John Lewis SVUDL Invitational formerly SCU DempseyCronin

2021 — NSDA Campus, CA/US


The John Lewis SVUDL Invitational, formerly known as the SCU Dempsey-Cronin (aka SCU 1).

The Silicon Valley Urban Debate League has taken ownership of the SCU Dempsey Cronin, and will be running an online speech and debate invitational to be held the weekend before Thanksgiving, from Nov 19-21.

All proceeds from this tournament will go to the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to empower Silicon Valley students, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status, to reach their full potential to become professional and community leaders by teaching critical thinking and communication skills through speech and debate programming.

SVUDL is pleased to continue to honor the legacy of the late Congressman John Lewis by naming this speech and debate tournament after him. Born near Troy, Alabama in 1940, Congressman Lewis devoted his life to securing civil rights, fair and equal access to voting rights, and was a tireless soldier who literally and repeatedly risked his life in the movement against racial segregation and injustice.

We are also pleased to announce that we are again a NIETOC designated bid tournament for those interested in the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions.  We are also designated as a bid tournament for speech and semifinals bid in Public Forum for the Tournament of Champions, held by the University of Kentucky.

We will be using the NSDA Campus platform for this virtual tournament. All speech and debate events will be done live except for Duo Interpretation, which will be asynchronous (pre-recorded). All judging will be done live during the scheduled round times, even for Duo. 


All debate formats will start Friday, November 19 this year. Speech events and Congress start Saturday, November 20. Sunday elimination rounds are staggered between debate and speech events.


All tournament registration will be on Information regarding online platform use for the tournament will be released in the coming weeks. 

Please note that the schedule listed is tentative. Depending on the size of entry, the schedule may be adjusted. A finalized schedule will be posted in the coming weeks.  

Please note, we may make adjustments to our tournament procedures to bring us more in line with other national tournaments. Coaches will be notified of any changes made as soon as they have been finalized. Any updates will also be posted here on Tabroom. 

Update: Sept 15, 2021

Tournament Registration is now open. If you have any questions regarding the tournament or registration, please email Tournament Director Mariel Cruz at 

Update: Oct 30th, 2021

Guest Speaker

We have added a guest speaker to our schedule for Saturday, Nov 20. We will be hosting a discussion and Q&A about water policy, with guest speaker Dr. Newsha Ajami, the Director of Urban Water Policy with Stanford University’s Water in the West program. The topic discussion will be from 1:30pm-2:15pm, and will be open to all tournament participants. The first part of this session will be a 20 min discussion about water policy and environmental justice, and the last 15 min will be for Q&A from participants. Please see here for more information about Dr. Newsha Ajami.

Please note, this does occur at the same time as round 2 of Speech, but students are welcome to join after presenting their speech. Students who are not competing in speech do not have a round during this time block. 

More information, as well as a zoom link, will be sent out the week of the tournament. 


The system will accept new entries until Monday, November 15, 2021 at 8:00pm. Make drops and adds through Tabroom after that up until the tournament begins. However, changes or drops made after Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 8pm forfeit their entry fees. All space in debate and speech will be allocated on a first come, first served basis; register early! 


TBA Entries

All TBA Entries will be waitlisted until names are entered. The deadline to enter names for TBA entries will be November 5, 2021. Any TBA entries without names after this date will be removed from the tournament.


Judging Requirements

Schools are required to fulfill at least 50% of their debate and events requirement when fees are assessed on Thursday, November 18, 2021. That means, you can’t buy out of more than 50% of your judge commitment. Please see the list of fees for uncovered judge fees. 

Schools will pay a judging penalty fee per speech slot, Congress entry, Lincoln Douglas/Duo Interp or debate team not covered by school judges. Please note, Congress judges may be asked to also judge speech since they will be in the same pattern and judge pool.



Judge Coverage


1 judge covers 3 teams


1 judge covers 2 teams

Public Forum

1 judge covers 4 teams

Lincoln Douglas

1 judge covers 4 debaters

Individual Speech Events

1 judge covers 6 entries


1 judge covers 6 entries


Judges are committed one round past where their school drops from competition. Judges are assumed to be experienced and prepared to judge their assigned events or debate formats. Debate judges are free to determine style questions at the beginning of each round. Debate judges must have properly linked Tabroom accounts for online ballot entry. School judges who fail to check in to their rounds online when assigned may have their team fined the aforementioned penalties per round. Please contact us if you're unsure of your judging commitment, or have any other questions regarding judging.



Use this form to compute how much you will owe at registration: 


__1__ School Fee X $52                              = $52

____ number of Event entries/Congress entered X $26= _____

____ number of Parli teams/PF teams X $72      = _____ 

____ number of LD entries X $52                              = _____ 

____ number of Policy Teams X $72                        = _____   

Penalties for Not Providing School Judges: 

You are obligated to cover 50% of your judging requirement in debate and events with school judges.

____ Speech Event entries/Congress entries uncovered X $26 = _____

____ LD Entries/Public Forum teams X $77 = _____ 

_____Parli/Policy entries uncovered X $103 = _____ 

Total Fees = ____________  

Please note, fees have been adjusted this year to include a 3% surcharge for online payments. If your school/program will be paying by check, please email or to have your invoice adjusted for a 3% discount. 

Please make checks payable to “Silicon Valley Urban Debate League” and mail to:

Silicon Valley Urban Debate League

502 Valley Way

Milpitas, CA 95305


Please go here to make payments online -


Payment must be received by Thursday, November 18. Please notify us if you will need an extension on this deadline. 


An online payment will also be set up. Please check back here for more info regarding online payments. 

Following the mission of SVUDL, we would like to ensure that this tournament is made accessible to all teams that would like to participate. We understand that the current situation of COVID-19 may have put schools in unprecedented financial situations. If your school/program has concerns or issues regarding fees, please email  for information regarding fee discounts. 



L/D Debate Topic: NSDA Nov/Dec topic  

Policy Debate Topic: National topic on Water Resources 

Public Forum: NSDA November Public Forum Topic.

Parliamentary Debate: one topic will be provided for each prelim; for elim rounds, teams will be given three topics and will do strikes to determine the topic

Parli Topic Committee: Sam Timinsky (Nueva HS coach, VP of Topics for CFL), Esha Shah (Nueva HS coach and EVHS alum), Jon Joey Telebrico (Crystal Springs coach, Archbishop Mitty alum), Spencer Ball (Nueva alum)



All speech and debate events will offer a novice and open division. We reserve the right to collapse divisions if entry size is too small for two separate divisions. Congress will only have one division.

Novice is defined as a student’s first year of competition, or not advancing to an elimination round in your first two years of competition, regardless of debate format.



Debate Pattern: Policy, Parliamentary, Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas Debate plus Congress in one pattern. 

Events Pattern: Extemporaneous/Dramatic Interpretation /Expository/Original Prose Poetry / Oratorical Interpretation/ Impromptu /Original Oratory /Humorous Interpretation/Thematic Interpretation and Duo Interpretation.  

Double entries in Events are allowed. Competitors may also enter in one debate event and up to two speech events. However, competitors should be aware of the increased screen time that will come with entering multiple events. 


General Tournament Procedures

The tournament will consist of six preliminary debate rounds for varsity, five prelims debate rounds for novice, and the three preliminary rounds of varsity and open events. We reserve the right to combine divisions if the entry warrants.  

Semifinals will be held in individual events with 50 or more entries or the discretion of the tournament director. Undersubscribed events may waive finals. Due to scheduling, we will only be breaking to Double octos for debate, events, entries permitting. 


Tournament Caps and Waitlist

Due to the size of the tournament, we will be placing caps on the debate events. Each school will be allotted 4 entries per division per debate event. All entries over the caps will be waitlisted.

Entries may also be waitlisted if the tournament reaches capacity. Schools will be moved off the waitlist as space opens up. Schools that have not already taken up their allotted slots in each event will be moved first, and schools with completed judge entries will also be given preference. Remaining waitlisted entries will be moved on a first-come, first-serve basis.



Please designate the PO's with a 'po' for every ten entries via email to Please note that Congress judges will be listed under IE's. Please enter Congress judges into the IE judge pool. Bills will be included in the official tournament invite, which will be posted on the tournament webpage on a couple weeks prior to the start of the tournament. 

We invite members of the community to submit legislation for the Congress tournament. Please email with your legislation. A finalized set of bills will be released in November. 

Update: Nov 5th, 2021

Please go here to see our Congress bills for this tournament. 


Updates to Policy debate - Oct 30, 2021

In order to allow more teams the opportunity to participate in Policy debate, we will be adding a new division for Policy, called the “Rookie” division. This division will be similar to novice, except this division will have strict argument restrictions for teams competing in this division. Please see descriptions below to determine which division to register for. 

Rookie - Eligible for all novice debaters, but students will only be allowed to run the following arguments. 

- On the AFF students may only use the ban fracking affirmative. 

- On the negative, they may run case negative, and any disads and topicality arguments; however, no criticisms or counterplans. 

Novice - Eligible for all novice debaters, any argument type will be allowed in this division. 

Open - Eligible for all open/varsity debaters, any argument type will be allowed in this division.


DUO Interp - Duo Interp will be fully asynchronous. Links for video performances should be submitted by Friday, Nov 19th at 12pm. Videos should be filmed in a split-screen format, meaning students should NOT be in the same room while recording.