Author Topic: USC Alan Nichols Tournament Invitation  (Read 7048 times)


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USC Alan Nichols Tournament Invitation
« on: October 27, 2010, 12:25:01 AM »
You are cordially invited to attend the annual Alan Nichols Debate Tournament to be held on January
3-5, 2011 at the University of Southern California.  The California Swing returns to SoCal in 2011 and we are happy to partner with CSU Fullerton as your hosts.

We have continued the new tradition of keeping the dates placed after the New Year. We hope this will both reduce your travel costs and improve the quality of lives of all of our guests. We plan to run an event that we hope will offer great competition in a humane environment. We are making several adjustments to provide the best possible tournament, including:

•   Our tournament hotel is in line with the anniversary of Back to the Future. For those old enough to remember, we are returning to the ‘old’ tournament hotel of the Radisson. For everyone else, this is the USC owned property next to campus on Figueroa. By using the Radisson we will have dramatically reduced the need for rental vehicles.
•   We are following the 2010 swing’s schedule and adjusting to six preliminary rounds. With the back to back nature of the swing we are confident that you will have many high quality debates without having to debate late into the night.
•   We will be awarding the first ever Nichols Cup as the traveling trophy for the winning team in the open division.

We hope you will enjoy the opportunity to have quality competition in a friendly winter climate. Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to ringing in the New Year in Southern California.

Warmest Regards,

Gordon Stables, Ph.D.
Director of Debate & Forensics

Tournament Information
Registration: All registration will be handled through: All entries must be received by December 20, 2010. We also will need your judging finalized by this time.
Format – Debates will use the 2010-2011 CEDA topic and employ a 9-3-6 time format with 10 minutes of preparation time per team. Eligibility for the divisions is determined by CEDA rules. We will offer six preliminary debates in all divisions. The open division will advance the top 32 teams.  The JV division will advance the top four teams into a semifinal bracket.

Teams – Entries are unlimited per division. Each team must consist of two students formally representing their university. Individual students are not allowed to enter, qualify for, or compete in elimination rounds. Individual debaters can win preliminary debates, but unless the team is intact for more than half of the preliminary rounds that team cannot quality for the elimination rounds. Hybrid teams are not eligible to participate in elimination rounds, unless the hybrid involves an inactive program.

Guest conduct at the tournament – We are very excited to have you as our guests in Los Angeles and to our campus. At the same time, it is important that we remind everyone that you are representatives of your university or college when you are at the tournament. All participants debate at the invitation of the University of Southern California according to its tournament rules as well as any rules of their sponsoring institutions. The tournament abides by the rules and norms of the American Forensics Association, the American Debate Association, and the Cross Examination Debate Association.

If our guests engage in destructive, threatening, violent, or harassing behavior we are obligated as university employees to report it to our appropriate campus office, including the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Equity and Diversity. Those offices will provide specific guidance which may include the decision to report specific actions to your college or university. We trust that no such actions will be needed, but we wish to alert you of this requirement.

Pairings – Brackets will not be broken in elimination rounds. Sides for elimination rounds will be determined by reversing the sides from preliminary rounds or allowing the teams to choose sides based on a coin toss.

We will employ a mutual preference judge system for both divisions using categories that counts each judge based on the number of rounds they are committed to judge. Judge preferences will be made available via on December 21st and due no later than midnight on December 30th. Adam Symonds of ASU will be primarily responsible for the operation of the tab room, along with the USC staff.

A USC team may be added to avoid having a bye, but they are not eligible to participate in elimination rounds or win individual awards.

Scouting - Participating teams and schools are expected to contribute to as a precondition for entry and should provide their most recent affirmative and negative information. This should include an outline of the arguments sufficient for novice comprehension as well as full citations.

Judging – Schools are required to provide qualified judging. Each team requires three rounds of judging obligation. As a normative rule, all coaches are expected to be available for at least some judging and will be on the preference sheet. Judges must have either completed their bachelor’s degree or rescinded their eligibility. Anyone who judges in the open division at the Nichols will not be allowed to subsequently enter as a competitor in future Nichols tournaments.

All hired judges must be approved by the tournament. We are also committed to providing generous compensation for those judges who would be highly preferred critics in the late elimination rounds. If this is something that might interest you please contact us.

