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Section 227 – Lincoln Douglas Debate

Fine Art By-Laws
Sections 199-263

  1. ELIGIBILITY
    • Each member school may enter three students in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
    • Member schools shall declare participation in Lincoln-Douglas Debate on the annual TAPPS contract
  2. ORGANIZATION
    • The Lincoln-Douglas Debate shall be organized by divisions.
      • Division I 6A
      • Division II 5A
      • Division III 4A
      • Division IV 1A-3A
      • Divisions may be combined or separated based on actual registered entries. 
    • The points shall be added to team totals at the State Meets.
  3. PURPOSE. Lincoln-Douglas Debate investigates the truth of a resolution of value. Lincoln-Douglas debate provides training for development of skills in argumentation, persuasion, research and audience analysis. Through this contest, students are encouraged to develop a direct and communicative style of oral delivery.
  4. DEBATE OF VALUE.  Lincoln-Douglas Debate centers around the resolution’s support or lack of support for something that is valued.  Values typically offered are abstract concepts: freedom, justice, a good quality of life, etc.  Debaters should provide a criterion by which the value is achieved or measured.  For example, justice may be upheld by a due process of law or a healthy economy is necessary for a good quality of life.
  5. RESOLUTION. The resolution to be used for regional meets and the state meet will be determined by the state debate committee or chair and will be communicated to all schools through the TAPPS website in a timely fashion.
  6. JUDGES. The winner of a debate is determined by a third individual or panel of individuals. In the event of a panel, each judge should come to his/her own conclusion without conferring with others.  Judges should be guided by the following principles:
    • Judges should seek to evaluate which debater was more persuasive in presenting his/her side.
    • Judges should set aside their own personal beliefs about the resolution.
    • Judges should only consider those arguments made within the context of the debate. Anything said by either debater after a speech time limit or after the conclusion of the debate should not be considered in the decision.
    • Judges should refrain from providing oral critiques of the arguments made by debaters either during or after the debate. At the conclusion of the debate, a judge may offer some encouragement or comments regarding a debater’s presentation or speaking style.
    • Judges should not interrupt debaters during speeches and should not present their own questions to debaters.
    • Judges’ decisions with respect to winners and losers are final. A meet director may ask a judge to verify a winner or loser.
    • Judges should not disclose the winner orally to the debaters at the conclusion of the round. Rather, the judge should return a ballot with
      • a clear winner marked,
      • a reason for decision,
      • speaker points.
  7. STRUCTURE
    • Sides.Each side of the debate is represented by one debater.
      • The Affirmative seeks to prove that the resolution is true.
      • The Negative seeks to disprove the resolution.
      • The side a debater is to defend is determined before the round, either in a posting or by a coin toss as determined by the meet host.
    • Burdens
      • Burden of Proof: Each debater has the equal burden to prove the validity of his/her side of the resolution as a general principle.
      • Burden of Refutation (or Clash): Each debater has an equal burden to refute the arguments made by his/her opponent
      • Burden to Address the Resolution: Each debater should focus his/her arguments on the central questions of the resolution.
    • Speeches. The debate consists of a series of speeches and cross-examination (question and answer) periods.  The speech time limits are as follows:
      • Affirmative constructive speech: 6 minutes
      • Negative’s cross examination of the Affirmative: 3 minutes
      • Negative constructive speech and refutation of Affirmative: 7 minutes
      • Affirmative’s cross examination of the Negative: 3 minutes
      • Affirmative rebuttal: 4 minutes
      • Negative rebuttal: 6 minutes
      • Affirmative rebuttal: 3 minutes
      • Preparation Time: Each side also has four minutes “prep” time that may be used during the round.
      • Going past time limits may count against a debater at the discretion of the judge.
      • Excessive abuse of the time allotments may result in disqualification at the discretion of the contest director.
  8. DELIVERY. Communication with the audience is to be considered a high priority for TAPPS debaters. Oral delivery in Lincoln-Douglas debate is to be communicative and persuasive.
