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South Florida NSDA District Qualifier

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South Florida NSDA District

Virtual - Qualifier For NSDA Nationals

Friday – Saturday – February 26th – 27th 2021


Dear Coach,


Happy New Year!


It’s time to plan your entry for the 2021 South Florida NSDA District Qualifier Tournament for NSDA Nationals!  This event will be held Virtually via SpeechWire and NSDA Campus  on Friday, February 26, 2021 – Student Congress Tournament and Saturday, February 27, 2021 – Speech & Debate Tournament.


This tournament determines our district’s congress, speech, and debate event qualifiers to the NSDA Virtual National Championship to be held June 13-19.  NSDA District Tournament entry procedures and event rules are different from CFL and FFL tournaments; please expect to meet all of the requirements established by NSDA. The NSDA staff will audit the entire tournament. Our failure to follow NSDA procedures could result in the invalidation of our results, so it is imperative you meet all deadlines and follow all NSDA rules. The District Committee must follow and enforce NSDA policies!


The South Florida NSDA District will be running pilot events in 2021.






--Entries, Fees, Drops, Rules:  Tournament Director – Carol Cecil ccecil@dadeschools.net or ccecil03@gmail.com   

--Day of Tournament Emergencies:  Carol Cecil’s Cell  -  (305) 342-9485





Entry will take place on www.SpeechWire.com   You must have a SpeechWire account to register for the South Florida NSDA District Tournament. 





SpeechWire student accounts are required for participation at the South Florida NSDA District Qualifier. Here are some helpful videos for addressing this task.

Creating student accounts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcGivaEKSuk

Judges will have to complete ballots online.

Completing electronic ballots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJXxeVS-KgM

Preview & Test NSDA Campus here: https://campus.speechanddebate.org









Only schools that are members of the NSDA (paid – in full with no outstanding fees) and their students who are members of the NSDA (must have a minimum of 25 NSDA points on record at least 7 days prior to the event) may participate at this tournament.  Eligibility requirements are discussed in more detail a little later in the invite.  Also, please remember that a school-approved adult must accompany students to the tournament (yes even a virtual tournament) and remain “on site”/”online” for the entire competition.  If the school-approved adult is NOT the Head Coach or Assistant Coach on record with the league, then a letter signed by the school principal and printed on school stationery MUST be submitted with the school’s entry.  The letter needs to specifically name the adult in charge.  The penalty for failing to submit this document is disqualification of all contestants from the school involved.




NUMBER OF ENTRIES PER SCHOOL: To confirm the maximum number of entries your school is allowed in Speech/Debate and Congress, log in to your NSDA account and select "District Info" on the left-side menu. Then, scroll down to the "Schools in the South Florida district" heading. On the far right are the number of Debate/Speech Slots, Senate Slots, and House Slots, each school is allowed.


CONGRESS: Each active school is allowed a maximum of two Senate entries. However, the number of House entries a school is allowed varies, depending on the overall strength of a program.


CONGRESS - NUMBER OF QUALIFIERS & CHAMBERS: The NSDA Congress features two separate competitions: a Senate and a House.



If fewer than 8 schools attend, no Senate will be held; if 8 or more schools attend, then 2 students qualify.



A district must have a minimum of 16 competitors to seat a House of Representatives. Refer to the chart below to determine number of House chambers and advancement to the National House (note that the number of students is based on participation - speaking or presiding at least once):

  • 16-29 entries = 2 qualifiers
  • 30-58 entries = 4 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 59-87 entries = 6 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 88-116 entries = 7 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 117-145 entries = 8 qualifiers out of Supers
  • 146+ entries  = 9 qualifiers out of Supers

ENTERING "FILLERS" IN CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED, to allow our district to send as many legislators as possible to the NSDA national championship. In other words, PLEASE FILL ALL YOUR AVAILABLE HOUSE SLOTS.  Students who are acting as fillers in all events including Congress must attend the tournament!


Schools are NOT required to enter students in the Senate. However, the Senate entry allowance of two (2) may NOT be transferred to the House. Remember that 8 schools must enter the Senate or everyone in the South Florida NSDA District will lose their Senate entries.


Chamber Assignments:

Coaches will pre-designate Senate entries (maximum of two) during registration. The assignment of entries to prelim Houses will be determined by blind draw.


