NCASB Forensics Rules

NCASB Forensics Rules 2020

NCASB Forensics Rules






Rule 1 Contest Entries

Rule 2 Contest Guidelines

Rule 3 Category Guidelines

Rule 4 Materials

Rule 5 Judging

Rule 6 Time Keeping

Rule 7 Scoring

Rule 8 Awards

Rule 9 Meetings

Rule 1 Contest Entries

Section 1 Team Entries

ART 1 The total number of entries per participating school shall not exceed eleven. An “entry” is defined as one student entered in an event, except where two students are required in a performance, i.e. Duo.

ART 2 Number of entries per event can be no more than two entrees; with the exception of Duo, Serious and Humorous Prose where there may be only one entry.

ART 3 If two students are entered in the same event, this shall be counted as two entries towards the total allowed.

ART 4 A school may have two entries in as many as five different events, with the exception of Duo, Serious and Humorous Prose.

Section 2 Individual Entries

ART 1 A student may enter no more than two events.

ART 2 A school may have no more than 2 students who double. (Doubling means 1 student entering 2 different events)

Section 3 Alternate

ART 1 An alternate may participate in the place of an original participant only in the same category vacated by the original participant. Original team participants are not eligible to be alternates.

ART 2 Alternates shall be listed on both the eligibility and entry forms.

ART 3 Alternates may be inserted at the scratch discussion during coaches meeting. Tournament director would appreciate them as far out in advance as possible.

Rule 2 Contest Guidelines

Section 1 Games Committee

ART 1 The games committee will consist of the Forensics Director, current host coach, and the previous year’s host coach. If any one of these are not available, the Forensic Director may appoint a suitable substitute.

Section 2 Presentation

ART 1 Speakers must stay in the room after their speeches until the round is finished. They may not leave the room after they have given their speech, unless they are doubling.

ART 2 If a student does not present in a round, they are disqualified from that event.

ART 3 Participants should remain quiet at all times during presentations.

ART 4 In the event of a medical emergency, the contestant will be given the opportunity to present, without penalty, at the discretion of the host coach and Forensic Director.

ART 5 Name of school or state should not be intentionally included in cutting or conversation with judges.

ART 6 Although some singing is permitted, within the context of the speech (a phrase or line from a song), the emphasis should be on speaking.

Section 3 Appearance

ART 1 Students may not wear articles of clothing or jewelry pertaining to their school.

Section 4 Disruptive Behaviors

ART 1 Participants that display disrespectful or disruptive behaviors may be barred from further competition and the participant’s coaches should be immediately notified.

Rule 3 Category Guidelines

Section 1 List of Categories


  1. Four-Minute Speech

  2. Impromptu

  3. Poetry Reading

  4. Eight-Minute Speech

  5. Serious Interpretation

  6. Humorous Interpretation

  7. Serious Prose Reading

  8. Humorous Prose Reading

  9. Great speeches

  10. Duo

  11. Open Category Speech

Section 2 Four Minute Category Descriptions

ART 1 Four-Minute Speech

  1. The time for this category is 3:30 – 4:30 (no penalty points).

  2. A Four-Minute Speech may be either informative or persuasive in purpose.

  3. The speech is to be written by the student who presents it.

  4. The four-minute speech may be presented from memory or extemporaneously.

  5. Notes are limited to one 5 x 8 card (1 side only) for print users or one half 8.5 x 11 sheet (1 side only) of braille paper for braille users may be used.

  6. Properties or visual materials may not be used in presenting a four-minute speech.

  7. This is a speech rather than on essay writing. Emphasis should be placed on speech phrase.

ART 2 Impromptu Four-Minute Speech

  1. At the time of the contest, the participant will draw a card from each of three separate boxes.

  2. Drawing boxes shall contain topics from the following categories:

Box 1 One word philosophical topics (love, peace, etc.)

Box 2 Thought provoking proverbs (Grass is always greener on other side, etc.) or titles (“The Sounds of Silence”, etc.) or quotations (“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”, etc.)

