Bethel Park Black Hawk Invitational

2019 — Bethel Park, PA/US

Procedures & Rules

Event Rules & Topics

Lincoln Douglas Topic

Resolved: The United States ought not provide military aid to authoritarian regimes.

Public Forum Topic

Resolved: The United States should end its arms sales to Saudi Arabia.


Extemporaneous Topics Domestic & Foreign (alternating rounds)

Domestic: politics – Washington, environment/outer space, economic business prediction, the military

(Local news will NOT be a topic area)

Tampico 2/20:  western hemisphere, Asia Africa Australia, Conflict spots, foreign policy 

Congress Bills

All schools participating in Congress should submit one bill for consideration in the houses.  Bills must be submitted via email(attached as a word doc) to by Friday, January 26, 2018.  The bills will be posted thru on January 27. 



Congress will be using NSDA Pilot rules which are including link above.


Tiebreakers & Preliminary Round Seeding

School protections/constraints will be in place for all Preliminary rounds.

For both Speech and Debate, there will be 1 judges used per preliminary round/room.

All tiebreakers, unless otherwise noted will follow the following tiebreak systems.

Debate Seeding for Preliminary Rounds (Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, Parliamentary, and Policy):

1. # of Wins (Byes count as a full win)

2. Opponent Seed

This metric is calculated by the average seeds of the opponents that a debater has faced, which recalculates every round as seeds change.  It serves to weight the total wins/losses that a debater receive by the difficulty (i.e. seed) of their opponents.  

3. Standardized Points (JudgeVar2 in Tabroom)

Calculates from a baseline of all the scores that have been received by the debaters that the judge has judged across the tournament (as opposed to all the scores across the tournament as a whole). This adjustment in theory lessens the effect of having two sets of judges who give sharply different point scales within the same pool.

Formula is ((score - judge's mean) / judge's std deviation) * population standard deviation) + population mean

4. Total Points

5. Coin Flip (random score from Tabroom)


Debate Powerpairing

- Rounds 1 and 2 will be paired randomly.

- Rounds 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 will be paired in Hi Lo, following the seeding method above, and accounting for school constraints (i.e. same schools will not hit).


Speech Seeding for Preliminary Rounds (all Speech events):

1. Ranks

2. Opponent Ranks

This metric is calculated by the average seeds of the opponents that a competitor has faced, which recalculates every round as seeds change.  It serves to weight the total wins/losses that a debater receive by the difficulty (i.e. seed) of their opponents.  

3. Reciprocal Ranks

4. Ranks from Powerpaired rounds (all rounds after #3).

5. Coin Flip (random score from Tabroom)


 Speech Powerpairing (all Speech events)

- Rounds 1, 2, and 3 will be paired randomly.

- Rounds 4 and 5 will be Snaked. 

As an example, assume there are 4 rooms of Poetry, rooms A, B, C, and D, and 16 competitors, labeled 1-16 by their rank.  For this example we're going to assume all are from different schools.  The competitors would be placed as follows:

Room A would be competitors 1, 8, 9, 16

Room B would be competitors 2, 7, 10, 15

Room C would be competitors 3, 6, 11, 14

Room D would be competitors 4, 5, 12, 13

The actual pairings are not going to quite follow this because there is still school protection on, but it should closely mimic the snaked round above.

The reason it is called a snake is that if you follow the ranks up and down, in order, they make a snake shape.


Congress Pairings

1. All of the competitors will be randomly divided into two chambers, which will remain the same for both Preliminary sessions.  There will be a new seating chart for Session 2, comprised of the same sets of competitors as Session 1.

2. The new Presiding Officers for Session 2 will be elected at the end of Session 1.

3. There will be two Scorekeepers per room per session in addition to the Parli. 

4. Each scorekeeper will rank the competitors from 1 to 8.  All remaining competitors not in a the top 8 will receive a score of 9. 

5. Each Parli will rate all of the competitors from 1 through the total number of competitors in a room, with no ties.

6. Seeding will be comprised of the aggregate score of all scorekeepers, weighted equally.  In the event of a tie, the score from the Parli will be the tiebreaker.



All school constraints will be removed for elimination rounds.

For both Speech and Debate, there will be 3 judges used per elimination round/room.

Debate Elimination Rounds:

1. After seeds are determined as stated above, the top seeds with 5 wins and 2 losses will break to Octofinals (meaning some competitors that are 5-2 will not break), with potential byes for competitors with teams with 6 and 7 wins, depending on the number of competitors breaking.

2. The 7-0 and 6-1 competitors will be fixed in the top places in the bracket according to previous seeds for Quarterfinals.

3. The competitors that advanced to Octofinals, and not receiving a bye (5-2 competitors), will be re-seeded according to the methodology stated above for the final places in the bracket.

4. From Quarterfinals onward, the bracket will remain fixed with no re-seeding in a single elimination format.


Speech Elimination Rounds:

1. Depending on final numbers in each event, Speech will break to either Quarterfinals or Semi-finals.

2. To determine which competitors advance to the first elimination round, seeding will be used as stated above.  Rankings to break to the first elimination round will be cumulative and include all preliminary rounds (includes Snaked Rounds), weighted equally.

3. For events with Quarterfinals, the top 24 competitors will advance.  For Semifinals (including events that break straight to Semifinals), the top 12 competitors will advance.  For Finals, the top 6 competitors will advance.

4. All elimination rounds will be Sudden Death, meaning they are non-cumulative and ranks from previous rounds do not count. 


Congress Superssion

1. Congress will break to 1 Supersession consisting of the top 8 competitors in each chamber for a total of 16 competitors.

2. There 3 scorekeepers and 1 Parli in the Supersession.  The Parli will also act as the Presiding Officer.