Ok... one more post and I WILL get off my ass...
The debate tournament I help run has just passed a measure that would make it possible for worthy but challenged debaters to tell their story and be eligible to compete in our naitonal tournament. This is a measure that will only impact a limited number of teams -- but it is an important measure.
Why this is really cool -- Think about that really smart student who has a terrible event happen during your semester with them... say, a parent dies, they get really sick or something equally tragic. Now, imagine that student is also a good debater whose goal is to compete at the most challenging naitonal tournament. Their tragic event would prevent them from competing because competition requires travel and preparation... and they have no time for that during the tragedy.
Our measure would allow that student an their partner to make a special application, tell their story and explain their short competitive season and possibly be able to compete.
Our measure would also assist teams who don't have enough tournaments to qualify due to economic/geograpical restrictions. Since most of debate costs are in travel, enough money can solve geographic issues... This provision would allow teams with these sorts of challenges to possibly qualify. If they do great at the small number of local tournaments they can get to, but can't afford the transportation and hotel costs other teams can... they can tell their story and possibly compete.
I'm quite proud of us for passing this... the basic problem with college debate is that the well-funded teams can afford to be competitive because they attend so many more tournaments. Non-well funded teams in concentrated areas can go to tournaments without paying hotel bills etc... and some well-funded teams are also in tournament-rich areas, so they can afford to do the most. No other national debate organization has done something like this... yea us!