While sports teams have their playoffs that drag out for several weeks at a time, debate teams only have one big culmination of their entire year. For UT Tyler, we compete at two separate national tournaments that offer us a chance to win big against other colleges across the country. From March 21st until March 23rd, UT Tyler Debaters Dallas Flick, Carver Hodgkiss, Steven Hullum, Kaleb Drake, Samuel Cook, and Kaitlyn Bull will compete against over 150 other teams at the National ParliamentaryDebate Association’s (NPDA) National Tournament hosted by Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Prior to competing at NPDA, the team will compete at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE), also hosted by NAU. You will be able to find Dallas’s blog explaining that tournament soon if it is not already available.
There are a couple of differences between the two tournaments. The first is the topics that are debated. At the NPTE, every single topic of debate is announced beforehand. In fact, we are already deep into research and preparation for those topics as we speak. At NPDA, we have no clue what topics we will be debating and we will not find out the given topic for each round until 20 minutes before the scheduled start time.
The second difference is the structure of the tournament. At the NPTE, there are 6 preliminary rounds in which 2 judges will make a decision about the round. The goal for each team is to win as many individual ballots from judges as they can in the first 6 rounds. For example, if you win your round on a 2 to 0 decision, then you have acquired 2 ballots. If you win your round on a 1 to 1 decision, then you only have 1 ballot. A team has to have at least 6 ballots to advance to elimination rounds.
After the prelim rounds, the tournament then enters into a double elimination style, where you can only lose 2 elimination rounds until you are eliminated from the tournament. This will continue until there are only two teams left in competition.
At NPDA, there are 8 preliminary rounds with only one judge per round, so it is similar to the other tournaments that the team has attended this year. After the 8 preliminary rounds, half of the field will advance to a partial-triple-octafinal round. NPDA elimination rounds are single elimination, so if you lose once, then you are out of the tournament.
The team hopes to achieve success, as we have been working hard since July to hone skills, garner knowledge, and improve as debaters. Want to monitor the teams progress at the NPTE? You can watch for UT Tyler FH, UT Tyler DH, and UT Tyler BC on each individual round to see how we are doing!