Tournament of Champions

2020 — Lexington, KY/US

Online Speech Announcement

Hello all,


We have made some decisions regarding how speech events will run given the online format that I wanted to share with all of you.


How Interp Events Work

First, for events that aren’t Extemporaneous speaking, we are going to utilize a hybrid live-recording method. The main reason we are opting for this method is because of reliability. Lag or latency in an internet connection for even a small amount of time can have a large impact on how a performance is perceived. We wanted to use a method that provides performers the best opportunity to let a judge see their best performance.


In cooperation with the National Speech and Debate Association we believe we have developed a unique solution to online speech competitions.


There will be a window of time for each competitor to record a performance in the NSDA’s newly created online speech platform. What this platform allows competitors to do is record their performance, re-watch it, and decide if they want to delete the submission and try again or save the submission.


What it doesn’t let you do is edit or the doctor the videos.  After a competitor hits “save” the performance goes into sortable database of other performances. This is password protected.  During the competition we will release pairings. Judges and students will check in to their virtual room. The judge will be given a password to access these video performances. They type in the name of the competitor and it will queue up the video.


After the video is pulled up, the judge will hit “Share Screen” in Zoom. This way all the students and the judge can watch the performance. This repeats until the judge has watched all the performances assigned to that room. Judges will then fill out an online ballot like in previous TOCs.  This model will still result in strong judge feedback and the opportunity to gather together and watch performances, but will also greatly improve the reliability of the video of competitors.




Restrictions from governments are likely to increase between now and the TOC concerning COVID-19. The tournament does not want to endorse travel beyond the home in any capacity as a requirement to compete. This obviously poses a unique problem for Duo Interpretation. 

Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel hosting Duo Interpretation due to this logistical concern. It seems unavoidable that competitors would have to gather to submit their recording. That would contravene established public health guidance and cannot be endorsed by the TOC. If you have a student who was intending to participate in Duo you can switch them to Humor, Dramatic or POI.


How many events you can enter

In the online invite we said you could enter two events. That was working under outdated assumptions. Folks can now enter up to three events.



The NSDA platform will be completed sometime between April 8th and 10th. There will be a 5-day window for submitting performances. The staff of the TOC will use the intervening time to check to make sure the videos are ready to be reviewed by judges. The tournament will then take place on April 17th through 20th.


Between now and approximately April 8th competitors should practice setups for performing to produce the best recording they can.


That includes how to setup a section of your home to perform, acquiring an adequately wide lens camera among other technical considerations.



This event will be taking place live the weekend of the TOC. We are currently choosing between one of two methods to digitally handle draw. We will blast that out when we have it. Once a student has their question, they will prep in a virtual room in front of their camera with a TOC staff member present (similar to normal Extemp prep supervision). They will then give their speech in a virtual room.



We appreciate all the feedback we have received. We understand there are a lot of different viewpoints about online speech and how to administer it. We feel the above procedure will help navigate the challenges that will occur between now and the TOC while maintaining the core of what makes the TOC a special event.