Tournament Practices

Table of Contents:

1. Signing up for a particular event at a tournament indicates a commitment to participate in that competition at that tournament. Since “no shows” cost the team money in penalties, transportation and rooms, students are asked to seriously consider their commitments. Illness with a physician’s statement and other verified emergencies would be the only acceptable excuses for not attending a tournament.
2. If a competitor must withdraw from a competition they must do so three days prior to the meet or it is that competitor’s responsibility to contact the coach. The competitor must pay for the entry fee. (see illness rule)
3. Dress at a tournament shall be consistent with professional attire.
4. Excessive noise and rowdy behavior are not allowed since students represent the school and should present a positive image. Fighting will result in immediate probation and discussion with the coach.
5. Each student will adhere to the on-site tournament rules. Cheating is not tolerated. The rules being either NFA (National Forensic Association) or AFA (American Forensics Association) host tournament rules and event rules and school rules.
6. Each student must use proper tournament etiquette. Tournament etiquette includes: attendance at every round, on time to each round, politeness in rounds and outside rounds. Applaud for all speeches and be the audience member that you hope to have: friendly, supportive and engaged.
7. CCSF campus rules apply to all team members while at the tournament site, or away from CCSF. This means no illicit drugs, no underage drinking, no firearms, and no weapons.

TRANSPORTATION: Transportation will be provided by the school, unless otherwise noted. Local tournaments will require that you drive your self, or car pool. CCSF is not responsible until you are at the tournament.

RULES ON OVER NIGHT TRIPS: (these are additional rules to the above rules)
1. Students shall check the their rooms for damage when they check into the motel and report it immediately to the coach and/or sponsor. The students of each room will accrue any other damages to their room. Furniture must not be altered, moved out of the room, or otherwise vandalized. Towels and bedding will be left in the hotel room.
2. Curfew for over night tournaments is eleven o’clock, unless otherwise announced due to a late tournament schedule, or a late team dinner. Students must check with a coach about any curfew change. At curfew all students must be in their assigned rooms. The coach will make periodical personal room checks after curfew (this will probably not be a problem since all of you are adults).
3. Excessive noise and rowdy behavior are not allowed since students represent the school and should present a positive image.
4. Students must stay in their assigned rooms. No one may switch rooms without permission from a coach or sponsor. There will be same sex rooms.
5. Each student will pay for phone bills, pay-per-view movies, and/or any other additional bills assessed to their room charges. The room captain will be responsible for enforcing this rule.
6. Students must obtain permission from the coach to leave the hotel. Students must notify the coach of their whereabouts in the hotel if they are not in their room.

CONSEQUENCES: Disregard for any of the above regulations may result in one of the following:
1. A warning from the coach. If the behavior is not alleviated other discipline actions will ensue. Other discipline procedures may include a verbal team apology, a written apology, or fine.
2. Disqualification from a tournament;
3. Probation from team activities, and/or competition;
4. Suspension from team activities, and/or competition.
5. If the infringement is a school rule, district rule, or when the coach feels necessary, administrative intervention, such as the principal, will be contacted and proper proceedings will occur.

In the round you should be a good audience member by paying attention to the speakers and being polite to the judge. Remember that you represent the team when you travel. Do not let the nastiness of competition prevent you from enjoying and applauding the speeches you sit through. Be the audience member that you hope to have: friendly, supportive and engaged.

At most tournaments you will compete in 2-3 PRELIMINARY ROUNDS in each event. The tournament will have a centralized location where students will gather to check “postings.” When each round is posted in the designated space, you will want to write down all of the important information: section, room, judge, each speaker, and your personal speaker order. You will need to do this quickly so that you can get to your round(s) and sign-in (See signing-In Section). Keep all of this information in your tournament notebook, separate from your black book with all of your interpretation selections and your speeches.

Based on rankings in the preliminary rounds tournament officials will calculate who advances to the elimination rounds (also known as out rounds or break rounds). Expect to encounter more than one judge in final rounds. Traditionally there are three or more. Know who they are, where they are sitting and by all means do not perform until all of the judges are in the room and ready.

