The deadline for tournaments applying to receive, maintain, or increase 2023–2024 bid allocations was April 7, 2023. Applications for the 2024–2025 season will open below early next year.
In response to the countless requests we receive each year, tournaments that wish to be recognized as a TOC qualifier may review the general criteria below. Though this list is not exhaustive, it outlines several key factors that committees commonly consider when evaluating bid applications, in no particular order. The TOC advisory committees X select high-school coaches, tournament directors, and community stakeholders in each competition event. Their recommendations form the basis for all TOC-related decisions, in accordance with the University of Kentucky intercollegiate debate program.
TOC qualifier status typically carries over from season to season, with certain exceptions (e.g. provisional bids granted as a result of the pandemic). Tournaments that recently received new or additional bids must apply to maintain their status; tournaments seeking to modify their bid allocation in any way should also apply. Please note that all tournaments are evaluated each year regardless, so it is important to monitor any potential changes from one season to the next.
1. Size Consideration: Bids are often allocated with the purpose of generating an appropriately sized entry pool for the TOC, based on committee consensus for each competition event. We cannot guarantee that all well-run tournaments will necessarily obtain qualifier status.
2. Regional Consideration: To enhance fairness and accessibility to all students, dispersing TOC qualifier tournaments throughout the country is an ongoing priority.
3. Geographic Distribution: Robust, competitive fields that attract many participants from a diverse array of schools across multiple states are ideal.
4. Judging Quality: Standards may vary by event, but qualified and experienced judges are optimal. Tournaments seeking bids in Lincoln-Douglas or Policy Debate should implement some form of mutually preferred judging, and all tournaments should be willing to supplement the pool with hired judges.
5. Competition Quality: Committees assess the number of entries in attendance who are fully qualified for the TOC, along with performance in prior seasons and participation in TOC elimination rounds.
6. Preliminary Rounds: Tournaments seeking bids in Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, or Public Forum Debate should strive to offer at least 6 preliminary rounds, though special consideration is given to underserved areas and some regional qualifiers.
7. Historical Precedent: It is exceedingly rare that committees grant TOC qualifier status to tournaments running for the first time or on an inconsistent basis.