National Tournament

About the National Tournament

The National Debate & Speech Tournament has been held across the country since 1931, and today is the largest academic competition in the world. Each year, more than 3,500 high school students compete in a week-long competition to determine the most prestigious title in high school academics: national champion.

Future Host Sites

2017 Birmingham, Alabama – June 18-23
2018 Fort Lauderdale, Florida – June 17-22
2019 Dallas, Texas – June 16-21

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the 2016-17 NASSP List of Approved Contests, Programs, and Activities for Students.

2017 Nationals

Birmingham, Alabama

We are excited to return to Birmingham for the 2017 National Speech & Debate Tournament! To make planning easier, we will provide essential venue, lodging, and transportation information below, as well as a daily schedule overview and links to online tournament registration when available. Keep in mind that all details are tentative and subject to change. Check back in early 2017 for more information!

High School Information
Week at a Glance: June 18-23, 2017
Sunday • June 18 Registration; Expo; New Coach Reception; District Leadership Luncheon; Coach Clinics; and More!
Monday • June 19 High School Main Event Competition Begins
Tuesday • June 20 Supplemental Re-registration; Student Posting Party
Wednesday • June 21 Middle School Competition Begins; Consolation Re-registration
Thursday • June 22 Finalists’ Sound and Light Check; Interp Finals; Diamond Assembly
Friday • June 23 Remaining Finals; National Awards Assembly

All times are tentative. More info coming soon!

Sunday Schedule Overview

Be sure to plan your travel arrangements so you can attend these events!

7:30 a.m. Early Registration for Tournament Officials
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. National Tournament Expo
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Shop the Speech & Debate Store
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tournament Registration for ALL Schools
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. National Tournament Coach Clinics
9:00 a.m. Speech Tab Meeting
9:00 a.m. Debate Tab Meeting
9:00 a.m. Congress Tab Meeting
9:00 a.m. Supplemental and Consolation Tab Meeting
9:00 a.m. Extemp Officials Meeting
10:00 a.m. New Coach Reception
11:00 a.m. Mandatory Parliamentarian Meeting
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. LD Wording Committee
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PF Wording Committee
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. District Leadership Luncheon and Awards Ceremony
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. World Schools Debate Judge Training
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. World Schools Debate Competitor Training
1:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. National Student of the Year Finalists (invitation only)
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. World Schools Debate Demo
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Late Registration (NOT RECOMMENDED)

All times are tentative. More info coming soon!

USA World Schools Debate Invitational
Join Us! June 18-23, 2017

More info coming soon!

Middle School Information
Week at a Glance: June 20-23, 2017
Tuesday • June 20
Registration will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Room TBD)
Wednesday • June 21 Middle School competition begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m. Time has been built in for lunch.
Thursday • June 22 Middle school competition continues at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 7:00 p.m. Time has been built in for lunch.
Friday • June 23 Starting at 8:00 a.m., final rounds of Speech, Policy, and Congress, as as well as semifinal and final rounds of Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum, will take place. The National Awards Assembly will commence at 3:00 p.m., followed by the high school awards assembly at 6:00 p.m., where middle school champions will be recognized.

All times are tentative. More info coming soon!

Birmingham Guide

We look forward to welcoming you in June!

Hotel Guide

Coming soon!

Venue Guide

Coming soon!

Transportation Guide

Coming soon!

Coach Clinics

Attend our FREE education sessions at Nationals to learn more about starting a program, adding speech and debate to your curriculum, competitive coaching strategies, and more! Coaches can attend clinics between their judging obligations. However, all judging obligations MUST be met. Attending clinics will not excuse judging obligations.

More info coming soon!

Tournament Sponsors

Our generous sponsors make the National Speech & Debate Tournament possible! Thank you for showing your commitment to fostering excellence in young people through speech and debate activities.


Every year, more than 7,000 students, coaches, teachers, parents, and supporters from across the country attend the National Tournament. The student competitors represent the best and brightest young people across the United States and the globe. You don’t want to miss this unique educational event to reach an outstanding group of young people and their supporters.

Please contact Emily Kriegel at or (920) 748-6206 with any specific questions you may have.

National Tournament Expo

The National Tournament Expo provides a safe and organized environment in which exhibitors and supporters may connect with coaches, parents, and students.

