generally a quick way to get to nuke war. No matter what the issue is, if its on the presidents agenda its a safe bet there will be people making hyperbolic statements about it. While most disads/advantages are always exaggerations, the impact evidence selected to read for politics is generally some of the worst.

That the evidence is bad, and more specifically that it is often biased, is an issue frequently brought up, less frequently focused on, and even less frequently a round winning issue. It should be.

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UTNIF Blog: Revisiting the Rowland-Ulrich Debate

Sean Tiffee—a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Language Studies and an Assistant Debate Coach at the University of Texas—has written an interesting post on the UTNIF blog about the role of argumentation in debate.

I made the decision to make my blog post about argumentation for two seemingly contradictory reasons. First, debate evolves at a pace that is simply staggering. The ninth grade debaters of today will be the ones shaping our activity in under a decade. As we all know, debate is a time intensive and life encompassing activity. While there are certainly coaches who have committed their lives to the activity, more and more seem to hit their early to mid 30s and decide they don’t want to lose every weekend for a minimal stipend, which leaves the activity in the hands of 20-somethings. A large-scale commitment of high school debaters to focus on argumentation today means that high school and college debate looks a whole lot different in less than 10 years. Second, as fast as our activity can change, we attempt to innovate among calcified thought. Some of these debates have already been had, they say, and there’s no point in going over them again. I disagree. While some of these debates have been had, it can be a good idea to revisit them with fresh eyes and the benefit of hindsight. In particular, I’d like to revisit a portion of a debate that took place in the Fall 1984 edition of The Journal of the American Forensic Association between Robert Rowland and Walter Ulrich. I know this is old school, but hear me out. Further, in the interest of full disclosure, I intend to cherry pick from these articles in an effort to initiate discussion and encourage you to seek out and read these relatively short articles yourself.

While I do not have the JAFA Rowland and Ulrich articles in my collection, I can share a few related articles that might be of interest to readers:

If anyone has access to the fall 1984 issue of JAFA, please let me know.

Help Your Favorite Team Win The (Fundraising) NDT

The 65th National Debate Tournament will be held on March 25-28 at the University of Texas-Dallas. As part of the festivities, Debate Central and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance have organized a Fundraising NDT that allows interested parties to support their favorite teams by donating money to support urban debate in Dallas:

Donate money in the name of the NDT entry of your choice. The School who has the most donations in support of spreading debate in Dallas will receive recognition by both Debate Central and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance.

Check the website often to see your school’s standings, donate more, and for NDT record updates throughout the NDT.

Monday evening, we will also have a fundraising event including discounted drinks and snacks. Join us at the NDT hotel.

Those interested in donating can visit the website for more information. The current leaders are Northwestern, Dartmouth, and Northern Iowa.

Fun With Numbers: More Statistical Breakdowns of This Year's Season

The final qualifying tournaments for the 2011 Tournament of Champions were held this past weekend. With the postseason now beginning, we can look back at the regular season and assess the performances of some of the country’s best teams. Who earned the most bids to the TOC? Who earned the best bids to the TOC? Who won the most preliminary rounds at octafinals-level qualifying tournaments? Who had the best winning percentage on the affirmative and negative? The answers are below the fold.

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