National Speech and Debate Tournament

2021 — Online, US

Registration Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • Entry Release Forms: It is the fundamental responsibility of the coach to acquire a signed Entry Release Form for each competitor before the first day of National Tournament competition. These signed forms must be retained by the coach through December 31, 2021, and tournament officials may request this signed form at any point during and immediately following the competition. Failure to produce these forms may result in disqualification from competition. Coaches do NOT need to upload a copy of this form to their online registration in Tabroom.com like previous years, though they are welcome to upload them to Tabroom.com for records-keeping. Coaches will agree to a disclaimer certifying that they will acquire and retain these forms before they are permitted to begin the online registration process. 

    • Please note that electronic signatures are only permitted if all students participating from your school are ages 13 or over.

  • School Consent: Any school with entries in Live Duo must make their school administration aware that students will be competing in the same physical room and receive approval from their school administration that students will be compliant with school safety requirements while competing in the same room. The coach must certify that they have taken these steps before beginning the online Nationals registration process through Tabroom.com by agreeing to the Tabroom.com disclaimer.

  • School Consent: Any school with entries in partner or team debate events that will compete in the same physical room must make their school administration aware that students will be competing in the same physical room and receive approval from their school administration that students will be compliant with school safety requirements while competing in the same room. The coach must certify that they have taken these steps before beginning the online Nationals registration process through Tabroom.com by agreeing to the Tabroom.com disclaimer.

  • Every student must have a linked Tabroom.com account. 

    • A Tabroom account (account at Tabroom.com) is different than an NSDA account (account at speechanddebate.org). 

    • A student’s Tabroom account must be linked to their entry in the tournament. View instructions for linking students’ Tabroom accounts here.

  • OO and Info entries must have a signed copy of their manuscript uploaded under their name on the “Entries” tab of their registration.

    • View detailed script instructions here.

  • Interp entries must have their final cutting and highlighted photocopy of their original source uploaded under their entry on the “Entries” tab of their registration.

    • View detailed script instructions here.

Judge Obligations & Requirements

  • Each school is required to cover a minimum of 2 days in any event to be eligible to attend the National Tournament.

  • One judge may cover a max of 3 days.

  • Judges must have left or graduated high school before July 31, 2019 or earlier to be eligible to judge. Bringing a judge who does not meet this requirement will result in loss of judge bond and a $500 fee.

  • By June 13, judges must certify in Tabroom.com that they have completed the Cultural Competency Judge Training course and watched the Nationals Judge Training videos. Judges must certify that these two requirements have been completed by logging in to Tabroom.com, clicking “National Speech and Debate Tournament” under the Judging header, and clicking “Judge Forms.”

  • Policy and Lincoln-Douglas judges must complete the Nationals Paradigm Form through Tabroom.com by May 15. 

    • Judges complete the form by logging in to Tabroom.com, clicking “National Speech and Debate Tournament” under the Judging header, and clicking “Judge Forms”. 

  • All judges are encouraged to complete the diversity questionnaire each year. Demographic information will be used for the purposes of providing an overall baseline of representation within our judging pool to allow the NSDA to best target its judge recruitment process. This demographic information will NOT be made public and is not saved from year to year.

    • Judges may complete the form by logging in to Tabroom.com, clicking “National Speech and Debate Tournament” under the Judging header, and clicking “Judge Forms”. 

  • All judges are eligible to judge supplemental speech events and Extemp Debate. This means that some judges will be required to judge asynchronous supplemental speech rounds between June 7-June 10, if assigned.

  • All judges must have a linked Tabroom account.

    • A judge’s Tabroom account must be linked to their entry in the tournament. View instructions for linking students’ Tabroom accounts here.

  • Only speech, Congress, and supplemental event days may be bought out.

    • Coaches may elect to pay for the judge day instead of providing a person to judge.

  • Big Questions and World Schools judges are obligated every day of the tournament. Do not enter a BQ or WSD judge that cannot judge Monday - Thursday.

  • View the number of days owed per entry in each event online in the Unified Manual on page 104.

  • When you enter a judge, that judge should be available for the duration of that event’s schedule. Coaches will have a limited ability to move judges around based on their availability after day assignments are released in June, but it will be difficult for you to cover your obligation if you enter judges with limited availability. 

  • From June 3 - June 5, you will see which days of the tournament your school is obligated to cover in each event, including the judges assigned to judge supplemental rounds June 7-10. You may swap your judges around so that all the days assigned are covered. You will also have the ability to add any judges not previously in the system to cover the days you owe. You may move around judges, but the days you owe will not be changed. We will not allow a judge to fill only part of a day's obligation. Note: this does not apply to WSD or BQ judges, who are obligated Mon-Thurs. More information about judge swaps will be released when National Tournament registration opens on March 1.

Fees & Payment

  • Payment is due May 15. A PO or check postmarked by May 15 is acceptable.

  • Schools may pay by credit card or ACH via their NSDA account. There is no processing fee for credit card and ACH payments. 

  • POs should be mailed to the office, postmarked by May 15, or emailed to billing@speechanddebate.org

  • View instructions for how to create your Nationals invoice here.

  • Checks payable to: National Speech & Debate Association

  • Mail payment to: NSDA, 401 Railroad Place, West Des Moines, IA 50265

  • Full refunds will be issued for changes made before May 15. 50% refunds will be issued for changes made between May 15 - May 22. No refunds will be made after May 22. 

  • If you make changes to your registration before May 15 but have already created an invoice that is higher than that amount, contact the national office for the invoice to be revised.

  • Overpayments will be processed by July 31 and refunded via the same method selected for judge bond refund.

  • Each school must post a judge bond of $200. This bond is in addition to entry fees and judge fees. If all judges from a school complete all judging assignments, the $200 will be returned after the tournament using the method selected during registration (on the general tab of your Tournament registration): refund check by mail or credit to your NSDA account. Judge bond refunds will be processed by July 31. 

  • Failure to report for each round on a day you're obligated will forfeit your judge bond of $200 for the first round missed, and a $100 per judge per round penalty will be assessed thereafter. A school will not be permitted to compete the following year unless all outstanding fees have been paid.  

  • If a supplemental event entry is not dropped before the May 22 deadline, no entry fee will be refunded, regardless of whether the entry competes in the event.

$100,000 Participation Support Grants: William Woods Tate, Jr. Memorial Fund

With the decision to move to the online National Tournament, the Tate Fund is now a way to provide financial assistance so that students can have a more equitable experience at the National Tournament. This year, the William Woods Tate, Jr., Memorial Fund will provide qualified students and schools with a range of support from $50 -$500. These funds are intended for high school students competing at the National Tournament to purchase technology, pay for internet access, rent appropriate space to compete, or acquire other resources that will allow them a more equitable experience.

We are proud to award a total of $100,000 this year. Because we have a limited pool of funding, we ask that you only apply on behalf of students you know most need these funds. Learn more and complete the application online here.