Invitation to the UT Dallas Intercollegiate Debate Annual Tournament

Dear Colleagues,

We cordially offer the following conditional tournament. Please join us January 5-7, 2013, for the ninth annual Fear and Loathing in Dallas Intercollegiate Debate Tournament. The University of Texas at Dallas Debate Team will once again serve as your hosts. Our tournament will be the first half of the Texas Two Step. The University of North Texas will host the second half. Teams attending both tournaments will have January 7th as a full day off to relocate, rest, research, and register.

We will offer debates in three divisions (open, junior varsity, and novice). We expect all three divisions to be large enough to remain distinct this season. However, we will collapse the Novice division into the Junior Varsity division if necessary. Please complete all elements of the entries by noon on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. We will submit final orders for all food purchases that afternoon, so correct information by the entry deadline is necessary. We will also need to close entries into order to begin the judge preference process. We definitely need final entries for both TEAMS and JUDGES by noon of January 5. Please use the Tabroom.com for entering the teams and the judges.

FORMAT: There will be seven preliminary debates in the Open division with the tab room randomly assigning the sides to each team in round seven. The Junior Varsity and Novice divisions will have six preliminary debates. The schedule changes slightly each year so be sure to examine the tournament schedule located at the end of this document.

The teams advancing to the Elimination rounds will be determined by the following criteria. The top half of the Open teams will clear. Each team must have a winning record (four or more wins) in order to advance, even if that requirement results in a total that is slightly less than half of all Open teams. The maximum number of Open teams advancing will be 32. We will also hold an appropriate number of elimination rounds in the Junior Varsity and Novice divisions.

Judges will be allowed and encouraged to use one-tenth speaker points to distinguish between speakers. Judges should refrain from giving the same points to the speakers in the same round.

ALTERNATE USE TIME: The regular time limits of 9 minutes per constructive speech and 6 minutes per rebuttal will be observed for speech times. Once again the tournament will use “alternate use” prep time rules for all debates – each team will have 16 minutes total to use for cross-examination and/or preparation. Cross-examination periods are allowed only after constructive speeches. Coaches should inform their debaters about the proper use of alternate use prep time prior to the tournament.

TAB ROOM and TOURNAMENT ADMINISTRATION: Dr. Jeff Jarman of Wichita State University has agreed to join us in Dallas to direct the operations of the tabulation room. Dr. Jarman and the UT Dallas coaching staff will resolve any tournament administration problems that arise. Current and former UT Dallas students will be available throughout the tournament to run ballots, give directions and, and generally provide any needed assistance.

ENTRY FEES: Freedom isn’t free and neither is the Fear and Loathing in Dallas debate tournament. The entry fees will be $50 per person in attendance, regardless of division. One team requires four (4) rounds of judging. Two teams require seven (7) rounds of judging. Uncovered teams will be assessed an additional fee of $40 per uncovered round and such judging fees will be used to secure the services of additional judging. Please send your qualified judges instead of just paying the extra fee if possible. We believe that our tournament will provide both high-quality hospitality and strong competition relative to total costs of attendance.

Cash payment is preferred. However, you can make your checks payable to “The University of Texas at Dallas.” Our University’s Federal Tax ID number is 75-1305566 if your institution requires such information. Please be prepared to submit payment for entries fess during the tournament registration period on Friday night if at all possible. Also, please note our new mailing address:

The University of Texas at Dallas
Debate Team, FO 56
Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
800 West Campbell Road
Richardson, TX 75080-3021

We once again will go to great lengths to make special accommodations for teams with limited financial resources. Please contact us in advance for details. We attempt to ensure that entry fees will not exclude a school from participating in our Fear and Loathing tournament. We want to share our Fear and Loathing with everyone.

HOSPITALITY: We take this extremely seriously. We are committed to providing a tournament experience that you will find both competitive and entertaining. We hope to earn a spot on your annual travel schedule. Those who have attended in the past have almost always returned with enthusiasm.

