Tournament Rules/Contract

Sign-Up for Tournaments

The coaches will notify you of each tournament. Most of the invitations for tournaments are online at You are responsible for taking down the information pertinent to your event. Make certain you get the name of the school, tournament hotel and phone number with dates to give to family members in case of emergency. Also read the Code of Conduct for the tournament school. We will be expected to abide by those rules as well as San Jose State's.

Process of Sign-Up

  1. Clear your schedule before signing up. If you will miss a class, check with the instructor at least a week ahead of time. Do not jeopardize your grades for the sake of a speech tournament.
  2. Make whatever arrangements are necessary for getting off work.
  3. You need to sign up for the tournaments you plan to attend. If your name appears on the sign-up sheet for the tournament, you will be entered. Should you decide not to attend a tournament after you have been officially entered and cleared for competition, you are expected to pay a $35 drop fee.
  4. Bring homework. You will find you have time to watch rounds or catch up on homework.
  5. Do not expect the coach to get you home early. Someone in the group may be in a final round, or there may be transportation problems. If you live at home, be sure your parents understand you may be late.
  6. Transportation is provided by San Jose State for away tournaments. In some cases you may be allowed to supply your own!

Tournament Conduct

When traveling to a tournament, you are expected to act in a professional manner.

Professional manners include:

  • thoughtfulness and consideration for each other; we are a family and need each other's support and thoughtful criticism; let's not verbally or physically abuse each other
  • non-disruptive behavior when your teammates and other hotel guests expect it to be quiet; that includes not preparing for rounds with others, when someone in your room is trying to sleep;
  • avoiding long phone calls after midnight when others are trying to sleep;
  • reasonable time use in the bathroom;
  • the University will not pay for phone bills. If you choose to turn on your phone, use your own credit card;
  • supporting teammates in final rounds; we should all be on hand to watch each other
  • being prepared to leave on time from SJSU, our hotels, and the tournaments;
  • no whining or unnecessary complaining; no berating of judges, other coaches, competitors, and your own team members and coaches; if you have complaints talk to one of the coaches, we really want to keep life reasonably happy for everyone --remember we are problem solvers;
  • avoiding actions that embarrass either SJSU or any member of the SJSU Forensics Program;
  • avoiding ego tripping, we are in this activity to express not impress~
  • no smoking in school vehicles or in the hotel rooms;
  • no drinking of alcoholic beverages when we are representing SJSU;
  • no illegal drug use;
  • no vulgarities or obscenities;
  • no co-ed rooming;
  • no sleeping in; if the van leaves at 7:30 you are expected to be dressed and in the van;

Violations of the rules will result in probation, suspension or removal from the team. The coaching staff reserves the right to dismiss a team member for violation of any of the rules or for creating a negative climate for other team members.

Travel Preparations

Most regular tournaments that we attend will involve overnight travel. There are certain things to remember:

  1. Pack light. In most cases we won't be gone for more than three nights.
  2. Make certain you take enough shirts and deodorant to deal with the perspiration of anxiety. It doesn't hurt to carry deodorant with you and freshen up after invigorating rounds. People riding with you in the van will appreciate this courtesy.
  3. Take clothes that are proper for competition. You are not required to wear suits or dresses (although some judges look disparagingly on competitors who don't) but you may not wear jeans or "ratty" clothes to compete in. Look well-groomed. Be prepared to hear from a coach if you need to rethink your competitive attire. No tennis shoes.
  4. Be prepared to sleep 4 to a room. Room assignments will always be on a same-sex basis, so if you are uncomfortable about sleeping with someone, bring a sleeping bag.
  5. Be out in front of Hugh Gillis Hall at least 30 minutes before we are scheduled to leave. WE WILL NOT WAIT FOR YOU. Ask anyone who has been left behind.
  6. Be ready to leave the hotel for competition at the assigned time. The coaches will not deprive others from getting to their rounds on time.
  7. Transportation is taken care of by the school. You will receive a meal allowance per full day of travel. When we go out for one day, we are entitled only to the dinner meal. Motel accommodations are taken care of by the directors and paid for by the University. It is permissible to stay with relatives while at a tournament. Please notify the directors at least 2 weeks in advance of the trip.

