National Speech and Debate Association

The National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) is an American student debating society. It was established in 1925 as the National Forensic League (the name was changed in 2014.) It is one of four major national organizations that direct high school competitive speech and debate events in the United States, the others being the National Catholic Forensic League, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, and Stoa. The association provides competitive speech and debate activities, resources, training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition[clarification needed] to students at middle school, high school and college level.

National Speech & Debate Association
TypeNonprofit organization
HeadquartersWest Des Moines, IA
Key people
Pam Cady Wycoff
Scott Wunn
(Executive Director)
Headquarters in Ripon, Wisconsin

National TournamentEdit

The biggest event that the NSDA puts on is the National Tournament.[1] This tournament is considered the pinnacle of High School speech and debate and only the best competitors are allowed to attend. Prior locations include Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Birmingham, and more.


The United States is divided into NSDA districts. Depending on the size of the district and the number of competing students, each district is awarded a number of qualifications in each event. Every spring each district holds a tournament and the highest placing competitors in each event are allowed to go to the NSDA National tournament.[1]


Over the course of the National Tournament all competitors compete in several preliminary rounds in their respective events. Then, over the course of many elimination rounds, students are eliminated until only 2-7 finalists are left and the winners of the final rounds are crowned National Champions.[1] Many National Champions and runners up get scholarships to college.

Expository addressEdit

An expository address is a supplemental event at the National Tournament. Expository speeches are five-minute speeches created by the contestant who delivers the speech. The speech is intended to inform the audience about a particular object, concept, or process; however, the topic must be real.[2] Generally intended to be somewhat entertaining, the speech also has social relevance.[2]

Honor SocietyEdit

If a student is a member of the NSDA honor society they may earn honor points for competing in tournaments (not necessarily affiliated with the NSDA), judging tournaments, or completing some form of service for the speech and debate community. At different point totals they reach different levels of the honor society. All students are expected to abide by the Honor Code and violation of it can get points voided.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "High School Unified Manual" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b National Forensic League. Rostrum Archives Supplemental/Consolation Events . National Forensic League website "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-05. Retrieved 2007-06-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit