Standing Rules for the Operation of the National Debate Tournament
(as of September 2010)
Rule I: General Regulations
A. Dates for the Tournament. The tournament shall be held either the last weekend of March or the first weekend of April; if at all possible, the tournament shall not be held on Easter weekend.
B. Financial Regulations. All fees and payments at the tournament must be in cash, traveler’s checks, cashier’s checks, certified checks, or approved credit cards. NDT dues must be paid by Nov. 1. Schools subscribing between Nov. 2 and Dec. 1 will be charged double the regular subscription fee. Schools subscribing between Dec. 2 and January 1 will be charged triple the regular subscription fee. Schools subscribing between Jan. 2 and Jan. 15 will be charged quadruple the regular subscription fee. Schools subscribing after Jan. 15 will not be eligible for that year’s NDT.
C. Research at the Tournament. The National Committee encourages research in conjunction with the tournament. Research must be approved by the National Committee under the following procedures:
1. By February 1 the principal researcher must forward to the Director a request for authorization for research. This request should include:
a. a brief description of the nature of the research project;
b. a description of the data collection proposal for the National Tournament;
c. a statement of the impact (if any) of the project on the operation of the tournament;
d. the names of all involved researchers;
e. copies of any questionnaires to be administered;
f. a statement of plans to debrief and/or distribute results on any human subjects involved.
2. At the next meeting of the National Committee the Director shall present the proposal along with his or her estimation of the impact of the research on the operation of the tournament, and the statement of support or opposition to the project’s access to the tournament.
3. A majority vote of the National Committee members present and voting shall be required to approve the project’s access to the tournament.
4. The Director shall notify the researcher of the National Committee’s action. The research, if approved, shall be conducted as specified in the proposal. All researchers are subject to supervision by the Director during the tournament.
5. The researcher shall place a copy of research results in the National Debate Tournament archives.
1. The University of Utah Library shall be the official archivist of the National Debate Tournament.
2. Non-financial agreements with the archivist shall be established and altered with the agreement of a simple majority of members present and voting at the National Committee meeting.
3. Free access to the archives for research shall be guaranteed by the archivist.
Rule II: Participant Qualification. In compliance with Article VI, Sections E and F of the NDT Charter:
A. General Regulations.
1. Schools who have an institutional membership in the AFA, or whose director has an individual membership in the AFA, and who are subscribers to the NDT may qualify up to three teams of two student-debaters for participation in the National Tournament through three selection processes: First Round At-Large selection, District Qualification and Second Round At-Large selection. A maximum of seventy-eight (78) teams shall qualify for participation in the National Debate Tournament as follows: sixteen (16) through the First Round At-Large selection, forty-six (46) teams through the District process, and the remaining teams through the Second Round At-Large process. A maximum of six subscribing schools may qualify a third team of two student-debaters for participation in the National Tournament through Second Round At-Large selection: these teams must follow the current procedures for selection, and must meet the 50% or greater preliminary win-loss requirement for Second Round At-Large Bids.
a. Any student in compliance with the eligibility definitions of the AFA Debate Program and Debate Tournament Standards is eligible to represent his or her school.
b. A team is composed of two eligible debaters from a single subscribing institution.
c. The composition of any team qualifying for the National Debate Tournament must remain intact. If one member should, for any reason, be unable to fulfill the commitment, the subscriber looses its invitation for that team.
d. A debater may qualify for and attend the NDT a maximum of four times.
e. For the purpose of determining eligibility to participate at the National Debate Tournament, the number of time blocks in which a student has competed will include all intercollegiate debate competition. The counting of years of eligibility shall begin in the fall of 1996.
f. In addition to AFA eligibility standards, participation in any debate tournament in more than ten semesters renders a debater ineligible to attend the NDT.
g. To be an eligible debater for the National Debate Tournament, a student must provide, by February 8th to the NDT committee chair, an official document from appropriate university officials verifying that he/she is registered as an undergraduate student and is in good standing at the school, for which he/she is participating, as of February 1st immediately preceding the NDT in which he/she wishes to participate. The Chair of the NDT Committee shall promptly notify the applying program director of any application which does not meet the above criteria. The program director may then appeal the eligibility of the debaters by contacting, and submitting all relevant documentation to, the NDT Committee Chair not later than one week from the date of notification. The appeal will then be forwarded to the Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee may conduct the appeal by means of telephone calls, email or conference calls. The Appeals Committee may grant an exemption when the student’s school provides written documentation explaining why a student may be officially enrolled but may not be in good standing, for example, if the university/college defines “in good standing” by criteria other than satisfactory academic performance.
h. Within two weeks of the conclusion of the tournament each year, all students who received one of the top ten speaker awards or who participated in the quarterfinal round of the tournament shall submit an official document similar to that specified in rule “g” above, attesting to their enrollment in good standing as of the date the tournament concluded. The NDT Chair shall promptly report to the membership the results of the verification process. Violations of the duty to verify eligibility may be subject to review and sanction by the NDT governing bodies.
