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Entry Information

Note: The Randolph-Macon College Invitational and the Wilkes University Invitational, both of which count in the annual CFA competitions, are not per sec CFA tournaments, so many of the particulars below will not apply to those tournaments. Please consult Professor Sheckel’s and Professor Mellon’s invitation for specific information about the Randolph-Macon and Wilkes events.


Click here for a universal tournament entry form.


All CFA tournaments offer two rounds and finals in all ten NFA individual events, along with Declamation.  Both Lincoln-Douglas and Parliamentary debate are also offered.  At all tournaments, we will offer four rounds of Parly with an appropriate final round.  There will be three rounds of L-D Debate.  Debate does count toward pentathlon and sweeps.


The following entry limits apply.

  • Each competitor may enter only two events per bracket.

  • L-D Debate is considered part of Bracket C. A competitor entered in L-D Debate may enter one additional Bracket C event. L-D debaters must compete in the debate round first and then go to the non-debate event.

  • There may be no more than six entries per event per school.

  • Maximum entries for debate are six competitors per school for Lincoln-Douglas and six two-person teams per school for Parliamentary.

  • A competitor may enter dramatic duo twice (with a different partner and using a different selection). Doing so counts as two entries for that person in the bracket.

  • Please note the specifications for pentathlon entry in the previous section. In addition, note that a competitor may count only one dramatic duo in pentathlon should he/she be entered in two. Coaches must inform the Tab Room which duo will count or the Tab Room staff will choose one at random.


We will give first through sixth place awards in all the non-debate events.  In Parliamentary Debate, awards will be given to the top six teams as well as the top six individual speakers.  In L-D Debate, awards will be given to the top six debaters.  The awards for first, second, third, and fourth places will be handsome, custom-designed plaques; the awards for fifth and sixth places will be elegant, custom-designed certificates.

Awards (1st-6th) will be given in pentathlon—plaques for all; and awards (1st-6th) will be given in team sweepstakes—again, plaques for all.

Sweepstakes points are calculated as follows.  In final rounds, first place receives six points; second place receives five points and so on.  In preliminary rounds, each first place receives three points, each second place receives two points and each third place receives one point.  Should small enrollment in an event result in three rounds for all participants, the number of total preliminary round points is capped at six.  In debate, each win receives 1.5 points (with a cap at 6).  In Parly Debate, the top two teams will earn six points, the next two will earn four points and the next two will earn two points.  In L-D Debate, the top six debaters will earn points consistent with their final placement.  In preliminary rounds, to “level the playing field,” points will be awarded only to each team’s top three competitors in each event.

Pentathlon points are awarded in the same manner.  Because the spirit of the pentathlon is demonstrating one’s versatility as a speaker in varied situations, the five events offered as one’s pentath array must include at least one interpretation event (poetry, prose, SDI, duo, declamation), at least one platform speaking event (informative, persuasive, after-dinner, communication analysis) and at least one limited preparation event (extemp, impromptu).  L-D debate counts as either a platform speaking event or a limited prep event; parly debate as a limited prep event.  Competitors may participate in more than five events; however, only five count toward pentath, and these five must include one from each of the three categories.

Special Awards

We will be awarding year-long awards in all of our recurring events—best extemper, best duo, best parly debater, etc.  A plaque to the best; a handsome certificate to the almost-best.  A participant’s best four tournaments will count toward this award. (Results at Randolph-Macon and Wilkes do count!)

There are two very special awards that are given for excellence in certain events.  The John B. Mingus Year-Long Pan-Interpretation Award is given to the competitor who has performed best across the oral interpretation events.  The Barbara F. Sims Award for Year-Long Excellence in Lincoln-Douglas Debate is given to honor excellence in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

We will award certificates to graduating students who participated extensively in CFA events.  We will also award certificates to outstanding novices—nominated by their respective schools. Because of the time constraints involved in tabulating the Beach tournament and finishing computing yearlong awards, the names of graduating seniors and outstanding novices must be provided not later than the beginning of the Beach tournament or no certificate will be given.

