Personally, I'm quite thrilled with HI being removed. Open Interp has always been plagued by being a knockoff of Dramatic Interp. The speeches about Nazis and Jews that make you cry always beat out the better done speeches about a more obscure topic. But now the dramatic speeches will have to go head to head with humorous speeches in the Open Interp category which should balance the category a bit more.
That is stupid. Totally totally stupid. That is absolutely moronic. Wow. If I was in NCFCA I'd leave now.
No it really isn't. Don't get me wrong, I wish that Region 8 could stay unified as one whole region, but it's logistically impossible and axes a lot of kid's opportunities. We're getting really big as a region and that makes it very difficult to find tournament facilities. We almost didn't have a Florida qualifier because we couldn't find a location until the last minute. It's always hard to find colleges willing to host us because it's the middle of the fall semester and the vast majority of churches large enough to host us have full schedules and can't fit us in.
Large tournaments also lead to a massive pool of judges that are needed to support the rounds. Community judges have been lacking and we've come close to voiding entire tournaments because we could find enough judges. (I mean so close that our staff would sit down to pray that someone would walk through the door and take a ballot) The lack of community judges leads to the necessity of parents/chaperones taking every ballot every round which doesn't always fill the need and really lowers the quality of judging because they've been doing it all day.
Also, (especially in Florida) we have a lot of competitors who have a low dedication level to NCFCA. The majority of the time this is based on financial reasons, people simply don't have the money to travel to SC or GA for qualifiers. That leaves them with only one choice, the Florida tournament (which mind you, almost didn't exist last year). They can only go to one tournament which really knocks out incentive because the entire debate season consists of one tournament. This change will allow for at least two tournaments to be centered in relatively convenient locations and will allow for the worse off to attend more tournaments.
So yes, it's annoying that Florida and GA/SC will be somewhat separated, and no, I don't like it that I won't see my friends quite as much, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice for the benefit of my friends who want to attend more tournaments but can't and so that our leadership will have an easier time finding facilities and judges. Also, take note that this wasn't a decision forced on us by the higher ups. Our R8 leaders worked with them to come up with the best solution and I have the fullest trust that our R8 leadership knows what they're doing.