2. Team eligibility: Hybrid Exception Waiver: An intra-district hybrid team composed of two debaters from two different schools may petition the NDT Committee Chair for a waiver from the Appeals Committee of Standing Rule II.A.1.(b) to participate in District Qualification for the NDT if:
a. Two-thirds of the member schools of the District in question vote to approve participation of the team in question, AND
b. The hybrid team meets all of the following criteria:
i. The individual hybrid team has 24 preliminary rounds of varsity or open collegiate competition TOGETHER on the topic over 4 tournaments with at least 6 teams from 4 different schools.
ii. The schools represented by the individual debaters historically and currently operate a joint program demonstrated by, but not limited to, a shared budget, coaching staff, travel, and meetings/practices.
iii. The schools for the debaters are traditionally represented as the same “program” for the purposes of competition, either by competing under one school name or consistent representation as the hybrid, unless prevented from doing so by individual tournament registration or tabulation procedures.
iv. The ability for at least one program of the two schools represented to participate in intercollegiate competitive debate would be jeopardized without the combination of resources, documented by either the lack of an official coaching/director position within the educational institution, a program budget of less than $3000 excluding coaching/judging compensation, or a lack of an established/recognized debate program in either a department or student organization.
vi. A hybrid team provides evidence of substantial program development efforts at one or both of the team member’s home institutions.
c. The submission to the NDT Committee Chair must be made by the February 1st immediately preceding the NDT in which the team wishes to participate, and will be forwarded by the Committee Chair to the Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee will respond within one week of the submission of the request for the waiver.
B. These rules do not overrule any other eligibility requirements in number of rounds or tournaments attended for determining bids. Districts may make additional considerations or constraints on the participation of hybrids at their qualifier tournaments. The validity of any hybrid team qualifying for the NDT may be challenged through the normal petition process with the Appeals Subcommittee of the NDT as outlined in the Standing Rules of the NDT Committee, Section IV (Rules of Procedure) if it can be substantiated that such a partnership is in violation of the above criteria. Otherwise, a team granted such a waiver is considered eligible to compete in the NDT if they qualify through the District Qualification process and will count towards the total number of teams in the District for purposes of Bid Allocation.
C. Intra-district schools in such a hybrid must BOTH have either an institutional membership in the AFA or have a director who has an individual membership in the AFA and must pay NDT dues for BOTH schools. (This is not a JOINT membership). The qualification of such a hybrid teams would count against the total number of qualifying teams for BOTH schools.
D. Schools may only petition for this exemption a maximum of 5 times. Schools may no longer petition for the waiver after qualifying for the NDT through this process
3. Should teams withdraw or become ineligible for the tournament after their qualification:
b. if procedure a fails to provide a team the bid will go to the next highest rated team in the Second Round At-Large selection not having qualified.
c. if procedures (a) or (b) fail to provide a team the tournament Director is authorized to designate a team.
4. Should a debater or a team be unable to participate in any debate at the National Debate Tournament, the team shall forfeit the round and receive zero points.
B. District Qualification.
1. The 46 district bids will be allocated to districts according to a proportional system:
a. Each district will receive the same percentage of the total pool of bids (number of slots available divided by the number of eligible teams), but the actual number of bids each district receives will depend on the number of eligible teams.
b. Eligible teams: To submit for the bid allocation process, a team must have paid their NDT subscription fee and have either (1) a minimum of 18 intercollegiate preliminary rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel either both as individuals or as a team of varsity or open debate in at least three tournaments, each consisting of a minimum of 6 preliminary rounds with at least 6 teams from at least four different schools in varsity or open division, or (2) one member of the team with a minimum of 32 intercollegiate preliminary rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel in at least four tournaments, each consisting of a minimum of six preliminary rounds, with at least six teams from at least four different schools in varsity or open division (i.e., if one member of the team has at least 32 rounds satisfying the above requirements, no minimum number of rounds is required of the partner in order for the team to be eligible for the bid allocation process).
(1) These bids must be received by the district chair within one week of the first round bid submission deadline.
(2) The number of eligible teams from each school shall be no greater than the number of teams that school can qualify through the district process.
(3) The names of all submitting teams from each district will immediatelybe forwarded by the district chair to the chair of the bid allocationcommittee.
(4) The chair of the bid allocation committee will enter any teams submitted for a First Round At-Large bid but not receiving a First Round At-Large bid into the pool of eligible teams.
(5) Teams awarded First Round At-Large bids will not be counted for purposes of allocating district bids.
c. The number of bids each district receives will be determined by dividing the number of district bids by the overall number of eligible teams and then applying that percentage to the number of eligible teams in each district (e.g., if 75 eligible teams applied for district bids, or applied for but did not receive a First Round At-Large bid, then 46/75 or 61.33% of the teams in each district would receive bids). When the number assigned to a district is more than a whole number (e.g., 6.5), the district would only be assured of the whole number (e.g., 6 bids).
d. If the total number of whole numbers allotted is less than 46, the allocation committee will assign additional bids to those districts with the highest fraction until the 46 team limit is reached.
e. If there is a tie among two districts that would exceed the 46 bid limit, an extra bid will be allocated from the second round pool; if the tie is between more than two districts, the tie will be broken by total subscription rates of those districts.
f. Within four days after the First Round At-Large bids are announced the bid allocation committee will assign bids among the districts.
2. Districts will have the option of holding a tournament, of ranking teams, or of selecting an alternative procedure to fill the district bids. Districts must make a binding decision prior to the bid allocation submission date as to the method of qualifying teams.
3. Districts choosing to select representatives for the NDT in a manner other than a qualifying debate tournament will be allowed to submit only those teams over a 40% win-loss record for the purposes of bid allocation.
4. If a district decides to adopt any procedure other than a tournament, all selected teams must have a 40% or higher preliminary round win-loss percentage. Any slots not filled by such an alternate procedure will be shifted to the Second Round At-Large pool. A tournament is defined as actual debate competition in which judges award wins and losses.
