Mission of the National Debate Coaches Association

The National Debate Coaches Association provides all debate coaches, regardless of type of debate, region, or pedagogical style, with avenues for professional development. The goal of the organization is to strengthen the ability of coaches to provide meaningful learning experiences for their debaters.  The goals of the National Debate Coaches Association rest on two pillars – coach education and coach retention.  Our ultimate vision is to provide opportunities for high school coaches to strengthen their abilities in order to provide stronger learning environments for their students.

Bylaws of the National Debate Coaches Association

Obligations of the Board

All Board members:

  • Should act as ambassadors for the organization; this should include encouraging new people or institutions to become members, seeking input from the membership to communicate to the Board and promoting the tournament

  • Should recognize that they are volunteering to serve the organization and are encouraged to pursue projects that further the mission of the organization, including periodically updating the Board on the status of those projects

  • Are expected to attend the National Championship tournament, even if their school is not attending

  • Must be current members of the NDCA

  • Should participate in all votes, even if voting to abstain

  • Stay current with Board discussions

  • Should be aware that their personal views can be conflated with the views of the organization and/or the entire Board and should be sensitive to that issue in their public communication

  • Regularly check the NDCA Board Google Calendar

  • Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, Board members should plan to serve out their full three year term



Each fall, after the election, the Board will re-open the discussion of who would like to fulfill each duty and amend the duties to best help the organization. Depending on the composition of the Board, more than one person might hold a position.

Duties of the Chairperson

  • The primary duty of the Chairperson is to support each Board member to fulfill their duties as outlined below. This includes checking in with Board members regarding their projects and helping to mentor new Board members.  

  • Coordinate a Fall and Spring Board meeting

  • Distribute to members an annual “State of the Organization” report

  • The chairperson, when not up for reelection, is responsible for organizing Board elections.  This could include soliciting new members to run for the Board, collecting candidate statements and distribute them to the membership, and collecting votes and tabulating results.  If the Chair is up for reelection, the task will be delegated to another Board member who is not up for reelection.  

  • When the Board determines an agenda item should go to the membership for a vote, the Chairperson should distribute information about the agenda item, collect, tabulate, and distribute the results of the membership vote.

Duties of the Finance Coordinator

  • The Finance Coordinator may complete the duties listed below, or may delegate them to a Chief Financial Officer appointed by the Board. If a Chief Financial Officer is appointed, the Finance Coordinator will solicit regular reports on the NDCA’s finances and report that information to the Board.

  • Update the membership spreadsheet

  • Deposit checks in a timely manner during the school year

  • Make payments as needed for official business

  • Request a Board vote for all expenses that require a personal reimbursement to the Chief Financial Officer

  • Ask for a Board vote for any expenses incurred by other Board members that do not fall within their regular, yearly duties (so, for instance, we would not need to vote on the Tournament Director ordering trophies but would need to vote on the Tournament Director attending a conference)

  • Produce end of the year financial statements to send out to the Board by April of the following year

  • Check bank statements and make sure that at least one other Board member receives a duplicate copy of the bank statement

  • Periodically update the Board on our financial status (especially around times of major expenses, such as the tournament)

  • Maintain our non-profit tax status with Texas and the IRS and file all necessary tax paperwork.  This is best done in coordination with a professional accountant.

Duties of the Internal Communications Officer

  • Facilitate votes as per the Board’s voting procedures and post the results of those votes to the web page

  • Maintain the Board’s calendar of important dates

  • Maintain the Board’s Google Group

  • Keep minutes at meetings and distribute those minutes to the Board

Duties of the Tournament Coordinator

  • Solicit potential National Championship event hosts

  • Communicate expectations to potential hosts about hotel needs, transportation, room needs, and hospitality

  • Regularly update the Board regarding event issues

  • Act as the agent for the organization for the negotiation and signing of contracts related to lodging, hospitality or space needs for the National Championship

Duties of the Web Manager

  • Maintain our web presence

  • Keep the Board updated on web issues

  • Help to expand web content, such as posting materials submitted by the Director of Curriculum, soliciting blog posts or posting public relations materials

  • Post updates to things such as the bylaws, lifetime and institutional membership lists, and Board roles

  • Maintain listserv operability

Duties of the Public Relations and Membership Coordinator

  • Develop an advertising strategy for the organization that will include publicizing NDCA projects and events, such as new initiatives and significant ongoing projects, especially the NDCA National Championship and NDCA Professional Development Conference

  • Solicit articles for NDCA Coaches Corner in the Rostrum, to be approved by the Board

  • Consider staffing a table for new members to sign up at a large event or two, such as the NSDA tournament or the Glenbrooks

  • Oversee the annual awards nomination and selection process as outlined in the bylaws

  • Develop new strategies for expanding the membership base and communicate those strategies to the Board

  • Use promotional materials to recruit new members

  • Send reminders on August 15, September 1, March 1 and May 15 for coaches to join

  • Coordinate with the Web Manager to make sure that membership is prominently featured on our web page and the Open Evidence project web page

Duties of the Coordinator of the Open Evidence Project

  • Email institute directors in the late spring to obtain permission to post files

  • Delegate posting to Board members and other volunteers (as needed) and followup to make sure that those files get posted

  • Oversee the organization of the Open Evidence web page

  • Coordinate with the Director of Public Relations in promoting the Open Evidence Project

Duties of the Curriculum Coordinator

  • Solicit coaches for updated curriculum materials routinely and inform membership when new materials have become available

  • Work with the Web Manager to create an organized online presence for those materials

  • Develop strategies for coach education (such as workshops) and discuss those with the Board

  • Coordinate the creation of the Novice Policy Packet, to be constructed with the direction of the Board

Duties of the Conference Coordinator

  • In consultation with the Board, plan and administer NDCA professional development conferences

  • In collaboration with the Board, develop a conference agenda

  • Coordinate conference logistics with facilities and presenters

  • Promote conferences to the membership and administer any system of pre-conference registration or attendance fees deemed appropriate.

