2020 CHSSA Middle School State Champs
Dates: 5/1/2020 - 5/3/2020

Debate Rules (Policy, Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas and Parliamentary Debate)




  • Policy Debate: The policy debate resolution shall be the national high school debate resolution .(See first page of "Tournament Policies.)
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debate: NSDA topic for Mar/Apr.
  • Public Forum Debate: NSDA topic for April
  • Parliamentary Debate: A different topic is used each round.

Debate Both Sides of Resolution as Assigned:

  • Over the course of the tournament, each team or individual in Policy Debate, Public Forum, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate may be assigned to uphold either side of the resolution in any given round.

Number of Participants:

Policy, Public Forum and Parliamentary Debate teams consist of two members only. In Lincoln-Douglas Debate only one person debates each side of the resolution. In all forms of debate, including Public Forum, the affirmative/proposition side will always begin the debate. In Public Forum the negative side will always conclude the debate. In all other forms of debate the affirmative or proposition side will always conclude the debate.

Length and Order of Speeches in Each form of Debate.

  • Rules on length of speeches, order of speeches, and preparation time alloted will follow those outlined in the most recent edition of the NSDA Unified Manual.
  • Parli Times: 1st Proposition 7 minutes
  • 1st Opposition 8 minutes
  • 2nd Proposition 8 minutes
  • 2nd Opposition 8 minutes
  • Opposition Rebt 4 minutes
  • Proposition Rebt 5 minutes

           Additional Parli info may be found in the CHSSA ByLaws (CHSSA.org)- Article XI-Section 4

          CHSSA Public Forum Times   : Traditional times - 4-4-3--4-4-3..2-2-3-2-2

 Examination of Opponents.

Policy Debate and Lincoln-­­­Douglas Debate: In Policy Debate, both members of a debate team must participate as a questioner and respondent during cross-examination, but only one member of each team may do so within a given cross-examination period.

 In both Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate

  • The questions must be directed to the speaker who has just completed his/her constructive speech and must be answered by that speaker alone.
  • The respondent may decline to answer only if a valid reason is given for doing so.
  • The questioner controls the time and may interrupt a lengthy reply. Any form of time-wasting is considered unethical.
  • Cross-examination time may not be yielded for the purpose of gaining additional preparation time.

 Public Forum: Cross-Fire.

  • In cross-fire, the team who finished speaking receives the first question.
  • In the first two cross-fires, both participating debaters may ask and answer questions of the other.
  • Only the speakers indicated above may participate.
  •  Grand Cross-fire: All four debaters may participate. All may ask and answer questions.

 Computers and Electronic Devices.

  • During the round the internet may be used, but only for the purpose of file-sharing with their opponents and/or colleague or the judge(s).This may be done through email chains and file-sharing services like Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other method agreed upon by all competitors in the debate.
  • In Parli, debaters may not utilize any electronic device during the round. (They can be used only in the prep room.)

 Oral Prompting (Policy and PF)

  • Oral prompting, except timesignals, either by the speaker's colleague or by any other person while the debater has the floor, is discouraged though not prohibited and may be penalized by some judges.

Penalties for Violating Debate By-Laws in All Debate Events.

  • Debaters may not make an agreement among themselves or with the judges to modify the above rules in any round. Judges should not direct students to deviate from these rules or encourage students to violate them. In ruling on protests for violation of debate rules set forth in this Article, the tournament officials shall consider the total facts and circumstances associated with the violation including whether it...
  • was intentional or unintentional,                                                                                                                                 
  • was unethical and/or dishonest,                                                                                                                                   
  • would be considered abusive                                                                                                                                         
  • was intended to obtain an unfair advantage in the debate
  • violates the purpose behind a rule in addition to its express language, and
  • the degree of prejudice resulting to the opponent from the violation.

 Unless another penalty is included in any specific rule, the tournament officials is empowered to impose any of the following penalties or take any of the following actions:

  • warning and/or reprimand, including a statement of clear consequences for the offending team           
  • requires the round be repeated under terms considered fair and just by the committee and
  • impose a loss on the debater(s) in violation




  • A speaker’s time is “clocked” when they begin to speak. An exception can be made for off-time “roadmaps” as long as the roadmap is not argumentative and doesn’t exceed 15 seconds.

Congress Rules

A State Congress shall be a regular contest of the CHSSA Middle School State Tournament. Said Congress shall have preliminary houses of 10-15 members each. Each session will last for 90 minutes. All Congress contestants must follow the rules specified in the CHSSA Constitution, By-Laws, and Congress Handbook (unless otherwise stated in this document). Failure to do so may result in disqualification. Computers or tablets are allowed in congress sessions provided that the internet is disabled.

High School students will serve as Presiding Officers.

CHSSA rules will be in effect (with adjustments indicated on this invitation).

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