The National Forensic League is the national honor society for middle school and high school speech and debate. The vision of the NFL is “that every child in the United States will be empowered to become an effective communicator, ethical individual, critical thinker and leader in a democratic society.”

Most forensic tournaments in South Carolina (and in nearby states) use Joy of Tournaments for registration. This website allows participating schools to easily register competitors and, if needed, make changes. Host schools benefit from a simplified and streamlined registration process. If your school is attending a tournament, click on the JOT logo above to register.

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Helpful resources

Coaches, judges, volunteers and students will find helpful resources on this page, and information is continually being updated and added. Looking for information on how to judge? What speaker points are for? You’ll find the answers here.

Judging

Teams always need judges for speech and debate tournaments. Without enough judges, teams pay penalty fees and tournaments are more challenging to run. If you have a child involved with speech and debate, the South Carolina Forensic Coaches Association encourages you to attend a tournament and judge. It’s not difficult, but there are some basics any judge should know.

We have three resources for judges. These are PDF files that can be viewed in most browsers, or downloaded and printed.

High School Speech Judging Basics and Event Descriptions — This guide, compiled by Riverside High School coach Pete Martin, offers some basics about what you, as a judge, can expect judging IE at a tournament. It also offers detailed descriptions of events. Not sure what an HI or Oratory is? You’ll find the answers here. 

Judges Handbook — This gude was prepared by Irmo High coach Peter Lauzon. It offers step-by-step information for judges — what to do upon arrival, what to look for in given events and much more. It offers information about IE as well as Debate. It is an excellent resource for a new judge.

Speaker Points: A Rationale — Students are judged and awarded both a rank (first, second, etc.) and speaker points (the rate, which usually goes from 20 to 30 points). Speaker points are confusing for many judges, the assumption being that a first-place contestant should receive 30 points. But that’s not always correct. This guide, created by Angela Billings of T.L. Hanna, explains how to award speaker points. A good read for veteran as well as new judges.

Debate resources

The current-year topics, as provided by the National Forensic League, can be found here.

Looking for some additional information? The Forensics Files provides faster access to needs for Lincoln Douglas (LD) Debate, Policy/Cross Examination (CX) Debate and Public Forum Debate (PFD).

The National Forensic League website is abundant with coaching resources.