Box 3 – Miscellaneous (humorous, serious, ridiculous, you-name-it; anything goes here!)

  1. Each topic card will be uniform and contain both large print and braille.

  2. Coaches must submit topics within 30 days of the contest.

  3. After drawing their cards, the presenter goes to a preparation room. Here they will have five minutes to select one of the three drawn cards and prepare to speak on that topic.

  4. No reading or writing materials are permitted in the preparation room.

  5. The participant may request that the topic cards be read to them by the timer in the preparation room.

  6. When preparation time is complete, a timer will announce the topic chosen to the judge and to the audience.

  7. When the first speaker is finished, the second speaker will be called and the same procedure followed.

  8. The participant will be judged on their ability:

      1. to stick precisely to the topic selected.

      2. Presentation of a logical speech is to be a major consideration in the judge’s ranking of the student

      3. ability to think on one’s feet

      4. the mechanics of speech–poise, use of voice, body language and the ability to hold the attention of the audience.

  9. Procedures for Impromptu:

Time Elapsed

:00 Participant 1 draws and is guided to the prep room

:05 Participant 2 draws then goes to the prep room as Participant 1 begins-4 minute maximum speech then the judge has 1 minute to make notes

:10 Participant 3 draws then… Participant 2 begins speech

This pattern continues until all contestants have drawn and delivered speech

Note: Two timers are required with separate watches: one for the presentation and one for the prep room.

Section 3 Six Minute Category Descriptions

ART 1 The time for this category is 5:30 – 6:30 (no penalty points).

ART 2 Poetry Six-Minute Reading

  1. Poetry must be read and is not to be memorized.

  2. A presentation may be a single poem, a cutting from a single poem, or several related poems or cuttings. There should be a line of thought that runs through-out, i.e. three poems from the same author; two poems by different authors but expressing the same idea. This line or thought should be the basis for selection of the poems.

  3. The participant will start with an introduction.

  4. Participant is required to compose the introduction and transitions, which may be needed to establish a relationship between the parts of the presentation. These components are to be memorized, but may be delivered in extemporaneous style.

  5. The judge’s decision should be mainly influenced by the reading of the poetry.

  6. Conclusions and/or summations are not permitted.

  7. The poetry selections must be of a recognized literary quality taken from a published source. For clarification on published sources, reference Rule 4 Section 1 Article 4.

Section 4 Eight Minute Category Descriptions

ART 1 The time for this category is 7:30 – 8:30 (no penalty points).

ART 2 Eight-Minute Speech

  1. Eight-Minute Speech may be either informative or persuasive.

  2. The speech must be written by the student who presents it.

  3. Emphasis should be placed on preparation, appropriate use of notes, or materials and delivery.

  4. The speech may not be read in its entirety.

  5. Notes limited to two 5 x 8 cards (1 side only) for print users or one single sided 8.5 x 11sheet (1 side only) of Braille paper for Braille users may, be used.

ART 3 Serious and Humorous Interpretation Eight-Minute Speech

Note: (Two separate events with similar guidelines.)

  1. The presentation is to be a memorized selection. The student is to give an introduction and any transitions which are needed.

  2. Impersonations from television, records or tape recording are not permitted. (i.e. Mickey Mouse doing Mickey Mouse material is not permitted, but Mickey Mouse’s voice doing a president’s speech is permitted.)

  3. The degree to which the performance leans toward acting depends on the nature of the material, but VOICE interpretation of the literature is of prime importance in this event.

  4. Costumes and properties may not be used.

  5. The material must fall readily into either the serious or the humorous category.

  6. Material must not be taken from commercially prepared recorded material.

  7. Material may be a cutting from a play, short story or novel of recognized literary quality which has been published in a book or magazine.

  8. The art of interpretation is to be regarded as recreating the characters in the story presented and making them seem living and real to the audience.

  9. Participants should be judged for their appropriateness as contest material and their suitability to the particular contestants using them.

