MFA State Championship Handbook

Updated May 2017.

Article I. State Debate Championships

Section A. Participation

  1. The MFA State Debate Championship Tournament shall be hosted at a site designated by the MFA. The President of the MFA, or a representative appointed by the President, shall serve as Tournament Director (and shall be given independent authority over administration of the competition consistent with the by-laws of the MFA and under the governance of the Maine Principals’ Association).
  2. All Maine secondary schools that belong to the MPA shall be permitted to enter (registered) all students upon payment of tournament registration fees. All registration fees from prior state tournament events must be paid prior to participation.
  3. All Maine secondary schools shall be permitted to enter the following participants (maximum):
    1. Lincoln-Douglas Debate – Six debaters in each debate division (Novice, Junior Varsity, and Varsity).
    2. Public Forum Debate – Four 2-person teams.
  4. Degree of participation by each school shall be contingent upon the provision of an adequate number of qualified judges (as outlined in Articles V and VI).

Section B. Awards

  1. An award plaque shall be presented to the winning Public Forum debate team, and to the winner of each Lincoln-Douglas debate division.
  2. Award medals shall be presented to the first three places in Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  3. A debate sweepstakes award plaque shall be presented to the school scoring the highest debate point total, as well as to the runner-up school. For the purpose of the sweepstakes award, the top five places in each debate category shall be considered. Each school may count its top ten best scores.
    1. Varsity Division – First five places counting as 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6 points respectively.
    2. Junior Varsity Division – First five places counting as 7, 6, 5, 4, and 2 points, respectively.
    3. Novice Division – First five places counting as 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 point, respectively.
  4. A Good Sportsmanship Award shall be voted by debate participants at the State debate Championship Tournament. The winning school shall be presented with a plaque.
  5. The coaches shall vote for and present the Kathleen Schulz Excellence in Coaching Award.
  6. While funds exist, the following scholarship awards shall be voted on by the coaches at the State Championship Tournament:
    1. Richard Mullen Excellence in Speech Scholarship Award
    2. Robert Hoy Excellence in Congressional Debate Scholarship Award
    3. Jane Laughlin Excellence in Debate Scholarship Award

Section C. Events

  1. Events offered at the State Tournaments shall include: Public Forum debate, and Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  2. The MFA President will be authorized to cancel particular debate categories based on low number of entries.

Section D. State Tournament General Procedures

Priorities: The following four priorities are absolute and control pairing procedures:

  1. Draw a bye if one is required. Draw the bye first, before any pairing. (Review rule B2)
  2. Do not pair a school against itself unless required by the rules (C3 and D5).
  3. Do not pair teams which have met before in the tournament [Exception: Two teams who have previously met may meet again to avoid the same school meeting itself, or they may meet if all remaining teams have previously met.]
  4. Do not break brackets at any time. Undefeateds shall be in the highest bracket, one-loss teams in the next bracket, two-loss teams in the next bracket, and three-loss teams in the bottom bracket. If there are an odd number of teams in a higher bracket, then and only then draw up a team from the bracket immediately below. Draw from the teams who are “due” the opposite side of the undefeated opponent they will face. In Public Forum, draw from all eligible undefeated teams.
  5. Entries in Lincoln-Douglas Debate (not Public Forum) who have debated an unequal number of affirmative and negative rounds are considered due the side they have debated the least. Side constraints cannot violate the priorities listed above that are substantially more important. When an entry has debated an equal number of affirmative and negative rounds, the team is considered eligible for either side in the next round. Side alteration from the previous round is not a priority and should not be considered in pairing. In Public Forum, no entry is due a side at any time.
  6. During a specific round’s pairing procedure, once an entry has appropriately been drawn up to a higher bracket or has drawn the bye, that entry is no longer considered a part of the previous bracket and should not be considered when pairing the previous bracket. Never re-pull an entry from the lower bracket once an entry has correctly been drawn up, even if that particular pull up creates a priority conflict in the lower bracket.
  7. In every Public Forum debate, sides will be determined by a coin flip between the teams, even if the teams have previously met.
  8. An entry in Public Forum Debate is defined as a two-person team whose members are from the same school.

Section E. The Pairing of Rounds 1 and 2

  1. Seeding is not permitted in the preliminary rounds.
  2. Unless the small number of entries or the random drawing of byes makes it unavoidable, no team should meet another team from its school, and no school should meet another school more than once.
  3. In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, each entry should be assigned one affirmative and one negative round unless it draws a bye.
  4. If necessary, a bye should be drawn but no school may receive two byes in rounds one and two.

