On July 31, 2008, Professor Dan West (Director of Forensics at Ohio University) presented a paper at the 4th National Developmental Conference on Individual Events, in which he called our attention to the "Culture of Qualifying". West (2008) explained that this obsession with qualifying for the AFA-NIET results in three problems: pulling events from the circuit after qualifying, "hunting" for legs in order to qualify for the NIET, and a decrease in the quality of regular season tournaments. He further contended that the AFA-NIET qualification system needs to be replaced – not modified, but replaced – by a method that better serves the activity.
Naturally, this culture of qualifying is linked to numerous aspects of our activity – to say it's the sole by-product of the at-large qualification system would be to exaggerate the influence of the at-large qualification method. But the leg system is undoubtedly a detriment to the forensics activity. While the leg system has been a topic of debate for years, we have yet to see any substantial progress in re-evaluating how our students qualify for the national tournament. After countless discussions, debates, and arguments, any talk of replacing the leg system has died in committees, and it's time that more progressive action took place. To that end, this paper proceeds with a history of the AFA-NIET qualification methods and their modifications, an overview of the impacts the leg system has on forensics, and a ballot analysis that provides alternative methods for qualifying for the NIET.
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"Back to the Beginning - Rethinking the AFA-NIET Qualification System,"
Proceedings of the National Developmental Conference on Individual Events: Vol. 5:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/ndcieproceedings/vol5/iss1/10