Category Archives: Tournaments

National Circuit High School Policy Debate Participation is Cratering

Since the beginning of the season, it has been obvious to me that participation in high school policy debate has declined. Anecdotally, tournament fields have been noticeably smaller and fewer schools have been actively competing. I’ve been concerned about this for months, but I thought maybe it was mostly an issue with the tournaments I’ve been (virtually) attending. While some tournaments might be smaller, I hoped that others might have grown and offset the difference. Has overall participation really declined? And if so, by how much?

I decided to find out. Based on my research, the answers are “yes” and “by a lot.” Participation in policy debate has declined significantly from 2020 to 2021. And it has declined even more significantly from 2019 to 2021.

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Breaking Prelim Side Constraints at the Heart of Texas

The Heart of Texas tournament at St. Marks is considering implementing my break side constraint idea so that undefeated teams going into the last prelim would be forced to debate each other instead of getting a pull up. TM wanted to get a feel of if anyone was extremely opposed to this, so if you see a problem/have a complaint please post in the comments.
For those unfamiliar with this Einstein level idea I had in the last podcast, basically if two teams were 5-0 going into round 5 but were both due neg, instead of both getting pull ups they would debate each other. Mahoney has added that the debate would be flip for sides- so the teams would have to balance their desire for an immediate win to be highest seed with planning for the elims (can’t be neg twice).
Edit- ok apparently some people out there aren’t listening to the podcast (I know, LOSERS), so here is a short explanation of my reasoning here:
1. Encourages rivalry/head to heads between the top teams
2. Undefeated teams are going to clear anyway so it doesn’t matter to mess with them to increase competition
3. Being pulled up sucks- a down 1 team who is pulled up and loses could face a very real chance of not clearing at a major, it doesn’t make sense to make them debate their break round vs the best team at the tournament and then when they lose let a worse team clear because they got a better round 6 draw.

NDCA Ethics Statement

So recently an ethics statement produced by the NDCA failed to get passed by a pretty large margin. It seems fairly obvious that counting people not voting as a no vote was the cause here (despite arguments made to the contrary…) so I think either people just didn’t know about it or didn’t care enough to vote. Below I have gone through some of the provisions and given thoughts and then suggested some ways the statement could be improved.

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