Academic eligibility requirements for club participation are governed by school policy. Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher at the last grading period, have passed at least 20 credits in the previous semester, and be currently enrolled in 25 or more credits.
Novice tournaments often have different eligibility rules. Please read tournament invitations thoroughly.
In Individual Events for League Tournaments, a Novice is anyone who has not gone to Finals in a novice tournament or to Semi-Finals or Finals at an open tournament, whether they are new or experienced. In Duo, if one person is a Novice and the other is in Varsity, they must compete in Varsity.
In Debate for League Tournaments, a Novice is a first-year student who has neither been to debate camp nor gone undefeated in a League novice tournament. If a first-year student competed against high school students while in middle school, the student must have done so no more than three times; a fourth such competition means the first-year student must start as a JV debater. In team debate, if one person is a Novice and the other is in Varsity, they must compete in Varsity.
Middle school students with more than a year of competition experience need to consult the Head Coach of the high school program about appropriate division placement.
JV and Varsity Eligibility
In Individual Events, there is no JV level. Team members can choose to compete in Varsity with their coach’s permission. Novices who have been Novice debate Tournament Finalists or Open Semi-Finalists or Finalists must move up to Varsity.
Eligibility for Qualifying Tournaments
In Debate, students must move up to Varsity if they go undefeated as a Novice at a League tournament, if they have gone to camp, if they have competed in middle school at more than three high school competitions, or if they have one or more years of debate experience while in high school even if they have not gone undefeated as a Novice.
Several tournaments require students meet certain requirements in order to compete. Please review these if you are hoping to compete at these events.
To compete at the National Forensics League District Qualifying Tournament, a student must:
- Be a registered member of NSDA. Compete in a “national” event (LD, PF, or a subset of speech events).
- Promise to attend the national tournament if they qualify at the qualifying tournament.
- Be selected by the team’s Head Coach to participate.
To qualify for compete at the California State Qualifying Tournaments, a student must:
- Compete in a “California State” event.
- Promise to attend the state tournament if they qualify at the qualifying tournament.
- Have the approval of the Team’s Head Coach to participate in the State Qualifying Tournament.
- Competitors in Debate must also have won at least one round of that specific type of debate in League competition in the current year at the varsity level.
- Competitors in IE prepared events must submit a copy of their speech in proper form by the deadline announced in the team meeting.
To qualify for the national circuit invitationals (where top finishers earn bids to the Tournament of Champions) a student must:
- Contribute to the team’s preparation on the topic.
- Have the approval of the Team’s Coach to participate in the tournament.
- Submit permission slips and other forms in a timely fashion prior to the tournament.
- Acquire approval from the school principal
- Agree to pay one’s share of expenses for travel, lodging, judging fees, etc., which may also include a pro-rated share of the traveling judge’s expenses, if applicable.
To ensure they are meeting external requirements for the various Tournaments of Champions, students should consult the rules of the individual sponsoring organizations:
- KY-TOC (LD, PF, Speech)
- NIETOC (Speech)
- National Parliamentary Debate League Tournament of Champions (Parli)