The 41st Billy Tate Southern Bell Forum

2023 — Nashville, TN/US

Tournament Detail


All competition will be live and in-person on the campus of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, TN. 

We will utilize the 8-3-5 format. Students will debate the proposition: ''The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence, bio- technology, cybersecurity.''

There will be six preliminary rounds beginning with two presets (determined by a pre-tournament seeding) and one power-matched (high-low, within brackets) round on Friday January 7, 2023 and three power-matched (high-low, within brackets) rounds on Saturday January 8, 2023. The top 16 teams will be invited to participate in the elimination rounds on Sunday January 9, 2023. 

Each side will be allocated 10 minutes of preparation time. 

Teams reaching the octafinals earn bids to the 2021 Tournament of Champions hosted by the University of Kentucky. 


The tournament field will be capped at 72 teams. Each school may enter up to two teams. The “top” team from each school should be designated as such and will be given priority. 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. Maverick teams will not be eligible to participate in the elimination rounds. 

The entry fee for a two-person debate team is $200. Checks should be made payable and mailed to:

Montgomery Bell Academy

ATTN: Kevin Hamrick

4001 Harding Road

Nashville, TN 37205


Each school is expected to provide a qualified 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.

For those schools absolutely unable to provide a qualified judge-critic, judges may be hired for an additional $350 fee to cover the judging obligation for one debate team. Hired judge requests should be made no later than 5PM on Friday December 2, 2022. 

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 15 minutes after the announced start time of each debate.

All judges are obligated through the octafinals and/or one round beyond their teams are eliminated.


As a service to the community and to increase the educational experience, MBA will organize a tournament-wide speech document collection from every debate at the tournament. All participants in the tournament scouting will have access to a Dropbox containing these files. We expect that all competitors, coaches, and judges will participate as a condition of tournament entry.