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Rules Overview

Student speaking in front of a class

The National Speech & Debate Association functions on two levels: first, as an organization to govern and promote speech and debate activities; and second, as an honor society to recognize and support speech and debate education. The Unified Manual outlines the Association’s governing rules, including:

High School Chapter Manual

Membership eligibility

Recording merit points

District and National Leadership

High School Event Rules Manual

Event Procedure and Order of Speeches

Use of Electronic Devices

Procedures for Resolving Evidence Violations

District Tournament Operations Manual

School Eligibility and Entry Limits


National Qualification Levels

Pairing Rounds

National Tournament Operations Manual

Instructions for Registering

Tournament Procedures

Rules Infractions

National Tournament Awards