WVSDA SPAR Debate Scrimmage

2020 — Online, WV/US

The West Virginia Speech and Debate Association is pleased to host an online SPAR debate scrimmage for West Virginia middle school and high school students. The scrimmage will take place on 24-26 September 2020 and offer two divisions of competition: (1) an open division, for students who have previously competed in high school speech or debate, on Thursday (with elimination rounds on Saturday of all works well on Thursday and Friday); and (2) a novice division, for students who are in middle school or are competing for the first time, on Friday (with elimination rounds on Saturday if all works well on Thursday and Friday).*

*This is a different definition of Novice than will be used at the WVSDA Novice speech and debate tournament.

What is SPAR Debate? SPAR Debate (Spontaneous Argumentation) is a limited preparation debate event where students debate a different resolution or topic each round. If the resolution to be debated is "RESOLVED: The Affordable Care Act should be repealed," the affirmative speaker argues in favor of repeal while the negative speaker argues against it. Similarly, if the topic is "Dogs vs. Cats," the affirmative speaker argues in favor of dogs and against cats, while the negative speaker argues in favor of cats and against dogs. (SPAR debate typically includes rounds of serious and not-so-serious and policy-oriented and value-oriented topics.) Rounds last less than 20 minutes from beginning to end. 

How does SPAR Debate work? Open SPAR students are given fifteen (15) minutes prep time and Novice SPAR students are given thirty (30) minutes prep time to prepare for their round. In the online prep room, students debating one another are given three (3) resolutions/topics. The negative strikes one, the affirmative strikes one, and the remaining topic is the one the debaters will debate. At the end of their prep time, students go to their virtual room to compete.

The order of debate is as follows:

Affirmative constructive case (2 minutes): The debater supporting the resolution or advocating the first topic over a second one presents their case/position.

Cross examination (1 minute): The negative debater asks the affirmative debater questions.

Negative constructive case (2 minutes): The debater opposing the resolution or the advocating the second topic over a first one presents their case/position.

Cross examination (1 minute): The affirmative debater asks the negative debater questions.

Mandatory prep time (1 minute): Both debaters have one minute to prepare for rebuttal arguments.

Affirmative rebuttal (2 minutes): The affirmative debater refutes the negative debater's case and reinforces their own case.

Negative rebuttal (2 minutes): The negative debater refutes the affirmative debater's case reinforces their own case.

Mandatory prep time (1 minute): Both debaters have one minute to prepare for rebuttal arguments.

Affirmative summary (2 minutes): The affirmative debater explains why the judge should vote in their favor.

Negative summary (2 minutes): The negative debater explains why the judge should vote in their favor.

Detailed event rules are available on the SPAR DEBATE RULES Info Page.

What is the scrimmage schedule?

Wednesday - We will provide technology/procedure training for competitors and judges at times to be determined later. The training will likely be held using Zoom.

Thursday - We will have 5 rounds of Open SPAR, beginning at 8:15 AM and ending at 3:30 PM. Round 0 will be a practice round, and its results will not count. All rounds will be flighted meaning a judge will judge two SPAR debate rounds back-to-back during each round. Rounds will be held using NSDA Campus.

Friday - We will have 4 rounds of Novice SPAR, beginning at 8:15 AM and ending at 3:30 PM. Round 0 will be a practice round, and its results will not count. Rounds will be held using NSDA Campus.

Saturday - Assuming all works well on Thursday and Friday, we tentatively will take all Open SPAR debaters with 4-0 or 3-1 records and all Novice SPAR debaters with a 3-0 or 2-1 records and hold a series of elimination rounds beginning at 9:00 AM. Rounds will be held using NSDA Campus. The competition day will end with an online awards ceremony.

See the TENTATIVE SCHEDULE Tournament Page for additional information.

How will this online scrimmage work? With the exceptions of training sessions and awards assembly, we will use NSDA Campus for this scrimmage. To access an NSDA Campus competition room, you simply log into your Tabroom account (every competitor and judge must have one, look for the round, and click on the video icon. The video icon will take you to your competition room or judging room. Learn more on event procedures on the STUDENT INFORMATION and the JUDGE INFORMATION Tournament Pages.

How many students may a school enter? Each school is tentatively limited to four entries in each of division (4 open entries and 4 novice entries). Schools may place additional entries on a waitlist. Students will be moved off the waitlist if doing so will not create a competition in which one or two schools have most of the entries and if enough judges are available.

How many judges does my school need to provide? One judge overall for every three competitors on each of the days of competition. This does not have to be the same judge. In fact, providing a different judge each day or one judge for two rounds and another for two rounds on a single day would be preferred.

How much does it cost? $7 per entry.

Can others watch rounds? NSDA Campus is currently not set up to allow anyone other than the competitors and judges and tournament administrators to enter a room and watch. We, however, hope to be able to livestream some elimination rounds so others may watch.

If you have any additional questions, please email wvsdahelp@gmail.com, and we will answer them, possibly on a FAQ Tournament Page so that others can see the answers too.