Owen L Coon Memorial Tournament at Northwestern

2022 — Chicago, IL/US


Greetings from the Northwestern Debate Society and sending everyone a Hardy Hello,

I’m writing to announce that we will host the 57th Owen L. Coon Memorial Debates from September 17th through 19th, 2022.  We have come to an agreement with our longstanding partners at the University of Texas to shift the Northwestern tournament to the season opener position, with Texas hosting the final regular season tournament on a continuing basis going forward.  The Owen L. Coon Foundation has also agreed to continue their decades long support for our tournament.  They are especially excited that we will be able to host you this year in a live, low cost format that includes options to debate virtually.  We look forward to seeing you all each Fall for the foreseeable future. 

We will post an extensive tournament guide as we nail down our final plans in September, but for now we wanted to share the basic information you need to plan your travel schedule.  We have made a number of changes to our typical operating plan, including a new hotel and new schedule. 


Here's a link to a map that shows the locations. There are many throughout campus.




7-9PM – Coaches Registration Reception – Marriott River Room


8:00AM – Coffee and Light Breakfast

8:30 AM – R1 & R2 pairings

9:30 AM – R1 start

11:45 AM – R1 decision time

Lunch available starting ~11:30


12:15 PM – R2 start

2:30 PM – R2 decision time


2:45 PM – R3 pairing released

3:40 PM – R3 start

5:55 PM – R3 decision time

Dinner available starting ~5:30


6:15 PM – R4 pairings 

7:00 PM – R4 start

9:15 PM – R4 decision time




7:30 AM – Coffee and Light Breakfast

8:00 AM – R5 pairings (**Note, pairings 30 mins earlier on Sunday**)

8:45 AM – R5 start

11:00 AM – R5 decision time

Lunch available starting ~11:00


11:45 PM – R6 pairings

12:30 PM – R6 start

2:45 PM – R6 decision time


3:15 PM – speaker awards/announcements/etc at the Rock (in front of Kresge)

3:30 – Load Buses & Depart to Chicago Marriott O’Hare

4:30 – Doubles Pairings

5:15 – Doubles Start


7:45 PM – Doubles decision time




8:00AM – Coffee and Light Breakfast for Participants

8:30 AM – Octos pairing

9:15 AM – Octos start

11:45 AM – Octos decision time

12:00 PM – Quarters pairing

Noon – Boxed Lunches available for debaters and judges in the Quarters

12:45 PM – Quarters start

3:15 PM – Quarters decision time

3:30 PM – Semis pairing

4:15 PM – Semis start

6:45 PM – Semis decision time

7:00 – Finals reception for remaining tournament guests

7:00 PM – Finals pairing

7:45 PM – Finals start

10:15 PM – Finals decision time

Virtual and Hybrid Debates - Zoom

The stable zoom link we'll be using for the tournament is:


When judging a hybrid debate in which 1 team and the judge are both in person, it is expected that the judge remains in the physical room with the in person team. We do not have any extra rooms on campus. If the judge decides this provides a significant bias and harms their ability to judge, they are welcome to use the limited lobby spaces in the tournament buildings.

Live Debates, with a Virtual Option

We would love to be able to host everyone in Evanston in person, but we recognize that changing circumstances and budget realities mean that there will be an interest in virtual entries as well. Our goal is to make it possible for everyone to attend the event in person. To that end, we will charge NO FEES for live entries; MEALS WILL BE PROVIDED all day on Saturday, Breakfast and Lunch on Sunday (and for participants in the elims on Sunday & Monday); the tournament will provide FREE TRANSPORTATION to and from the hotel on Saturday and Sunday. It should even be possible for teams to not have to rent vans during the tournament as the new hotel runs a free shuttle from O’Hare and is directly accessible from O’Hare via two stops on the CTAs Blue Line. The Blue Line is safe, easy to use, and minutes away from the Cumberland stop, which has an exit in the parking lot of the tournament hotel.

We are especially concerned to make it possible for squads that face the need to scale back travel for budgetary reasons to be able to attend.  Please let us know if you need assistance planning the weekend as we would be happy to help if possible (Fitzmier contact info below). 

Managing virtual entries requires a great deal of additional effort by the tournament staff as it essentially requires us to host two simultaneous tournaments.  For that reason, there will be a $100.00 per person fee for virtual participants (including judges), and virtual entries will be by request only (we want a chance to talk you out of it!).  We will also apply a switching fee of $250.00 for teams that begin the tournament as a live team but switch to virtual debating (or vice versa) once the tournament has begun.  We may waive the switching fee under some circumstances, but all requests to switch from live to virtual (or vice versa) once the registration reception begins on Friday must also be approved by the tournament director.  We reserve the right to remove teams from the tournament who no longer wish to continue the live format as opposed to converting them to a virtual team. These requirements apply to any tournament participants, including judges. 


Please contact Daniel Fitzmier at fitzmier@gmail.com if you have further questions, or if your program needs advice about putting together a travel weekend on the cheap.  In theory, you should be able to attend the tournament for only the cost of hotel and airfare. 


