District Tournaments

District Tournaments

National Speech & Debate Association District Tournaments are held each year to determine the qualifiers to the National Tournament in speech, debate, and congressional debate. Each district tournament is hosted by an Association District, which is made up of a set of schools in a given geographic region. This page is a simplified version of the District Tournament Operations Manual. For complete details on how to qualify, enter, and compete at a District Tournament, please refer to Section 3 of the High School Unified Manual.

District Tournament Forms

Use the following forms designed to assist you before, during, and after your district tournament:

Title Description Category Tags Date Access
How to Upload JOT District to Tabroom Download instructions for how to upload your JOT district tournament results to Tabroom to allow your qualifying schools to register for the National Tournament. resources districts, forms-manuals 2019-03-05 Free
How to Run District Tournaments on Tabroom resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-19 Free
How to Register for Districts on Tabroom Download a description of how to register for your district tournament on Tabroom. resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-18 Free
How to Complete the District Dates Form Download instructions for completing the District Dates form on Tabroom. resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-18 Free
How to Run District Tournaments on Joy of Tournaments Download a description of how to register for your district tournament on Tabroom. resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-09 Free
Congressional Debate - Legislation Templates Download official NSDA templates for writing and submitting Congress legislation. resources classroom-resources, congress, districts, forms-manuals 2018-03-14 Free
Approved Websites List for Interpretation Events The following websites are approved for use in Interp by the National Speech & Debate Association. resources districts, dramatic-interp, duo-interp, forms-manuals, humorous-interp, poetry, program-oral-interp, prose, storytelling 2019-05-01 Free
District Leadership Election Results - 2017-2019 Click here to download the District Leadership Directory for 2015-2016. resources districts, forms-manuals 2017-05-03 Free
District Committee Appointment Request Form resources districts, forms-manuals 2019-09-11 Free
National Congress Legislation Submission Form 2019 (Chairs Only) resources congress, districts, forms-manuals 2018-03-15 Free
District Tournament Roles Learn about the suggested roles each member of your District Committee can play. resources districts, forms-manuals, team-management 2019-02-08 Free
District Finance Guide Get an introduction to 501(c)3 status at the district level by reviewing this presentation from the 2017 National Conference Leadership Track. resources districts, forms-manuals, team-management 2019-02-08 Free
District Awards Reporting Form (Chairs Only) District chairs, please use this form to let us know the names of your district student, coach, and administrator award winners and officially nominate them for the national-level awards! resources districts, forms-manuals 2019-09-09 Free
High School Administrator of the Year Nomination Form 2019 Nominate an outstanding high school administrator for High School Administrator of the Year! resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-15 Free
New Coach of the Year Nomination Form 2019 Nominate an outstanding high school coach who is in their first year of NSDA membership for New Coach of the Year! resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-15 Free
Assistant Coach of the Year Nomination Form 2019 Nominate an outstanding high school assistant coach serving at an NSDA member school for Assistant Coach of the Year! resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-15 Free
High School Coach of the Year Nomination Form 2019 Nominate an outstanding high school coach for James M. Copeland Coach of the Year! resources districts, forms-manuals 2018-12-15 Free
Student of the Year Nomination Form resources districts, forms-manuals 2019-09-09 Free
Building Community - District Leadership Toolkit Click here to download the Building Community - District Leadership Toolkit. resources districts, forms-manuals, team-management 2016-09-01 Free
District Leader Quick Guide Check out these resources for new and veteran district leaders alike to grow speech and debate in your area, communicate with the coaches in your district, and run a successful district tournament! resources districts, forms-manuals, team-management 2019-02-08 Free
District Leadership Directory - 2019-2021 Click here to download the District Leadership Directory for 2015-2016. resources districts, forms-manuals 2019-08-01 Free
District Tournament - Single Entry Letter of Intent Download the District Tournament - Single Entry Letter of Intent. Use this form for students who are double-entering at the district tournament and/or who have automatically qualified based on Top 14 placement in a main event at the previous year's National Tournament. resources districts, forms-manuals, team-management 2019-01-16 Free
All district chairs must collect money owed to the national office, as well as Single Entry Letters of Intent for applicable students. These items must be scanned and emailed to the national office within 48 hours of completion of the district tournament series.

All districts are required to use Tabroom.com or Joy of Tournaments software for collecting online registration, scheduling rounds, and tabulating results. There will be no exceptions granted for a district to tabulate their tournament by hand. Coaches in the district have seven (7) days to protest any results; otherwise, they will be considered final.

Entry Allotment

The number of entries a school is permitted to enter is based upon the number of active members and degrees on record with the national office as of 4 p.m. CST a minimum of seven days prior to the district contest beginning. Current school strength can be found on the School Profile page of the NSDA website. Please refer to the Unified Manual to determine how members and degrees are calculated.

Entry Limit per Event

Each school may enter up to four entries in each event. Congress uses a separate formula for entry limits. See the charts on the right for details. Big Questions does not have entry limits unless they are imposed by the District Committee.