5. By 12:00 noon ET on the Saturday of their district qualifying weekend, each District Chair shall report to the Bid Allocation Chair the actual number of debate teams competing for bids to the NDT. The Bid Allocation Chair shall calculate a final allocation of the 46 District Bids upon receipt of the actual number of competing teams from all districts. The Bid Allocation Chair shall report the final allocation of the bids to each District Chair by 5:00 p.m. ET on the Saturday of the second qualifying weekend. In the event that all districts conduct their qualifying process on the first qualifying weekend, notification of the final allocation shall take place by 5:00 p.m. ET on the Saturday of that weekend.
C. At-Large Qualification.
1. The following regulations govern submission of at-large applications:
a. The Director shall provide each subscribing school appropriate instructions and model applications by January 15 of each year.
b. Those subscribing schools wishing to nominate their teams for At-Large consideration must submit copies of their completed electronic Official NDT At-Large Application (without covering letters or other supplementary materials) no later than a February date for First Round At-Large and a March date for Second Round At-Large. The specific dates will be established each year by the National Committee. Applications must be received by this date and sent to the Chair of the National Committee in accordance with instructions. Schools submitting at-large applications must have paid their NDT subscription fee prior to submitting their application for the bid to be considered.
c. For reporting tournaments where two judges are used in preliminary rounds, the number of ballots won shall be divided by two and represented as a win-loss total.
d. All teams wishing to be considered for an at-large bid must pay $50.00 to the treasurer of the NDT board of trustees. Payment must be received by the appropriate deadline for the application.
2. The following regulations govern awarding of At-Large bids:
a. Selection of At-Large participants shall be determined by the voting membership of the National Committee with the exception of the NDT Tournament Director. National Committee members shall rank for At-Large selection a number of teams (excluding their own teams containing a student they have previously coached) double the number of awardable bids for the First Round At-Large and triple the number for Second Round At-Large. All other teams shall be given the next rank. On an agreed date all voting members of the Committee will telephone the NDT Tournament Director and inform him or her of their rankings.
b. The NDT Tournament Director will sum each team’s total after dropping high and low ranks (using the average of all other ranks for a member’s own team) and award the bids to the lowest ranked teams. If a tie results among the top positions (i.e., the last bid in the given At-Large round), the NDT Tournament Director shall drop an additional high and low ranks for the teams involved down to eight total ranks. If a tie still exists the NDT Tournament Director shall re-rank the teams involved in the tie based on the original ranked relationships of each committee member (except the member(s) with teams involved). If a tie still exists, then each member (except with teams involved) shall be telephoned and given the opportunity to re-rank the tied teams, after re-evaluating the respective credentials.
c. Second Round At-Large process.
(1) Any teams not selected for participation in the NDT through the First Round At-Large or district processes may apply for a Second Round At-Large bid.
(2) All teams selected through the Second Round At-Large process must have a 50% or greater preliminary round win-loss record in rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel immediately prior to the District tournament or at the time of submission for second round bids. The team’s record for every tournament attended prior to submission must be reported on the application form.
(3) Teams submitting Second Round At-Large applications may include a paragraph of explanation concerning extenuating circumstances.
(4) Unless a school has received two bids in the First Round At-Large process, participation in the district process shall be a prerequisite for receipt of a Second Round At-Large selection.
(5) If a school has not qualified two teams through a First Round At-Large or district process, it shall not be eligible to qualify a third team through the Second Round At-Large process unless the team(s) that participated in the district process shall also have qualified through the Second Round At-Large process.
(6) The next two lower teams that do not qualify for Second Round At-Large bids will be designated as first and second alternate.
(7) Should there be an odd number of teams selected through the three qualification processes, the first alternate (or the second, should the first be unable to attend), will be allowed to participate at the National Debate Tournament. Should there be no additional alternate teams, the tournament director will make arrangements to assure an even number of teams.
3. The following regulations govern announcement of At-Large bids:
a. All schools submitting At-Large applications in either round shall be notified immediately after completion of the selection process concerning their own acceptance or rejection and the names of all schools and their teams who were selected.
b. Information concerning the voting of the Committee on At-Large bids shall be disseminated by the Director to all involved parties following the National Tournament.
4. Subscriber appeals for exceptions to any of the At-Large regulations shall follow the procedures of Standing Rule VII.C.1.
Rule III: National Tournament Judges.
A. Qualification for Judges. To attain eligibility for judging at the National Tournament a judge:
1. must hold a baccalaureate degree, or be willing to waive eligibility for participation in the NDT in the future, or have no remaining eligibility, and
2. must have judged at least 12 rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel.
3. must not have competed on that year’s topic.
B. Judges from Participating Institutions.
1. Each participating team shall be required to provide thirteen rounds of preliminary judging. Any judge representing a team qualifying for the National Debate Tournament should be a faculty or staff member of that team’s institution. Where this is impossible, a judge may be hired by the institution involved, under the following conditions
a. The hired judge meets all the standards established for guest judges.
b. The hired judge should be from the same district as the team which he or she will represent. If the institution cannot find a judge from the district, and if the Tournament Director and District Chair, in conjunction, cannot find a judge from the same district, then the institution may hire a judge from another district.
2. If a faculty or staff member principally responsible to his or her institution for directing or coaching a debate team qualifying for the National Tournament designates someone else to judge in his or her place, the designator shall be ineligible for assignment as a guest judge.