  • Act as the agent for the organization for the negotiation and signing of contracts related to speaking fees, reimbursements, and other remunerations paid to conference presenters or participants.

  • Act as the agent for the organization for the negotiation and signing of contracts related to lodging, hospitality or space needs for NDCA conferences.


Appointed officers:

Appointed officer positions will be determined by an annual vote of the Board.

Duties of the Tournament Director

  • Appoint appropriate personnel for running the tournament (such as tabulation staff and hired judges)
  • Create an electronic registration system by January 15
  • Administer the National Championship Tournament in accordance with tournament procedures

Duties of the Chief Financial Officer

  • Complete any duties delegated by the Finance Coordinator.


Board and Officer Removal Procedures

In the event of gross misconduct or dereliction of duty, Board members can be removed from the Board if at least 7 Board members vote for the removal of the member.

Appointed officers serve at the will of the Board and can be removed by a majority vote of the Board at any time.


Board Election Procedures

Board members serve three-year terms.

The election timeline is as follows:

  • September 01 - The Board will encourage election candidacy statements to be submitted.
  • September 15 - The ballot for the election will be sent to members.
  • October 01 - Deadline for ballots to be cast. Election results will be announced as soon as possible.

Each voting member will receive a number of votes that corresponds to the number of seats open in the election cycle. For example if there are 3 seats on the board open in the election each voter can vote for up to 3 candidates. The member may not submit more than one vote for a particular candidate. A member does not have to use all of their votes but may only cast one vote per candidate.



The organization has the following categories of membership:

  • Individual Annual Membership: Annual memberships last from August 15 - August 15
  • Institutional Membership: Institutional memberships last indefinitely
  • Lifetime Membership: Lifetime memberships last indefinitely

Starting in the fall of 2014:

  • All new members wishing to vote must be affiliated with a high school
  • Each election and referendum will only recognize 3 votes per high school
  • In the event that there have been more than 3 votes cast by a school, the program director will be contacted to decide which 3 votes should count
  • Lifetime or Institutional memberships that were purchased prior to the 2014-2015 season will be allowed to vote even if they are not affiliated with a high school

Dues paid prior to the National Championship Tournament will count for that season.  Dues paid after the National Championship will count towards the following school year.


Board Votes

Normal Voting Procedures:

Once a normal motion has been put forth by a Board member and seconded by another Board member, there will be a 48 hour discussion period.  Once 48  hours has elapsed, a voting period of 24 hours will begin.  Votes sent in prior to the conclusion of the 48 hour discussion period will not be valid.  The Secretary will be responsible for tracking the various time frames and tallying the final votes.  

Expedited Voting Procedures:

When there is a true need for an expedited vote, a Board member may propose an expedited motion with a 24 hour combined discussion and voting period.  That motion must be seconded and at least seven Board members must vote for the motion for it to pass.  

Publishing of Votes:

Board votes should be publicly posted on the web page in a timely manner.  The text of the motion and the final vote tally will be included.  


National Federation of High Schools Topic Meeting

The NDCA should ensure that at least one member attends the annual NFHS topic meeting to represent the NDCA. If the chosen representative is unable to obtain funding the NDCA will reimburse partial or total travel costs for the representative as decided by a vote of the Board. The NDCA Board will ask the delegate to caucus with other NDCA members in attendance in order to cast the NDCA vote, if possible.


Annual Awards

The David P. Baker Award:

Awarded to the top Baker points earning policy debate team that is competing at the National Championship Tournament.

Dukes and Bailey Cup:

Awarded to the to top Dukes and Bailey points earning Lincoln-Douglas debater who is competing at the National Championship Tournament.

Educator of the Year:

The goal of this award is to recognize someone who has made outstanding educational contributions to the debate community.  In order to be nominated, an individual must be a member of the NDCA. Any member may submit a nomination. A nomination must be for a current active coach. A statement in support of the nominee is encouraged with the nomination. All nominees fitting the above criteria will be placed on a ballot. All voting members will be given one vote.

Tournament Host of the Year:

The goal of this award is to recognize tournaments that most closely adhere to NDCA best tournament practices, as outlined in the NDCA tournament procedures. In order to be nominated, the tournament host must be a member of the NDCA. Any member may submit a nomination. A statement in support of the nomination is encouraged. All nominees fitting the above criteria will be placed on a ballot. All voting members will be given one vote.

Rising Star Award:

The goal of this award is to recognize outstanding coaches in their first five years of high school coaching.  In order to be nominated, an individual must be a member of the NDCA. Any member may submit a nomination. A nomination must be an active coach in their first five years of coaching. A statement in support of the nominee is encouraged with the nomination. All nominees fitting the above criteria will be placed on a ballot. All voting members will be given one vote.

Service and Leadership Award:

The goal of this award is to recognize outstanding contributions to the debate community, especially contributions on behalf of the NDCA.  To be nominated, the person must be a member of the NDCA. The Board will nominate and select the final award winner.


National Championship Tournament Procedures

The National Debate Coaches Association will maintain a set of tournament procedures for each event offered at the National Tournament. Those procedures will be made publicly available on the tournament invitation and the organization’s website. These procedures can only be changed by a majority vote of the board.


Official Agent of the National Debate Coaches Association

St. Mark’s School of Texas is listed as the official address of the National Debate Coaches Association. The Chief Financial Officer and Chairperson will be listed as the official agents on tax documents.