Harvard College Tournament

2023 — Cambridge, MA/US

The full invitation is also available at this link

Tournament Schedule Only is available at this link

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2023 Harvard College Tournament Invitation

Dear Colleagues –

You and your debaters are cordially invited to come debate in Cambridge or online from your city from Saturday, October 28 – Monday October 30, 2023.


The tournament will feature EIGHT preliminary rounds of two-person, switch-sides, cross-examination debate on the 2023-2024 NDT/CEDA topic. Elimination rounds will start with OCTAFINALS on Monday. Brackets will be broken; sides will not be equalized. Hybrid entries will be permitted to enter and clear. Schools debating in a consortium according to the NDT definition will be precluded from debating during preliminary rounds and will be eligible for bracket breaking.

The tournament will also experiment with the use of “cross-flex” time - each team will have 6 minutes of cross-ex time that can be divided up as the team sees fit. The negative may use cross-flex time to cross-examine the 1AC and the 2AC; the affirmative may use it to cross-examine the 1NC, 2NC, and/or the 1NR. Think of this as an attempt to make CX time more like alt-use time.

This year we will allow both physical and online entries. We will have an online zoom room that corresponds to every actual room in Sever, Emerson, etc. Gary will make a pairing as normal. If the two teams assigned to Sever 113 are both in person, the round will be in person. If one or both of the teams is online only, then the round will occur on zoom but a physical team will debate from the assigned Sever room. In either situation, the judge could be either in Cambridge or be online. For physically present judges in rounds where at least one of the teams is online, the judge will listen to the debate from a designated judge room. In this room, judges wear headphones and watch their rounds online. For rounds where at least one team is on campus, judges will return to their assigned physical room to give their decision. We will provide a designated judge room on elim day as well. In preset rounds, in-person teams will be guaranteed to debate other in-person teams unless there is an odd number.

The tournament is tightly scheduled to allow time for dinner and recreation, and we will enforce decision time. Courtesy demands, and we insist, that rounds start on time and be adjudicated within 2 hours and 15 minutes of start time for preliminary rounds and within 2 hours and 30 minutes of start time for elimination rounds.


Entry will be managed through the tabroom.com website. The total cap on entries in the Varsity division will initially be 80 teams. These numbers might be adjusted as entries are finalized. Physical schools will be limited to two entries at first, with a waitlist to be cleared as spots are available.

Harvard teams may compete at the tournament. They will be eligible to clear and to receive speaker awards. No one affiliated with Harvard will participate in any decision about judges for a round involving a Harvard team.


Gary Larson will tab the tournament remotely. The tournament will use mutual preference judging based on ordinal ranking. All else being roughly equal, the algorithm will attempt to place in-person judges in in-person rounds. Judges must assign one and only one winner and the tab room will only accept ballots from the judge(s) assigned to the debate. Speaker points will be on a scale of 1-30 with tenths of a point and ties will be allowed.


Four rounds of judging are owed per team entered, and judges are obligated through the octafinals and one round beyond the elimination of the last team from their school. Judges will be available for hire through the hiring exchange on tabroom.com with the approval of the Tournament Director. We kindly request that all judges be in the pool for at least two rounds.

Judges should constrain themselves from judging a student under the following circumstances:

- if you are former college or high school debate colleagues,

- if there is a former students/coach professional relationship or a non-platonic personal relationship,

- if the judge has a substantial fiduciary relationship with the school,

- if the student/judge have been parties to a harassment complaint filed with one their respective universities, CEDA, or other entity charged with resolving those and similar grievances.


The fee for in-person teams will be $40 and for online teams will be $100. These costs will cover trophies and tabulation expenses. There will be a hospitality charge of $105 per person physically attending the tournament. The hospitality fee covers two lunches, two breakfasts, snacks, and one dinner (the hotel banquet). There will be a cash bar at the banquet on Sunday night. We will be able to take credit cards this year with a processing fee. Instructions will be provided later. Please be sure your dietary information is up to date on Tabroom and let us know if you have any additional needs.


The tournament strives to foster an environment promoting inclusivity and respect. Participants should uphold those values. The tournament subscribes to the NDT Anti-Harassment Policy. The tournament will abide by Harvard College’s policies and procedures for sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination. They are available here: https://oge.harvard.edu/policies. Per its regulations, Harvard College will designate a representative of its Title IX office to be on call during the tournament to receive any complaints directly or indirectly by means of the tournament director. The tournament will also abide by policies governing codes of conduct within the Harvard community, including those prohibiting racial discrimination and harassment.


Harvard has accessible restrooms in most buildings and gender-neutral restrooms in some. We will be using Sever, Emerson, Boylston, and Harvard Hall. Emerson has a gender-neutral single-stall restroom on the basement level. Robinson, next door to Sever, has two marked single-gender single-stall restrooms on the first level.


We will be staying at the Marriott Newton, about 15 minutes from Harvard. The rate is $139/night. Elims will be at the Marriott (all of which will take place in a real room and not the bar!).

PARKING: You can park in a Harvard Garage on Saturday and on the street on Sunday. The closest Harvard Garage is the Broadway Garage. You must purchase a pass in advance to park here, however. Follow the instructions at this website: https://hopps.vpcs.harvard.edu/ If Broadway is unavailable, I would recommend either the William James lot or the 52 Oxford Street lot.

We look forward to seeing all of you soon, and to hosting you in Cambridge this fall.

  • the Harvard Debate Council


Saturday, October 28

7:00am Breakfast

7:15am Pairings Released for Rounds 1 and 2

8:00am Round 1 (Decision Time: 10:15am)

10:45pm Round 2 (Decision Time: 1:00pm)

12:30pm Lunch

2:15pm Round 3 (Pairing Released 1:30pm; Decision Time: 4:30pm)

4:45pm Snacks

5:30pm Round 4 (Pairing Released 4:45pm; Decision Time: 7:45pm)

Sunday, October 29

7:00am Breakfast

8:00am Round 5 (Pairing Released: 7:15am; Decision Time: 10:15am)

11:15am Round 6 (Pairing Released 10:30am; Decision Time: 1:30pm)

1:00pm Lunch

2:45pm Round 7 & JV/Nov Elim 1 (Pairing Released 2:00pm; Decision Time: 5:00pm)

5:00pm Snacks

6:00pm Round 8 & JV/Nov Elim 2 (Pairing Released 5:15pm; Decision Time: 8:15pm)

8:45pm Banquet and Awards at Hotel

Monday, October 30

8:00am Octafinal pairing released. Breakfast for participants.

9:00am Octafinals (Decision Time: 11:30pm)

12:30pm Quarterfinals (Decision Time: 3:00pm)

4:00pm Semifinals (Decision Time: 6:30pm)

7:30pm Finals (Decision Time: 10:00pm)