All judges are obligated through the octafinals on the morning of the 5th. Judges are asked to support a healthy educational environment in each debate and to provide a judgment on that debate. All debates must be decided with only one win and only one loss. The tournament will provide a judgment if the assigned judge is unwilling to complete this request.  All decisions must be rendered no later than two hours and forty five minutes after the start time of any round.

Speaker Points – Two years ago, at the last USC Nichols tournament, the national speaker point system was very much in flux. We are pleased that today many tournaments have embraced the system of encouraging differentiation among speaker points. We do ask you to consider two specific guidelines:
•   We are utilizing a 30 point scale, with tenths of a point.
•   Speakers should be differentiated in each debate. There cannot be any tie within a single debate
•   We ask that judges not regularly award the bulk of their points at or below the ‘below average’ (27) standard or at or above the ‘very good’ (29) standard. In order for speaker points to have some sense of meaning individual judges must feel comfortable providing evaluations across the range of items.

Awards – We will provide a nice selection of awards for all teams participating in elimination rounds and for the top speakers in each division.

Fees - Fees are $40.00 per person attending the tournament. These fees include entry, trophies, several meals, and our general hospitality. All checks should be made payable to the Trojan Debate Squad. We will seek to accommodate schools with financial difficulty. Please let us know about the number of vegetarians and vegans in your group so we can accommodate their dietary needs.

Tournament Hotel - We have secured a block of rooms at the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Midtown at USC. We are pleased to have secured a $109.00 per night rate for up to four guests per room at this property.  This rate includes free wireless and free parking.  The property is located at 3540 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles California 90007. The national number is 1-800-395-7046 and the direct line to the property is Telephone: (213) 748-4141 Fax: (213) 746-3255. Their website is

The block is listed as ‘USC Debate’ and available on a first-come, first-serve basis to our guests. The block typically fills so please reserve as early as possible.

Ground Transportation – School parking is $8 per day. If you park on campus, you should enter through the gate at Jefferson and McClintock (Gate #5). If you would like to pre-order parking passes, please let me know.

We have traditionally offered vendor options if you need a shuttle service to the second half of the swing at California State University at Fullerton, but we don’t usually have any takers. If you need to arrange ground transportation on the 6th please let us know.

Campus Internet – USC has an open guest wireless network for public use.

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 tournament participants (registered coaches, debaters and helpers, and USC tournament staff) only. 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 USC is obtained. Private sharing for educational use is permitted.

Questions – We are very interested in making your trip enjoyable and a great competitive experience. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. If you have any tournament related questions, please contact Gordon Stables at (213) 915-8201 or

2011 Nichols Tournament Schedule

January 2nd – Registration in two phases.
1)   At the beginning of their travel, schools should check in via email ( or phone (213-915-8201) and confirm that their entire party is in transit. We want to know early if there are any dropped teams or judges.
2)   At 6 pm in the Radisson lobby we will formally hold registration. Pairings will be released online and at registration.

January  3rd – All rounds at USC
8:00 AM Round 1
10:45 AM Round 2
1:00 PM Lunch (Provided by the tournament)
2:30 PM Round 3
6:00 PM Round 4

January 4th -  All Rounds at USC
8:00 AM Round 5 pairings released
9:00 AM Round 5
12:30 AM Round 6
2:30 PM Lunch on campus (Provided by the tournament)
3:30 PM Awards Ceremony
4:30 PM Open Octafinals and JV Semifinals

January 5th – All Rounds at the Radisson
7:00 AM Pairings for elimination rounds released. Continental breakfast at the Radisson, 2nd Floor.
8:00 AM Open Octafinals & JV Finals
11:30 AM Open Quarterfinals

Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California


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Re: USC Alan Nichols Tournament Invitation
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 12:42:24 AM »
we are seeking to hire 6 rounds for the uc-berkeley tournament.
jim hanson :)
seattle u debate forensics speech rhetoric


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Re: USC Alan Nichols Tournament Invitation
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2010, 01:31:45 PM »
Just a reminder that if you are planning on attending the USC tournament, please let us know either by entering your teams or communicating with me. We are working to finalize our catering numbers and having the best possible estimate of folks attending is a big help.

If you need any help with the hotel or other logistics, don't hesitate to let me know.

Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California