3. As a normative standard, the faculty or staff member(s) principally responsible to his or her institution for directing or coaching a debate team qualifying for the National Tournament should be a judge at the Tournament for both the preliminary and elimination rounds. All preliminary round judges at the National Tournament are expected to be available for assignment to a minimum of four preliminary rounds.
4. Two judges, each qualified under the rules above, may split their judging obligations by notifying the Director in advance of their desire to do so. Each of these judges shall then be available for assignment at the Director’s discretion within the rules of the tournament.
5. Beginning with the 2002 National Tournament, any participant, observer, or guest attending the NDT and who meets the NDT judging requirement shall be committed to judging a minimum of four preliminary debates.
C. Judging Obligations of Participating Schools.
1. The NDT Committee strongly encourages participating schools to do all that they can to insure that their judging obligations are covered. In the event that a team’s judging obligation is uncovered, the Director of the NDT, in consultation with the NDT Chair, will invoke the following guidelines:
a. If a team does not have a designated judge, that team is disqualified.
b. If a designated team judge withdraws prior to ten days before the tournament the school may:
(1) Designate a judge who fulfills the 12 round rule and who has yet to be entered into the judge pool. This can be done without penalty.
(2) Designate an affiliated judge who is in the hired judge pool. An affiliated judge, for the purpose of this document, is a judge who either receives a regular salary from the school, regularly coaches the team, or who has identified the institution on the Judge Philosophy sheet. This can be done without penalty.
(3) Designate an unaffiliated judge who is in the hired judge pool and pay the NDT $75 plus the amount that would have been paid to that judge by the NDT. The judge would no longer be paid by the NDT.
(4) The team may remain uncovered and pay the NDT four times the amount the NDT pays hired judges.
c. If a designated team judge withdraws within ten days of the tournament the school may:
(1) Designate a judge who fulfills the 12 round rule and who has yet to be entered into the judge pool. This can be done without penalty.
(2) Designate an affiliated judge who is in the hired judge pool. An affiliated judge, for the purpose of this document, is a judge who either receives a regular salary from the school, regularly coaches the team, or who has identified the institution on the Judge Philosophy sheet. There will be a $150 fee associated with this option.
(3) Designate an unaffiliated judge who is in the hired judge pool and pay the NDT $150 plus the amount that would have been paid to that judge by the NDT. The judge would no longer be paid by the NDT.
(4) The team may remain uncovered and pay the NDT four times the amount the NDT pays hired judges.
d. If arrangements must be made to cover partial judging assignments due to emergency the school will pay $25 per round uncovered. The designation of emergency is done by the NDT Director.
e. The Director of the NDT, in consultation with the NDT Chair, is afforded the flexibility to enter into agreements with individual parties if the Director feels that the arrangement is beneficial to the judge pool. Any individual agreement should be reported to the NDT Committee at the meeting at the NDT. If an agreement is made with a party, that same agreement must be made available to other parties in the same situation.
2. Individuals who feel that the guidelines have been applied in an inappropriate matter may appeal the Director’s decision to the full NDT Committee at the NDT meeting.
D. Guest Judges.
1. The nomination of persons to serve as guest judges at the National Tournament shall be a primary responsibility of the district committees. Each committee will establish its own procedures, except that all nominees shall satisfy qualification requirements.
2. No later than March 1 the District Chair will forward to the Director a ranked list of any and all persons nominated by his or her committee and who have agreed to serve as guest judges. Included shall be a statement affirming that all judges meet the qualifications in Standing Rule III.A. above.
3. The Director shall appoint, if necessary, additional guest judges of his or her own choosing.
4. Each guest judge shall be paid a stipend plus an allotment for food as determined by the Board of Trustees.
E. Notification Procedures.
1. As soon as practical, the Director shall provide each National Committee member as complete a list as possible of the judges for the tournament and alternates. The list shall indicate which judges are guest judges.
2. Prior to the start of the tournament, each participating team will be given a list of judges and their affiliated institutions.
F. Release of the Judges at the End of the Tournament.
1. All judges from participating institutions are required to remain at the tournament through the octa-final round. All judges from institutions with teams participating in elimination rounds are required to remain at the tournament one round beyond the elimination of their final team. After that point the judges assume the burden of notifying the Director or his or her designated representative of their departure.
2. Guest judges are hired for the duration of the tournament. Any requests for early release must be granted by the Director, and not earlier than the quarterfinal round.
All judges shall provide to the Tournament Director a ballot for each round they judge, complete with full written comment to the teams involved and including a reason for decision.
a. Ballots for the individual teams in the tournament shall not be returned to them until all ballots from judges representing these teams are provided to the Director.
b. Checks for guest judges shall not be provided until all their ballots are provided to the Director.
G. Judging Philosophy Booklet.
1. Guidelines for content and form of a written statement of judging philosophy shall be mailed to all subscribing schools by January 15.
2. All judges at the National Tournament shall forward judging philosophies complying with these guidelines to the Chair of the Judging Philosophy Subcommittee by a date specified by the National Committee. A $50.00 fine will be imposed on institutions whose judges do not provide judge philosophy forms received by the Chair of the Judging Philosophy Subcommittee one week before the start of registration for the NDT. An additional $50.00 fine will be imposed if a philosophy is not provided at the time the institution registers. Judges not meeting this deadline still must provide a judge philosophy form to the tournament by the start of the NDT.
