Utah Panther Pride Online

2021 — Online, UT/US

Judge Instructions

Please ensure that Judges receive these basic instructions: 

Judge Code of Ethics




We are so pleased and grateful for your valuable time to be spent with us and this amazing opportunity for our students. You will be amazed at how much these students know and can do!

Whether you are a first-time judge or an experienced one, you are all valuable and are completely qualified! To get to know how to judge if you need though, this is a great website with information on all of the events, good practices and there's even training that you can receive a certificate for!



How to judge online: we will try to judge debates online, but in case of issues with internet we will be ready to print the ballots quickly to keep us going.



We are judging online which means we need you to use your own device to judge on.


Comments...it is very discouraging to students if they don't get feedback on how they did. Please, as you are judging, write in comments on things they did well, and what they could work on. If you are in Debate judging, you will be required to give a reason for decision as well...who won the round and why. This also helps us as coaches to help our students get better at their events and the skills they are learning.


LEAVE YOUR OWN OPINIONS AT THE DOOR! WE are all human and have our own beliefs and opinions on a variety of issues and topics. However, these students, especially in debate, are dealing with learning and understanding different points of view, creating arguments and supporting them...we can only judge how well they argue, support and defend those positions, not the positions themselves. In speech, they are given topics, or write their own speeches, but the same thing applies...judge the organization, argumentation, supporting evidence, delivery of information, but not whether we agree or disagree with the topic.


Paradigms....If you are new and don't know what this is when a student asks...it is what you feel is important to winning a debate/argument. IE: I feel that clear arguments with supporting evidence and connections are important to good debates and cases. When they ask that informs them as to how to adapt to you to win the debate.


DO NOT DISCLOSE! This means that you should not tell the students how they placed or if they won the round or not.

DO NOT GIVE VERBAL CRITIQUES! We do not have time! You can make your decisions in Tabroom and go back to put in your comments and feed back later if you don't get it done in round, but we definitely do not have the time to have you give them any feedback after the round to keep the tournament running on time.


ASK QUESTIONS! We are very happy to help you with filling out ballots, understanding events, etc...we can't help you make a decision on how students should be placed in round, but we can give advice about situations and how to make tough decisions, etc.


Patience! We try our best to keep things on time and moving, but there are times when things happen and we can't help it if there are delays...and you are a part of that...Help us by getting to your rounds in a timely manner, starting your round online so we know it is going, putting in your decisions with quick comments and reasons for decision and going back in later to put more comments in for the students to have.


Internet usage.... Students may use the internet in DEBATE rounds (NOT SPAR or Impromptu) in order to access files, look up evidence and information, communicate with their partner, the other team and judge if they want to be included. THEY CANNOT contact outside individuals like family, friends, teammates, coach, etc. If they do look up new information online, that must be shown to the other team and judge upon request to check for validity/accuracy. IF there is a violation of the rules, the judge can determine if the rules were broken and give a loss to the team who broke the rules and then report it to the Tabroom. If they don't feel that they can determine that, then they should bring it to the tournament director to evaluate and make the decision.


DEBATE: If a team/participant is more than 15 minutes late to the round from the time that it is sent out (blasted, posted...maybe different than scheduled time) they are a forfeit. speaker points— 25 is failing to students and 30 is amazing and an A!


RFD: Explain why the team won or lost the round based on what happened in the round and skills--in the end, use your best judgement and explain why. Even if they were all amazing, let them know a couple things they did well and something they could work on. Please do not use gender specific pronouns in your comments or references. Please use general you, they, your, or refer to them by speech or side of argument...or by codes, this will avoid any issues with possible mistakes... also, here is a link to our judge’s code of conduct which reflects our coaches and student’s code of ethics.




If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know when you arrive as well.


·       The National Speech & Debate Association/Utah Debate Coaches Association is committed to providing its participants, judges, coaches, and staff the opportunity to pursue excellence in their endeavors. This opportunity can exist only when each member of our community is assured an atmosphere of mutual respect. The NSDA/UDCA prohibits all forms of harassment and discrimination. Accordingly, all forms of harassment and discrimination, whether written or oral, based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by any applicable federal, state, or local law are prohibited, whether committed by participants, judges, coaches, or observers. Individuals who are found to have violated this policy will be subject to the full range of sanctions, up to and including removal from the tournament, disqualification and other possible legal actions. 

·        Judges are to give feedback and rankings on skills and abilities, not on content or opinions. Unless there is something that is completely inappropriate for High School Content, or that a team is acting in a way that is harmful or considered harassment, then we should remember that the students in Debate must debate each side of the topic, no matter their personal opinions or beliefs. Speech topics are often personal to the students and their own experiences, and we are looking at the skills and presentation, not the content topic...you may give suggestions on maybe how to better present the topic to be more inviting to an audience, etc. but not be critical of the. topic itself, unless of course it is offensive and not appropriate for HS students to be presenting. This beauty of this activity is that we can respect everyone's rights to believe and speak about what they want while still understanding and respecting that others' have the same rights and we don't have to agree on everything to appreciate each other as human beings....If a judge feels there may be an issue that they cannot address in a round, then please pause the round and contact Tabroom...we can then figure out what, if anything, to do, or discuss a way in which to handle a situation. This is about education and growth, and if we can accommodate that first, we will.


IF ONLINE: Please remember that the video quality of a student’s performance or speech may be impacted by lighting, internet, access to equipment, and other family members’ presence in the home. To ensure a more equitable experience for our participants, please be sure your decision-making process and comments are related only to the content and quality of the presentation or speech itself.


·         If a competitor experiences technical difficulty which dramatically impact the judges’ ability to evaluate the first attempted run of the performance in a round, the competitor will be given a total of 20 minutes of tech solution time (the equivalent of two performances) to resolve the technical issues and perform again.

·         If at that point it cannot be resolved, let tab know and we can see if there is something that can be done.

·         Professional equipment enhancements may not be used. Professional equipment includes professional lighting kits, professional grade camera recording and audio devices, and softboxes. The use of stage lighting is not permitted. Lavalier microphones and ring lights are permitted. Ear pods/headphones with mics would be acceptable and should not be counted against students in any way.

·        Judges SHOULD NEVER give them your personal phone number, or email. If you are a debate judge and want to do an email chain, create a separate account. However, with today's climate and the online ability here to send documents and chain through the chat instead, I would highly recommend that route instead for your safety, as well as the competitors'.

·         IF for some reason something happens in the round, a competitor's internet cuts out in the middle of the speech or round, please use the contact tab/email to let the tabroom know immediately. We will then work with you and the competitors to ensure the best way to deal with the situation and the round. DO NOT have them join a personal zoom type room to continue the round.