Barkley Forum for High Schools

2023 — Atlanta, GA/US

Tournament-Wide Expectations and Policies

  • Expectations for competitive integrity: ​​The Barkley Forum for High Schools believes that competitive integrity is more important than competitive success.  We also believe firmly that every participant has the right to participate in a respectful, safe, and supportive environment.  We expect that every competitor, judge, coach and observer will engage in a spirit of fair and affirming competition and will act in good faith to preserve the integrity of the tournament.  We expect participants to abide by the honor codes and integrity policies of their represented academic institutions.  We expect that no participants will lie, cheat, steal or otherwise undermine the fairness of the tournament and that all participants will hold themselves to the highest standards of honesty and integrity in competition. Your participation in the Barkley Forum for High Schools indicates that you understand these expectations and will abide by them. 

  • We have immense respect for the educators who make speech and debate programs available in schools, the schools who support those speech and debate programs, and the students who have put in the hard work required to attend the Barkley Forum for High Schools.  In order to respect all of these entities, we have these policies and procedures in place:

    • To stay true to the founding principle of the Barkley Forum for High Schools – to encourage the development of high-quality forensics programs at high schools around the country – the tournament will only accept applications from students representing their high schools.  No independent entries will be allowed, and no entries representing entities other than high schools will be allowed.  Rare exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the tournament director.  If you would like to request an exception, please email Ed Lee at to describe your situation.

    • If a student is not accompanied by their debate coach to the tournament, they must have a hard copy of a letter on school letterhead from the school’s administration indicating the student has permission to compete on behalf of the school.  If the student is not able to provide the letter upon request during the tournament, tournament administration reserves the right to remove the student from the competition and forfeit all previous rounds. 

    • If students qualify to participate in the tutorials (i.e., clear), they are expected to be available through the final exhibition round to respect their opponents and the participants who will learn from their performance.  If a student must leave the tournament and cannot participate in a tutorial or exhibition round for which they have qualified, they will forfeit their award and all rounds.  Special circumstances may lead to rare exceptions to this rule at the tournament director’s discretion.  We are providing this information so you may make your travel plans accordingly.  

    • Unless approved by the tournament director, if you choose not to participate in a tutorial or exhibition (outround), you forfeit all previous rounds.  We will submit your results reflecting no wins/last place in each round to the TOC, NIETOC, and other entities to whom we provide results. 

    • In order for the tournament to function effectively, if you know there will be circumstances that will require you to leave prior to the conclusion of the tournament, please let us know as soon as you are aware of these circumstances.

  • All participating students are required to submit the Release of Liability form found on tabroom and have a legal guardian signature if under 18.  Completed forms should be uploaded to tabroom by January 20, 2023 at 11:59 EST.  

  • Participating schools assume any and all responsibility and liability for both student and adult participants from their schools and by registering attest that an adult will be present at the tournament and will assume all responsibility for the school’s students. Additionally, while Emory will be conducting background checks on all judges we provide, all judges provided by the schools must have completed a successful background check conducted by the schools.

  • Entourage Rule: Anyone providing coaching or research support for any contestants in the Pelham Debates, Public Forum, or LD should be entered in the judge pool for a minimum of 2 rounds (4 flights, if applicable) and be available to judge elimination debates.  Anyone providing coaching or research support for any contestants in Congressional Debate must be entered as a judge and available for elimination debates.  If there is a reason someone requires an exception, they should reach out to tournament administrators prior to the tournament for approval. Should a school violate the entourage rule, debaters in LD and Pelham will lose prefs for one round, teams in Public Forum will lose strikes for one round, and schools with Congressional Debaters will be fined the fee for an uncovered judge.  

  • Please make sure all judges and students are informed about the tournament’s Title IX policy, which is detailed beginning on p. 16 of the invitation.

  • We require that all judges, coaches, and participating students have an established, functional account - including a cell phone number listed.

  • At the final awards ceremony on Sunday evening, we will be presenting the results and awards from all final rounds as well as the top 5 speakers in Pelham and Public Forum.   

  • It is an expectation of the tournament that students will accurately represent material read during speeches. In order to ensure compliance, students may record their opponents’ speeches. It is the responsibility of coaches to ensure that their debaters and parents understand this tournament requirement and complete the paperwork necessary to ensure compliance with applicable state laws. 

  • If participants enter spaces the Barkley Forum is not using for rounds (professor offices, classrooms that are not on the pairing), they will be disqualified. 

  • For use while you are on campus, consider downloading Emory Mobile. Under “Campus Connection,” there are maps, and there are also instructions for getting your wireless devices connected to WiFi, dining information, etc. 

  • Please note that Emory is a tobacco-free campus.  For more information, please visit  

  • The Barkley Forum for High Schools is pleased to be offering the services of one of the professional staff of the Emory University Ombuds Office (UOO) during the tournament should our guests have an issue, concern, or complaint. 

    • The ombuds is a neutral party who is available to provide independent, confidential conflict resolution assistance to tournament patrons by listening, referring to appropriate tournament officials, and offering a flexible range of options for addressing issues and concerns informally.  Please note that discussing issues with the ombuds does not constitute giving notice to the university regarding a violation.

    • The practice of the Emory UOO adheres to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). These principles require that the university ombuds function independently, maintain confidentiality and neutrality, and limit the scope of services to informal means of conflict resolution.

    • Fill out this form to contact the ombuds.  Please note that the ombuds is not a mandatory reporter for Title IX related complaints.  See pp. 16-17 of the tournament invitation to see more information on the tournament’s Title IX policies and procedures.  To make a Title IX complaint, email the address for your event’s tab room and identify that you wish to have a meeting with the tab room. Because email should never be considered confidential, please only include your contact information and availability to meet; do not include sensitive or confidential information.  Additionally, concerns about tournament procedure and tabulation should be reported to your event’s tab room.