Topic, Format, Tabulation, Novice/JV Division, and Team Numbers

We will debate the 2022-23 NDT-CEDA debate topic.  We will adopt a format of six preliminary debates followed by elimination rounds breaking to the double-octafinals.  Prelims 1-4 are on Saturday.  Prelims 5, 6, and the Doubles will be on campus on Sunday.  We will clear the top 32 teams.  Octas and the remaining elim debates will take place at the tournament hotel on Monday.  We will employ side equalization and will break brackets as per tradition.  Gary Larson has again kindly agreed to tabulate the tournament and Flynn Makuch will return as an Associate Tournament Director. 

At this time, we hope to be able to accommodate all live entries.  However, in the interest of prudence we will set the total entry cap at 120 teams, and the individual school cap at 8 teams.  Once the caps are hit your teams will be automatically added to the waitlist.  By then we will have more accurate information about how many rooms will be available on campus and will begin the process of raising the cap and working with large parties to ensure folks can bring as many teams as possible. 

This is a simply a tool to help us manage the number of debating rooms we need to acquire in Evanston; we think it is highly unlikely that we will be required to turn any live entries away.  We recognize that there is some tension between encouraging all live entries and imposing entry caps; again, this is merely a tool for us to manage our footprint on campus. 

We will have a Novice Division.  We will attempt to have a JV division pending demand for it; we are currently accepting JV entries and will run the division unless there are fewer than 16 teams.  If there are fewer than 16 JV teams we will automatically collapse the JV entries into the Varsity division.  If you enter teams for JV, please plan to have your teams will debate in Varsity if the JV division does not make. 

Hotel Information
All the elimination rounds will take place at the tournament hotel or the overflow tournament hotel, the Renaissance.

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare.  The tournament rate will be $139 per night for singles and doubles.  Free wireless internet and parking at the hotel is available for guests.  Please use the following link to reserve your rooms.  We will work with the hotel to expand the block as needed in order to accommodate demand.  The Deadline for booking through the block is August 30th. 


It may be possible to get a better rate in the O’Hare area, but we strongly encourage folks to use the Chicago Marriott O’Hare as we will host a registration reception there Friday night for coaches, will offer free transportation to and from campus from there on Saturday and Sunday, and will hold all of the elms on Monday at that location.  It is almost certainly NOT possible to get a better rate closer to campus – we are competing against Big Ten Football and the Chicago Cubs that weekend, which has driven the prices up across the North Shore.  For reference, the Orrington offered us a block rate of $499/night!  Needless to say, we shifted our enquiries elsewhere.

***Please contact the Marriott sales manager, Sheree Slupski, at 773-714-4274 if you have any difficulty getting into the hotel block. As a reminder, you can enter 3 rooms at a time on the link above. If you have more rooms than that you have to put in multiple reservations for up to 3 each.


Tournament Provided Food

We will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday (dinner for doubles participants), and Breakfast and Lunch for the remaining tournament participants during the elimination debates on Monday.  We will also host a reception during registration for coaches on Friday night, and a reception for anyone left at the tournament before the Finals on Monday evening. We will provide the final details regarding tournament provided food in the invitation, needless to say, we will include options for vegetarians, vegans, and participants with food allergies.

Northwestern COVID Protocols

The tournament will follow all of the University rules and guidelines for COVID-19.  At this time masks are optional but recommended for indoor groups where social distancing is not possible.  It is common practice for speakers on campus to remove their masks when they are standing at the podium.  Students, faculty, and staff are all required to be vaccinated at Northwestern, but there are no requirements for visitors to be vaccinated.  We strongly encourage tournament participants to be vaccinated and boosted.  If Northwestern makes changes to its campus-wide COVID policy we will inform tournament participants.  See further information below about current campus policy:


COVID and Visitors on Campus



General NU COVID guidance



Northwestern Evanston Campus Interactive Map



OLC 22 Ride Request Google Form

Our Logistics & Transportation Director, Nik Stamenkovic Diez, will be monitoring and coordinating transportation that occurs on Northwestern's Evanston campus. Unlike in years past, we will NOT be providing shuttles for most people. 

JV/Novice is in Tech. The rest of the buildings for OPEN are relatively close to each other.

If you have accessibility issues or are running really late to the round, please fill out the form below or ask a ballot table. Tournament staff should also utilize this form for quick transportation.



Main Debate Room Locations on NU's Evanston Campus

Northwestern Staff and Debaters will be stationed at each location or in proximate distance to each building to help participants find rooms and complete room checks to ensure rounds have been started. Please be nice to them.

The Rock: Kresge Hall, University Hall, Harris Hall

Locy/Fisk/MTC (McCormick)

Lunt Hall

Technological Institute (Tech)


We are looking forward to see you in September!  I know I speak for the entire Debate Society and its alums when I say that hosting this event is something we look forward to; we are delighted that you will be joining us in Evanston again for a weekend of excellent debating.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.  


Dr. Daniel J. Fitzmier on behalf of the Northwestern Debate Society