UMW Debate Tournament

2021 —, VA/US


UMW Debate Tournament – 2021

2021 UMW Schedule - Will be updated as necessary.

Tournament platform - Classrooms

Tips for navigating online tournament/platform here.

Important reminders:

Check-in and Report Time - Participants (including judges) must adhere to check-in and report times listed on the schedule. Check-in is the time to exchange emails, disclose, and check that everyone can hear/see each other. PLEASE DO NOT wait until right before start time to do those checks - that is literally what check-in time is for. Judges who do not adhere to check-in and report times are subject to a $50 fine and replace policy.

Tech Time - 10 minutes per team. Please immediately notify the tournament staff (using the Classrooms help ticket system) if tech time is being invoked so we can monitor the situation further.

Judging Obligations - All judges are expected to be in for a minimum of 2 debates and be available at least through the second elimination round (or one round past school's elimination, whichever is later). If you are hiring judging, it is expected that your hired judges are part of your fulfillment of this obligation.

If a judge cannot be placed above the strike line for the number of debates for which they are committed, the tab room reserves the discretion to increase the commitment(s) of other judges from that school.

Ballots - Please provide written comments on your ballots. Substantive written feedback helps students make continuous improvements.

Basic Details

Dates, Time Zone, and Platform

Friday, October 15 to Sunday, October 17, 2021, hosted by the University of Mary Washington Debate Team.

Tournament times operated based on the Eastern time zone.

The tournament will be online. Platform will be Classrooms.



Entries will be accepted in all three divisions – novice, junior varsity, and varsity. Initially, entries will be capped at 4 per school in each division. A waitlist will be maintained and revaluated on Oct 2.

Hybrid entries are welcome and eligible to clear.

The Novice Division will be using the ADA’s restricted evidence set – all evidence presented in such debates should be from the evidence maintained by the ADA Novice Curriculum Committee, and debaters may not present evidence from outside the evidence set. The Packet can be found here – please check prior to the tournament for updates to the Packet.

In each division, there will be six preliminary rounds of debate competition, with an appropriate number of elimination rounds relative to the field, not to exceed octafinals (as per ADA scheduling waiver).

The topic for debates will be the 2021-2022 resolution.

The entry deadline is October 11 at 5 pm. Teams dropping after that time will be assessed entry fees.



$50 per TEAM entered. 

Fees will cover tournament expenses including the admin, platform, and judging.

Fees will be locked in on Monday, Oct 11.

Fees will be payable via credit card or electronic check. Online payment portal, invoice, and W9 requests here. [Please note - UMW's payment portal will be down for maintenance Oct 8-10].

If you need paperwork for tax/invoicing purposes, please contact Adrienne by October 5.

Entry fees are expected to be paid in a timely fashion, prior to the first round of the tournament.


Judging Requirements – Please read carefully

Entry Requirements:

Judge philosophies, as a precondition of entry, must be posted to judges’ accounts no later than October 1.

Judges are expected to have significant prior experience with policy debate. If a judge does not have significant prior experience with policy debate, they are not eligible to judge without advanced permission from the tournament.



Each school must provide 3 rounds of prelim judging per team.

Each judge should be entered for a minimum obligation of 2 preliminary rounds. We also very much appreciate additional contributions, particularly if you have judges with significant team or time constraints (particularly Friday).

If a judge cannot be placed above the strike line for the number of debates for which they are committed, the tab room reserves the discretion to increase the commitment(s) of other judges from that school.

Each judge is obligated through two elimination rounds. Judges with teams still competing are obligated a round beyond their team’s elimination. If you are hiring judging, it is expected that your hired judges are part of your fulfillment of this obligation.



Judges are expected to judge debates assigned to them by the tournament tab room.

Judges are expected to adhere to Check-in and Report times. Failure to do so may result in penalties, including adjusting the school’s commitment.

Judges must vote for one and only one team in each debate.

Judges should not be scheduled to judge at another tournament during the UMW tournament without the permission of both tournament’s directors and only if rounds do not coincide.

Judges should not be operating or in a moving vehicle while judging.