SPEECH/DEBATE: The number of Speech/Debate entries a school is allowed also varies, depending on the overall strength of a program. However, each school is capped at four entries per event. 

Because SpeechWire is not designed to allow various overall caps, we are incorporating a waitlist for all entries, so the South Florida district committee members can verify the students being entered have 25+ NSDA points and are paid members. On your NSDA roster, this is indicated by a blue checkmark in the "District Eligible" column.

We will also email a complete list of the entry caps per school after tournament registration is open, and will send updated numbers between then and the close of registration.  You may enter “Fillers” for Speech & Debate Events.  Please only enter students that can actually attend the qualifying tournament online.



  • 4 entries = 2 qualifiers
  • 10 entries = 3 qualifiers
  • 20 entries and up = 4 qualifiers



There is a space on the entry form to place additional students on a reserve entry list. In the event that a student becomes ill or cannot attend, a substitute may be chosen from the reserve list. If the substitute is not listed, the coach must produce a letter from the principal certifying the eligibility of the substitute contestant. A $1 fee is charged for each substitution. No substitutions may be made after the close of final registration on the day of the District Tournament.

Any school that has 2 entries in EVERY event (PD, LD, PFD, UX, IX, OO, HI, DI, DUO, INFO, POI) who actually compete by participating in at least one round earns 2 bonus entries above its member & degree allocation. The bonus slots can be used in any event, but the limit of 4 entry slots in each event still applies.




As mentioned earlier - Only NSDA members in good standing are allowed to participate in the district tournament. It is the affirmative duty of each coach to provide proof of NSDA membership for each student entered in the district contest. The district committee must disqualify any nonā€member student from competition.


a. Students must be members seven days or 168 hours prior to the official start time of the contest. All necessary points and fees must be submitted to the national office by this deadline. Please take time prior to this deadline to update all of your points on the NSDA website. If you are having difficulties with point entry, please reach out to any of the South Florida NSDA District Committee members. They are more than happy to help.

b. A student may not have attended a secondary school more than nine semesters and must meet the age/eligibility requirements of his or her state activities association.  Each contestant who elects to participate in more than one NSDA event must complete the "Single Entry Letter of Intent Form." This includes students who compete at the South Florida NSDA District Speech & Debate Tournament and are also competing at this tournament. On this form, students must designate which event they will compete in at nationals if they qualify in multiple events. This step is necessary because students may only compete in one event at nationals. These decisions must be made in advance, and the choice must be affirmed by signature of the student, parent, coach, and principal.  All intent letters are due with entry forms; any double-entered student who does not have a completed intent form will be disqualified. 












In any given year at the National Tournament, any student who places in the top 14 in any main event, has not completed more than six semesters of high school, and is still enrolled in high school (as a student in good standing) may enter the following year’s National Tournament in the same solo event or in the same team event with the same partner. The district will permit an auto-qualified student to participate in the district contest and to double enter as specified by the district’s uniform double-entry policies. No rule regarding double entry may be violated by auto-qualification. The entry must indicate acceptance of the auto-qualification through his or her Single Entry Letter of Intent prior to its district competition. The district chair should notify the national office of acceptance of the auto-qualification in reporting district results. A student who accepts auto-qualification may double-enter based on rules above but must sign the single letter of intent, which is binding, in favor of the event of their auto-qualification. If the entry signs the single letter of intent and rejects auto-qualification, the results of the district contest are binding.

For the 2021 National Tournament only, the NSDA Board of Directors has decided to expand competition opportunities to more member students and schools by implementing the following change to supplemental events. Every member school that participates in the district tournament series will have the opportunity to enter up to two non-qualifying students in supplemental events at the online 2021 National Tournament. These students must have attended the district tournament but not earned qualification in any event. This applies to every school that participated in the district tournament, regardless of whether they qualified other students to the National Tournament, and it only applies to the 2021 National Tournament.


There are only two required documents that must be filled out and submitted by coaches for registration:

(1) The School Consent Form

(2) The Single Entry Letter of Intent

Both of these items are in the "Files for Download" section of the SpeechWire tournament registration page.