There will be a reception for all coaches during registration during the evening of the Friday, January 4, at the Wyndham Plaza Suites (formerly the Crowne Plaza). Lunches will be provided to all tournament participants on January 5 and 6. A healthy breakfast will also be provided at the campus on those days. And we have something new for this season – a light meal will be provided prior to the last round on Sunday night. Please indicate any special dietary needs when entering the tournament. The vast majority of last year’s participants found the provided food and beverages to be high quality. There will also be a large tournament reception for all participants during the evening of Monday, January 7. We invite all debaters, coaches, and judges to stay for the reception.

Also, the city of Dallas has many excellent options for dining and entertainment. A packet full of suggestions will be posted online prior to the tournament. Scott and Chris are also available to answer your questions – we know where to go in Big D.

JUDGING: One pillar of a successful tournament is quality judging, so please bring your least-sketchy judges. Each team seeking to enter should provide a qualified judge who will be available to judge at least four preliminary rounds and who will comply with tournament rules. A judge covering the requirements for two teams should prepare to judge seven (7) preliminary debates. A qualified judge is a currently active coach, graduate student, or former college debater. EVERY judge will be committed through the octofinal debates in the Open division.

We will have very, very few hired judges available this year. Please inform the UT Dallas staff at least two weeks in advance if your team will need to pay the fee for uncovered teams. Funds gained by such fees will go toward to the hiring of qualified judges. Judges will be assigned on the basis of mutual preference. Teams will be allowed to strike a limited number of judges. The number of strikes will depend upon the size of the judging pool, the number of many sketchy people y’all bring, and the number of sketchy people we hire.

Please, please, please indicate to the tournament administration if a judge cannot judge all three divisions. Please repeat any such limitation in person at registration. Judges assigned to a debate by the tab room will be responsible for submitting a correctly completed ballot at the end of that debate. Judges should not leave the tournament unless their commitment has been fulfilled.

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: Any judge who is unable or unwilling to comply with these criteria should not register as a judge. Failure on the part of a judge to comply with these rules may result in the decision for the round being rendered by the tab room staff and may also result in the top team from the judge’s school being removed from further participation in the tournament. Please do not enter unknown and/or sketchy judges for all seven rounds then have a highly preferred judge available for only one. That ain’t cool. And it makes it much more difficult for us to get highly preferred judges in every round to all teams, including your teams.

Directors should ensure that each and every judge has a judge philosophy statement posted to Tabroom.com by Wednesday, January 2, 2013. Any judge still without a judge philosophy statement by that deadline may be dropped from the tournament. The rounds originally assigned to that judge will be redistributed to other judges representing that squad.

HOST HOTEL INFORMATION: We strongly encourage all tournament participants to stay at the host hotel. Tournament registration, tournament receptions, and all rounds on Monday, January 7 will occur at the hotel. The tournament will once again be at the Wyndham Plaza Suite (formerly, the Crowne Plaza Suites). The Wyndham Plaza Suites is located just north of the Westin Park Central and the LBJ freeway. It is a quick drive between the hotel and the UT Dallas campus. Every room in the hotel is a suite. The rooms are quite large. The block rates are $78 for each room. This rate will include internet access at no additional charge. The hotel offers ample free parking. Overall this is an exceptional value for such an amazing facility.

The group is listed as Debate Tournament 2013, and the group booking code is “UDT” for all rooms. Reservations can also be made over the telephone, but we strongly encourage you to use the website reservation system in order to receive updates on the hotel and your reservation. While rooms may be available at the last minute, the hotel will only guarantee the block of rooms and the tournament rate for those reservations made before December 14, 2012. We suggest that your reserve your rooms as soon as possible. Rooms might be available after that date but room availability, room rates, and room type will not be guaranteed for those reservations made after December 14.

The host hotel has a very limited number of smoking rooms available. Please do not smoke in the common areas of the hotel. Please do not smoke in the non-smoking rooms.

Hotel Details:

Wyndham Plaza Suites – Dallas Park Central
7800 Alpha Road
Dallas, TX 75240
Front Desk: 972-233-7600

Our contacts at the hotel if you encounter any trouble securing a reservation:

Karlene Summerall
972-233-7600 Ext. 611

Felicia Crain
972-233-7600 Ext. 681

TRANSPORTATION: Dallas is easily accessible by ground or air. The tournament hotel is directly east of DFW airport and it a mere 30 minutes away. Use the North exit from DFW airport toward IH-635 and proceed East on IH-635. Take the exit at Coit Road and the take the left turn across the highway. If you see a Starbucks, then the Crowne Plaza is the large maroon colored building immediately behind the Starbucks.