H. Judge’s Decisions. Each judge in each debate will render a decision that assigns one and only one win, and one and only one loss, such that the team assigned the win is not the team assigned the loss. For ballots not adhering to this rule, the Tournament Director may flip a coin to assign the win and loss. All judges refusing to adhere to Standing Rule III.H. will be disqualified from judging at the tournament and the teams from that judge’s school will be disqualified. In situations where both teams have violated the evidence integrity standards under Standing Rule VII.B., both teams may receive a loss according to procedures outlined in Standing Rule VII.B.
Rule IV: General Tournament Procedures.
A. Timing Regulations.
Speech format. The following speaking format shall be employed in all debates:
9 minute first affirmative constructive
3 minute either negative speaker cross-examines first affirmative
9 minute first negative constructive
3 minute either affirmative speaker cross-examines first negative
9 minute second affirmative constructive
3 minute other negative speaker cross-examines second affirmative
9 minute second negative constructive
3 minute other affirmative speaker cross-examines second negative
6 minute first negative rebuttal
6 minute rebuttal by an affirmative speaker
6 minute second negative rebuttal
6 minute rebuttal by other affirmative speaker
2. Alternative Use Time. Each team shall have a cumulative total of ten minutes of alternative use time in a round. This time includes: amount of time elapsed between the announced time for starting the round (see Standing Rule IV.C) and when the team is ready to debate, overtime in the team’s speeches, organizational time, and any other time for preparation. Upon exhaustion of the allotted alternative use time, any additional alternative use time shall be deducted from subsequent speeches.
B. Announcement of Round Pairings.The Tournament Director shall orally announce the pairings before each round. Written copies of the pairings shall be provided as soon as possible.
C. Beginning Rounds.
1. At the announcement of pairings, the Director shall announce a designated starting time for the round.
2. At the designated time, the timekeeper will begin compiling and announcing alternative use time for either or both teams not in place and Fprepared to debate the round.
D. Decision Time for Preliminary Rounds.
1. Judges’ decisions, which must be on the prescribed ballot form and must specify either the affirmative or the negative as the sole winner of the debate, must be turned in to the Director by 2 hours and 45 minutes after the official starting time for each preliminary round of debate.
2. After the expired time, the Tournament Director will notify the judge that a coin toss will determine the outcome of the round. The coin toss will become the permanent result of the debate for that judge.
E. Elimination Round Procedures. In addition to the provisions of sections A, B and C, the following apply to elimination rounds.
1. Each judge in an elimination round shall render a decision on the prescribed ballot form which shall specify either the affirmative or the negative as the sole winner of the debate.
2. Except for the final round, results of each elimination round shall be announced in the room in which the debate has taken place immediately upon the collection of ballots by a chair designated by the Director.
3. Judges in the final round shall be asked to write critiques of the debate which the Director shall forward for publication on the NDT webpage.
F. Miscellaneous Regulations.
1. Electronic recording of debates is allowed by official participants and observers affiliated with a school attending the NDT and by other individuals authorized by the NDT Committee or the tournament host. Requests from groups or individuals wishing to provide media coverage of the National Debate Tournament must be submitted to the NDT committee on Media Coverage. This committee shall make an initial evaluation of the request and submit a recommendation to the NDT Committee for its consideration. The committee on Media Coverage shall be composed of five members appointed by the chair of the NDT Committee to two year terms.
2. Decision confidentiality. It is up to the discretion of judges to decide if they wish to reveal their decisions. Judges desiring to reveal their decisions must wait until all white copies of ballots for that debate are delivered to a bona-fide representative of the Tournament Director. Judges must still provide a written ballot for all preliminary rounds.
3. Topicality. Topicality is a “voting issue” at the National Debate Tournament.
4. No Smoking Policy. All rooms in which NDT competition takes place shall be declared No Smoking Areas, where smoking shall be prohibited. Host schools shall post signs announcing this rule. The NDT Director shall inform attendees of this rule at the opening assembly and again at the start of the final round.
5. Alcohol and Controlled Substance Policy. The use of controlled substances and alcohol shall be prohibited in rooms in which NDT competition takes place. The NDT Tournament Director shall inform attendees of this rule at the opening assembly and again at the beginning of the final round.
6. Tournament Disclosure and Scouting.
a. Prior to the announcement of Round One pairings, the tournament host will post an Affirmative and Negative Disclosure Form on the door of each competition room.
b. Information Disclosure. Disclosure will take place in two steps:
(1) Shortly after arriving to their debate room, if the affirmative teams chooses to disclose, they should write on the Affirmative Disclosure Form a very brief description of their affirmative, or state “new affirmative.”
(2) At an appropriate time during the debate, one of the judges should complete the relevant portion of the Negative Disclosure Form with brief descriptions of the negative strategy.
c. Scouting Guidelines.
(1) Prior to the announcement of the decision in the debate, scouts should collect their information exclusively from the posted disclosure sheets or from direct observation of the debate.
(2) Observers should not interrupt pre-round preparation by asking questions of either team.
(3) Observers should not intrude during the debate by reading evidence or the 1AC. This includes the cross-examination periods.
(4) After the debate, observers should not attempt to read evidence until all three judges have voted and all tournament scouts have had the opportunity to collect information. Observers should not interrupt post-debate discussions.
(5) After the post-round discussion the observers should expect no more than a ten minute period in which they can inspect evidence for citations from the debate. Neither scouts nor observers should copy entire pieces of evidence, either by hand or electronically.
d. The NDT committee shall appoint scouting co-directors(who are released from judging requirements), who shall continuously make available to the tournament participants the information gathered, and train and direct official scouts who shall:
(1) complete pre-tournament scouting training and abide by the rules and guidelines established for scouts
(2) deliver to the scouting directors the information gathered immediately after the round
(3) Have the authority to gather information in ways that do not disrupt the debate process as directed by the scouting directors
(4) Debaters are required to provide evidence they have read only to judges, opponents, and official scouts who request it.
