Tournament Rules & Procedures

Qualifying Procedures

The Public Forum division of the NDCA Championships will accept up to sixty teams. Any team that has reached elimination rounds in varsity competition will be eligible to enter the tournament. Schools may enter up to four teams and put additional teams on the waiting list, to be released at the discretion of the tournament directors.

All NDCA member schools are entitled to at least one entry in Policy Debate and LD. Every qualified entry adds one entry to a schools allowable limit. So if you have one entry that meets the qualification standard you are allowed to enter two. If you have two qualified entries you are allowed to enter three, etc.

Additional, Policy Debate and LD Tournament participants will be determined using the following qualification procedures:

Policy debate is considered a team activity. A team is comprised of two individuals from the same degree granting institution.

Debaters registering for the NDCA Championships will automatically be placed on a waiting list until they achieve qualifying status, as detailed below.

Points Formula

Points are calculated using the following formula:

The number of teams attending the tournament (up to 80 Policy teams/100 LDers) * Diversity of Tournament Multiplier (below) * Elimination Success Multiplier (below) *  Preliminary round win percentage = Total Points earned from a tournament.

Diversity of Tournament Multiplier:

  • 1-2 states: 1.0
  • 3-5 states: 1.2
  • 6-8 states: 1.4
  • 9-12 states: 1.6
  • 13-15 states: 1.8
  • 16 or more states: 2.0

Elimination Success Multiplier

  • Didn’t clear: 1
  • Clearing but no wins in elim rounds: 1.1
  • Octas: 1.2 (winning at least 1 elim)
  • Quarters: 1.4 (winning at least 1 elim)
  • Semis: 1.6 (winning at least 1 elim)
  • Finals: 1.8 (winning at least 1 elim)
  • Champion: 2.3


Every elimination round from octafinals on is worth a bonus after the number of participants in elimination rounds is less than or equal to half the number of entries. For example, a tournament with 15 entries doesn't count for a bonus until semifinals. A tournament with 16 entries would count beginning with quarterfinals. A team must win an elimination round to get bonus points beyond clearing. For example, if a tournament breaks to semifinals and a team loses in semifinals the multiplier is 1.1.

Example: In 2005, Grapevine had 72 teams representing six states. Six states is a Diversity of Tournament Multiplier (DTM) of 1.4. If a team is 4-1 in prelims their prelim win percentage is .8, winning an octas debate and losing in quarters gives them a 1.4 Elimination Success Multiplier (ESM). So if a team was 4-1 in prelims and lost in the quarterfinals at Grapevine their points would be: 72 X 1.4 X 1.2 X .8 = 96.768

A team counts their best five tournament performances in the varsity/open division of virtually any tournament using the current NFL resolution. A team may accrue points competing in the varsity/open division of any tournament occurring prior to the application deadline and that has at least twice as many entries as preliminary rounds. For example, a tournament with 6 preliminary rounds must have at least 12 entries to become a tournament that can count towards qualification. Tournaments such as round robins that utilize an even number of judges for preliminary competition are not eligible.

Once a policy team or LDer is on the waiting list the tournament director will review their points earned using the NDCA points database. Policy teams and LDers will be released off the waiting list immediately if they have earned at least 500 points and if they apply prior to March 15. The list of entries will be made publicly available.

Virtually any tournament can count toward qualification. If there is a tournament not included in your students points earned so far this year please contact NDCA Championships tournament directors, Tim Mahoney, at for Policy Debate, or Chris Palmer at for LD Debate.

A policy team may apply even if they haven’t debated together previously or if they haven’t debated at five tournaments together. In this instance each individuals best five tournaments regardless of partner are counted, then divided by two, and then the two individual scores are added together to create the team point total.

The policy team with the highest point total using this qualification system that attends the NDCA Championships will be awarded The David P. Baker Award for Season Long Excellence. To be considered for this award a team must have debated together at all five tournaments used for qualification.

The Lincoln-Douglas debater with the highest point total using this qualification system that attends the NDCA Championships will be awarded the Bailey and Dukes Cup.