The Urban Parliamentary Debate Inaugural Invitational

2018 — St. Mary's College, Moraga, CA/US

Welcome to the Urban Parli Debate Inaugural Invitational!

Date: April 14-15, 2018

Location: Saint Mary’s College (Moraga)

Who We Are: Urban Parli is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to counteracting the socio-economic divides inherent in competitive debate by providing parliamentary debate coaching as well as competitive outlets for students who otherwise would not have such opportunities. Through its sponsorship with Club Parli, Urban Parli Debate is able to provide economically underserved student populations with quality parliamentary debate coaching in addition to competitive events and workshops throughout the year, all at no cost to the students. It’s no secret that debate, Parliamentary in particular, is fairly stratified across socioeconomic demographics. We believe that participation in an activity that teaches students to be better: speakers, leaders, communicators, and thinkers, should not be cordoned off to only those able to attend schools with the capacity to support debate programs. Urban Parli intends to raise funds to help grow the program by establishing a top-tier league of middle school and high school Parliamentary debate tournaments. All proceeds from Urban Parli tournaments go towards things such as: covering registration fees for UP debaters, helping reimburse travel expenses for UP debaters, hired judge fees, and tournament related expenses such as food, coffee, and general tournament administration.

Divisions Offered: The tournament will feature middle school and high school divisions, with an Open division and a Novice division for middle school and also for high school. All open division high school rounds will be adjudicated by individuals holding a background in high school and/or college parliamentary debate. Following the conclusion of each round will be a constructive oral RFD of no more than 10 minutes in length and disclosure of the victor.

Judging Requirement: 1 judge required for every two debate entries. Judges are committed one round past where their final team drops in the tournament. This means ALL judges are committed through the Sunday afternoon High School and Middle School Octofinals rounds. HS Open entries are not required to submit judges, as their entry fee is inclusive of their judging requirement.

Open Judging Qualifications (High School Only):

A qualified judge is at least a high school graduate or equivalent who has either actively competed or coached at the Varsity level in any debate event. Experience in debate events outside of parliamentary debate is accepted. Any questions about what characterizes a qualified judge should be directed to

Novice Judging Qualifications:

Anyone who satisfies above Open requirements, in addition to those who are at least a high school graduate or equivalent.


Flex Time: We also believe that the ability to question as well as respond to sustained questioning is a core rhetorical skill that helps students become advocates and agents for social change. We also do not find POI’s in their current iteration to be particularly effective at providing clarifications and/or aiding in helping students be able to better defend their ideas amid sustained interrogation. In light of this pedagogical priority, we have decided to institute flex time at UP tournaments. Flex time will take place after the PMC and LOC. During these periods, debaters from the team speaking next will have the opportunity to engage in a sustained period of questioning the opposing speaker. For instance, after the PMC, the Opposition or Negative side would have 2 minutes to ask the PMC probing and/or clarification-based questions about their opponent’s case. After the LOC, the Government or Affirmative would have 2 minutes to ask the LOC probing and/or clarification-based questions about their opponent’s case. Flex time can also merely be used as in-round prep time (should the debaters choose to not question their opponent’s), or for simply getting a drink of water, getting papers organized, etc. 

Attire: Casual attire is permitted and welcomed for students, although formal attire is equally just as welcomed.

Debate Round Times: 

Prep Time: 20 minutes

PMC - 7 minutes

Flex Time - 2 minutes
LOC - 8 minutes

Flex Time- 2 minutes

MG - 7 minutes

MO - 7 minutes

LOR - 4 minutes

PMR - 5 minutes

Feedback and/or Disclosure: 10 minutes

Registration Opens: February 26, 2018


Registration Deadline: April 7, 2018

Wait-List: While all teams will be automatically wait-listed, we will clear teams off the wait-list as their judges are entered. HS Open entries (whose judges are already accounted for via their entry fee) will be cleared off the wait-list based upon the order of their registration.

Divisions and Entry Caps: Each division will initially limited to 5 entries per school/club, after which await-listed teams will be cleared based on space availability.

Middle School Division (we will collapse divisions if entries justify)

Novice - Middle School Student in First Year of Competitive Debate Participation

Open – Students Not Meeting the Above Definition

High School Division

Novice - Middle or High School Students with Less Than 2 Years of Competitive Parliamentary Debate Experience or Having Not Cleared to Elimination Rounds More Than Once

Open – Middle or High School Students Not Satisfying the Above Conditions

Tabulation: This tournament will be tabulated by Teja Vepa. Round 1 will be random-matched, after which all subsequent rounds will be power-matched high-low in win-loss brackets.

