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Competition and Rules Leadership Committee

National Speech & Debate Association

The NSDA Board of Directors met September 29-30, 2023, and passed a final proposal from the Board’s Governance Committee to change the composition of the NSDA Board of Directors while creating a new standing committee focused on competition rules and interscholastic programming, the Competition and Rules Leadership Committee.

About the Competition and Rules Leadership Committee

By August 1, 2024, the NSDA will implement a new Competition and Rules Leadership Committee (CR Leadership Committee), which will serve as a standing committee as part of the Office of the Executive Director. This committee of speech and debate coaches and other members of various speech and debate communities will serve as a decision-making body dedicated to issues that focus on NSDA competitions and rules. The committee will be empowered to establish policies governing NSDA competition rules and event procedures. Depending on the nature of the action, the committee may work jointly with the Board of Directors on some policies when there are governance implications. The committee will also advise the Office of the Executive Director on the NSDA’s role in speech and debate interscholastic programming. The Executive Director will oversee this committee and be the primary conduit between it and the Board of Directors.

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Eligibility and Candidacy

Any member coach of any age with five years of NSDA coaching experience, who is listed as a member coach of record at an active member school, may become a candidate for election or appointment to the CR Leadership Committee.

  • Candidates seeking election may submit an application, including a statement of 400 words or less and a high resolution photo, by January 26, 2024. Those wishing to nominate an individual for election should complete this form. Statements will be made available to voters leading up to the election.
  • Candidates seeking appointment by the Executive Director may submit an application, including a statement of 400 words or less and a high resolution photo, by January 26, 2024. Those wishing to nominate an individual for appointment should complete this form. In 2024, the Executive Director will appoint an international representative, a middle school representative, and one other member (no NSDA affiliation necessary).

In 2024, candidates in the following regions will be eligible to run for election:

  • California Region (all CA)
  • Northern Midwest Region (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, WI)
  • East/Northeast Region (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, WV)
  • Northwest/Northwest Central Region (AK, ID, MT, ND, NE, OR, SD, WA, WY)

In 2026, representatives will be elected from the remaining regions:

  • Texas Region (all TX)
  • Southeast Region (FL, GA, KY, NC, SC, VA)
  • Mountain/Southwest Region (AZ, CO, HI, NM, NV, UT)
  • Southern Midwest Region (AL, AR, LA, MO, MS, OK, TN)
Terms

All CR Leadership Committee member terms will be three years in length. CR Leadership Committee members will be permitted to be appointed and/or elected to two consecutive terms and then a third term after completing a full-term hiatus.

Parameters for CR Leadership Committee Service
  • The CR Leadership Committee will consist of a minimum of 17 individuals, of which at least 75% will be active NSDA member coaches.
  • All active coach members on the current NSDA Board of Directors (Byron Arthur, David Huston, Adam Jacobi, and Renee Motter) will serve on the CR Leadership Committee for the duration of their terms on the Board, through July 2026.
  • Two appointed Board members (active coach members) will also serve on the CR Leadership Committee.
  • In total, eight active NSDA member coaches will be elected to represent eight regions throughout the United States. Representatives must coach at a member school within the region and reside in the region in which they represent. One advisor per NSDA member school will be eligible to vote within the region assigned to that school to elect that region’s representative.
  • In 2024, candidates in the following regions will be eligible to run for election:
  • California Region (all CA)
  • Northern Midwest Region (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, WI)
  • East/Northeast Region (CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, WV)
  • Northwest/Northwest Central Region (AK, ID, MT, ND, NE, OR, SD, WA, WY)
  • In 2026, representatives will be elected from the remaining regions:
  • Texas Region (all TX)
  • Southeast Region (FL, GA, KY, NC, SC, VA)
  • Mountain/Southwest Region (AZ, CO, HI, NM, NV, UT)
  • Southern Midwest Region (AL, AR, LA, MO, MS, OK, TN)
  • At least one coach will be appointed to serve as an international representative.
  • At least one coach will be appointed to serve as a middle school coach representative.
  • Additional individuals will be appointed to the CR Leadership Committee. These individuals will be appointed by the Executive Director to fulfill the greatest needs of the committee at the time. There is no cap on the number of individuals the Executive Director can appoint. However, at least 75% of the CR Leadership Committee must remain populated by active NSDA member coaches.
The Role of the CR Leadership Committee

The CR Leadership Committee’s scope of influence will include:

  • Assessing student, coach, and school stakeholder needs through personal solicitation and by evaluating surveys and other feedback mechanisms.
  • Evaluating and providing input on NSDA products, services, and programs related to middle and high school speech competition, recognition, and resources.
  • Evaluating and establishing official rules and procedures for NSDA contests.
  • Evaluating other student-centric offerings for educational merit, value alignment, competitive integrity, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Assessing the NSDA’s ability to successfully support diverse approaches to speech and debate programming across regions and state boundaries and in partnership with other national organizations.
  • Interpreting the NSDA to local and regional communities.
CR Leadership Committee Meetings

The CR Leadership Committee will meet online several times throughout the year, as well as sponsor other opportunities for stakeholder input as mentioned above. The members of the CR Leadership Committee will be paid a modest stipend for their participation, the amount of which will be determined annually through the budgeting process.

Future Leadership Opportunities
  • In the spring of 2025, the Executive Director will appoint at least two additional members to three-year terms on the CR Leadership Committee, beginning August 2025.
  • In the spring of 2026, there will be four Board appointments: two active NSDA coaches and two additional individuals will be appointed. The two newly appointed active coach members of the Board of Directors will also join the CR Leadership Committee for three-year terms.
  • In the spring of 2026, an election will be held to fill four seats on the CR Leadership Committee in the Texas, South/Southeast, Mountain/Southwest, and Southern Midwest Regions. The winners of these seats will join the CR Leadership Committee in August 2026 for three-year terms.
  • The Executive Director will consider any additional appointments that should be made to the CR Leadership Committee based on needs, ensuring that at least 75% of the membership consists of active coaches.

Important Deadlines

  • CR Leadership Committee candidacy applications and nominations are due January 26, 2024.
  • Online balloting will open in April 2024 and results will be announced later that month.
  • Watch for more information on our website and in future coach newsletters.

Full Structure In Place

By the fall of 2026, there will be a minimum of 11 Board members who have all been appointed and are serving current staggered terms and a minimum of 17 CR Leadership Committee members who have either been regionally elected or appointed by the Executive Director and are serving current staggered terms.

Note:

As the Competition and Rules Leadership Committee takes shape, the NSDA will shift to a 100% appointed Board of Directors of no less than 11 members by August 1, 2026. The Board of Directors is the legal governing entity of the Association and will retain responsibility for the ultimate direction of the management of the affairs of the organization, including serving as the primary policymakers and overseeing the Executive Director. Like today’s Board, this Board will be composed of coaches, at least one administrator, and other leaders with diverse education and/or nonprofit expertise.

The NSDA Board of Directors will also appoint a minimum of four active NSDA coach members from active NSDA member schools. Two active NSDA coaches will be appointed in 2024, and those Board members will also serve on the CR Leadership Committee. Candidates seeking appointment to the Board may submit an application for consideration, or be nominated for consideration. More information on these appointments, which will be vetted by the Board nominations committee, will be available by January 2024.

Additional Information

For more background on the changes to the NSDA Board of Directors, the creation of the CR Leadership Committee, and the governance processes that led there, please review the 2023 Fall Board Minutes, available online at www.speechanddebate.org/minutes-archive.