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FFL Novice State and FFL Middle School State

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This is a High School tournament in Florida.

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2021 Florida Forensic League Novice State  
April 10-11, 2021
Online Tournament 
2021 Florida Forensic League Middle School State 
April 10, 2021
Online Tournament 

March 22, 2021

Dear FFL Coaches,

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to provide the following information regarding the 2021 NOVICE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT.  Students will compete on  SAT. APRIL 10TH  & SUN. APRIL 11TH  and the 2021 MIDDLE SCHOOL TOURNAMENT (Please note - the Middle School Tournamnet will have some different rules and that information will be posted on the Middle School Invite which can be downloaded) This event will be held at Virtually via SpeechWire and NSDA Campus

Please remember that the Novice State Tournament is only open to those member schools that actually competed with at least one student in a Regional Qualifying tournament.  Schools that do not meet the above requirement will be unable to register for the tournament.  Registration will take place via www.speechwire.com

Please read the information in this invitation carefully.  You must adhere to ALL deadlines—failure to do so will result in the penalties listed.  We are committed to running an efficient and on-time event, but we will only be successful if all member schools follow the published requirements. 

Good luck to your novices on their preparations for the tournament.  I look forward to seeing you in April!

Yours very truly,

Carol Lynne Cecil

President, Florida Forensic League, Inc.

2021 Novice State Championship Tournament Director


Questions on Competition, Rules, Judges                             

 Tournament Director:  Carol Cecil                             


G. Holmes Braddock                                                  

3601 SW 147th Ave                                                     

Miami, Florida 33185                                                  

305-225-9729 (School)                                                

305-342-9485 (Cell – Coaches Only)                                                  


***Email is the preferred method of contact for all questions and concerns. ***  



In order to register for this tournament, a school must:

1.  Hold membership in the Florida Forensic League for the 2020-2021 school year, AND

2.  Attend and compete at least one (1) student at the regional qualifying tournament in the region to which the school was assigned. 

Any school that registers for Novice State without meeting the above requirements will be notified that its students are ineligible to compete.

Middle School Tournament will have different requirements then listed above.  This will be detailed on the Middle School Invitation that is available for download.


From the Standing Rules of the Florida Forensic League:


In order to compete at the Novice State Tournament, students must meet all of the following requirements:

1.         The student must not have competed at any previous Novice State Tournament.

2.         The student must not have competed in more than five high school tournaments during any

previous school years.

3.         The student must not have begun the current school year with 25 or more High School

NSDA points and, therefore, must not have obtained High School NSDA membership prior to the current school year. If NSDA points are not recorded for the student, the Head Coach or Assistant Coach should contact the President to determine the student's eligibility.

To be clear the Novice State Tournament is for beginning students in High School.  We have specifically created a middle school tournament to solve for the previous issues related to Novice State eligibility. 

Please note that a student’s novice eligibility is not affected by his/her performance in the 2021 regional qualifying and State Championship tournaments.  In theory, a novice could compete at regionals, qualify to the State Championship Tournament, win a State Championship, and still compete at Novice State!


This tournament offers competition in the following twelve events:  TD, LD, PF, SC, OO, DEC, MX, HI, DI, DUO, POI, and INF.  Due to a new rule change – an event must have 6 competitors/teams registered for the event to be considered viable.  If an event drops below 6 entries - that event will not be held.  The Executive Board will examine numbers for events on Thursday, April 1, 2021.  If at that time an event does not have at least 6 entries, then the event will be closed and not held at the 2021 Novice State Tournament.  Double-entry is permitted but only under limited circumstances; see below in the section on double-entry for more information.  Each member school is entitled to a maximum of six (6) entries in each event.  Schools with a membership supplement may bring an additional four (4) entries in each event, but these entries must consist of students in the ninth grade.  Schools with supplements will have their additional students waitlisted and then cleared by the VP of Operations or the President of the League.


Free double-entry is a membership benefit provided to all member schools.  However, there is no double entry in TD, LD, PF, and Student Congress.  Double entry is permitted in all other combinations of events.  For Novice State, each school is limited to a maximum of five (5) double-entered students.  A supplement school gets an additional five (5) double-entered students, but these entries must consist of students in the ninth grade.   


The By Laws and Standing Rules of Florida Forensic League, Inc. shall govern the operation of this event. All coaches and students are responsible for reviewing the rules in the Governing Documents. Questions about rules should be addressed to the President, who serves as the Tournament Director for the State Championship.