Penalty for Excess Entry

The District Committee must not permit excess entry. If a school enters in excess of its allotment, it forfeits all coaching credit points and all sweepstakes points for the entire tournament as well as a penalty of ten trophy points. If the excess entries create additional qualifiers, the district may face penalties resulting in loss of qualifiers.

Bonus Entries

Any school that registers two entries in every category that actually compete (by participating in at least one round) in the district tournament will be permitted to register two additional entries in the tournament. However, not more than four entries are permitted in each event.

Speech/Debate Entry Allotment

Members and Degrees Speech, Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, and Public Forum Entries Allowed
1-15 4
16-20 6
21-30 10
31-40 12
41-50 15
51-60 16
61-70 18
71-80 21
81-90 23
91-100 24
101-120 27
121-140 29
141-160 32
161-180 33
181-200 34
201-230 35
231-260 37
261-300 38
301-350 39
351-400 40
401-500 42
501-600 43
601+ 44

Congressional Debate Entry Allotment

Members & Degrees Senate Entries Allowed House Entries Allowed
1-20 2 2
21-35 2 3
36-55 2 4
56-75 2 5
76-100 2 6
101-150 2 7
151-200 2 8
201-250 2 9
251-300 2 10
301-350 2 11
351-400 2 12
401+ 2 13

National Qualification Standards

The following standards replace the red, yellow, green status system previously in place. For additional information, please consult the current High School Unified Manual.

District Eligibility

Minimum Schools Requirement: Any district that maintains at least 8 active charter chapters or 16 active chapters of any type is allowed to hold a district qualifying tournament series. If a district does not meet this minimum requirement, it may not hold a tournament series. However, schools in the district may petition to attend a qualifying tournament in a contiguous district. Schools must attend the entire district tournament series (inclusive of debate, speech and congress) in their own district.

Minimum Entries Requirement: If a particular speech or debate event has fewer than four entries, regardless of the district’s qualification level, no qualifiers are allowed in that event.

Minimum School Entry Requirement: In order to qualify entries in a speech or debate event to the National Tournament, a minimum of two schools must have entries that participate in the event. (See Congressional Debate Exception below.)

Congressional Debate Exception: Any district that meets minimum schools requirements may hold a District Congress, subject to the quotas for Congressional Debate: 8+ schools in the Senate = 2 qualifiers; see chart below for House quotas. The number of Senate and House qualifiers is independent of all other district tournament benchmark standards.

Participating Representatives (House) 16-29 30-58 59-87 88-116 117-145 146+
Qualifiers 2 4 6 7 8 9

Qualification Levels

The number of national qualifiers allowed from each district depends on the district’s qualification level. For information on each level, see below.

Entries Required per Qualifier

National Qualifying Level 1 Qualifier 2 Qualifiers 3 Qualifiers 4 Qualifiers
Level 1 At least 4 entries 16 team entries

20 solo entries

32 team entries

46 solo entries

56 team entries

66 solo entries

Level 2 At least 4 entries 30 team entries

38 solo entries

50 team entries

58 solo entries

Level 3 At least 4 entries 10 team entries

12 solo entries

50 team entries

58 solo entries

Level 1 Qualifications

1.1 – A district that meets the minimum schools and entries requirements above is allowed one entry to the National Tournament per speech and debate event, as long as the event meets the four-entry minimum. Also, for Level 1 districts:
1.1.1 – If there are at least 16 entries in a team event or 20 entries in a solo event, that event will be allowed two qualifiers.
1.1.2 – If there are at least 36 entries in a team event or 46 entries in a solo event, that event will be allowed three qualifiers.
1.1.3 – If there are at least 56 entries in a team event or 66 entries in a solo event, that event will be allowed four qualifiers.

Level 2 Qualifications

2.1 – A district that maintains any one of the following criteria is allowed two entries to the National Tournament per speech and debate event, as long as the event meets the four-entry minimum:
2.1.1 – Maintain 16 or more active charter chapters prior to the first district tournament date (note: districts receive one charter chapter credit for every two active provisional chapters).
2.1.2 – Maintain 24 or more active chapters of any type prior to the first district tournament date.
2.1.3 – Maintain 700 or more district tournament entries in the previous three years.
2.1.4 – Maintain 900 or more new members and degrees from active schools during the previous school year.
2.1.5 – Increase total district strength in members and degrees by 15% in the previous school year over the year prior.
2.1.6 – Enroll 300 new individual memberships as a district, by seven days prior to the first district tournament date.2.2 – If the district qualifies for Level 2 under one of the above criteria, that district may:
2.2.1 – Earn a third qualifier in any event with 30 team or 38 solo entries.
2.2.2 – Earn a fourth qualifier in any event with 50 team or 58 solo entries.

