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
Evidence Violation Protest Form Download a form for students to use when they prepare to protest an evidence rule violation. resources districts, forms-manuals 2019-10-29 Free
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

District Tournament Timeline

Before the Tournament

All districts are required to use Tabroom.com, Joy of Tournaments, or SpeechWire software for collecting online registration, scheduling rounds, and tabulating results. To learn what software your district is using, go to Tabroom.com and search for the name of your district. Click “Go” next to this year’s district tournament. This page will share the dates, location, and software of your district tournament. Contact your district chair for help with registration.

Before your district tournament begins, make sure there is no outstanding balance on your NSDA account by logging in and clicking the “School Finances” button. If your district tournament is using Joy of Tournaments or SpeechWire, download the Single Entry Letters of Intent forms and have each of your double entered students and students interested in competing on your district’s World Schools Debate team complete the form. This form will be collected by your district chair. If your district uses Tabroom.com, you will complete this form digitally as part of the online registration process.

After the Tournament

After each portion of your district tournament is completed, NSDA points will be auto-posted to your account. Do not enter these points manually! Coaches in the district have seven (7) days to protest any results; otherwise, they will be considered final. National Tournament registration opens for qualifying coaches after your entire district tournament series has been completed. The earliest coaches may begin registration is March 1. Coaches with qualified students will receive an email when they are eligible to register for the tournament and if any alternate students have been moved into a qualifying position.

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

For additional information, please consult the current High School Unified Manual.

District Eligibility

Minimum Schools Requirement: Any district that attained at least 12 charter chapters with paid membership, 20 chapters of any type with paid membership, 200 new members, or over 700 new degrees in the prior school year 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 unless it is on a pre-approved growth plan due to realignment or a district split. 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. An entry must participate in at least one round (or in the case of Congressional Debate, must give at least one speech) in order to count as an entry.

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 entries

32 entries

56 entries

Level 2   At least 4 entries

30 entries

50 entries

Level 3   At least 4 entries

10 entries

50 entries

Level 1 Qualifications

1.1 – Qualification Level 1 is reserved for districts on a growth plan due to realignment or district creation. A district that meets the minimum schools and entries requirements is allowed one entry to the National Tournament in every 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 an event, that event will be allowed two qualifiers.
1.1.2 – If there are at least 32 entries in an event, that event will be allowed three qualifiers.
1.1.3 – If there are at least 56 entries in an event, that event will be allowed four qualifiers.
 

Level 2 Qualifications

2.1 – A district meeting any one of the following criteria in the previous school year is allowed two entries to the National Tournament in every speech and debate event as long as four entries in each event compete in at least one round:
2.1.1 – Maintain 12 or more active charter chapters with paid membership in the previous school year.
2.1.2 – Maintain 20 or more chapters of any type with paid membership in the previous school year.
2.1.3 – 200 new individual student memberships as a district in the previous school year.
2.1.4 – 700 or more new degrees from schools with paid membership during the previous school year.
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 entries.
2.2.2 – Earn a fourth qualifier in any event with 50 entries.

Level 3 Qualifications

3.1 – A district that maintained any one of the following criteria in the previous year is allowed three entries to the National Tournament in every speech and debate event as long as 10 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 – 24 or more charter chapters with paid membership in the previous school year.
3.1.2 – 40 or more chapters of any type with paid membership in the previous school year.
3.1.3 – 400 new individual student memberships as a district in the previous school year.
3.1.4 – 1400 or more new degrees from schools with paid membership during the previous school year.
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 entries.
 
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