7. Programs should not encourage nor expect high school guests to engage in the process of producing or distributing research, or to engage in the tournament disclosure and scouting effort.
8. Once the debate has begun, a team may not receive assistance, suggestions, or coaching from anyone while the round is in progress. This does not prevent debate partners from helping one another, but does prevent outside persons from helping a team during the course of a debate.
9. NDT Workers: Individuals in attendance at the National Debate Tournament who provide significant coaching to, or argument production for, any team participating in the NDT should be required to enter the judging pool on a supplemental strike sheet for at least four debates or, if it is more appropriate, provide a significant equivalent contribution to the tournament as defined by the tournament host or director.
Rule V: Tournament Scheduling.
A. Pairing Rounds.
1. Rounds one and two of the Tournament should be preset. Schools within the same district shall not meet.
2. After the first two rounds the tournament should be completely power matched reflecting the following criteria: (1) win-loss record, (2) number of ballots, (3) total speaker points (with averages replacing points in bye rounds or rounds with penalties under Standing Rule VII.B), (4) two teams from the same school shall not meet.
B. Assignment of Judges.
1. Preliminary Procedures. Before the Start of the Tournament:
a. At registration all judges shall complete a form declaring their conflicts of interest with any schools or debaters in the Tournament. The Director may add teams to this list with the consent of the judge or a majority agreement of the Subcommittee on Appeals of the National Committee.
b. A form of mutual preference shall be used.
2. Following the pairing of each round, judges are assigned according to the discretion of the Director. The following constraints operate to disqualify judges from assignment (in decreasing order of importance):
a. The judge cannot judge a team from his or her school.
b. The judge shall not judge a team he or she has previously judged on the same side.
c. The judge shall not judge a team on his or her conflict of interest list.
d. The judge shall not judge a team that he or she has heard on the opposite side.
e. A judge shall not judge a team on whose strike list he or she appears.
f. The judge shall not be assigned in excess of the number of rounds which he or she is obligated to the Tournament.
C. Determination of Participants in and Scheduling of Elimination Rounds.
1. All teams with a win-loss record of 5-3 or better shall qualify for the elimination rounds, up to a total of 32 teams. If the number of qualifying teams exceeds 16 but is less than 32, a First Elimination Round will be held with a partial bracket so that the number of remaining octafinalists will equal 16.
2. Seeding. The criteria for determining the seeding for elimination rounds shall be administered in the following order: (1) wins, (2) ballots, (3) adjusted combined speaker points (dropping high and low ballots), (4) continue dropping high and low ballots down to twelve remaining ballots, (5) flip of a coin.
3. Pairings shall follow a standard seed-protect bracketing.
a. Teams representing the same school shall be placed into the bracket according to their seeding. Coaches of the teams involved shall be consulted on the conduct of a debate round between the teams from the same school.
b. Teams which have met in the preliminary rounds shall switch sides. In other debates the flip of a coin shall determine sides, unless the teams agree on opposing side preferences.
D. Assignment of Elimination Round Judges.
1. In the First Elimination Round, judges will be assigned in the same manner as in the preliminary rounds, except that each panel will include five judges. This procedure may be continued during the octafinals if deemed necessary by the Tournament Director. As early in the elimination rounds as feasible, however, the procedure in steps 2-4 below will be employed.
2. Preliminary procedures. A list of all judges in the tournament shall be given to the coach of each team qualifying for the elimination rounds. The coaches shall place a check mark indicating approval beside the names of a minimum of forty judges, and write “NO” to indicate disapproval beside the names of a maximum of twenty judges.
3. Tentative panels of eleven judges will be selected according to the following rules:
a. Judges who are on the preferred list of both schools in only one debate shall be assigned to that debate.
b. Judges who are on the preferred list of both schools in more than one debate are then assigned so as to leave as nearly as possible an equal number of joint agreement judges in each debate.
c. If full panels of eleven are not available by mutual agreement, a number of judges to fill out eleven shall be selected. The Director shall compile lists of judges appearing on each coach’s preferred list and on neither coach’s disapproved list. An equal number shall be selected from each coach’s list. When this is not possible and in the case where an odd number is needed, judges shall be selected who are neither preferred nor disapproved by either school.
d. The geographic constraint in Standing Rule V.B.2.f will not apply to scheduling of judges for the octafinal round through the conclusion of the tournament.
4. Selection of judging panels.
a. The coach of each school shall be presented with a list of the tentative panel for the debate in which his or her team is paired. He or she will approve at least eight of the judges.
b. The Director shall compare the lists by the coaches of the teams in each pairing and create panels of not less than five judges from the agreements. If there are an even number of agreements the Director shall delete a judge.
Rule VI: Awards
A. A special permanent award shall be given to each student participant and each school.
B. Awards denoting their level of accomplishment shall be presented to all teams in the elimination rounds.
C. Awards shall be presented to the top twenty speakers in the tournament.
1. In calculating totals for speaker awards the highest and lowest ballots of each debater’s individual ratings shall be dropped. Penalty points under Standing Rule VII.B. shall not be dropped.