Students that participate in the South Florida NSDA District Congress Tournament are still eligible to double enter in the District Speech/Debate Tournament. The Congress national qualifier is a separate tournament.


a. Students may only enter one debate event at the District Tournament [Big Questions Debate, Policy Debate, Lincoln Douglas Debate, or Public Forum Debate].

b. Students may enter in one PARTNERED debate event [Policy Debate or Public Forum Debate] as partners and Duo Interpretation as the same partnership. A student may not enter a PARTNERED debate event and duo with different partners.  

c. If the student qualifies in a PARTNERED event (Public Forum Debate, Policy Debate, or Duo Interpretation) and a SOLO event, the student must attend Nationals in the partnered event unless:

  • two students are entered in a team event as partners and both also qualify in an individual event, these students may choose to enter the individual event at the National Tournament if, pre-registered on the “Single Entry Letter of Intent” form prior to the ending of the District Tournament pre-registration; or
  • two students are entered in a team debate event as partners (and qualify to Nationals) and the same partnership also qualifies in duo, these students may choose to enter ONE of the team events (as partners) at the National Tournament, if pre-registered on the “Single Entry Letter of Intent” form prior to the ending of the District Tournament in which the students will potentially double qualify.


Each contestant who elects to participate in more than one event must complete the "Single Entry Letter of Intent Form." This includes students who compete at the South Florida NSDA District Congress Tournament and are also competing in the Speech & Debate Tournament the next day.  On this form, students must designate which event they will compete in at nationals if they qualify in multiple events. This step is necessary because students may only compete in one event at nationals. These decisions must be made in advance, and the choice must be affirmed by signature of the student, parent, coach, and principal. All intent letters are due with entry forms; any double-entered student who does not have a completed intent form will be disqualified. STUDENTS INTERESTED IN BEING PART OF SOUTH FLORIDA NSDA'S WORLD SCHOOLS DEBATE TEAMS MUST INCLUDE WSD ON THEIR LETTER OF INTENT, EVEN IF THEY ONLY REGISTER FOR A SINGLE EVENT THAT FRIDAY OR SATURDAY.



We need judges!  We cannot have a district tournament without judges.  Schools must cover judge obligations or hire a judge.  Hired judge fees are $100/judge.  The NSDA requires we use unaffiliated judges and parliamentarians in Congress. "Unaffiliated" means there are judges available with no one from their school in a specific chamber. NOTE: for 2020-21 district competitions only, the NSDA has approved affiliated judges - with the exceptions that parliamentarians must be unaffiliated, and all judges in any final round must be unaffiliated. No student should have more than one unaffiliated judge in their chamber in a session.


ANY ASSISTANCE THAT COACHES CAN OFFER IN PROVIDING "UNAFFILIATED" JUDGES WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED FOR BOTH CONGRESS (FRI) AND SPEECH & DEBATE (SAT). College-age judges are permitted at the discretion of the District Committee. Current high school students may not judge any portion of the district tournament series.


For student congress each chamber must have two scorers and a parliamentarian per session.


The South Florida NSDA District Committee reserves the right to have coaches judge rounds and to use judges in pools other than those in which they are designated. If you have extra judges or know of community judges who would like to help us, please let us know! It is also possible judges will be "shared" between pools if need be.

Please consider your judging options carefully! If you have a judge whom you know cannot be objective ... LEAVE THAT PERSON AT HOME – OR IN THIS CASE IN THE VIRTUAL WAITING ROOM! This is a high-stakes tournament. For some schools and students, NSDA Nationals is the most important tournament of the year, and the NSDA District Tournament is thus the second most important tournament. As a community of dedicated coaches, we ought to have enough respect for one another and enough consideration for students from other schools to eliminate untrained or biased judges from our rosters. It reflects poorly on your school and your integrity when you place poorly qualified or prejudiced judges into the pool.


Information on judging NSDA events can be found here: https://www.speechanddebate.org/judge-training/








1.  Flat School Fee  – $50

2.  Student Entry Fee - $5/student

3.  Uncovered Judge Fee - $100/judge


Checks should be made payable to Bulldog Debate and mailed in advance to:


Bulldog Debate

2423 SW 147 AVE

Box 144

Miami, FL 33185


If a school does not pay in advance they will not be permitted to participate in the tournament.  Please plan accordingly and submit your requests to your bookkeepers with enough time. 