Maverick Entries: Urban Parli accepts maverick entries on a case-by-case basis. Please get in contact with the tournament ( regarding your particular maverick situation.

Fees: In the spirit of inclusivity and socioeconomic diversity, any teams or institutions finding the fees listed below to be cost-prohibitive should contact the tournament to discuss ways to make our tournaments accessible to you.


$120/High School Entry (inclusive of your judge requirement)

$100/Middle School Entry

$200/Uncovered Judge Fee ($100 for one single entry)

Required Forms: While we do accept independent and hybrid entries, all debater participants, regardless of the nature of their entry, must complete the Liability Waiver Form attached below the schedule. Also, please ensure that your adult contact information is correct. Inaccurate information will result in your entry not being accepted by the tournament. If you are registering your program, but will not be on-site for the tournament, enter the email address of the adult chaperone to the right so that they get all tournament communications.

Debate Rules:

1. Almost anything goes regarding prep materials. Printed materials, laptops, phones, internet, they are all allowed. However, only handwritten notes are allowed in round. Debaters may not utilize handwritten notes in round that were prepared prior to the round’s topic announcement. However, debaters may utilize any handwritten notes prepared prior to the round during the round’s 20 minutes of prep time. All handwritten notes written prior to a round’s topic announcement that are to be used in that round must be transposed, by hand, onto a new sheet of paper. Use of handwritten notes, in round, that were composed prior to the topic announcement of a round may lead to the forfeiture of the round.

2. Debaters may only prep with their partners. There is no team prep or coach prep.

3. Speech times for all rounds will be 7-8-7-7-4-5 with 2 minutes of Flex Time after both the PMC and LOC.

4. There is no protected time in any speech. Though debaters should defer to the use of Flex Time over Point of Information’s to ask questions of the first two speakers. POI’s should only be used for quick clarifications as opposed to substantive interrogation.

5. No new arguments may be made in the rebuttal speeches. New examples/warrants for pre-existing arguments are however permitted.

6. Point of Orders are allowed in rebuttals. Point of Orders will stop time.

Food: Lunch will be provided to all coaches/judges. Coffee and beverages will also be provided to coaches/judges.

Speaker Point Scale: We believe that using a 100 point speaker scale helps decrease the overall standard deviation in speaker points assigned by judges. This is because 100 is a much more intuitive point scale than is 30, especially for less experienced judges. Research also suggests that judges assign more accurate speaker points using this scale than a 30-point scale. This scale also maps very well with the previous 30-point scale, as indicated below.

A+ = 97-100

A = 93-96

A- = 90-92

B+ = 86-89

B = 83-85

B- = 80-82

C+ = 77-79

C = 73-76

C- = 70-72

D+ = 67-69

D = 63-66

D- = 60-62

F+ = 57-59

F = 53-56

F- = 50-52

Conversion From 30 Point Scale:

B+ = 88 = 28.8

C- = 71 = 27.1

Tournament Schedule


Registration and Judge Training - (8am-9am)

Round 1 

9am High School Topic Announce (9am-10:15am)

10am Middle School Topic Announce (9:55am-11:05am)

Round 2

11:20am High School Topic Announce (11:40-12:30pm)

12:20pm Middle School Topic Announce (12:40pm-1:30pm)

1:30-2:30pm Lunch

Round 3

2:25pm High School Topic Announce (2:45pm-3:55pm)

3:45pm Middle School Topic Announce (4:05pm-5:00pm) 

Round 4

4:55pm High School Topic Announce (5:15pm-6:30pm)

6:20pm Middle School Topic Announce (6:40pm-7:50pm)



Round 5

8:00am High School Topic Announce (8:20pm-9:15pm)

9:05am Middle School Topic Announce (9:15am-10:20am)

Round 6


10:15am High School Topic Announce (10:35am-11:25am)

11:15am Middle School Topic Announce (11:35am-12:30pm)

12:30-1:30pm Lunch


1:30pm-2:00pm ------ Awards (Top 20 Speakers Recognized in Each Division, Awards for Top 10)

Octos (All Judges Committed)


2:10pm High School Octos Flips and Topic Announce (2:30pm-3:30pm)

3:15pm Middle School Octos Flips and Topic Announce (3:35pm-4:35pm)



4:55pm High School and Middle School Quarters Topic Announce 3:40pm (5:15pm-6:15pm)


6:30pm High School and Middle School Sems Topic Announce (6:50-7:50pm)


8:00pm High School and Middle School Finals Topic Announce (8:20pm-9:20pm)