2. In breaking ties, additional high and low ballots shall be dropped down to a total of sixteen ballots. Should that not resolve a tie, then use total points, then drop ballots down to a total of 12, then use judge variance. In the case of remaining ties, duplicate awards will be presented.
Rule VII: Evaluation and Appeal Procedures.
1. Forms soliciting suggestions for improving the National Tournament shall be provided to each coach, debater, and guest judge at the tournament.
2. The Director shall annually report the results of this evaluation to the National Committee.
B. Procedure for Adjudication of Evidence Integrity Challenges.
1. Standards governing evidence use shall be those of the AFA Debate Program and Debate Tournament Standards with the following additional stipulations/interpretations:
a. All evidence should include full source citation of original sources, either in a master file available in the round, or on individual cards. The source citation should be sufficient to permit others to locate the original source. It should include, at a minimum, the author’s name (if given in the original), name of the published source (journal, magazine, book, newspaper, or government document), full date, and page number.
b. All paraphrases of evidence must be indicated both on the evidence artifact and orally in the round. All quotations should include ellipses when appropriate, according to MLA standards.
c. Other MLA standards are considered advisory.
2. Adjudicating evidence challenges.
a. The individual judge in a round shall make his or her own judgment on the basis of materials available to him or her at the time. If he or she determines that distortion and/or falsification has occurred, he or she shall award the offending team a loss and award zero speaker points to the offending speaker(s). In situations where both teams have violated the evidence integrity standards, both teams may receive a loss.
b. After individual ballots have been completed, sealed, and handed in, judges in the round shall confer; and if two or more of the judges concur on the evidence challenge, that challenge shall be submitted to the Tournament Director along with a copy of the evidence in question.
3. Appeals of challenges.
a. When a case of evidence challenge has been referred to the Director following a preliminary round:
(1) The Director shall forward the challenge to the Subcommittee on Appeals along with a copy of the evidence.
(2) The Subcommittee shall investigate including the soliciting of statements on the claimed offense and/or mitigating circumstances from the judges in the round and from the offending team/speaker/coach.
(3) As soon as possible the Subcommittee shall decide by a simple majority of the subcommittee members whether a violation of the evidence code occurred, and whether to declare the offending team ineligible to advance to the elimination rounds. The polling shall be by secret ballot. Tournament records of the teams shall not be considered as mitigating circumstances.
(4) The coach of the offending team shall be notified as soon as possible. In the case of a less than unanimous decision of the Subcommittee, he or she may appeal the decision to the National Committee.
(5) In the case of such an appeal, the Chair shall call an emergency meeting of the National Committee. The Chair of the Subcommittee on Appeals shall present the results of the Subcommittee’s investigation. The judges and/or coach of the offending team shall then have the opportunity to address the Committee.
(6) The Committee shall then vote by secret ballot on the appeal. A vote of two-thirds of committee members present and voting is necessary to overturn the decision of the Subcommittee.
(7) Persons whose teams are involved in the debate round in question or whose teams would profit from a successful challenge shall not vote in any of these deliberations. When these persons are members of the Subcommittee on Appeals, the Chair of the National Committee may appoint temporary replacements to adjudicate the case.
b. When a case of evidence challenge is referred to the Director following an elimination round:
(1) The Director shall forward the challenge to the Subcommittee on Appeals along with the copy of the evidence.
(2) The Subcommittee shall investigate the soliciting of statements on the claimed offense and/or mitigating circumstances from the judges in the round and from the offending team/speaker/coach.
(3) The Subcommittee shall decide as soon as possible by a simple majority of the Subcommittee polled by secret ballot whether a violation of the evidence code occurred and whether to declare the offending team ineligible to advance.
(4) Persons whose teams are involved in the debate round in question or whose teams would profit from a successful challenge shall not vote in any of these deliberations.
C. Procedure for Appeal of Operational Decisions. The following govern review under Article VI, Section B of the Charter:
1. Eligibility and Participation Decisions. Decisions in preparation for the tournament with regard to Standing Rules II and III shall be handled before the start of the tournament.
a. Emergency procedure.
(1) All such appeals must be communicated to the Chair of the National Committee three days prior to the first day of the tournament competition. In consultation with the Director, the Chair will determine if the matter can be reviewed after all parties arrive at the tournament site or if an email conference and/or conference call is required.
(2) The Chair shall then bring the matter before the Subcommittee on Appeals whose Chair shall be responsible for gathering whatever information is necessary to review the appeal.
(3) Through a meeting, email conference, or conference call which includes the appellant, the Director, and any involved parties if those parties so desire, the Subcommittee shall reach a decision. The decision of the Subcommittee is final for the National Tournament operation.
b. Appeal of the Subcommittee Decision. If either the Director or the appellant wish the decision of the Subcommittee reviewed after the tournament, the procedures of Standing Rule VII.C.3. will be followed.
2. During the tournament, the Director shall take no action which he or she believes will depart from normal operating procedures of the NDT, without first contacting the coaches of the teams involved. When the Director believes his or her action will depart from normal operating procedures of the NDT, he or she shall consult with a three-person Tournament Procedures Advisory Subcommittee of the National Committee.
3. Tournament Operation Procedures. Decisions of the Director during the tournament including those in Standing Rules IV, V, and VI are not appealable at the tournament.
a. Any party with objection to the procedures under these Standing Rules shall, after the tournament, write to the Chair of the National Committee explaining the nature of and justification for the objection, including specification of the rule violated.
b. The Chair shall refer the matter to the Subcommittee on Appeals who shall review the matter including interviews with appellant(s), the offended party(ies), and the Director.
c. The Subcommittee shall then report back to the National Committee including with their report any suggested Committee actions.
d. The Chair of the National Committee shall respond to the appellant notifying him or her of the Subcommittee’s findings and any National Committee actions with regard to the appeal.