After you check the posting, and you have written down all of your round information, you may have two or more events in a grouping or pattern. You might have your poetry oral interpretation performance during the same round as your duo interpretation. It is your responsibility to get to both rooms and sign-in. Signing-in is the process of writing your name and your school code, and perhaps even your individual (personal) code [given to you by your coach at the registration of each tournament] and whether you a double or triple entered during that round. The reasoning behind signing in is two-fold. First it allows the judge to know who is multiple entered so that he or she will permit those competitors to perform first, and those who are not entered in other events to wait. This makes the tournament run on time. The second reason behind signing-in to the room is simple courtesy to the judge. By signing in you are letting the judge know that you are will be right back, after you do your other round, or that you are waiting in the room. In another way it is a way that the judge can check and see if you (or sometime the judge) is even in the correct room.
When you sign-in there are two options most competitors follow: 1) Chalk or White Board and 2) Sheet. If there is no place to sign-in, create one on a chalkboard, or white board or with a piece of paper. Just simply write a copy of the tournament posting on the board or sheet of paper.
Make sure that you sign-in in the correct speaking position. A sign-in includes the speaking order, speaker's code and name; it will look like this:
1. 03- Rosie Mays
2. 12- Nate Steele (D.E.)
3. 20- Manny Goni (D.E.-extemp)
4. 39- Tenisha Bond (T.E.)


Speeches are usually ranked by judges on a scale of 1 to 4 in the preliminary rounds. The ballots you receive in elimination rounds most often rank speeches first through last. There can be no ties in ranking except for speakers tied for last place (usually 4th or 5th). A ranking of 1 is best and 5 is the worst.

Rate (also known as speaker points) is a secondary evaluation system that sometimes appears on ballots. The most common rating system scores speakers from 1 to 25 with 25 being best. They may use 70-100 with 100 being the highest. Speakers may be tied on ratings although rankings and ratings should match with the top speaker being rated as high or higher than any other speaker in the round. Phi Rho Pi uses no rate system for scores.

Judges should not discuss or reveal their decisions in any way to anyone except a tab room official until the results have been announced. Judges and/or coaches seeking or revealing a decision may have their contestants disqualified. Hired judges seeking or revealing a decision are subject to non-payment for their services. Hired judges must agree in advance to abide by this rule. Usually the person judging must have judged previously in intercollegiate forensics competition. This is not always the case. Find out with your coach who the judge(s) is so that you may adapt to their style and expectations. Now because all judges are expected to judge until the end of the tournament regardless of whether they have qualified students for the elimination rounds you must be aware that they are exhausted. They concentrate on six speeches, rank them and then do this all over a long day. Be kind to them, but if there is a problem, don’t deal with the judge directly. That is your coach’s job.

Know where a judge is from, who they are, and that what they have to say is important. But also take it all with a grain of salt. They are just one person. Look for patterns in the ballots. What do they say as a group? What did you do well from round to round? What did you do consistently wrong? Go back over your Tournament Posting Notebook and rebuild the round. Try to figure out who was ranked higher and lower than you. Compare your Tournament Posting Notebook with the final results or tabulation sheets (Tab Sheets).

Ballot Example:
Speaker’s Name: School Code:
Round: I II Semis Finals Section: ___
Please assign each contestant a ranking and a rating. There can be no ties in ranking except for 5th in preliminary rounds; ties speaker points (rates) are permitted. In elimination rounds, speakers should be ranked first through last. The rating should be in percentage form between 60-100 with 100 being highest. Ranking and rating should “match”; the speaker with first place in the round should be given a rating higher than any other speaker in that round or at least equal to that of the second place speaker.
Comments & Reason For Decision: (use other side if necessary)
Rank in Round (1-5) Rating (100-70)
Judge’s Signature and Affiliation

Directions: After every tournament it is important to review your ballots. Ballots are an excellent source of feedback. They help you identify areas that need work and areas that you do well. It is also important to keep track of the judges who critic your performance, because you will see them again. You may want to adjust only for that particular judge. If there are contradictions write them opposite each other. Then decide with your coach how to best way to solve the contradiction.