John Edie Holiday Debates hosted by Blake

2016 — MN/US

2016 Tournament Invite


Dear Debate Coach,

The Blake School Debate Team is honored to extend to your school an invitation to attend the 54th Annual John Edie Holiday Debate Tournament, December 16-18, 2016. We are looking forward to an extremely competitive pool in Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Congressional Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking and World Schools. We are also working on a Big Questions division.  We are pleased to announce that Tournament of Champions bids will be awarded to the octofinalists in Policy and Public Forum and quarterfinalists in Lincoln-Douglas and the top six in Congressional Debate.  All debate rounds will be held at the tournament hotel, the Hyatt Regency, located in downtown Minneapolis. Most of the preliminary rounds will take place in hotel rooms. The rooms used for rounds will not be rooms that people stay in overnight.

We are pleased to offer the 9th Annual Blake School Twin Cities Public Forum Round Robin.  This round robin will invite several of the finest public forum teams in the country to compete.  As in past years, we will run this event on Sunday following the regular public forum division tournament.   We plan to use some of our best Hyatt meeting rooms and provide 2-3 judges per round.  Our goal is to invite community members from the Twin Cities to provide a diverse judge pool and highlight the activity of debate to all of the Twin Cities.  The goal for this event is great competition and high visibility.  We will use the NFL January 2017 Public Forum Topic.

We will also host the 6th Annual Blake School Congressional Debate Round Robin on Sunday.  By invitation, twelve excellent congressional debaters and their coaches will face a challenging format of committee hearing, debate, and a crisis simulation.

We will also be hosting the 2nd Annual Blake School Extemporaneous Speaking Round Robin.  

We sincerely hope that you and your teams will be able to join us this year. Add to your tournament experience a visit to the Mall of America and some of our finest downtown dining establishments. Minnesota may be cold in December but we hope to keep you warm with a variety of activities. The tournament staff will be more than happy to make suggestions for good food and fun experiences while you are in town.

We hope that we can provide you with an enjoyable tournament experience. Everyone should expect the same great tournament this year at Blake.  Your questions can be answered by calling Shane Stafford at 952-988-3747 or my cell phone 612-385-1796. You can reach me by email at 


The Blake School Debate Directors and Coaches
Shane Stafford – Sandy Berkowitz
Christian Vasquez -- Reka Fink -- Tom Pacheco
Kelly Bentdahl -- Alekh Kale -- Hannah Stafford -- Kevon Haughton

General Information


December 16-18, 2016


All Policy, LD, Public Forum, World Schools, Congressional Debate and Extemp rounds are held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel located at 1300 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.


Seven divisions will be offered: Varsity Policy, Varsity Public Forum, Varsity Lincoln-Douglas, World Schools Debate, Varsity Congressional Debate and Extemporaneous speaking and Big Questions.

  • In policy, the national topic on China will be used. 

  • In Lincoln-Douglas, the national January-February 2017 topic will be used

  • In Public Forum, the national January 2017 topic will be used. 

You may enter a maximum of six entries in any division.

  • If you are entering World Schools division, email me if you are entering more than two teams.  

  • We can often go above these limits; please contact Shane if you need additional entries beyond our entry limits.  

Scheduling Issues:

  • Octofinals of policy and LD will be held on Sunday.

  • In policy, there will be seven preliminary rounds and a break to double octofinal following round seven.

  • Lincoln-Douglas will break to partial-triples after round six, advancing all 4-2 LD students. In LD we will not go beyond a full triple.  

  • In Public Forum and Congressional Debate we will announce an appropriate number of eliminations rounds as entries come in.  

  • In policy, the first two rounds we will preset randomly using an A-B format.  

  • In LD and Public forum, the first two rounds will be preset randomly.  

  • Remaining rounds in all divisions will be powered high-low within brackets. 

  • Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum will be flighted through the preliminary rounds.

  • Depending on the number of entries in each division, the above schedule is subject to change.

  • Speech time in policy will be 8-3-5 with 10 minutes prep time. Time limits in Lincoln-Douglas will be 6-3-7-3-4-6-3 with 5 minutes prep time. Public Forum will use the NSDA time rules with 4 minutes prep, and will observe a coin toss.


The tournament will make the final decision on invitations to the Congress, Extemp or Public Forum Round Robins.  If you would like to be considered for either the Congress or the Public Forum round robins, you can send information to Shane Stafford.  Records from last year and this year would be appropriate information to submit.


