Spartan Classic at MSU

2023 — Online, MI/US

Dear Colleague:

On behalf of Michigan State University, we are pleased to invite you to participate the 2023 Spartan Classic Debate Tournament. We’re planning to host it fully online but are still committed to our partnership with Okemos High School (OHS). All fees paid to the tournament will be directly donated to the OHS Debate Team. Any operations costs will be covered by MSU Debate. The tournament will run December 1-3, 2023.

We will offer novice and varsity policy divisions.

Method of Entry

The deadline for submitting entries is Monday, November 20, 2023. All registration and entries should be done at

In the last few years, many schools have tried to enter after this date. While we understand that some situations require last minute changes, we would ask that all schools please try and get their entries in on time. Not having accurate information in advance makes it difficult for us to plan schedules and acquire all necessary materials to make the tournament run on time. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate late entries. There will be a $25 per team fee for all teams dropped after the November 20th deadline.


Our goal in hosting the Spartan Classic is to provide a service to regional programs – both in fundraising for OHS Debate and in creating a competitive opportunity for students at a regional tournament held in Michigan. With the move online, we’ve opted to keep our tournament schedule largely to accommodate the Eastern Time Zone to continue to serve those schools and programs. Schools from other time zones are certainly encouraged to attend but we wanted to provide a rationale for our scheduling choices.

Tournament Format – Policy Debate

The annual debate topic, focusing on economic inequality will be used. The format for each debate will include 8 minute constructives, 3 minute cross examination periods, 5 minute rebuttals, and 8 minutes of preparation time.

Each two-person team is expected to debate both affirmative and negative. We cannot accept entries from four person teams where two of the team members only debate affirmative and two only debate negative.

Mavericks are able to compete in all preliminary debates. In order to be eligible to receive speaker awards and participate in elimination debates, the competitors must debate as an in-tact pair for over 50% of the debates (3 or more).

We will offer five rounds of preliminary competition. Subject to the number of entrants, varsity will likely clear to octofinals and novice to quarterfinals.

Tournament Fees

The entry fee will be $20 per two-person policy team. We adamantly believe that online formats should be run with as few fees as possible. If a tournament is charging fees, we feel it’s imperative that tournaments provide transparency about why there are fees for online tournaments and how that money will be spent. The Spartan Classic is responsible for funding up to 50% of the OHS Debate Team’s season so we will still have some fees. As previously mentioned, all fees paid to the tournament will be donated directly to OHS Debate.

If the tournament fee precludes your ability to attend for financial reasons, do not hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to try to work something out.

**All checks should be made out to: Okemos Public Schools

Checks should be mailed in advance of the tournament to:

Okemos High School

Attn: David Zin

2800 Jolly Road

Okemos, MI 48864

Please Note: Include the “attention” is important for making sure that the check gets routed correctly to OHS Debate Team.


At this time, we only plan to ship physical awards to the finalists of each division. Given our desire to provide a low-cost option for online participation while donating fees to OHS Debate, we’ve tentatively opted to not ship more individual/team awards. If a physical award is important to a program’s school, students, etc. we can talk about options following the tournament.

Judging Requirements – Policy Debate

Each school must either bring qualified judges with them or purchase judging from the tournament. Schools must cover three rounds for each two-person team entered or a full commitment for every two teams.

All judges are committed one round beyond the round in which the team they are judging for is eliminated. Thus, all judges are committed through the first elimination round. If your teams are eliminated in the quarterfinals for example, all of the people judging for your school are committed through the semifinals, etc.

Hired judging is available through the tournament for $50 for each uncovered round. If you need to hire judges, please make sure to notify us in advance so we can plan accordingly. Hired judging will be available on a first come first serve basis. The $50 is for each round, not for each full unit of judging. For example, if your school entered 5 teams and provided one full commitment judge, the fee to hire out judging would be $400 ($50 x 8 uncovered rounds). If you entered 2 teams and have no judge, the fee would be $250 ($50 x 5 uncovered rounds).

We will be allowing qualified high school students to judge the novice division. These students must have at least two years of debate experience and be in their junior or senior years of high school.

We have a nuisance fee for judges who no-show debates that they are obligated and assigned to judge. Any judge who arrives to a debate more than 20 minutes after the posted start time will incur a $50 charge.


The Spartan Classic will be continuing our effort to have our tournament be more “family friendly.” We will give any parents debates off to accommodate families with children. Just let us know how to best accommodate your schedule.

Thanks for considering the 2023 Spartan Classic Debate Tournament!


Carly Watson

MSU Director of Debate

Tentative Schedule

(*Note: All times are in the Eastern Time Zone)

Friday, December 1st 2:45-3:15 p.m. Online Registration/Confirmation 4:00 Pairings for Rounds 1 and 2 4:15 Tech Check Deadline – students and judges must enter online rooms by this time to check technological set-ups 4:45 Round 1 (pre-set) 6:45 Round 2 (pre-set) Saturday, December 2nd

9:00 a.m. Pairing for Round 3

9:10 Tech Check Deadline – students and judges must enter online rooms by this time to check technological set-ups

9:30 Round 3 (high-low)

11:45 Pairings for Round 4

12:15 Round 4 (high-low)

1:45 Meal Break

2:30 Pairings for Round 5

3:00 p.m. Round 5 (high-low, sides assigned by the tabroom)

5:30 Pairings for First Elimination Debate (both divisions)

6:15 First Elimination Debate

Sunday, December 3rd

9:00 a.m. Pairings for Second Elimination Round (must flip by 9:15am)

Completion of Elimination Rounds