Section F. Pairings for Rounds 3 and 4

  1. Philosophy: A team is an independent unit, and shall be paired and assigned sides based upon its own record. The opponents debated or sides debated by other teams from its school are irrelevant and must NOT be considered when pairing or assigning sides.
  2. Byes
    1. All teams eligible for a bye must be included in the drawing of the bye.
    2. Byes shall first be drawn from teams with no wins which have had no bye. If there are no teams with no wins, byes shall be drawn from teams with one win which have had no byes.
    3. No school may refuse a bye.
  3. Bracket pairing procedures.
    1. Pair the highest unpaired bracket teams against teams in the same bracket, hi-low.
    2. If there are an odd number of teams in the bracket pull up a team from the next lowest bracket. The team must be brought up from a different school, so a school will not meet itself. In Lincoln Douglas Debate, pull a debater due to uphold the opposite side of the unpaired debater.
    3. Teams that have met previously should not be paired, except to avoid pairing teams from the same school or if unavoidable.
    4. Teams from the same school shall not be paired unless they are a majority of their bracket (after any bye has been drawn).

Section G. Pairing for Rounds 5 and 6

  1. The top four teams will advance to round 5 based on the following tie breaks
    1. Number of wins
    2. Head to Head
    3. Speaker Points, dropping high and low scores
    4. Opponents’ wins
    5. Speaker points
    6. Opponents’ points, dropping high and low scores
    7. Opponents’ point
  2. At least three judges must be used in Round 5 and Round 6
  3. The rounds will be paired hi-low.
  4. Teams that have met previously should not be paired, except to avoid pairing teams from the same school or if unavoidable. In Lincoln Douglas, the debaters should switch sides from those argued previously in the day.
  5. Teams from the same school shall not be paired unless they are a majority of their bracket.
  6. The two winning teams in round five will advance to round six, the final round.
  7. The winner of the final round will be the state champion.
  8. Subsequent places will be determined by the following tiebreaks
    1. Number of wins
    2. Number of ballots
    3. Head to head
    4. Speaker Points, dropping high and low scores
    5. Opponents’ wins
    6. Speaker points
    7. Opponents’ points, dropping high and low scores
    8. Opponents’ point

Article II. State Speech Championships

Section A. Participation

  1. All Maine secondary schools that belong to the MPA shall be permitted to enter all (registered) students upon payment of tournament registration fees.
  2. Degree of participation by each school shall be contingent upon the provision of adequate number of qualified judges (1 judge per 5 entries).

Section B. Sweepstakes

The calculation of Sweepstakes winners will follow the NFL guidelines which use only the top ten speakers from each school.

Section C. Events

  1. Events offered at the State Tournaments will include: Dramatic Interpretation, Duo, Oral Interpretation of Literature, extemporaneous (Foreign and Domestic), Humorous Interpretation, Novice Poetry, Novice Prose, Oratorical Declamation, Original Oratory, Original Works, Program Oral Interpretation, Informative Speaking, and Storytelling.
  2. The MFA President will be authorized to combine or cancel particular categories based on low number of entries.
  3. Four entries in each speech category, students may double enter in speech events only.

Section D. State Tournament Procedures.

  1. Rounds one, two, and three will be randomly set up, with speaker order set to allow each student an early slot, a middle slot, and a late slot.
  2. The MFA President will work with TAB room personnel to determine the cutoff to qualify for the final round. Six entries will traditionally make the final round in each category, unless the MFA president feels a clear break in total ranks warrant a different number of final round qualifiers.
  3. If more than seven students are determined by the MFA President to qualify for a fourth round, that round will be a semi-final round, and a final round will be held at the conclusion of that round.
  4. As deemed necessary, the final round of speech can be double flighted (half of the events occurring in each flight.)
  5. A panel of three judges will be used in any semi-final or final round.
  6. A student will carry all preliminary round ranks into a semi-final or final round. Final results will be determined by adding up each individual preliminary round ranking and the ranking from each of the three judges on the panel in the final round, a semi-final round if held.

A Good Sportsmanship Award shall be voted by speech participants at the State Speech and Debate Championship Tournament. The winning school shall be presented with a plaque.

Article III. State Congressional Debate Championship

Congressional Debate will be offered at the MFA Debate State Championship Tournament and shall consist of one or more House chamber and Senate chamber. Schools will be limited to no more than two entries in the Senate and shall have unlimited entries in the House.