  10. This is a contest in oral interpretation, not solo acting.

ART 4 Serious and Humorous Prose Eight-Minute Reading

Note: (Two separate events with similar guidelines.)

  1. A presentation may be a selection or a cutting from prose literature.

  2. The student will give his own introduction and any transitions which may be needed.

  3. The material must be read, not memorized, with the optional use of a reading stand.

  4. The introduction and transitions are to be memorized, but may be delivered in an extemporaneous style.

  5. Conclusions and/or summations are not permitted.

  6. Each school may enter only one contestant in serious prose and one contest-ant in humorous prose.

ART 5 Great Speeches

  1. Participant will select whole or portions of speech (public address) of historical or potential importance delivered by the same speaker.

  2. The Great Speech must have been published. Recorded speeches may be used only if they have been published in print.

  3. An introduction and necessary transitions are required. These are to be memorized, or given extemporaneously without the use of notes. A conclusion may be used.

  4. Introductions, transitions, or conclusions, must justify the selection of the speech. The justification may include such subjects as the historical or potential importance, author’s purpose of speech, language style, rhetorical technique and audience appeal.

  5. The participant must include information about the speaker, subject, original audience and occasion of the speech. Comments about textural accuracy and ghost writing may be included where appropriate.

  6. The speech must be read from a manuscript with the optional use of a reading stand.

  7. Costumes, props, music, or other audio-visual supports may not be used.

Section 5 Eight-to-Ten Minute Category Descriptions

ART 1 The time for this category 7:30 – 10:30 (no penalty points).

ART 2 Duo

  1. The presentation may be humorous or serious and it is to be a memorized selection.

  2. The participants are to give an introduction and any necessary transitions.

  3. The duo must have two participants, each interpreting the part of only one character.

  4. Impersonations from television, records or tape recordings are not permitted. (i.e. Mickey Mouse doing Mickey Mouse’s material is not permitted, but Mickey Mouse’s voice doing a president’s speech is permitted.)

  5. These cuttings should come from a single published work.

  6. Although these students are allowed to touch, voice interpretation of the selection is of prime importance.

  7. In this event, acting should not be overdone.

  8. Costumes may not be used.

  9. One table and/or two chairs may be used.

  10. Each school may enter only one duo, which counts as one entry.

Section 6 Open Category Speech

ART 1 Time varies based on chosen category

ART 2 Category Guidelines

  1. The host school may choose one category not described above.

  2. This category may be any generally accepted forensic category, or it may be a new experimental category.

  3. The host school will notify all participating schools with a complete and detailed description of this category, including maximum participants, with all guidelines and regulations at the business meeting during NCASB Wrestling and Cheerleading Conference Championship.

  4. The following list suggests options for the open Category:

Serious dramatic monologue (5 minutes)

Humorous dramatic monologue (5 minutes)

After dinner speaking

Panel discussion

Radio broadcasting


Demonstration speech

Improvisation (single – 3 minutes)

Improvisation (duo – 5 minutes)

Theatre reading

Rule 4 Materials

Section 1 Material Use

ART 1 Students may not use the same material in more than one event.

ART 2 A student may not use the same material which they have used in any previous NCASB Forensic Tournament.

ART 3 Each contestant will present the same material in all three rounds; except in those categories where a topic is drawn.

ART 4 Original material may be used if it is published (school and local publications, and internet are recognized as published). This rule excludes impromptu, 4 minute, and 8 minute (original oration).

ART 5 The use of note takers with Braille display or screens, tablets or video magnifiers are permitted in all reading categories.

Section 2 Material Approval Procedures—Pending approval

ART 1 Any coach with entries requiring accommodation for notes (use of picture prompts on tablet for example) must send a proposal of the accommodations to the Forensic Di-rector by March 15th. The proposal will include space requirements and any device used by the student.

ART 2 The Forensic Director will send the proposal for the accommodations to member coaches without identifying the requesting school within 2 work days of receipt.

