Steve at Progymnasmata has an interesting article based on a mail from Paul Gross of the University of Vermont. The proposal is to allow eliminated debaters to be considered for the judge break. You can read the full article here but in the meantime here is a comment I have posted to the article:
I can see the benefit on paper of doing this. I was DCA at a tournament where a former world champion was debating with a fresher and just missed the break. They would have been a great addition to the judging pool but we could not use them. However that said you would generally expect that the best debaters would be in the elimination rounds. Therefore if it is a small tournament (say 20 teams) you will find that half of the speakers will have made the break and the speakers you are left with may not add quality to the judging pool.
Tournaments which are large enough to attract a depth of quality teams that means many potentially good judges will miss the debating break are also tournaments that attract a good depth of quality judges. You need to make sure that breaking as a judge does not become a consolation prize for the 3-4 teams just outside the break. If this happens it reduces the incentive for people to come and judge the whole tournament. Why would you slog through 6-7 preliminary rounds as a judge only to be told we don’t want you in the break because debaters who failed to make the break are still regarded as better judges.
Also for many people adjudication is as competitive as debating. Having been CA or DCA at a number of large tournaments I can tell you the couple hours after the break are a rollercoaster of reactions. You will get some judges coming to you and thanking you for giving them a chance. However you will also get many judges who are angry and extremely disappointed at missing the break. Some take it to extremes and if they were judging a bubble final preliminary round you could not be certain that the judge break will not be a factor in their decision. If they have estimated that they are just hanging onto one of the last slots in the judge break would you trust them to eliminate a team that will probably then push them out of the judge break?
The proposal has some merit but I think it should be a potential option rather than a default option. Add the potential to call up an eliminated debater into the judge break to the arsenal of the adjudication team BUT it should be an exceptional event. If it becomes a regular event then I fear it will have an adverse impact.