Degree of participation by each school shall be contingent upon the provision of an adequate number of qualified judges (One judge for every Five Congressional Debate entries, or fraction thereof)

The MFA President will be authorized to cancel either Congressional debate category and combine chambers, or cancel the event outright based on low number of entries.

Congressional Debate Sweepstakes – Sweepstakes will be calculated using the following formula:

A Congressional Debate sweepstakes award plaque shall be presented to the school scoring the highest Congressional Debate point total, as well as to the runner-up school. For the purpose of the sweepstakes award, the top five places in each chamber shall be considered. Each school may count its top ten best scores.

  1. Senate: First five places counting as 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6 points respectively.
  2. House(s) First five places counting as 8, 6, 4, 3 and 2 points, respectively.

The Individual Student winner of the Senate Chamber shall be designated the Maine State Champion.

A Good Sportsmanship Award shall be voted by Congressional Debate participants at the State Speech and Debate Championship Tournament. The winning school shall be presented with a plaque.

Article IV. General Policies and Procedures

Section A. The president shall solicit nominations from the membership and present a list of names for the MFA Coach of the Year at the State Championship Tournament. The award will be a plaque or trophy.

Section B. All student entries will be $7.

Section C. Invitations to MFA sponsored tournaments are to be in the hands of the coaches two weeks prior to the tournament. Tournament Directors generally require that mail, phone, or fax registration be completed by the Wednesday or Thursday night preceding the tournament so that they may set up rounds in advance.

Section D. The MFA will provide a $200.00 stipend for both the speech and debate areas to the host schools of the State Championship Tournament(s).

Section E. Judge Requirements and Unaffiliated Judges:

  1. Every school entering a tournament needs to provide judges according to the following formula:
    1. In Speech every third, fifth and seventh judge would need to be unaffiliated based on the number of presentations.
    2. In LD within subsections of LD (Novice, JV, and Varsity) every third, fifth, and seventh judge needs to be unaffiliated.
    3. In PF within subsections of PF (Novice and Varsity) every third, fifth, and seventh judge needs to be unaffiliated.
    4. In Student Congress: (House and Senate) one unaffiliated judge for every two judges required.
  2. Each participating school at a speech event shall be responsible to provide one judge for every five speech entries.
    1. Judges shall be qualified having completed judge training in an MFA instructional event or other training provided by a local MFA speech coach AND fall into one of the following categories:
      1. Judges who have at least two tournaments of speech judging experience at MFA tournament events may participate in any speech event.
      2. Post-secondary students from any district or state with high school and/or collegiate speech experience.
    2. Judges shall be limited in judging per the qualifications below:
      1. MFA alumni students judge Novice events only until their second year post high school graduation.
      2. Judges shall not judge speech rounds that include a competitor to whom they are affiliated.  Affiliation includes:
        1. Coaches, school staff, and parents/guardians are affiliated with the team’s school.
        2. Alumni who graduated from the school within the last three years are affiliated with the school.
        3. Parents/guardians and other close relatives are affiliated with the individual competitor and shall not judge speech events in which their relations participate.
          1. At the coach’s discretion relatives who do not live or actively participate in their students community may not necessarily be affiliated with the whole school.
      3. Judges shall not judge any speech participant in the same Speech event more than once at the State Tournament.
    3. It shall be the participating school responsibility to identify speech judge qualifications.
      1. Judge qualifications shall be submitted with tournament event entry registration.
      2. Any judging conflicts shall be identified with the event tournament entry registration.
    4. In order to count towards a school’s judge burden, a judge must be eligible to judge at least two rounds of competition.

Section F. Protests

  1. The members of the MFA committee of officers and moderators present shall have full power to adjudicate any protest, dispute, or interpretation of the rules.  Protests must be filed in writing and must include:
    1. Name of coach filing protest (a coach of record must file the protest) and school, city, state.
    2. Code of person/team being protested.
    3. Round being protested.
    4. Section/room and speaker number of person/team being protested
    5. Specific infraction being protested described with supporting detail.
    6. Signature of protesting coach.
  2. After the infraction has been observed/discovered, the protest must be filed in a timely manner.  A timely manner is defined as within one hour of the end of the round in which the infraction occurred, unless a specific rule specifies otherwise.
  3. Rules are located in the by-laws, State Tournament Manula, State Tournament invitation, and individual event manuals when not stipulated by the State Tournament Manual.