All major national rental agencies have operations at DFW airport. The UNT campus is roughly an hour drive from the UT Dallas campus. Teams competing at both tournaments will definitely need to change hotels. Unfortunately, we at UT Dallas will not be able to provide ground transportation and the hotel will not be able to provide anything beyond the most basic local service. Nor will UT Dallas be able to transport teams coming from the UNT tournament in Denton. Participating teams should definitely plan to provide their own transportation throughout the tournament. Major rental agencies such as Enterprise, Avis, and Hertz have offices at both airports. Those seeking to rent large vans might try Capps.

AUDIO and VIDEO RECORDING: All rounds (defined as the speeches of the participants) are open to registered tournament participants and may be electronically recorded for private educational use by only tournament participants (registered coaches, debaters and helpers, and UT Dallas tournament staff). Public distribution of such recordings is expressly prohibited unless prior written consent of all people on the recording is obtained and unless prior written consent of the University of Texas at Dallas is obtained. Private sharing for educational use is permitted.

TOURNAMENT RULES: If you know us, then you know we love rules and we will enforce them.

  1. The tournament will follow the CEDA guidelines on sexual harassment.
  2. The topic for all debates will be the 2010-2011 NDT/CEDA policy debate topic.
  3. Each judge obligated to judge a round will assignment a win to one and only one team and a loss to one and only one team. The judge will also rank each debater 1 to 4 and rate each debater 0-30 points using tenth of a point increments. Each judge will have a maximum of two hours and 45 minutes from the official start time of the debate to record a decision for that debate. A judged assigned by the tab room to a particular debate is responsible for the submission of a correctly completed ballot at the conclusion of that debate. Failure on the part of the judge to comply with these rules may result in a decision by the tab room staff and may also result in the top team from the judge’s school being removed from further participation in the tournament.
  4. In order to enter and compete at the tournament, debate must be eligible according to CEDA and NDT guidelines. Each competitor should be a currently enrolled undergraduate student (or, since the tournament occurs over the Winter Break, every competitor should have been officially enrolled during the previous semester and/or be officially enrolled in the upcoming semester).
  5. Hybrid teams will be allowed to enter the tournament and are eligible to advance to the elimination rounds. Maverick debaters will not be allowed to enter the tournament and will not be allowed to compete – a team consists of two and only two undergraduate students. Decisions regarding maverick teams will be made on a case-by-case basis by the tab room staff and the UT Dallas coaches.
  6. One or more teams from UT Dallas might compete at the tournament. Any tab room decision directly affecting any UT Dallas team will not be made by any member of the UT Dallas coaching staff.
  7. Debaters, coaches, judges and all other tournament guests should not damage or remove any UT Dallas property. No smoking is allowing in any UT Dallas building. No food or drinks are allowed in any classroom. Please, please, please follow these rules. Please, please, please help us to keep the rooms and hallways clean. The room czars are reluctant to give us rooms even when they are in a good mood. And the debate tournament will be the only large event occurring on the campus in early January so the room inspectors will assume that someone involved with the debate community caused the damage. Many UT Dallas buildings are very new and we will not be allowed to use them in the future if any damage occurs during the tournament.
  8. Brackets will NOT be broken in elimination rounds. Teams from the same school that face each other in elimination rounds may either choose to declare a winning team or may choose to debate the round.
  9. Unless the teams have met previously in the preliminary rounds, sides in elimination rounds will be determined by coin flip or an agreement by both teams. Please flip the coin and announce sides as soon as possible. We all want to expedite the rounds on Monday.
  10. The eligibility rules for participation in the junior varsity and novice divisions will follow the CEDA standards.

AWARDS: They will be cool and you will enjoy them. Trust us, we’re experts.

INFORMATION: We hope to make this 10th anniversary of the ‘Fear and Loathing in Dallas’ Debate Tournament meet the high standard established by our previous tournaments. Please contact Scott Herndon or Todd Jordan if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding the tournament. We look forward to once again welcoming the college debate community to Dallas.

Your lovely hosts,

Scott Herndon – Director of Debate

Todd Jordan – Debate Coach and Graduate Student