And CFA awards the Welch-Strine Trophy to the school that has accumulated the best year-long record.  Again, we’re counting a school’s best four tournaments, including Randolph-Macon and Wilkes.  Previous winners are:

  • 2007 – Shepherd University

  • 2008 – West Chester University

  • 2009 – Alderson-Broaddus College and Shepherd University (tie)

  • 2010 – Alderson-Broaddus College

  • 2011 – Randolph-Macon College

  • 2012 – Randolph-Macon College

  • 2013 – Randolph-Macon College

  • 2014 – Florida College

  • 2015 – Randolph-Macon College

  • 2016 – Randolph-Macon College

  • 2017 - Florida College

  • 2018 - Randolph-Macon College

  • 2019 - Randolph-Macon College

There is also an outstanding judge award—cash + certificate.  We will solicit nominations in early February and expect that these nominations, even if not authored by student participants, will reflect their judgment on who has been the most helpful in his/her critiquing of performances.  We want competitors to tell us who is the best judge.


There is a once-a-year CFA membership fee of $100, payable at a school’s initial 2019-2020 CFA tournament.  This fee covers the organization’s general administrative costs.

There are per-school fees, per-person fees, per-slot fees, hired judging fees and late entry fees.

  • The per-school fee covers administrative costs associated with a particular tournament. The fee varies from event to event because these costs vary. In general, when we’re on a campus, they are low, but, when we are competing at a hotel, they can be high because of the costs for meeting rooms, etc.

  • The per-person covers the costs of food provided at a tournament, and, again, that varies from event to event.

  • The per-slot fee is $7 for slots 1-30 and $10 for slots 31+. The bump-up is because, at 31+, a school’s designated judges become very difficult to use, requiring the organization to hire extra judging.

  • A designated judge covers 8 forensics slots; a designated debate judge covers 2 entries (2 students in L-D or 2 teams in parly). The hired judging fee allows us to compensate the judges we must hire when a school’s judging pool proves limited. The fee is $15 per slot for each uncovered slot.

  • Because of changes in the work schedules of the tournament directors, it is necessary to change the entry deadlines for all five CFA tournaments and for the R-MC Invitational. The specific deadlines are found on each invitation, but all deadlines for the 2019-2020 competition year will be at 5:00 p.m. on the Saturday prior to the tournament. A late entry fee of $25 will be assessed to teams missing an entry deadline.

Finally, CFA reserves the option to charge a “nuisance fee” designed to deter behaviors that create extra, last-minute scrambling (and often errors). This fee is $10 for each change that occurs after the entry deadline. Generally, “nuisance fees” are not charged if the change poses no problems (e.g. if schematics have not yet been prepared and/or if the change is very easily addressed and does not involve significant revisions to the schematics).


Please pay fees at registration in cash or by a check issued to “Theodore F. Sheckels” or “Collegiate Forensic Association.”

If requested in advance, the tournament director can e-mail an invoice or provide a registering school with CFA’s TIN.

Change in Bracket Configuration

As the numbers of entries in L-D Debate grew larger, we found it increasingly difficult to keep Bracket C on schedule with five events in competition at the same time.  So, as an experiment, we moved CA to Bracket B, which evens the numbers of events in each bracket.  This has worked well and is continued in the 2019-2020 competition year.

Please note the following configuration of brackets.  Make sure you remember this as you are considering your entries.  L-D Debaters who are entered in another Bracket C event must compete in their L-D Debate round before competing in their other event.  A third round of L-D Debate will be scheduled at a workable time frame during each tournament and may vary from tournament to tournament.

  • Bracket A Events – Extemp, Prose, ADS, Declamation

  • Bracket B Events – Impromptu, Duo, Informative, CA

  • Bracket C Events – Persuasion, SDI, Poetry, L-D Debate