All Events:         


Laptop Computers

Since the 2021 Novice State Tournament is virtual, all students will be using laptops or tablets and will be connected to the internet. During debate rounds computers or other electronic devices may not be used to receive information (other than evidence exchange between competitors/judges/partners – during the round) from any source (coaches or assistants included) outside the virtual room in which the competition occurs. To be clear - During debate rounds, the use of e-mail, instant messaging, or other means of receiving information from sources outside the competition room are prohibited. (This does not prohibit communication between debate partners during prep time). Contestants found to have violated the provisions above may face the following actions: forfeit the round of competition and receive zero points or disqualification from the tournament and forfeiture of all rounds.  In terms of extemporaneous speaking competitors may use the internet during prep time but there may not be any use of e-mail, instant messaging, or other means of receiving information from sources outside the prep or competition room

Availability of Evidence: The FFL will be following the NSDA Rules in regards to evidence in debate events. 

Extemporaneous Speaking

In Extemporaneous Speaking, students will be permitted to use WiFi.  They must report on time to the virtual Extemp Prep Room and follow all instructions given to them by the Extemp Prep Room personnel. 

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 March/April topic.

Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee universal child care.

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

Resolved: The benefits of the International Monetary Fund outweigh the harms. 

Student Congress:    FFL will be providing a legislation packet for the Novice State Tournament

Speech Events:        Please remember that a copy of each student’s script/oration, and proof of publication when applicable, should be available in case of protest. Script information must be available on www.speechwire.com.


A school-approved adult must accompany students to the tournament (yes even a virtual tournament) and remain “on site” 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 by April 1, 2021 via email to Carol Cecil – ccecil@dadeschools.net  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.

To Be Clear Regarding A Coach or School Sanctioned Adult Being Present – If we need contact said individual – and they are not reachable – we will fine the school $25 per instance - whomever is responsible for the team during the Novice State Tournament needs to be available via zoom/cell/text and after the 3rd instance of not be able to contact the coach or school sanctioned adults we remove the team from the tournament.  If the coach/school sanctioned adult is non-responsive and this involves a protest against their school the protest(s) will automatically be ruled upon if the adult can’t be found.


1.  SpeechWire  will be used to submit entries and judges for Novice State.  By rule, only the Head Coach or Assistant Coach of a member school may register for that school.  Entries submitted from accounts opened or maintained by anyone other than a registered coach will be deleted.

2.  Entries will be accepted on www.speechwire.com  beginning MONDAY March 22ndFrom March 22nd until Wednesday, April 7th at 5:00 pm, schools can add or delete contestants, judges, and meals at will.  The website will automatically reconfigure fees as changes are submitted. 

3.  Schools with a membership supplement will enter both main and supplement entries as one school on the website.  Failure to follow this procedure will result in deletion of the second school.  Note that the 7th – 10th entries in an event will initially be placed on a waitlist. 

4.  At 5:00 pm on Tuesday, April 6th   registration will close. 

            --No adds will be accepted after this date. 

            --Fees will also be calculated.  Drops after this date will forfeit the entry fee.

5.  From 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 7th  to noon on Thursday, April 8th  all contestant drops, contestant name changes, and judge changes must be emailed to Carol Cecil (ccecil@dadeschools.net) and Dario Camara (dcamara@gmail.com ).  Receipt of emailed changes will be acknowledged and the SpeechWire website will be updated to reflect those changes.  Coaches will be able to log in to www.speechwire.com   to view their entry and invoice, but will not be able to make changes themselves.  Please note that changes made after April 6th  at 5:00 pm will incur additional penalty fees beyond forfeiture of entry fees. 


Monday, March 22:                              Entry period begins on www.speechwire.com  

Wed, March 24:                                   Student Congress legislation released on FFL website

Thurs, April 01:                                   Last day to submit supervising adult letter

Tuesday, April 6th @ 5:00 pm:             Entry period ends—no adds allowed; drops forfeit entry fee                   Last Day To Drop Without Penalty Beyond Forfeiture Of Entry Fees Before 5PM

Thursday, April 7 @ 5:00 pm:              Forfeit entry fee + $15.00 drop fee

Friday, April 9 @ Noon:                      Final drop deadline— forfeit entry fee + $30.00 drop fee




Student Fee:  $20.00 per student 

(TD, PF, Duo count as 2; World Schools = same as # of students in group; double entries count as 1 only)


Drops 5:00 pm Tues., April 6th  to 5:00 pm Thurs., April 8th:  forfeit entry fee

Drops 5:00 pm Thurs., April 8th to Noon on Fri., April 9th :    forfeit entry fee + $15.00 drop fee

Drop after Noon on Fri., April 9th  or at registration:              forfeit entry fee + $30.00 drop fee

Unreported drop discovered at tournament:                            forfeit entry fee + $50.00 drop fee

Yes, these drop fees are punitive.  Drops, especially those just before the tournament, interfere with our ability to run an on-time event.   