4. Appeals of Precedent Setting Decisions of the Director:
a. Each year the Director’s report to the National Committee shall include information on any interpretations or decisions which would become applicable to future tournaments. The National Committee will then consider these for incorporation into the Standing Rules.
b. Anyone can bring to the attention of the National Committee interpretations or decisions of the Director which he or she considers potentially precedent setting.
(1) Appeals of such decisions should be addressed to the Chair of the National Committee and should explain the nature and justification for the appeal.
(2) The Chair of the National Committee shall report in writing to the appellant on the Committee’s review and action.
Rule VIII: Topic Selection. In any year that the CEDA topic selection process includes the following elements:
1.The CEDA topic release date is no later than August 15, and,
2. The topic area ballot announcement date is no later than May 1, The NDT will use a topic parallel to the Fall CEDA topic. The Topic Committee will develop alternate wordings for any CEDA topics the NDT Topic Committee feels should be reworded as soon as possible within two weeks of the final CEDA ballot release. Should the NDT Topic Committee not write a parallel wording for the chosen CEDA topic, the CEDA wording will be used. If the topic release dates and the final ballot announcement dates above are not met and if CEDA releases their problem area by June 1, then the NDT Topic Committee shall draft topics consistent with that area.
A. Director of topic selection.
1. Election: The Director of Topic Selection will be elected by the NDT Committee.
2. Term of Office: 3 year term, limited to two consecutive terms.
3. Duties of Office:
a. Coordinate writing of topic papers and wording of topics with the CEDA Topic Selection Committee.
b. Chair the Topic Selection Committee.
c. The Director of Topic Selection shall serve as the NDT representative to the CEDA Topic Selection Committee in cases where such a position is made available by CEDA
B. Topic Selection Committee: 5 members to serve two-year staggered terms.
1. Representative drawn from District one or nine, elected by the dues-paying membership of Districts one and nine, in odd years.
2. Representative drawn from District three or four, elected by the dues-paying membership of Districts three and four, in even years.
3. Representative drawn from District five or six, elected by the dues-paying membership of Districts five and six, in odd years.
4. Representative drawn from District seven or eight, elected by the dues-paying membership of Districts seven and eight, in even years.
5. Junior college representative, appointed by Phi Rho Pi, in odd years.
Rule IX: Amendment.
A. These Standing Rules may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the AFA NDT Committee, or a simple majority in two consecutive academic years.
B. Amendments to the Standing Rules shall take effect according to the following guidelines:
1. Amendments adopted in accordance with VIII.A. prior to January 15 shall take effect at that academic year’s tournament.
2. Amendments adopted in accordance with VIII.A. after January 15 shall take effect at the following academic year’s tournament, unless the emergency clause of the Charter is invoked.
C. It shall be the duty of the Committee Parliamentarian, in consultation with the Director of the National Debate Tournament, to codify these rules so as to incorporate amendments adopted during each academic year. The Parliamentarian shall report such codification to the NDT Committee at its first meeting of the ensuing year.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 6, 1993, Evanston, Illinois. Revisions incorporated by Arnie Madsen and verified by Frank Harrison, NDT Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 19 and 20, 1993, Miami, Florida. Revisions incorporated and verified by Arnie Madsen, NDT Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 13, 1994, Evanston, Illinois. Revisions clarified by the National Debate Tournament Committee, March 17, 1994, Louisville, Kentucky. Revisions incorporated and verified by Arnie Madsen, NDT Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 18, 1994, New Orleans, Louisiana. Revisions incorporated and verified by Arnie Madsen, NDT Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 12, 1995, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Revisions incorporated and verified by Arnie Madsen, NDT Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 17, 1995, San Antonio, Texas. Revisions incorporated by Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 10, 1996, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Revisions incorporated by Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, March 28, 1996, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Revisions incorporated by Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 22, 1996, San Diego, California. Revisions incorporated by Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 19, 1997, Chicago, Illinois. Revisions incorporated by Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 3, 1999, Chicago, Illinois. Frank Harrison, Secretary; David Hingstman, Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Committee, Oct. 31, 2001, Atlanta, GA. Latest revisions added February 5, 2002 per notice from David Hingstman
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 3, 1999, Chicago, Illinois. Revisions incorporated by David Hingstman, Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, Oct. 31, 2001, Atlanta, GA. Revisions incorporated by David Hingstman, Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 5, 2002, Evanston, Illinois. Revisions incorporated by David Hingstman, Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 20, 2002, New Orleans, LA. Revisions incorporated by David Hingstman, Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, April 2, 2003, Atlanta, GA. Revisions incorportated by David Hingstman, Parliamentarian.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, passed at Northwestern University meeting, February 8, 2003 Revisions incorporated by David Hingstman, Parliamentarian.
Revisions incorporated by Cate Palczewski, Chair.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, passed Miami FL, November 19, 2003.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, November 15, 2006, San Antonio, TX. Revisions incorporated by Timothy O’Donnell, Chair.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, March 27, 2008, Fullerton, CA. Revisions incorporated by Timothy O’Donnell, Chair.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, March 26, 2009, Austin, TX. Revisions incorporated by Timothy O’Donnell, Chair.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 6, 2010, Austin, TX. Revisions incorporated by Timothy O’Donnell, Chair.