2015 Harvard Tournament
Dates: 2/14/2015 - 2/16/2015

The 41st Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 

Harvard PF RR Application

Greetings from Harvard Debate!

We are delighted to invite you to attend the Forty-First annual Harvard National Invitational Forensics Tournament, which will be held in Cambridge on Presidents' Day Weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday, February 13-16, 2015.

All entries into the tournament will be managed here at Joy of Tournaments

Harvard Debate is delighted to announce that henceforth our  policy debate tournament will be conducted in partnership with the Boston Debate League.  This year's policy tournament will be hosted at BDL member Brighton High School.  This partnership will assure that at least half of any profits earned on the policy debate tournament will directly benefit the Boston Debate League.  Brighton High School is located across the Charles River from Cambridge about 2 miles from Harvard.   The high school is accessible via public transportation, with both bus and subway access.  There is ample parking at the high school.  This new arrangement will, for the first time in many years, allow us to accommodate all of the policy debate teams that want to attend in one building.

E-registration! We strongly encourage all schools to participate.  This process saves considerable time and headaches upon your arrival in Cambridge. To participate schools must submit an accurate and complete entry and fully pay their fees in advance. Registration materials will be distributed via email. If you elect not to do e-registration you must register in person. You must come to the Harvard Campus -- at Hilles on Friday night, February 13, 2015. Schools who do not complete e-registration and do not appear for registration on Friday night will be excluded from competition.

What do you need to do now?  Some of our hotels fill up early, so you may wish to make reservations now. Other than that, watch this web site for future announcements. The site will be ready to take your entries on December 1, 2014.

Sincerely yours,

Sherry Hall & Dallas Perkins, Jr.


Competition Rules, Procedures, and Eligibility

Due to scheduling conflicts, no student may enter more than one of the following five tournaments. This includes Extemporaneous Speaking and Lincoln-Douglas. Students must choose between extemp and LD.

The Policy Debate Tournament

There will be two divisions, varsity and junior varsity, of two-person, switch-sides, cross-examination debate, on the national topic. We encourage coaches to enter students in the division that best approximates their skill and experience level, and we leave that judgment up to you. Time limits will be 8-3-5, with eight minutes preparation time per team. In order to maximize opportunities to participate, we must require that all teams have two members: no "mavericks." Both members of the team must attend the same school.

Vital Stats: Prelims-- Varsity: 7, Junior Varsity: 6. Elims--Double Octafinals, both divisions. Entry Limit: 140 teams in each division.  The two divisions will have to be balanced in size; if this does not occur “naturally,” we may have to negotiate and will appreciate your flexibility.

The Public Forum Debate Tournament

There will be two divisions of public forum debate, varsity and junior varsity, on the February National Speech and Debate Association topic, and using National Speech & Debate Association time format and rules. We encourage coaches to enter students in the division that best approximates their skill and experience level, and we leave that judgment up to you. Both members of the team must attend the same school.

Vital Stats:  Prelims: 6 (Varsity and Junior Varsity) Elims: Triple Octafinals. No Entry Limits.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debate Tournament

There will be two divisions, varsity and junior-varsity. Both will use the January-February National Speech & Debate Association topic.  We will utilize a mutual preference judging system. 

Vital Stats: Prelims: 6. Elims: Triple-octas in both divisions (top 64). No Entry Limit.

The Congressional Debate Tournament

National Speech and Debate Association rules and procedures determine advancement and placing based upon cumulative ranking by judges. Additional special procedures will be described when the legislation packet is released. The deadline for entry and legislation submission is Wednesday, January 21 at 6 pm EST (early, in order to process and distribute legislation). Fees are set at this time -- no refunds for drops after this date.Instructions for submitting legislation:

  • Legislation must be submitted online, using the form at www.congressionaldebate.org/harvardlegislation.
  • ONLY head coaches (NOT students) may submit legislation, and up to two items per school, each of which must have one unique student author.
  • ONLY legislation using the word processing templates on this site will be accepted.
  • Chamber assignments and legislation will be available on the "E-Registration" page (link above) by Monday, February 2.
  • Questions should be directed to www.congressionaldebate.org/harvardcontact
Vital Stats:  Prelims: 3 three-hour sessions. Quarterfinals (TOC bid level; about 1/3 of the field); and a reasonable number will break to semifinals and finals based on overall field size. Entry limit: Schools limited to 15 entries (schools may enter up to 15 additional 9th graders separately by creating a “junior” school entry which will have its own separate school fee and judging requirement).

The Speech Tournament

The tournament will feature competition in five events:

  • extemporaneous speaking (no foreign/domestic split),
  • original oratory,
  • dramatic interpretation,
  • humorous interpretation,
  • duo interpretation.
The schedule should allow responsible students to enter two of these events, and it is not unheard of to enter three. However, one person may not compete on two different duo-interpretation teams. National Speech and Debate Association rules will govern all competitions. It is our understanding that these rules forbid scripts in interpretation events and oratory or interpretation pieces which were performed last year in National Speech and Debate Association events.  We allow computers in the extemp prep room.  We make no guarantees about access to electrical outlets in the room, and no access to the Harvard Internet services will be provided. 

Vital Stats:  Prelims: 4. Elims: Octafinals (top 56 contestants), Double-Octafinals (top 98 contestants) for events with more than 300 entries (last year DI and Oratory broke to doubles).

