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Standards:IDEA High School Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions

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The IDEA High School Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions is a joint effort of IDEA-USA and Willamette University. The tournament is sponsored by IDEA-USA and Willamette University and is promoted in Europe by IDEA-NL. The purpose of the IDEA High School Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions is to provide a high-quality parliamentary debate tournament involving the best debaters from the United States and around the world.

The tournament is a three-day event held on the campus of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Although the date will vary from year to year, the tournament usually will occur during the summer.


The tournament should be organized by a two-person team consisting of a Tournament Coordinator chosen by IDEA, and a Tournament Director selected by the Director of Forensics at Willamette University. Each of these team members will be selected at least one year prior to the tournaments.

IDEA Tournament Coordinator

1. The IDEA-USA Board of Directors will name the IDEA Tournament Coordinator.

2. The duties of the IDEA Tournament Coordinator include to:

  • Promote the tournament throughout IDEA countries.
  • Negotiate financial arrangements with the Tournament Director.
  • Work with the Tournament Director to develop a tournament invitation to be posted on the IDEA website prior to September 1st.
  • Develop an online registration system.
  • Coordinate the actual registration process with the Tournament Director.

Willamette Tournament Director

1. The Director of Forensics at Willamette University and the President of the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) will appoint the Willamette Tournament Director.

2. The duties of the Willamette Tournament Director include to:

  • Work with the IDEA Tournament Coordinator to prepare a tournament invitation for posting on the IDEA website prior to September 1.
  • Promote the tournament within the United States.
  • Secure tournament sanctioning through any necessary state speech and debate associations.
  • Coordinate the online registration process with the IDEA webmaster.
  • Manage the operation of the actual tournament.

3. In extreme circumstances, the Tournament Director may deviate from these standards when his or her decision to do so is approved by IDEA-USA.

Debate Format and Motions

The IDEA High School Parliamentary Tournament of Champions will follow the rules of IDEA Two Team Parliamentary Debate. A different motion will be used for each round of debate. The motion will be presented to the debaters twenty minutes prior to the beginning of each debate.

Tournament Entries

A maximum of seventy-two teams will be accepted in the tournament. Each school or debate club must provide one judge for every two teams or portion thereof. If a school or club is unable to provide the required number of judges, they may be charged a judging fee.

Debater Entry

1. Any regularly enrolled high-school student is eligible to apply for participation in the tournament.

2. Application forms will be posted on the IDEA and Willamette Forensic websites.

3. Criteria for acceptance into the tournament will include previous experience in any form of debate along with the team�s competitive record for the current year.

4. All debate teams are required to pay the participation fee.

Judge Entry

1. All judges entered in the tournament must read and agree to abide by the IDEA Judge standards (see Judge Accreditation Process and Standards) and the IDEA rules for Two Team and Four Team Parliamentary Debate.

2. Qualified judges not associated with a team entering the tournament can apply to be hired as a judge.

Pre-Debate Workshop

One day prior to the tournament IDEA will conduct a one-day parliamentary debate workshop. All debaters entered in the tournament, as well as any other debaters who wish to register can participate in the debate workshop. A judging workshop will be conducted on the morning of the first day of the tournament. All interested judges are invited to attend this workshop without charge. After the workshop, and prior to the first debate, a judges briefing will be conducted. This briefing, consisting of a review of judging standards, is mandatory for all tournament judges.

Tournament Fees

Tournament fees will be set year to year. Tournament fees are set to include ordinary tournament expenses, the cost of awards, and all meals for participating debaters and judges.

Judging Debates

At the end of the debate, judges will announce their decisions and provide brief oral comments to the debaters. These oral comments must include the reason for decision and suggestions for improvement.

After the decision is announced and the oral comments given to debaters, judges should quickly return the ballot to the Tournament Director. Once the ballot has been completed with a clearly indicated winner and clearly assigned speaker points, the decision of the judge cannot be changed.

Decisions by judges are not reversible and are not appealable. Judges are not allowed to change decisions based on complaints or discussions with involved parties.

Scheduling Debates

Scheduling Preliminary Rounds

1. A minimum of six preliminary rounds will be scheduled in each tournament.

2. The following constraints should be obeyed in scheduling rounds:

  • Sides will be randomly assigned and side constraints will operate in odd numbered rounds. In even numbered rounds teams will be assigned to the side of the resolution opposite from the side assigned in the previous round.
  • Teams will be constrained from meeting teams from their school or club.
  • The following methods should be employed in pairing:
    • Round 1 will be paired randomly, meaning that with the exception of the previous restraints, any team has an equal chance of meeting any other team.
    • Rounds 2 - 6 will be paired using a high-low within brackets method of power pairing.

Scheduling Elimination Rounds

1. All teams with a 4-2 win-loss record or the top 16 teams, which ever is larger, will advance to elimination rounds.

2. No team constraints apply in elimination rounds.

3. The following methods should be employed in scheduling elimination rounds:

  • The first elimination round is paired so that the highest ranked team meets the lowest ranked team. For instance, in quarterfinals, team one meets team eight, team two meets team seven, team three meets team six, and team four meets team five.
  • After the first elimination round, the bracket is not reset. For instance, should team eight defeat team one, team eight assumes team one�s place in the bracket.

Scheduling Judges

1. No coach will be assigned to judge his or her own school or club.

2. Judges and teams may specify conflicts of interest that will also be used as constraints.

Criteria for Ranking Teams and Speakers

Criteria for Ranking Teams in Eliminations Rounds

Teams should be ranked using criteria in the following order.

  • Number of wins.
  • Adjusted speaker points with the highest and the lowest single-ballot points dropped.
  • Total speaker points.
  • Opposition win-loss record.
  • Double adjusted points with the second highest and the second lowest points single-ballot points dropped.
  • Continued adjustments with dropping additional high and low scores.
  • In the event of an unbreakable tie, the ranking will be decided by the toss of a coin.

Criteria for Ranking Debaters for Speaker Awards

1. Adjusted speaker points with the highest and the lowest single-ballot points dropped.

2. Total speaker points.

3. Double adjusted points with the second highest and the second lowest single-ballot points dropped.

4. Continued adjustments with dropping additional high and low scores.

5. If continued adjustments cannot break the tie, the debaters should be declared tied for that particular speaker place.


Certificates and/or awards should be presented to every debater who advances to an elimination round and to the coach of every debater who advances to an elimination round.

Awards should be presented to the top ten speakers.

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