Policy Debate                           U.S. Extemp                                        Dramatic Interp. (Asynchronous)                      

Lincoln Douglas Debate          International Extemp                           Humorous Interp. (Asynchronous)                      

Public Forum Debate               Original Oratory (Asynchronous)        Duo Interp. (Asynchronous)

Student Congress                     Informational   (Asynchronous)           Program Oral Interp. (Asynchronous)





FOR DEBATE EVENTS: - this may be subject to change – we are reviewing to make sure that this is what is best for our NSDA District – if it does change we will publish all changes well in advance. 

  • Minimum four prelim rounds (unless there are only four entries; in this case, running three rounds is acceptable)
  • 1 judge for prelim rounds, 3 judges for elim rounds
  • Judges need to start including points for prelim debate rounds since it's not a 2-down system. Half-points are allowed.
  • Rounds 1-2 are random preset; rounds 3+ are powered
  • We need to run elim debate rounds - either all entries with a winning record or only teams with zero or one losses. These go into a single-elimination bracket. Rounds are held until we are at the two finalists (since those two entries are our national representatives).
  • Debate Events (PF, LD, CX, BQ): Debate events must be held live. NSDA evidence rules must be followed, but no specific method of file sharing is mandated. In partner events, partners may either compete together in the same room or from two different locations. Partners may share a device or use two separate devices.
  • Students competing in debate events must follow these rules. Rulings (answering questions or hearing protests) about this language will be made by the District Committee: “Competitors may not use green screens, virtual backdrops, on-screen text, or professional equipment enhancements such as professional lighting kits or professional grade camera recording and audio devices during their performance in any event. Professional equipment includes items like softboxes or an auditorium’s lighting system; use of these items is not permitted. Backdrops of a solid color with no special markings may be used by competitors and judges.”



Policy Debate:             Prep time is 8 minutes per team. The tournament will use the 2020-2021

            National Topic.


Resolved: The United States federal government should enact substantial criminal justice reform in the United States in one or more of the following: forensic science, policing, sentencing.



Lincoln Douglas:         Prep time is 4 minutes per debater. The tournament will use the NSDA January/February topic.


Resolved: States ought to ban lethal autonomous weapons



Public Forum:              Prep time is 3 minutes per team. The tournament will use the NSDA February topic. Judges

must conduct the coin toss. Contestants should stand for Crossfire but sit for Grand Crossfire. 


Resolved: On balance, the benefits of urbanization in West Africa outweigh the harms.



World Schools Debate:  -  Please complete this Google Form - https://forms.gle/fKnUo2HAXnrbnmQ59


Districts may send up to two (2) "World Schools Debate" teams to the National Tournament. Teams are comprised of three to five members from each district opting to participate. After the entire district tournament series (speech, debate, congress) is complete, any student who competed at districts would be eligible for participation on the World Schools District Team. Districts must provide one full-time judge for each team that competes at the National Tournament.


The South Florida NSDA District WSD application process is as follows:


- Students must rank WSD on the NSDA Letter of Intent (the higher the better) and must compete at the South Florida NSDA District qualifier (in any event)

- Your South Florida NSDA District committee will review students who have prioritized WSD

- Your South Florida NSDA District committee will discuss the applicants, including their past WSD experience (NSDA, FFL, PBCFL, independents, etc.)

- Attempts will be made to keep students from the same school together as part of a specific team

A more detailed breakdown of these options, along with additional information, can be found in the USA World Schools Debate Invitation Manual.


Big Questions Debate Resolved: Mathematics was discovered, not invented.


Big Questions Debate is a new event being promoted by the NSDA. There is a single topic for the year. It's a fairly short 1-on-1 debate. There are no per-school limits on the BQD qualifier. BQD also does not count against overall school entry limits in the district tournament. 





FOR INTERP/SPEECH EVENTS: - this may be subject to change – we are reviewing to make sure that this is what is best for our NSDA District – if it does change we will publish all changes well in advance. 

  • Minimum three speech prelim rounds
  • 1 judge for prelim rounds, 3 judges for elim rounds
  • Any event with 8+ entries must break to elims
  • Quarterfinals for 22+ entries in an event
  • Semifinals if 15-21 entries in an event
  • Asynchronous Speech Requirements (DI, Duo, HI, Info, OO, POI): Students competing in asynchronous events must follow these rules, used at the National Tournament, while recording their performances. Rulings (answering questions or hearing protests) about this language will be made by the District Committee. “Submissions or recordings may not be edited using any software; all submissions must be non-stop footage of the entire performance done through the permitted submission platform. The camera being used must remain stationary throughout the entire performance, and no zooming or panning is permitted. Other individuals may be present while filming, but audience interaction (laughing, applause, etc.) must not be included in the performance.”