ART 3 A response from forensic coaches to the Forensic Director must be received with-in 5 work days.

ART 4 If additional revisions are requested, the requesting coach has 5 work days to comply and resubmit for approval. The resubmission will follow the same steps as described in Art 1-3.

Rule 5 Judging

Section 1 Judges

ART 1 The judges will have experience in the forensic competition.

ART 2 Each judge will be provided a written copy of these rules and guidelines in advance of the contest.

ART 3 The judges will not be on the faculty of any of the participating schools. Extenuating circumstances may require an exception to this rule. Any exception will be ruled upon by the games committee.

ART 4 Each participant will be judged by three separate judges (one judge per round)

Section 2 Judging Responsibilities

ART 1 The decision of the judge regarding the ranking of the contestant is final.

ART 2 The judges shall not confer with anyone to decide the rankings of a participant. Rather, each judge shall render a separate and individual opinion.

ART 3 Judges will not make evaluative remarks to individual students during the rounds.

ART 4 Judges will give written critiques (commentaries on student’s performance), which will be given or mailed in packets, to coaches at the close of the competition.

ART 5 Judges may not ask where the students are from.

ART 6 Judges should report to the Forensic Director or Tournament Director, a student who displays disrespectful behavior.

Rule 6 Time Keeping

SECTION 1 Timers

ART 1 The timers shall be made knowledgeable about the specific rules and guide-lines of this particular speech contest. Each timer shall be given a written copy of these rules and guidelines in advance of the contest and shall be instructed to time according to these rules.

ART 2 Time keepers will communicate the length of each speech to the judge. The judge will record the time on the contestant’s critique sheet immediately following the individual speech.

ART 3 If there is a mistake made in timing, the participant will be permitted to start over without penalty.

ART 4 It is suggested that timers open the door of the presentation room between contestants and check off who has finished

ART 5 Participants cannot request time to be stopped or re-started.

ART 6 Timers may not confer with or influence the judges in any way.

ART 7 Timers will use a desk bell.

ART 8 Timers may not ask where the students are from.

Section 2 Category Timing

ART 1 The time keeper ring the bell once at minimum time and twice at regulation time. Contestants shall be verbally stopped at one minute and thirty seconds past the ringing of the two bells. The time keeper shall give a firm command to “STOP”.

ART 2 Four-Minute Speech Categories

1 bell at 3:30

2 bells at 4 minutes

At 5:31 minutes timer must give a firm command to “STOP”

ART 3 Six-Minute Speech Categories

1 bell at 5:30

2 bells at 6 minutes

At 7:31 minutes timer must give a firm command to “STOP”

ART 4 Eight Minute Speech Categories

1 bell at 7:30

2 bells at 8 minutes

At 9:31 minutes timer must give a firm command to “STOP”

ART 5 Eight-to-Ten Minute Categories

1 bell at 7:30

2 bells at 10 minutes

At 11:31 minutes timer must give a firm command to “STOP”

ART 6 Open Category according to host school’s guidelines

Rule 7 Scoring

Section 1 Ranking

ART 1 The judges will rank student performances in each event as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th with no ties in rounds. Points are awarded to first, second, third and fourth places only. Fifth and sixth places are needed in case of a disqualification and receive no points.

Section 2 Points

ART 1 Points shall be awarded toward each school’s total score as follows:

1st place – 16 points

2nd place – 13 points

3rd place – 10 points

4th place – 7 points

5th place– 4 points

6th place– 1 point

In the event that a round is split into two rooms due to numbers of contestants participating, points shall be awarded as follows. The four contestants who rank in rounds one and two, rooms A and B, each receive one half of the total points (1st – 3.5 points, 2nd – 2.5 points, 3rd – 1.5 points and 4th – 0.5 point). Penalty points assessed in rounds one and two, rooms A and B, are also one half of the usual deduction.

