Member Login
Select Page
National Speech and Debate Tournament Logo

Competition Details

Topic Release Schedule

All topics will be released May 1.

    • May 1: Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum topics, United States and International Extemp topic areas, and prepared motions for World Schools Debate will be released May 1.
    • May 15: The Congressional Debate docket will be released by May 15.
      • Any high school or middle school NSDA member student, regardless of their national qualification status, are invited to submit legislation to be considered for the National Tournament Docket! Our goal is to open the door to more submissions, more diverse topics, and more student input. If a student’s legislation is selected to be part of the Nationals Docket, they will be recognized in Rostrum, receive a plaque after the tournament is over, and be awarded a $100 scholarship. Legislation will not be tied to its author at the National Tournament; no authorship speeches will be given. Submissions are due February 5, 2024.
      • The potential legislation will be made available to the public April 30.
      • National Tournament qualifiers in the House and Senate will be invited to vote on the final docket through Tabroom.com between April 30 – May 3.  
      • The final docket will be released by May 15.
Event Specific Topics
    • Extemporaneous Debate: Topics will be released 30 minutes prior to each round.
    • Storytelling: No required theme or topic area.
    • Policy Debate: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase fiscal redistribution in the United States by adopting a federal jobs guarantee, expanding Social Security, and/or providing a basic income.
    • Big Questions: Resolved: Belief in the supernatural is incompatible with belief in science.
Results
    • Pairings for each elimination round will be released on the “Pairings” tab at nationals.tabroom.com
    • Debate: Win/loss records from prelims will be released for all students after the first elim’s schematic is posted. Win/loss results for each elim will be released when the next elim’s schematic is posted (e.g., round 7 results will be posted after the round 8 schematic is released). 
    • Main Speech: Prelim ranks will be posted for non-advancing students after the first elim schematic is posted. Nothing is posted for advancing students until they’re out of the tournament.
    • Congress: Prelim ranks will be released for all students after the first elim’s schematic is posted. Ranks for each elim will be released when the next elim’s schematic is posted (e.g., quarters ranks will be posted when the semis schematic is released).
    • Supplemental Speech: Prelim ranks will be posted for non-advancing students after the first elim’s schematic is posted. Nothing is posted for advancing students until they’re out of the tournament.
    • Extemp Debate: Win/loss records will be released for all students after prelims finish so they know whether they will be competing in the elims. Win/loss results for each elim will be released when the next elim’s schematic is posted (e.g., round 7 results will be posted after the round 8 schematic is released).
    • Full tournament results and ballots will be posted at nationals.tabroom.com by Monday, June 24.
Eligibility for Supplemental Events
    • Competitors in main events who are pre-registered and do not advance to elimination round competition on Wednesday of the National Tournament are eligible to re-register for supplemental events on Tuesday.
    • Up to two non-qualifiers per school who were pre-registered in supplemental events are eligible to re-register for supplemental events on Tuesday. Schools competing in only supplementals should plan to have an adult attend in-person registration on Tuesday to pick up materials.
Non-Qualifier Competition in Supplemental Events
    • To be eligible for the non-qualifier opportunity, students and their schools must be NSDA members. Participation at districts is not required.
    • Each school may enter up to two students who did not qualify into supplemental events.
    • If your school has main event qualifiers in the National Tournament, register your two non-qualifying students on the “Entries” tab of your school’s Tabroom.com National Tournament registration.
    • If your school is only bringing non-qualifiers in supplemental events, “National Speech and Debate Tournament” will appear under your existing tournament registrations in Tabroom.com once your district chair posts your district’s results to Nationals. Register your two non-qualifying students on the “Entries” tab of that registration.
    • Non-qualifiers must be re-registered on Tuesday of the National Tournament. Schools that are only bringing non-qualifiers in supplemental events may skip the Sunday registration and register on Tuesday if they choose. Registration for teams competing in only in-person supplemental events will occur on Tuesday 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Iowa Events Center in Grand Ballroom B.
Building Use
    • In late May, all pre-registered supplemental speech entries will learn if they are competing in Group 1 or Group 2. Group 1 will compete at East HS on Wed-Thurs, and Group 2 will compete at Johnston HS on Wed-Thurs. Each group will compete until they have the top three entries in each event from their group. The top three entries in each event from each group will compete in the final round on Friday to determine the national champions.
    • In late May, all pre-registered Extemp Debate entries will learn if they are competing in Group 1 or Group 2. Group 1 will compete at Timberline MS on Wednesday, and Group 2 will compete at South MS on Wednesday. Remaining entries in Groups 1 and 2 will both compete at Timberline MS on Thursday. Each group will compete until they have the top entry from their group. Those two entries will debate in the final round on Friday to determine the national champion.
Pre-Registration
    • Students who wish to compete in supplemental events must be pre-registered for those events by May 15. Each supplemental event pre-registration costs $30. This entry fee is non-refundable. Students may be pre-registered in as many events as they wish, but there is a limit to the events that one student may be re-registered in.
Re-Registration
    • Students who intend to compete in supplemental events must be re-registered to confirm their participation between 12:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, through Tabroom.com. Students who pre-registered but did not re-register will not be scheduled for competition. This applies to both students who compete in main events and students who are only competing in supplemental events.
    • There are limits to the supplemental events that students may be re-registered in. Students cannot cross enter Extemp Debate and any other supplemental speech event. Students may be re-registered in up to two supplemental speech events but no more than one event per pattern:
      • Pattern A: Extemp Commentary, Original Spoken Word Poetry, Prose, Expository
      • Pattern B:  Impromptu, Poetry, Storytelling
      • OR Extemp Debate
Learn More
Scholarships
    • Scholarships earned at the National Tournament can be claimed after Nationals by graduated students who have enrolled in post-secondary school after the tournament via the National Tournament Scholarship Claim Request Form. Proof of enrollment is required and scholarship funds will be sent to the registrar.
Group of Judges in a room watching students perform

Searching for judges to hire? Want to be hired by a school to judge?

Belonging and Inclusion Station

Each competition venue will have a dedicated Belonging and Inclusion Station, formerly known as the equity office. Belonging and Inclusion Stations serve as a resource for any attendee who feels excluded by an element of the tournament or if an instance of harassment and/or discrimination has occurred.

Examples include:

NSDA Belonging and Inclusion Station
  • An individual makes inappropriate remarks or jokes about traditionally marginalized groups.
  • An individual feels alone, overwhelmed, or like they don’t belong at the tournament.
  • A really powerful performance (that violated no rules) triggers emotions in a contestant or judge, and they need space to process their feelings.

Report to the Tournament Office to speak to a Belonging and Inclusion Advocate or learn more about the concept on our website.

Accessibility

If you would like to request an ADA-related accommodation for one of your school’s participants, please complete the Accommodations Request Form. For questions regarding accessibility at the tournament, please contact Dr. Paul Porter at paul.porter@speechanddebate.org.

Middle School National Tournament

National Speech and Debate Tournament Logo

June 18-21, 2024

The 2024 Middle School National Tournament will also be held in-person in Des Moines on June 18-21.