General Tournament Rules

Without objection from school officials, unaffiliated entries are welcome in all tournaments. However, debate and duo team members must attend the same school. Unaffiliated entries must create an account and must provide contact information. The preferred name for creating an account is to use the school name followed by the word "unaffiliated."  You may also use the student's last name followed by the word "independent." Furthermore, unaffiliated entrants must submit full payment by mail on or before Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

All judges provided by schools must be qualified, which at a minimum means a high school diploma. Any complaints about judge qualifications must be addressed to the tournament director prior to or immediately after the competition involved. All tournament directors have been authorized to impose penalties against schools whose judges do not appear for the rounds to which they have been assigned.

The individual events tournament director will be prepared to enforce National Speech & Debate Association rules if objections are brought to her attention in a timely manner.


Registration, Judging, and Fees

Entry Procedures

You must enter via this web-site. The web site will begin accepting your entries on December 1, 2014. You are responsible for entering your school and student information, and also for getting the spelling and event information correct. If you are entering as an independent or unaffiliated entry, you still need to create an account and provide appropriate contact information. After you have entered the information, you should verify your entry and print out a copy of your invoice.

The deadline for Policy, Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, and Individual Events entries is February 11, 2015. The deadline for entry for Congressional Debate is January 21, 2015, at 6 p.m. EST, earlier than the rest of the tournamentWe may reach capacity prior to entry deadlines, but will run waiting lists. You may wish to confirm waiting list status before making travel arrangements. The fees for your entry will be set by midnight February 11, 2015 except for Congress entries where the fees are set as of January 21, 2015. You will be responsible for paying the full entry fee for any entries dropped after that date.

We require that you provide a cell phone number for each of your judges when you enter them. We ask that you cooperate with this requirement to allow us to track down missing ballots. Additionally, it is extremely important that you provide a working email address where we can contact you with updated information about the tournaments, such as where you should report on Saturday morning, and any changes in entry limits, schedules or venues.


Paying Fees and Completing Registration

Our e-registration system makes it possible for schools that have provided accurate entry information and paid their fees in advance to receive their registration materials by email. We strongly encourage all schools to take advantage of e-registration.

For those schools that must pay their fees in person and/or make emergency corrections to their entries or judges, we will conduct a live registration at the Student Organization Center @ Hilles, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, 02138, from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Friday, February 13, 2015.(Please note that Hilles is not on the main Harvard campus near Harvard square, but it is in the Radcliffe Quadrangle.) It can be difficult to find at night and there is no easy parking.  If you have not tried e-registration before, this is a really good year to give it a try as the in-person registration will not be nearly as convenient.

STUDENTS FROM SCHOOLS WHICH DO NOT COMPLETE REGISTRATION, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO COMPETE. Each school must register either through e-registration or in person. It is important that the persons registering be prepared to confirm all details of their school’s entry, judging, local contacts, etc., and be prepared to pay the tournament fees. We reserve the right to exclude contestants from competition if their school fails to register. This means that if you do not participate in e-registration, you must come to Hilles for registration by 10:00 pm or we will drop your contestants from the tournament.  If your travel to Cambridge is unavoidably delayed, please call Dallas Perkins at 617-306-4514 (This is not a number for general problems during the tournament.  Problems during the tournament should be reported to the information desks and/or building monitors for the respective tournaments.)

It will be best to pay your fees by mail. You may obtain an invoice by downloading it from the web site.  Checks should be made payable to "Harvard Debate."  They should be sent to: Harvard Debate, 490 Adams Mail Facility, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Fees are as follows:

  • Varsity Policy Debate Teams – $180.00
  • Junior Varsity Policy Debate Teams – $150.00
  • Public Forum Debate Teams -- $150.00
  • Lincoln-Douglas Entries – $130.00
  • Individual Speech Events – $65.00
  • Duo Interpretation Teams – $80.00
  • Student Congress Entries– $80.00
  • School [Account Management] fee -- $75.00


A qualified judge must accompany:

  • Each 2 Policy Debate teams (or fraction thereof)
  • Each 3 Lincoln-Douglas Debate contestants (or fraction thereof)
  • Each 3 Public Forum Teams (or fraction thereof)
  • Each 5 Speech entries (or fraction thereof)
  • Each 6 Congressional Debate contestants (or fraction thereof)

All judges must be available for all preliminary rounds, the first elimination round, and for one round beyond elimination of the last contestant from the school that the judge represents in the tournament. In Congress, judges must be available for the entire tournament, including through the final round. All judges must be qualified, which at a minimum means a high school diploma. All schools providing judges for the three debate tournaments with divisions should be flexible as to which division judges are assigned. Schools entering students in junior varsity divisions should expect that some of their judges will be needed to cover junior varsity rounds. First year judges will generally be assigned to the junior varsity division. 

Schools unable to cover the above requirements will be charged the following uncovered judge fees, as a disincentive for not bringing judges:

  • Policy Debate Teams -- $200.00 per team not covered
  • Public Forum Debate Teams -- $150 per team not covered
  • Lincoln Douglas Debate Entries -- $90.00 per entrant not covered
  • Speech Entries -- $35.00 per entry not covered
  • Congressional Debate -- $160 per judge not provided (need 1 judge for every 6 entries).


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