Package Discounts


À La Carte Pricing


Expo Guidelines

Tables will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. Exhibitors may request any available table range by marking their request on the Expo Registration Form. While the National Speech & Debate Association will attempt to accommodate requests, final placement will be at the discretion of national office staff.

The Sunday Expo will be held concurrent with high school registration. Set-up will begin at 7:15 a.m. on Sunday. Exhibitors who have not arrived by 8:30 a.m. may forfeit their table. Refunds will not be given for failure to attend. Exhibitors must remain open until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday to be invited back to the Expo the following year. Exhibitors may choose to reserve additional tables at the Sunday Expo, or during the competition week. Venues are tentative and subject to change.

A reservation is considered complete once an Expo Registration Form has been submitted to the national office and payment has been received by or before May 31. Check/PO orders may be refunded until May 31. Credit card orders may be refunded (less the 5% credit card processing fee) until May 31. Cancellations after May 31 will not be refunded.


Reserved exhibition space includes one six-foot or eight-foot table, depending on the location and availability of tables. Additional tables may be reserved for an additional fee. More elaborate set-ups may require an additional charge. Please bring power strips if needed to be sure you are able to access electricity. Electrical access is an additional $100 fee and includes one outlet Sunday, Tuesday evening, Thursday afternoon/evening, and/or Friday. Access to electricity is not guaranteed at the school sites Monday through Thursday. The Association will not provide power strips, power cords, or any other electronic equipment. Internet access is free with limited bandwidth, but you are able to purchase it through the location. The Association cannot store any items for vendors prior to or after the Expo.


These guidelines will govern all vending at the 2016 National Speech & Debate Tournament. They replace all guidelines from previous National Tournaments. The Association retains the right to amend its guidelines as needed.

The only exhibitors allowed to vend at National Tournament sites will be those who have reserved exhibition space through the Association. Non-approved exhibitors will be removed from tournament premises. Please note that while exhibitors are usually allowed to vend at the tournament venue, local rules may prohibit vending in certain areas.

All fees must be paid prior to the start of the Expo. Exhibitors with unpaid fees will not be permitted to attend.

Noise/visual elements from booths must not affect the presentation of other exhibitors.

Exhibitors must not impede the operation of the National Tournament or exhibit where local rules do not permit selling of products.

Only the Association or its local hosts may sell t-shirts. No other vendor may sell t-shirts of any kind. Sale of other products sold by the local host committee is also prohibited, including lanyards, nylon drawstring bags, magnets, plastic drinking cups, buttons, and pens.

Exhibitors must remain open until 3:00 p.m. local time on Sunday to be invited back to the Expo the following year. The National Tournament Expo officially closes at 4:00 p.m. local time.

Exhibitors must take all materials, including trash, with them at the conclusion of their vending period. A maintenance fee may be assessed if an exhibitor’s area is left disorderly or damaged.

Vendors are expected to remain within the vending area and not disrupt any competitor or coach in the course of their preparation for or during the actual competitions.

The Association reserves the right to refuse reservations to any exhibitor.

NOTE: Submitting and Expo Registration Form indicates your knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of the National Tournament Expo Guidelines. If you do not agree to the guidelines, do not submit an Expo Registration Form.

National Tournament Book

Our National Tournament Program Book is a great way to connect with all student competitors, coaches, teachers, parents, and chaperones at the tournament.

Everyone attending the National Tournament receives a free copy of the Tournament Book, and it is also published online. The Tournament Book is the go-to guide throughout the week. It includes schedules, event information, announcements, annual award listings, and more. You can be a part of the Tournament Book for a low price!

Tournament Book Guidelines

You can pay by credit card using our online form, or we will invoice advertisers as reservations are received. Ad payments must be made by the deadline specified on the invoice.


All ads must be submitted by May 1, 2017. (If you need help designing your ad, we can do it for you! Just make sure to provide instructions in the advertising form by or before May 1 to give us plenty of lead time.)


All ad files must be in high resolution PDF format.


Don’t forget to double-check your ad before submitting! Remember, “Lincoln-Douglas” should be hyphenated, but “LD” should not. “Student Congress” is now called “Congressional Debate.”

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