University of Houston Cougar Classic

2020 — Houston, TX/US

The University of Houston Cougar Classic

6th Annual, January 10-11, 2020


On behalf of the Speech and Debate Program, the Honors College, and the University of Houston, we would like to invite you to the 6th Annual Cougar Classic Speech & Debate Tournament at the University of Houston, which will be held on January 10th & 11th, 2019 on the main UH campus. The tournament is a TOC semifinal bid in Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate, and a finals bid in Public Forum (Silver Bid in Semifinals), and will be a TFA qualifier in all TFA events. The tournament will have all IE events on Saturday, registration for that will be done through Joy of Tournaments. We will also have a World Schools Debate division.


NEW FOR 2019:

—NIETOC Bids! The Cougar Classic is honored to be giving our NIETOC bids this year for all qualifying speech events.


All events will be held on the UH campus. All event registration will be done through Joy of Tournaments: .


We will again offer a full complement of Individual Events, Duo & Duet, and Congressional, Lincoln Douglas, Policy, and Public Forum debate. We are excited to host this tournament to showcase our team, our campus, and our commitment to a thriving culture of debate in the city of Houston and the state of Texas. Initial entries may be limited, but it is likely that the tournament will let in a substantial number of waitlist entries (please contact us with questions).



We are committed to providing an enjoyable and sustainable tournament experience for all participants. We have worked to ensure that students and coaches will feel at home and focus their energy on debate and competition. Since the majority of campus dining options will be open on this year’s weekend, we will once again be foregoing the student fee of previous years. We will provide a map of dining options on campus and their hours, and will continue to serve coffee in the mornings in designated tournament buildings. In addition, UH has a robust guest network that should easily handle any Internet access needs for tournament guests.


Please let us know if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing you on campus.




Richard A. Garner

Director, Speech & Debate


Rob Glass

Tournament Director


The Honors College

University of Houston


Twitter: @HoustonDebate

Instagram: @uhdebate





Logistics & Rules


Location & Entries

The Cougar Classic will be held entirely at the University of Houston Main Campus this year. Debate registration (Policy, LD, PF, Worlds) will be done through, which you can find here: Individual events and Congress registration will be done through Joy of Tournaments:



Houston has a large number of lodging options, and the campus is convenient to hotels in downtown, midtown, and Hobby Airport. We are working on acquiring a block of rooms at the on-campus Marriott hotel and will update the invitation with that information if one becomes available. Please email the tournament with lodging inquiries.


Judging Requirements

Teams are required to provide qualified judging to cover their entry (divisible by entries; see chart below). The tournament will offer hired judging (calculated by the whole judge), but the pool of hired judges will be limited.




Entries per judge

Hired Judge Rate




Public Forum



Lincoln Douglas








$100 will be used for all pairings, and balloting; Joy of Tournaments for all IEs respectively. For debate: all judges are required to have a account and all students should sign up for an account (to receive emails/texts with pairings and announcements).


Mutual judge preference will be used in CX & LD. Preferences will open on January 2nd and will be due at 6 pm on January 9th. All judges are committed through the octafinal debate and one round after his/her team’s elimination. Any school entered in individual events must provide a judge for every 15 individual event or Duet Acting slots. Schools with students advancing to semi-finals in speech events are required to be available for all final rounds. Judges may not count for both Debate and IE requirements.


If you know judges who would like to be hired, please share:







Entry Fee UH



Public Forum


Lincoln Douglas








Other IEs



As noted above, we are continuing our experiment with eliminating the entry fee since dining will be available on campus.


Drops: All drops after 11:55 pm on the Tuesday before the tournament (January 7th, 2020) will result in the loss of entry fees and hired judge fees until the day of the tournament.  Drops after 5:00 pm on the Thursday before the tournament (January 9th, 2020) will result in an additional $75 fee; no shows the day of the tournament will incur an additional $100 fee. Judges dropped after NOON the Wednesday before the tournament (January 10th, 2018) will incur the judge fees plus a $100 drop fee. Judges dropped on the day of the tournament will incur the judge fees plus a $200 drop fee. Judges who fail to pick up a ballot for an assigned round will incur a $50 fee for the first instance. A second instance will incur a $100 nuisance fee, plus judge drop fees, plus calculated judge fees.


Teams should pay by check or cash. We know that hosting a tournament so close to the winter break necessitates some logistical flexibility; however, due to previous non-payments, purchase orders will only be accepted with 1) prior approval from the tournament and 2) a corresponding email from the business office of your school, with the business officer CC’d so that we know they are aware of the payment and direct communication is possible. Failure to resolve all fees will render students ineligible for competition.


Make checks payable to the University of Houston.


The University’s W9 is available here:


Our mailing address:


UH Speech & Debate

The Honors College

M.D. Anderson Library

4333 University Dr.  Rm 212

Houston, TX  77204-2001


You can contact us at:


Richard A. Garner

Director, Speech & Debate

713.743.5707 (email preferable)

Rob Glass
Assistant Director of Debate


Entries & Cross-Entry

We will freeze entries at 11:55 pm on the Monday before the tournament (January 6th, 2018). Any changes after that date must be communicated to the tournament staff directly.


Debate contestants (CX/LD/PF/Worlds/Congress) may not cross-enter into other events. Individual Events patterns will be as follows:


Pattern A

FX, DX, Duet, Prose, Impromptu, Oratory, POI

Students may enter 3 events

Pattern B

Poetry, HI, DI, Informative, Duo

Students may enter 2 events


Contestants should make an effort to notify their judges when they are cross-entered. Tardiness to rounds may result in disqualification unless excused by the tabroom or tournament director.



·        TFA rules will be followed in all TFA events (see:

·        The current NSDA topics will be used in all debate events.

·        Contestants must be accompanied by a coach or an approved adult sponsor.

·        If entries from the same school meet in elimination rounds, we will not break brackets.

·        Panels will be used in all elimination rounds if possible.

·        The use of tobacco is prohibited on the UH campus including the parking lot and sidewalks. 

·        Any defacing or damaging of school property will result in instant disqualification of that student. The incident will be reported to the authorities and students may be subject to discipline.



Awards will be given to all contestants in elimination rounds. Debate speaker awards will be given to the top ten speakers in each division.  Three overall sweepstakes places will be awarded.



We will use direct questioning in finals. Congress legislation can be found in the Congress section on the TFA website. Congress legislation will be debated as follows:


Prelims: Items 1-15

Finals:  Items 16-30



IEs/Congress Schedule


Note: This schedule may be adjusted depending on final room scheduling arrangements. Please check back prior to the tournament for the finalized schedule.



Individual Events & Congress



7:00 AM    


8:00 AM     

Round 1, Pattern A


Congress Prelims

9:45 AM    

Round 1, Pattern B


Round 2, A

12:45 PM  

Round 2, B

1:30 PM

Congress Finals

2:30 PM    

Semi-Finals, A

4:00 PM    

Semi-Finals, B

5:15 PM    

Finals, A

6:15 PM    

Finals, B




Debate Schedule



Debate (Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum)



8:00 am

Round 1 (Preset)

10:15 am

Round 2 (Preset)

Dates & Deadlines

Tournament 1/10 to 1/11
Reg Opens 1/6 5:00P
Reg Close 1/7 11:55P
Fees Frozen 1/7 11:55P
Judging Due 1/7 11:55P
Drop online 1/7 11:55P
Penalty fines 1/7 11:55P