Vestavia Novice

2020 — NSDA Campus, AL/US


Hello coaches and competitors! Thank you so much for considering and/or registering for the Marilee Dukes Vestavia Hills Novice Tournament. We will offer a quick 5 rounds in PF/LD and 4 rounds in speech (no breaks). This should serve as some great experience for your novice to start the year and a great team building experience for your entire team. Below you will find some important information and rules about the tournament. Please also check out the tabs to the right for further information on the schedule.

1.         Definition:  A novice is defined as any competitor in their first year OR who has had less than 10 rounds of competition prior to the current school year (excluding workshops).  Experienced PF debaters who switch to LD are NOT NOVICES,  and experienced LD debaters who switch to PF are NOT NOVICES. Individuals who have experience in IE only would certainly be novice debaters.  In individual events, a competitor who is doing individual events for the first time IS considered a novice.  No other students should be in competition. If you have any question about this, please email me.

2.         Topics: We will use the NSDA LD VARSITY TOPIC:

                         Resolved: In a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory

            We will use the NSDA PF Topic as well: 

                         Resolved: The United States Federal Government should enact the Medicare-For-All Act of 2019

            Extemp will alternate between domestic and foreign, starting with domestic round 1

3.        We will follow all NSDA rules for all events. See the NSDA high school unified manual for more information. As it regards to Public Forum, we will be using the new PF changes, which adds an extra minute to both Summary speeches (now 3 minutes) and both teams' prep time (now 3 minutes). For ALL events, we will also be allowing the use of internet in round. However, do not be reliant on this in case of technology failure.

4.         Judges:  In order to get more rounds in for your novice, we are trying to single flight the tournament. This means for debate events, we ask you provide one judge for every two debate entries. In individual events, one judge for every five entries (or fraction thereof).  These quotas should not be a problem given the fact that your varsity members are able to judge. A varsity member with 200 NSDA points is recognized by the NSDA as eligible to judge novice.  Certainly, no one who will compete in novice division during the upcoming year or even last year should be judging. Students judging should be in 3rd year or above. It is important that you realize that one of the additional benefits associated with this tournament is to allow varsity people to judge so that they can build NSDA point totals.  Please advise with your student judges about writing constructive ballots.

            Do not hire judges if you are an established program with varsity debaters. This tournament is designed not to just be for your novice debaters, but your whole team. We encourage varsity to participate as well to judge rounds, help their own novice in between rounds, and build team cohesion and bonding to start the year. It will be difficult for Vestavia Hills to provide additional judges or to hire judges EXCEPT as deemed necessary to assist programs which have no varsity students to draw upon.  If, for some reason, this presents a problem for your program, please email us as soon as possible.  If we can help by hiring judges for you, we will.  Judge availability will be the determining factor.  Cost per hired judge is $50.00.  Coaches, please do not judge yourself unless you must; let your varsity people get the NSDA points.  Of course, you may judge if you like.

             Judge requirements: 1 judge for every 2 Public Forum Teams

                                               1 judge for every 2 LD entries

                                               1 judge for every 5 IE entries

All judges, including student judges, should have a account with a valid email to be able to register them.

5.         Ballots: ALL ballots (including IE) will be done online. All judges should have a tabroom account so that they get access to their ballots online.

6.         Double Entries:  Students may only enter one type of debate. Students may enter in as many IE divisions as they wish. No student may compete in debate and IE.



1.         Fees: Thanks to the Alabama Speech and Debate Coaches Association, the entry fee for each event will be $0. That's right, no entry fees. As mentioned before, it will cost $50 to hire a judge. 

2.         Trophies: We typically have tacky, cheap trophies at this novice tournament for many reasons. First, to keep the entry fees low. Second, because this tournament is not about winning, but about experience and learning. Your students can get an actual trophy when they go to a real tournament. This year, because I want to have a free tournament, there will be no trophies. 

3.         Deadlines:  All entries must be received by Tuesday, September 15 at 5:00pm Central Time. This is earlier than usual but it is because I need to order rooms from NSDA Campus and get that set up. Please have your entries in by that time, or the tournament might not be free for you.

4.         All events will be live using NSDA Campus, including IE's. Because duo is impossible live using social distancing guidelines, and duo rarely makes as a division at this tournament anyways, we will not be offering duo :(. To learn more about NSDA Campus, please visit this link:


If you should have questions regarding the tournament or information contained in this invitation, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Nate Conoly

Vestavia Hills High School