2017 Harvard Tournament
Dates: 2/18/2017 - 2/20/2017

The 43rd Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament 

Quick Jumps: Policy | Public Forum | Lincoln-Douglas | Congressional | Speech
General Rules | Registration, Judging & Fees

 Greetings from Harvard Debate!

We are delighted to invite you to attend the Forty-Third annual Harvard National Invitational Forensics Tournament, which will be held in Cambridge on Presidents' Day Weekend, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday, February 18-20, 2017.

We have several exciting announcements concerning this year’s tournament.

First, we will provide breakfast and lunch for all tournament participants this year on Saturday and Sunday.  The meals for participants will be provided in addition to the traditional coach and judge lounges.  We will be providing the meals without increasing any tournament fees this year.

Second, we are adding two new speech events this year: Program Oral Interpretation (POI) and Informative Speaking (click links for event descriptions). In their debut year we will offer three preliminary rounds clearing to quarterfinals. If entry numbers are larger than 140 in either event, we will clear to octafinals. Rules for all events can be found in the NSDA Unified Manual.

We are adding a novice division to the Public Forum tournament this year.  In its debut year we will offer 4 preliminary rounds and clear to octafinals.

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

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 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 the Student Organization Center at Hilles, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, on Friday night, February 17, 2017. 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, 2016.

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.
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 if entry is over 70 teams. Entry Limit: 120 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 three divisions of public forum debate, varsity, junior varsity, and novice 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. The novice division is intended for students in their first year of competition.  Both members of the team must attend the same school. On Monday, there will be a special elimination break-out for the top 16 international teams registered in JV Public Forum that do not reach the regular elimination rounds. Teams must be registered in JV PF to be eligible for consideration.

Vital Stats:  Prelims: 6 (Varsity and Junior Varsity) Elims: Triple Octafinals. Novice 4 preliminary rounds, clear to Quarterfinals.  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 and 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 Friday, January 13, 2017 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, which they should review to ensure it is of quality suiting substantive debate.
  • Each school may submit up to three legislative items, each of which must have one unique student author. 
  • ONLY legislation using the word processing templates from congressionaldebate.org will be accepted.
  • Chamber assignments and legislation will be available on the "E-Registration" page (link above) by 10pm EST, Wednesday, February 1.
  • Please use this form to report changes of contestants and/or judges.
  • Questions should be directed to congressionaldebate.org/site/contact-us

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 20 entries.

The Speech Tournament

The tournament will feature competition in seven events:

  • extemporaneous speaking (no foreign/domestic split),
  • original oratory,
  • dramatic interpretation,
  • humorous interpretation,
  • duo interpretation,
  • program oral interpretation,
  • informative speaking.

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. 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, Extemp and Oratory broke to doubles). POI and Informative: 3 prelims, clear to quarterfinals.  (Will clear to Octafinals if entry numbers are above 140).

General Tournament Rules

Without objection from school officials, unaffiliated entries are welcome in all tournaments. However, debate and duo team members may not attend different schools. 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 15, 2017.

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 website. The web site will begin accepting your entries on December 1, 2016. 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 15, 2017. The deadline for entry for Congressional Debate is January 13, 2017, 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 16, 2017 except for Congress entries where the fees are set as of January 15, 2016. 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 17, 2017. (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. 

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 is 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.  We are unable to accept credit card payments.

Entry fees are:

  • Varsity Policy Debate Teams – $180.00
  • Junior Varsity Policy Debate Teams – $150.00
  • Public Forum Debate Teams (Junior Varsity & Varsity) -- $150.00
  • Novice Public Forum Teams – $100.00
  • 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

Schools must either provide judges to cover their entries or pay a fee so that the tournament can hire judges.

The required number of judges for each tournament are:

  • Policy Debate: 1 judge for every 2 teams
  • Public Forum Debate: 1 judge for every 3 teams
  • Lincoln Douglas Debate: 1 judge for every 3 contestants
  • Speech Events: 1 judge for every 6 contestants
  • Congressional Debate: 1 judge for every 6 contestants.

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. 

If you do not have enough judges to cover your obligation, you will be assessed a fee to cover the cost of hiring the necessary judges.  The hired judge fee is calculated per entry or team that is not covered.  So while 1 person can cover two policy debate teams, if you have two teams without a judge, you will be assessed $200.00 per team not covered or $400.00.  The hired judge fees are:

  • 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 – $35.00 per entry not covered

Copyright © 2002-2017 Brent Hinkle. All rights reserved.