Conduct, Access, Recording

All participants debate at the invitation of the University of Mary Washington according to its university policies and tournament rules, as well as any rules of their sponsoring institutions.

The tournament abides by the rules and norms of the American Forensics Association and the American Debate Association.

Debate rounds are open to registered tournament participants, within the technological limits of the platform.

Debates may be recorded for private educational use by tournament participants (registered coaches, debaters, and UMW tournament staff). In such instances, participants should request consent. Public distribution of such recordings is expressly prohibited unless prior written consent of all individuals on the recording is obtained and unless prior written consent of the University of Mary Washington is obtained. Private sharing for educational use is permitted but should not include publication or posting online.

Debates may be recorded by the UMW tournament for tournament administration purposes. The tournament will not publish, distribute, or retain the recordings, except as needed for tournament administration or as required by applicable law.

Coaches and program directors are encouraged to discuss these policies with their participants prior to the tournament and are expected to take any reasonable and necessary actions to ensure compliance by participants who are affiliated with their respective schools.


Intended Schedule

You can see the draft schedule here – it will be updated as needed if changes occur.


Important Notes about Online Debate & Scheduling


Are Times Locked-in So I Can Schedule When to Judge?

Please do not. You should assume some shifts in schedule will happen, just like those which occur at in-person tournaments. Some pairings may come out sooner, because not every round runs out the decision time clock. Some pairings may run behind because a debate had to use Tech Time. We would appreciate if participants – competitors, coaches, and judges – assume some degree of flexibility and not treat the schedule as set in stone. For example, please assume some degree of flexibility regarding your meal planning or trying to judge a debate between other meetings – we cannot promise that the schedule runs at exactly the times we have identified.


Check-in Time

All participants (teams and judge) are expected to check into their room within 10 minutes of the release of the pairing. This is to facilitate everyone testing their ability to connect, for email thread set-up, AV checks, and disclosure. This means you need to login to the room. This will allow tournament staff to verify we have seen everyone and minimize the need for replacements or delays in the schedule. Once you have checked in, you may go off-screen or prep somewhere else as needed – you just need to come back at Report Time.


Report Time

We kindly request that all participants observe “Report Time” – at 10 minutes before Start Time, and report to competitions rooms at that time. You may continue to prep/coach off-screen, but in order to verify we have all participants able to access their rooms and ready to debate at start time, we need folks in their rooms and we need a little lead time to ensure we start on time. This will help minimize delays and enable tournament staff to quickly target those needing help accessing the platform/tournament/rooms or finding folks who are missing. It is a little trickier for staff to identify missing persons and start debates in the online environment, and we ask for your cooperation to help make this work by observing Report Time.


Tech Time: What do we do if someone gets disconnected/freezes/etc.?

In most instances, tech fails have been minimal (especially when folks use ethernet connections).

Most of the time tech issues can be caught quickly (you might notice a screen freeze, for example – good reason to keep screen on) and resolved without significant time spent.

If you cannot immediately reconnect, you should use a Help System to communicate with Tab.

In the event of a tech failure by a team, a team may use up to 10 minutes of “Tech Time”. This should be clocked by the judge, and not used as standard prep time. It is only for use with tech/connection/AV issues unique to the online format (not for setting up your email chain, e.g.).

The judge should notify the tab staff asap if Tech Time is invoked, or if the judge has a tech issue, so that the tab staff can factor that into scheduling.


ADA Policy on Tech Time (Standing Rule I.1):

If debates occur utilizing an online venue, tournaments may permit each team to be allocated up to 10 minutes of “Tech Time” for resolving exclusively tech-related problems (e.g. internet connection, audio/video issues). Tech time should not be used as additional standard prep time. If the time elapses before the team can resolve the issue, they will forfeit the debate. In the event a speech needs to be redelivered entirely or in part, the time for that should count as tech time for the team experiencing the problem, if their tech time runs out while giving the speech the remaining time should be deducted from prep time. In the event a speech needs to be redelivered entirely or in part due to a judge tech issue, the judge must communicate the issue to the tab room immediately to minimize delays in the tournament schedule.