Level 3 Qualifications

3.1 – A district that maintains any one of the following criteria is allowed three entries to the National Tournament in every speech and debate event as long as 12 solo entries or 10 team entries in each event compete in at least one round; if that minimum is not met by a particular event, only two entries shall be granted in that event.
3.1.1 – Maintain 1,400 or more new members and degrees from active schools during the previous year.
3.1.2 – Earn 1,400 or more new members and degrees from active schools during the current year, prior to the first district tournament date.
3.1.3 – Maintain more than 45 active chapters prior to the first district tournament event.
3.1.4 – Enroll 400 new individual memberships as a district, by seven days prior to the first district tournament date.
3.2 – If the district qualifies for Level 3 under one of the above criteria, that district may earn a fourth qualifier in any event with 50 team or 58 solo entries.

Tabroom.com and Joy of Tournaments

Tabroom.com and Joy of Tournaments are free for you to use for web registration and software for your district tournament. Plus, free support is provided to all districts using Tabroom.com and Joy of Tournaments. This is a value of well over $250! It is required that you use one of these websites for registration and tabulation for your National Speech & Debate Association district tournament.

We are extremely committed to ensuring that your experience is a successful one, so please feel free to contact us at any time with questions, comments, or concerns about how we might improve this process for you. Staff will be available for questions and support before, during, and after your district tournament. Joy of Tournaments support staff is available Monday through Saturday at (806) 773-0162. Tabroom.com support staff is available every day by contacting the national office.

Tabroom.com Timeline

  • All district chairs will be required to submit the dates and preferences for their district tournament series on Tabroom.com. If any part of the tournament series begins in the current year, the Tabroom dates form is due October 31 at 5:00 p.m. CT. If all parts of the tournament series begin in the next calendar year, the Tabroom dates form is due November 30 at 5:00 p.m. CT.
  • Four weeks prior to your tournament – Sometime during this week (or sooner, if you wish), begin working on your website to update details about your event. Please remember to include in your posted information details about judge requirements, school/district fees, entry fees, deadlines, and drop fees if these apply to your tournament.
  • Within a month prior to your tournament – We STRONGLY recommend that you get to know the software. Consider taking the free instructional course at NSDAConnect.org or running a test tournament. Reach out to the NSDA staff, and we will help you get set up with a test tournament online.
  • Two week Registration Window – It’s recommended you give at least two weeks for the registration period…more if your schedule permits.
  • One week prior – The National Speech & Debate Association recommends closing registration one week prior to your tournament.
  • After the tournament – audit and post your results to Nationals registration.

Joy of Tournaments Timeline

  • About six weeks prior to your tournament – You should receive an introductory email from The Joy of Tournaments with a link to your first District Tournament. If you do not receive the email, it may have been caught up in SPAM, and you may check to see if the tournament has been posted. Log in on the main page of the Joy of Tournaments website and click on the “My Account” link at the top. If your tournament has been listed, you will see your tournament on the right side under “Admin Privileges.” Click on that link and you may begin editing your site from that link. For documents to help you set up your site, you may click on the red Administration link and on Help.
  • Four weeks prior to your tournament – Sometime during this week (or sooner, if you wish), begin working on your website to update details about your event. Please remember to include in your posted information details about judge requirements, school/district fees, entry fees, deadlines, and drop fees if these apply to your tournament.
  • Within a month prior to your tournament – We STRONGLY recommend that you practice using the software. You may download the trial version of the software and tabulate one debate, one IE, and Congress event from beginning to end so you’ll know what to anticipate on the day of the tournament.You will need an Association-specific license to access the district tournament features of the software. You should find instructions for licensing the software and obtaining the Association-specific serial number on your website via the Administration » Software Download link. If that link does not appear, email support@joyoftournaments.com to request that the link be added. On the Software Download page, you’ll find instructions for automatically licensing the software via the quick and simple Registration Wizard. NOTE: The National Speech & Debate Association cannot provide you with license information. In order to use the software, you will need sample entries. Click this link (http://www.joyoftournaments.com/trial/sample-data.htm) to find instructions for acquiring sample data for your practice tournament.
  • Training Opportunities – We recommend you sign up for one of our FREE online training classes. Sign up to reserve your spot at http://www.joyoftournaments.com/training.asp. This is your chance work one-on-one with us to ask questions and learn more about how the software works for District Tournaments. If none of the time slots work for your district, you may request an alternate training date.
  • Three weeks prior to your tournament – Sometime during this period, if you’ve not already done so, submit your site to us for the final review. Send an email request to support@joyoftournaments.com. This is critical for making sure your site works the way you need it to work. The review process may take up to 48 hours (possibly two business days), and sometimes longer if there is custom programming needed to make the website work according to your needs.
  • Two week Registration Window – It’s recommended you give at least two weeks for the registration period…more if your schedule permits.
  • One week prior – The National Speech & Debate Association recommends closing registration one week prior to your tournament.
  • The week of your tournament. Download the LATEST version of Software. – From your website, visit the Administration » Software Download page to download the latest version of the software.
  • After your tournament series is completed – District chairs must go to Tabroom.com and upload the results file.
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