Tournament Procedure

  1. You should accompany the coach or experienced team member to the registration area for receipt of code numbers and instructions. Usually, postings will be by a number and letter code. You are responsible for remembering your own number.
  2. You are responsible for checking the time schedule. You need to be on time for all rounds, and you must attend all rounds for which you are scheduled. Failure to participate in any round of a contest in which you are entered will result in a penalty. Repeated violations of this sort will result in suspension from the squad. Write down your code and room numbers on a separate sheet of paper.
  3. You must be courteous to judges and critics.
    1. Make an effort to get to know students and coaches from other schools.
    2. Check the NCFA web site for judging philosophy for debate, and all individual events.
    3. In debate, learn the names of opponents and call them by name.
    4. NEVER attempt to learn what decision was made by the judge.
    5. NEVER protest the assignment of a judge, argue with a judge, or protest a decision. Problems in this area should be reported to your coaches. Remember, that your coaches must be concerned with the reputation of SJSU and with personal relations with the other coaches for years to come.
    6. Go out of your way to thank the tournament director for his or her hospitality. Help to build SJSU's reputation as a friendly squad of nice people who deserve to win the close ones!
  4. Do not contact tournament officials except for an irregularity in posting. All other problems should be brought to the attention of your coaches.
  5. Observe proper standards of conduct at all times. See the section on professional conduct if you're still unsure about this.
  6. In case of illness, observe the following procedures:
    1. Don't confuse nervousness with feeling sick. The "butterflies in the stomach" sensation is common to many speakers and is not life threatening. Missing the tournament due to "butterflies" might be.
    2. If the problem is beyond the nervousness variety, stay home. The penalties for absence can be made up; don't create a problem for the rest of the team. However, phone one of the coaches, either at the office, cell, or at home before departure.
    3. In case of illness on a trip, call one of the coaches immediately, or notify a tournament official and have him call the director.

Returning from the Tournament

  • Leaving early--students may leave the tournament early if a full car with an authorized driver is ready. The driver must notify the coaches who is going and when. They must also check in after arriving home. Leave a message on Genelle's answering machine at her home or on her cell phone voice mail.
  • After your final round, keep in touch with the coach for departure time. Do not force your van to wait for you. If you are not there when we are ready to leave you may be finding alternative transportation. DO NOT GET LOST.
  • Thoroughly clean out the van before heading home.
  • Ballot viewing is reserved for the first team meeting after the tournament (in most cases Tuesday). It is preferred that you wait until the coaching staff looks at the ballots first. Normally ballots will be returned the first class period following the tournament.
    • Study the ballots yourself and conference with the appropriate coach.
    • Place all your ballots in your file.
    • Remember that all speech contestants fit into two classifications: The Immature - Reads his/her ballots and wonders what was wrong with the idiot judge who voted against him/her. The Mature - Reads his/her ballots with an open mind, trying to discover how (s)he needs to change to win a vote from the judge at the next tournament.
  • Procedures for collecting trophies:
    • You go forward to get the trophy when they are awarded. Applaud as a team for all winners. Some schools stand to recognize the first place winners. I would like us to show our support for all winners.
    • At this point, the trophy is your responsibility. Keep track of it. Take it (them) home and show it (them) off for a day or two.
    • Print or type your name on a slip of paper and attach it to the trophy with scotch tape. Bring your trophy to HGH 214 within a week of the time it was awarded.
    • The coach will place the trophy on display. At the end of the year (May), pick up all of your trophies and take them home. Any left over will be recycled.
    • Team awards and single awards belong to the Communication Studies Department.
  • Above all else we are in this for the learning. Living and working together provides many new and novel experiences. Let's not forget to enjoy our work and each other.

I have read the preceding pages of team rules and I am fully aware of my responsibilities as a member of the San Jose State Forensics Team.



Forensics Data Sheet (pdf) —
Complete, print and submit to coaching staff