At major national tournaments, there are typically six to seven prelim debates. There are usually two rounds at the beginning with random pairings, then teams are power matched based on their records—a 2-0 team will debate another 2-0 team and so on. By the end of the tournament, there are only a few undefeated teams left and records are scattered like a bell curve. The top 32 teams then advance into a single elimination bracket and debate until only one team is left.
|Major national tournaments vary in size, depending on the invitation rules. A very tough tournament might only have 65 teams but if schools can only bring their very top teams, it's a major accomplishment to do well. Some tournaments have as many as 180 teams competing. Often, there are over 20 states represented. Debate does not divide into big or small school divisions or private and public etc.; all schools in the nation compete in the same large pool. |
Director of Debate