Billy Tate Southern Bell Forum

2016 — TN/US



Our goal is to provide the finest hospitality with the most competitive policy debate experience available. We are certain that our many hospitality offerings and quality of awards will assure you that we are not profit-oriented.

There will be six preliminary rounds beginning with two presets on Saturday afternoon followed by four power-matched (high-low, within brackets) rounds on Sunday. An awards ceremony and elimination rounds beginning with the octafinals will commence on Monday morning. Each side will have eight minutes of preparation time. We will utilize the 8-3-5 format. Students will debate the proposition: "Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance.” 


The Southern Bell Forum is designated as a qualifying tournament for the Tournament of Champions sponsored by the University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky has further designated the Southern Bell Forum as one of the select tournaments where octafinalists will achieve qualifying bids.


Each school may initially enter two teams. Top teams should be designated as such and will be given priority. The tournament field will be limited to 64 teams. Admittance is provisional upon receipt of entry fees. When considering teams for admission, our overriding goal is to create the most competitive field possible. Attempts to subvert the spirit of the admission process will be rejected. No hybrid teams are allowed, i.e., both members of a debate team must attend the same school. Students should be accompanied by an adult chaperone authorized by the school. The entry fee a two-person debate team is $200. Checks should be made payable to Montgomery Bell Academy.


Entry and judging fees will be assessed as of December 1 and are non-refundable after this date.

Admission of any second teams to complete the field of 64 will commence after 12:00PM on November 16.  The final field will be set no later than December 1. We will endeavor to keep teams apprised of their standing on the waiting list.


Each school is expected to provide a qualified judge-critic for each entry. The judging pool will be supplemented with a number of outstanding college debate coaches, assistant coaches and debaters who will serve as guest judges. We once again anticipate one of the most experienced judging pools offered at a tournament this year.

In order to facilitate the mutual preference system, we ask that each judge be available for four rounds of preliminary debates. In cases in which a school has been granted two entries, one judge may cover the obligation for both teams. There must be one and only one win (and one and only one loss) assigned as the decision for each debate. We will enforce a decision time of 2 hours and 30 minutes after the announced start time of each debate.

For those schools absolutely unable to provide a qualified judge-critic, judges may be hired for an additional $300 fee to cover the judging obligation for one debate team. We must be notified of any hired judge requests no later than November 16.


Once again, this year’s trophies will be very handsome custom-made awards designed especially for the Southern Bell Forum by Jamie Wilkes Trophies of Winston-Salem, NC. Awards will begin with octafinals, and distinctive speaker awards will be presented to the top 25 debaters.


Registration will run from 12:30 – 1:30PM in Lowry Hall on Saturday January 2. Parking for tournament participants is available in the school garage located at 205 S. Wilson Boulevard. We ask that all tournament participants attend the opening festivities in Dead Poets Society Auditorium at 1:30PM. If for any reason you are delayed, please call Kevin Hamrick at (615) 974-2723.


The Nashville Airport Marriott will again serve as the tournament hotel. A number of social events as well as the awards ceremony and elimination rounds on Monday will be held here. The hotel address is 600 Marriott Drive, Nashville, TN 37214. The telephone number is 615/889-9300. We have secured a rate of $109 per night (plus applicable taxes). Guests of the tournament will enjoy free wireless Internet and parking.

All tournament participants are requested to stay at the Nashville Airport Marriott. We will employ a $100 fee to encourage stay at the tournament hotel.  We will happily waive this fee upon confirmation of your reservation at the Nashville Airport Marriott.

All reservations should be made directly with the hotel no later than Friday December 4. Please identify yourself with the Southern Bell Forum sponsored by Montgomery Bell Academy. To book online, click here: 

Book your group rate for Southern Bell Forum 2016


MBA will not be operating a shuttle service. We suggest that you use a rental car for your convenience. We recommend Tennessee Van, which rents both vans and cars and can be reached at (615) 885-1632. The Nashville Airport Marriott operates a continuous free shuttle between the airport and the tournament hotel.


MBA is located at 4001 Harding Road, Nashville, TN 37205.