Any eight minute event or longer that has 12 or more participants shall be split into two groups. The top 8 contestants shall move to the final round earning full points. If there is a tie in the eighth place, both contestants move to the final round. Final round contestants who rank first through fourth places receive full points and penalties. Those contestants who do not place in the first two rounds, room A or B, move to a consolation round where no points or penalties are received.

ART 3 The total number of points received by a student from the three judges minus penalty points, shall be added to determine the student’s final ranking.

Section 4 Penalty Points

ART 1 Penalty points may not lower a participant’s score below 0 in any given round.

For any 4 minute event, penalty points shall be given as follows:

Under 2:30 – DQ

2:30 – 2:59 – 2 penalty points

3:00 – 3:29 – 1 penalty point

3:30 – 4:30 – NO penalty points

4:31 – 5:00 – 1 penalty point

5:01 – 5:30 – 2 penalty points

5:31 and over – DQ

ART 3 For any 6 minute event, penalty points shall be given as follows:

Under 4:30 – DQ

4:30 – 4:59 – 2 penalty point

5:00 – 5:29 – 1 penalty points

5:30 – 6:30 – NO penalty points

6:31 – 7:00 – 1 penalty point

7:01 – 7:30 – 2 penalty points

7:31 and over – DQ

ART 4 For any 8 minute event, penalty points shall be given as follows:

Under 6:30 minutes – DQ

6:30 – 6:59 – 2 penalty points

7:00 – 7:29 – 1 penalty point

7:30 – 8:30 – NO penalty points

8:31 – 9:00 – 1 penalty point

9:01 – 9:30 – 2 penalty points

9:31 and over – DQ

ART 5 For any 8 to 10 minute event, penalty points shall be given as follows:

Under 6:30 minutes – DQ

6:30 – 6:59 – 2 penalty points

7:00 – 7:29 – 1 penalty point

7:30 – 10:30 – NO penalty points

10:31 – 11:00 – 1 penalty point

11:01 – 11:30 – 2 penalty points

11:31 and over – DQ

Section 4 Tie Breaker

ART 1 If there is a tie at the end of competition, the tie break is awarded to the competitor who ranked highest in each round. Each competitors earned points will determine the total team points, but the ranks will be used to break any ties. (If student A and student B are tied in total points, each ranking in all of the rounds will be looked at to determine the tie break.)

ART 2 If contestants are tied and the use of rank in each round does not provide a solution than time will be used. The individual closest to regulation time without going over is awarded the tie break. (In an eight minute round, the competitor who has time closest to eight minutes without going over, will break the tie. If Student A’s time is 8:10 and Student B’s time is 7:55, student B will be awarded the tie break.)

ART 3 If a contestant does not place in a given round (4, 3, 2, 1) he cannot get penalty points for that round. In any round in which a contestant places (4, 3, 2, 1) penalty points will be assessed for that round.


Section 1 Individual Awards

ART 1 Individual medals will be awarded according to NCASB tradition for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winners.

Section 2 Team Awards

ART 1 The traveling trophy shall be awarded to the school with the greatest point total. The trophy may be kept by the school until the next contest. This trophy will ultimately be retained by the school winning it the most times.

ART 2 Team trophies shall be awarded to the winning schools for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th places

ART 3 In case of a tie in team points, both teams are awarded the place and the following place is skipped. (Team A and B are tied for 2nd, they are both awarded 2nd and Team C is awarded 4th)

Rule 9 Meetings

Section 1 Coaches’ Meetings

ART 1 Coaches meetings occur at the annual NCASB Swim & Forensic Conference Championship meet. Scratches will be made at or before this meeting and communicated to the host school (if an entered original participant is unable to compete after the scratch meeting the alternate can still be entered prior to the beginning of competition).

ART 2 Coaches meeting will be scheduled by the host school.

ART 3 Proposals for amendments of the existing rules, contest procedural changes, and election of Forensic Director will be presented at the annual coaches’ meeting.

Section 2 Special Meetings

ART 1 Special meetings may be called by the Forensics Director.