Judge changes after 5:00 pm on Tues, April 6th :                      $10.00 fee per change

Failure to bring written documentation of a

student judge’s 250+ NSDA points to registration:                 $10.00 fee per student judge

Missed judge calls:                                                                   $10.00 per instance

NSDA Points Qualifications May Also Be Emailed To Carol Cecil – ccecil@dadeschools.net


You may mail your fees in advance!  You May also pay your fees online using Venmo – Please email – Carol Cecil – ccecil@dadeschools.net if you need the link.

When mailing fees, please do not send anything requiring a signature or Jennifer having to go to the Post Office. Jennifer will not go to the Post Office to retrieve fees.

Please Mail Fees To:

Make Check Payable To:  Florida Forensic League

Jennifer Sandman

13424 Swansea Avenue

Windermere, FL 34786


This is a tournament where Juniors and Seniors with a minimum of 250 NSDA points are permitted to judge.  You may provide proof of NSDA points by submitting  NSDA Points via email to Carol Cecil – ccecil@dadeschools.net by Wednesday, April 7, 2021  

The following judge quotas and requirements are in effect:

Policy Debate:                                         1 judge for every 2 teams or fraction thereof

 Policy judges must submit a judge philosophy on the website by Fri., 4/2/21. Philosophies should be submitted on (https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml)

Lincoln Douglas Debate:                          1 judge for every 2 debaters or fraction thereof

***LD judges must submit a judge philosophy on the website by Fri., 4/2/21. Philosophies should be submitted on (https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml) 

Public Forum Debate:                              1 judge for every 2 teams or fraction thereof

***PFD judges must submit a judge philosophy on the website by Fri., 4/2/21. Philosophies should be submitted on (https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml)

Speech/IE/Congress                                1 judge for every 5 entries or fraction thereof

***A Duo team counts as 1 entry; double-entered students count as 2.

Each school’s judge quota will be determined on the www.speechwire.com  registration website. The Board of Directors asks that all coaches make themselves available to adjudicate the Final Rounds.

NOTE: As a result of the 2006 voting, the governing documents now contain this under Rule 4 (Judging Responsibilities) – Letter L: Any coach in or out of the judge pool that refuses or fails to pick up an elimination round ballot, his/her school shall be fined $50.00 and the school of the person who judges the round shall be credited $25.00.


Coaches, judges, other observing adults, contestants, and student observers shall comply with the rules set forth in the FFL Civility Code, which is available for download at www.floridaforensics.org  Please review this document with all participants from your school.



Final registration will be held at virtually on Saturday, April 610 2021.   We will provide further information as to the process and procedures.   Please note:

  1. The purpose of this registration is to confirm that your students and judges are present, online, and ready to compete   It is not a place to report drops and change judge names. That information should be communicated via E-Registration.  There are still penalties for drops and name changes made via E-Registration, but they are less than day of tournament changes.
  2. Registration should be conducted by the Head Coach or Assistant Coach for the member school. If those individuals are not available, an adult proxy may complete registration. However, that person must be able to answer all questions about a school’s entry. Students will not be permitted to register for a school. 
  3. Schools not registered by a time to be determined will be dropped from the tournament
  4. Make all fees payable to FLORIDA FORENSIC LEAGUE.


The FFL will return to the format of hosting a Spring Meeting at the conclusion of registration for the Novice State Tournament.  We were very happy to see so many coaches participate at our Spring Meeting held during the Novice State Tournament last year.  The Board of Directors feels that by conducting the meeting at the conclusion of registration, we will be able allow more time for everyone’s concerns to be voiced. 


We will publish a tentative schedule as we get closer to the event.


Manager contact information

Carol Cecil
Email address: ccecil@dadeschools.net
Phone number: (305) 342-9485

Mailing address

None provided

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