Harvard Debate Council International Tournaments January

2024 — Online, MA/US

Invitation Letter

Dear Colleagues,

The Harvard Debate Council is delighted to announce the continuation of the Harvard Debate Council International Tournaments, a series of online tournaments to be held throughout the year. We hope to provide a series of competitions offered at times that will allow students around the globe (American students included) to compete against each other. All tournaments will take place on Friday and Saturday evenings in the Americas and on Saturday and Sunday mornings in Asia.

The January tournament will be hosted on January 26 & 27 (US/Canada) and January 27 & 28 (Asia). Please note, however, that we will use the NSDA February PF topic (single use plastics).

We look forward to hosting you at these upcoming events.

Sincerely yours,

Tripp Rebrovick

Harvard Debate Council

Tournament Details

The tournament will be conducted online via classrooms.cloud using Zoom.

We will use tabroom.com as the official tournament management and registration.

We will offer three divisions of public forum debate – open, novice, and middle school. The novice division is intended for high school students in their first year of competition. The middle school division is intended for students in the sixth through eighth grade.

We will use the NSDA’s February PF topic that will be announced January 1, 2023.

Each division will initially be capped at 60 entries. Additional entries will be placed on a waitlist and let into the tournament if we can secure the requisite judging.

All divisions will have four preliminary rounds with single flights. Each division will clear to the octafinals round if entries allow. The quarterfinals through finals will be single-flighted.

All divisions will use National Speech & Debate Association time format and rules.

Ordinarily, students must attend the same school to compete as a team. However, we will accept entries from clubs or other debate organizations provided that the schools represented do not otherwise have a debate team.

Entry Fees

Entry fees are $100 per team. Each team should be composed of only two students.

Judging Fees: Each individual team must either (A) provide one judge available through the quarterfinals OR (B) pay a $150 judge hiring fee.

For example, if you enter two teams and provide two judges, your fees will be $200. If you enter four teams and provide three judges, your fees will be $550 ($400 in entry fees and $150 in judge hiring fees to cover the one uncovered team). If you enter one team and provide no judges, your fees will be $250.

Tentative Tournament Schedule

Pairings will be released approximately 15 minutes prior to start time.

All participants should report to the online rooms within 5 minutes after pairings are released.

All participants must return to and remain in the online rooms 10 minutes before the start time.

****UPDATE: Day 2 will start at 9:30 PM EST, there will be no octos flight A or B****

Tournament Schedule
Day One Jan 26 ET (Fr) Jan 26 Jan 27 PT (Fr) BJT (Sat)
R1 7:00 PM 4:00 PM 8:00 AM
R2 8:00 PM 5:00 PM 9:00 AM
R3 9:30 PM 6:30 PM 10:30 AM
R4 11:00 PM 8:00 PM 12:00 PM
Day Two Jan 27 ET (Sa) Jan 27 PT (Sa) Jan 28 BJT (Sun)
Octas Flight A 7:00 PM 4:00 PM 8:00 AM
Octas Flight B 8:00 PM 5:00 PM 9:00 AM
Quarters 9:30 PM 6:30 PM 10:30 AM
Semis 11:00 PM 8:00 PM 12:00 PM
Finals 12:30 AM 9:30 PM 1:30 PM

General Tournament Rules

Unaffiliated/Independent Entries

Without objection from school officials, unaffiliated entries are welcome in all tournaments. Unaffiliated entries, however, are only allowed from schools which are not attending the tournament. Students from schools which are attending are ineligible for unaffiliated status. Unaffiliated entries must create an account and must provide contact information. The preferred name for creating an account is to use the school name followed by the word "unaffiliated." You may also use the student's last name followed by the word "independent." Ordinarily, students must attend the same school to compete as a team. However, we will accept entries from clubs or other debate organizations provided that the schools represented do not otherwise have a debate team or object.

Judge Requirements

All judges provided by schools must be qualified, which at a minimum means a high school diploma.

All judges are bound by the codes of conduct governing activities at Harvard College and those promulgated by the NSDA. Judges will be required to attest that they have read and understand these codes of conduct before being able to judge. Instructions will be provided closer to the start of the tournament.

Judges may not simultaneously judge at any other tournaments. If we discover that you are doing so, we will remove you from the judge pool and notify the other tournament.

Any complaints about judge qualifications must be addressed to the tournament director prior to or immediately after the competition involved. All tournament directors have been authorized to impose penalties against schools whose judges do not appear for the rounds to which they have been assigned.

Online Technology Policies: Recording, Observers, Platforms

Recording: For the privacy and protection of students and other participants, any recording of speeches is prohibited, with the exception that students are permitted to record their own speeches.

Observers: Unaffiliated observers are not permitted. Only registered students, coaches, and parents of registered students may observe.

Alternative Platforms: For the safety of all participants, no one (judge, coach, student) may switch their rounds to an alternative video platform outside of the tournament hosted zoom rooms in classrooms.cloud. If anyone suggests moving to an alternative platform, please alert tournament personnel immediately. Judges who move to a separate platform will be fined as if they did not judge their rounds and removed from the tournament.

Judge Video: The tournament believes that competitors deserve to be able to see their judges as much as possible. Accordingly, to the maximum extent possible, the cameras of competitors and judges should be on (and on them) while a student is speaking and during RFDs. Brief pauses are understandable. To the extent needed, cameras can be off to enhance streaming quality.

Entry Procedures

You must enter via this website, Harvard.tabroom.com. The web site will begin accepting your entries on November 1, 2023. You are responsible for entering your school and student information, and also for getting the spelling and event information correct. If you are entering as an independent or unaffiliated entry, you must create an account and provide appropriate contact information. After you have entered the information, you should verify your entry and print out or download a copy of your invoice.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

Paying Fees and Completing Registration

All registration will be conducted electronically. This means that you must confirm your entries and judges and pay your fees. All tournament fees are due by Wednesday January 24, 2024.

Tabroom will have a button that you can access through your school account to confirm your information is correct. It will be activated between 7am ET and 5PM ET on Friday, January 26, 2024. Even if you have no changes to your entry, you must click the button in order for your entries to be scheduled into the tournament.


We request that you pay your fees by credit card. You may obtain an invoice by downloading it from the web site. If you cannot pay by credit card, please contact us and will work out an alternative arrangement.

Once your entry is complete and you have hired the right number of judges, please fill out the credit card payment request form at this link: Credit Card Payment Request Form. We will email you a link to pay using our online portal at the email address you have provided. Please allow 24-48 hours for processing after you submit the payment request form.