  9. EVIDENCE.
    • Supporting evidence adds to the persuasiveness of the reasoning and argumentation of the debate. Whenever a debater quotes at any length the words of another, the fact the evidence is quoted material should be plainly stated.
    • Availability of Materials. Speakers may use notes if they wish.
    • Available in Writing on Demand. All participants submitting evidence in competition shall do so orally and possess and present upon demand of debater such evidence in published form. The evidence shall display full bibliographic source citation, even if the full citation is not orally delivered. Full citation should include the following elements: author’s name, author’s qualifications, complete source information, complete date and page number. Citations of online publications or from online data bases also require the publication medium (online), the Internet URL, or the name of the computer service, and the date of access. Failure to meet this requirement can, at the discretion of the judge and contest director, result in:
      • the evidence not being counted in the round, or
      • the evidence not being given as much weight in the decision of the round, or
      • loss of round.
    • A debater found to be falsifying evidence may be disqualified at the discretion of the contest director.
  10. STATE CONTEST
    • Entries
      • Debaters must be eligible under the guidelines established by TAPPS.
    • Organization
      • Schools are required to provide judges for the state meet.
        1. A school with one or two qualifying debaters must provide one judge.
        2. A school with three debaters must provide two judges.
        3. Schools that do not meet their judge quota must pay $150 per uncovered judge.
    • Conducting the contest.
      • The state meet shall consist of three or four preliminary rounds. Debaters should be paired by the tournament director, who should try to prevent, where possible, debaters from the same school or region from meeting except in power-matched preliminary rounds or elimination rounds.
      • The tournament will have elimination rounds based on the following formulae:
        1. For fewer than 12 debaters, four advance to semifinals.
        2. For 12 to 24 debaters, eight advance to quarterfinals.
        3. For 25 to 48 debaters, sixteen advance to octofinals.
        4. For more than 48 debaters, the tournament will break 32 to double octofinals.
      • Breaks are determined by the following:
        1. win/loss record
        2. head to head (if applicable and if only two debaters have the same record)
        3. number of opponents’ wins
        4. speaker points
        5. tie-breaking debate
      • Panels of at least three judges are to be used for semi-final and final rounds.
      • The elimination brackets will be as follows: 1 v. 8, 2 v. 7, 3 v. 6, 4 v. 5.
        1. Brackets may be broken to prevent two debaters from the same school debating each other. In breaking the brackets, the tournament director should seek to abide by the elimination bracket system as closely as possible (1 v. 7, 2 v. 8, for example).
  11. AUDIENCES and SCOUTING
    • State Competition
      • No Audiences are allowed for any preliminary rounds.
      • Audience is permitted if space allows for quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final rounds. 
    • Audiences should refrain from interfering in any way with the debate including, but not limited to,
      • making comments or noises distracting to the debaters,
      • prompting debaters,
      • making visual signs at the debaters,
      • applauding, except at the conclusion of the round.
    • Audience members should not take notes.
    • Debaters competing in the tournament should not watch other rounds until they have been eliminated from competition.
  12. AWARDS
    •  State
      • Points from the individual competitor shall be incorporated towards the overall Speech and Academic Points for their classification
      • School Awards shall be made for Division Placement in LD Debate
        • First through third place shall be recognized
  13. CONTENT STANDARD
    • Debaters should conduct themselves in a manner conductive to a professional, respectful debate.
      • Debaters should restrict their speeches to disagreements about arguments and points of contention regarding the resolution.
      • Debaters should refrain from ad hominem attacks against opponents and should refrain from hostile language and behavior against opponents.
      • Debaters must not offend the moral standards of the community, use profanity or sexually explicit language or actions, use the Lord’s name in vain, nor utilize subject matter or actions that are offensive.
    • Penalty for violations of the Content Standard.
      • A judge may penalize a student found to be in violation of the content standard by reducing points awarded for “speaker points.”
      • A judge may also penalize a student found to be in violation of the content standard by giving the student a loss in the round.
        1. The contest director may disqualify a student who is found to be in repeated violation of the content standard. Such action should only occur after consulting judges who judged rounds with the student and after consulting with the debater’s coach.