Each member school has an affirmative responsibility to review the rules that are published by NSDA. Specifically, all coaches should go to the NSDA website and review the most recent NSDA Unified High School Manual. Coaches should make the event-specific rules and judging guidelines available for their students and judges so everyone knows what to expect. Coaches have an affirmative duty to verify their students’ interpretation pieces, informative speeches, and oratories conform to NSDA publication guidelines. Coaches should also confirm that their debaters’ case citations conform to NSDA citation guidelines. All of this information is available in the publication mentioned above.





Extemporaneous Speaking:


The District Committee reserves the right to use separate prep rooms for USX and IX; please plan accordingly. The District Committee will make every effort to secure an independent and qualified individual to write the district tournament questions. Contestants may be disqualified for using illegal materials. There might be cross-examination in the final USX and IX rounds.





STUDENT CONGRESS:  will follow the NSDA Congress Manual.  We are required to have a minimum of six bills/resolutions in prelims for debate. There will be a separate legislative packet for the House final round.


When a bill or resolution comes up for debate, any student from the school that submitted the legislation may give an authorship speech. If no one from the school that authored the legislation is present in the chamber, then debate will begin with a first affirmative speech.


A full-text docket of preliminary round legislation and House will be posted on SpeechWire by Wednesday, February 10th.



*** Each school entering Congressional Debate is encouraged, but not required, to submit one legislative item for the agenda. The full text of these bills - bearing ONLY the school name (not the name of an author) must be submitted as a Word attachment to Carol Cecil at ccecil@dadeschools.net or ccecil03@gmail.com     Legislation is Due – Friday – February 5, 2021


































1. Electronic Devices: All applicable rules are part of the NSDA High School Unified Manual, which is available on the NSDA website. It is imperative that all coaches and competitors be familiar with this manual.

2. Forfeit Rule: Each round will be posted with a start time. Any contestant who fails to appear in the assigned contest room 15 minutes after the posted start time will forfeit that round, receiving either a loss (in debate events) or last place (in all other events). The district committee has the right to waive this penalty.

3. Wrong Room: Any contestant who speaks in the wrong room through no fault of the tournament staff shall receive a loss (in debate events) or last place (in all other events).

4. Tab Room: The tab room is open to all coaches of record. Members of and alternates to district committee will conduct tabulation in conjunction with highly qualified coaches from our community.

5. Questions, Protests: Judges and coaches who have questions should direct them to the ballot table in the judge room.  Ballot table personnel will refer all serious issues to the tab room.

Protests must be filed in writing, in a timely manner (defined as within one hour of the end of the round in which the alleged infraction occurred). All protests will be considered by members of the District Committee (Cecil, Hamm, Lewis) who are present, or alternates selected in advance by the committee (in the event committee members are not available to be at the tournament), who shall have full power to adjudicate any protest, dispute, or interpretation of the rules. In the event of a protest involving one of the committee member’s schools, that person shall be recused.

6. Grace Period: There is a 30 second grace period for interp and speech events. If the judge(s) in the round agree(s) that the student has gone beyond the grace period, that student may not be ranked 1st, but need not be ranked last based on time. Contestants should not waive time signals if they are offered.

7. Contestant Codes: All contestants will be assigned an alphanumeric code. School names will not be used or posted. Judges shall not ask contestants to identify their school affiliation.

8. Informative and Oratory: These scripts must be available the district tournament. The script should identify the quoted materials, state the number of quoted words, include a work cited page in APA or MLA format, and both the competitor and coach must attest by signature that the piece is the original work of the contest. See the NSDA High School Unified Manual for complete speech and interp event script rules, including source verification.

9. Interp: All interpers must read the NSDA publication rules. Each interp entry must supply information about the piece on the entry form [title, author(s), ISBN/URL]. Under penalty of disqualification, contestants must perform the pieces listed. All interpers should bring a copy of their script and proof of publication to the tournament in case of protest; failure to do so risks disqualification. See the NSDA High School Unified Manual for complete speech and interp event script rules, including source verification.


Manager contact information

Carol Cecil
Email address: ccecil@dadeschools.net
Phone number: 3053429485

Mailing address

2423 SW 147th AVE #144
Miami, FL 33185

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