  • Our new contract with the Hyatt provides free internet in all sleeping rooms.

  • An outstanding coach award is presented each year. Please consider an appropriate nomination. Forms for this will be available at registration.

  • All debates are open to any observers – they may watch and flow.

  • We encourage disclosure of decisions and discussion of all debates within the constraints of keeping the tournament on schedule.

  • Low point wins will be allowed.

  • Maverick policy and public forum debaters will be allowed to win but will receive a maximum of 30 speaker points and will not be allowed to advance to elimination rounds. Mavericks should only occur as a result of last minute sickness or other emergencies.

  • No independent entries will be allowed.  My definition of independent is when your school does NOT want to approve your representing that school. We need approval from your school.  We will ask that all schools provide documentation from a school administrator that the students have permission to compete in the tournament.

  • Hybrid rules – No Hybrid teams, you must attend the same school.  The one exception to this rule is if your state organization recognizes the combination of two schools in debate then the coach can contact me.  The example is the Walter Panas – Lakeland example.  Don’t assume you can compete unless you talk to me first.

  • In Policy Debate and Lincoln Douglas – We will have a goal of strike cards for quarters and semi-finals.

  • All panels will be constructed to maximize the participation of people of color and women.  There may be a panel of three white males that gives the teams a panel rank of 3, but the tab room will preference a panel of a higher rank total if it is able to maximize diversity on the panel.  The tab will seek to provide a close to mutual preference panel that represents diversity.   

  • Judge Preferences – we will use MJP for policy and LD debate.  All varsity judges are required to post their judge philosophies on the wiki by December 1st  (5pm CST); the judge philosophy wiki can be found at  Public Forum will get three strikes from the judge pool.

  • We will institute a “entourage” rule with all team coaches contributing 2 rounds to the judge pool. This rule means that if you are at the tournament and a coach of the school, you should contribute two rounds of judging even if this means the school is contributing more than their minimum requirement.  The “entourage rule” applies to all divisions.




One judge must be provided for one or two policy teams. Two judges are required for three or four policy entries. A half-time judge will be obligated to judge 4 rounds. Public forum will require one judge for every three teams, or fraction thereof. Because of flighting in Lincoln-Douglas, you will need to bring one judge for every three LD debaters, or fraction thereof. Congressional Debate will need one judge for every six entries or fraction thereof. 

JUDGES are obligated one round past the elimination of their team and thru the first full elimination round.  So Doubles in policy, Doubles in LD and Doubles in Public Forum.

We will have a limited number of judges available for hire at $300.

If a judge fails to pick up their ballot at the tournament. There will be a $50 per judge per round missed.

All judges must have a account and be able to enter an electronic ballot while at the tournament.

Registration and Fees

Registration will be available between 7:00 to 11:00 PM on Thursday, December 15th. We will provide a phone option for registration of local teams on Thursday night. 

All entries will be automatically placed on a waiting list. Once the tournament director receives your fees or a copy of your submitted purchase order your entries will be removed from the waiting list and entered into the tournament.  

2016 Fees

  • Policy Debate  $120/team

  • LD  $70/team

  • Public Forum $70/team

  • World Schools Championship Debate $125/team

  • Congressional Debate  $25/entry

  • Extemp Speaking $25/entry

  • Public Forum Round Robin $175/team

  • Congressional Round Robin $130/entry

  • School Fee $40

A limited number of hired judges are available for hire, at the cost of $300 per judge.  Please email your intention of using a hired judge.

A hotel fee of $100 will be added to each school's set of fees.  If you stay at the tournament hotel I will remove that fee.

If a judge misses a round there will be a $50 fee per judge per round missed.

REGISTRATION AND FEES DEADLINES:   We are required to pay for the rooms that are used at the hotel for the actual rounds. Because we have to pay for the rooms, it is important that we know the number of teams you are entering as early as possible. After 5PM EST on Monday, December 5th, registration will close.  I will take late registrations if we have room.   Fees will be final after 5PM EST on December 5th, 2015.  All fees must be paid no later than tournament registration.  Any team whose fees are not paid at that time will not be allowed to debate.

Please send fees, in the form of a check (payable to The Blake School) to:

Shane Stafford
Blake Speech and Debate
511 Kenwood Parkway
Minneapolis, MN  55403