Deadline for applications for the 2020-2021 season is Monday, March 2, 2020
Each year we receive numerous requests from tournaments that they be recognized as TOC qualifiers. The following list details some of the criteria used in granting, removing, and in any way changing TOC qualifying status.
Qualifier-status typically carries over from one year to the next, so unless tournaments want to change their status, they need not reapply each year. However, be aware that the committees review the status of tournaments each year, so it is possible for a tournament’s status to change.
Please note that these criteria are NOT listed in priority order. Different advisory committees, committee members, and TOC staff will weigh factors differently.
1. TOC size considerations. The TOC is not a ranking or a sanctioning body. Certain tournaments are designated as TOC qualifiers first and foremost in order to generate an entry pool for the TOC of an appropriate size. Too many qualifying slots will mean more entries than we can accommodate. We cannot guarantee that all good tournaments will be TOC qualifiers at any level.
2. TOC advisory committee recommendations. In most cases, the TOC will follow the recommendations of the various TOC advisory committees. These are composed of prominent high school coaches in the various events that we host. It should be noted, however, that these committees are ADVISORY and that final decisions regarding all matters pertaining to the TOC rest with the director(s) of the University of Kentucky intercollegiate debate program.
3. Regional considerations. We attempt to spread the TOC qualifying tournaments so that students throughout the country have a fair chance to qualify.
4. Size and geographic distribution of the entry. A large draw and the attendance of schools from multiple states are important factors.
5. Quality of the competition. One standard used in assessing this is the number of teams or individuals attending the tournament who are fully qualified for the TOC. Appearance in TOC elimination rounds is another consideration.
6. Number of preliminary rounds. For Policy, LD, and Public Forum debate, tournaments are unlikely to receive a favorable recommendation from the advisory committee if they offer less than six preliminary rounds, except for some regional semifinals and finals qualifiers.
7. Judging. Standards for this vary from division to division, but all four advisory committees view high quality judging as an important criterion. In policy and LD, some form of mutually preferred judging system (or at least a strike opportunity) is generally preferred. The willingness of the tournament to hire qualified judges is another positive point.
8. No first-time tournaments. We will rarely grant qualifier status to any tournament being run for the first time.
This list is not exhaustive, but it should give a sense of what the TOC and its advisory committees are looking for in TOC-qualifying tournaments.