Team Rules & Expectations

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Once you have read and understood these rules, see the FORMS tab to complete your team registration.  

1. BE PREPARED: Never attend a tournament without adequate rehearsal/practice or awareness of tournament logistics.

  • Sign-ups for tournaments are posted on the bulletin board one month in advance
    • You have until the Monday two weeks before the tournament to sign up. This may sometimes be earlier.
    • If you are participating in a partnered event BOTH partners must give consent to sign up and/or remove names.
    • Attend tournament meetings the WEDNESDAY the week PRIOR to the tournament either before or after school. Some may happen sooner. Read the website post closely for changes or details.
  • Prior to each tournament, it is your responsibility to be in contact with your captain to make sure a practice is SET UP. This practice must be done or established by the MONDAY the week of the tournament.
    • PLANNING & BALLOT ANALYSIS  will take place every Monday.
      • If you plan to compete in a particular event again, you must complete a ballot analysis from the previous competition.
      • Plan for upcoming practices with your captain to decide how to best use your practice time.
    • OPEN PRACTICES will take place every Wednesday and Thursday.
    • NO practices or meetings will happen on Tuesdays or Fridays.
    • Each event has specific rules set by the captains. Please read those closely. TEAM practice expectations for all events are:
      • You must practice at least once in each event to attend a tournament.
      • You must BE ENTIRELY PREPARED FOR THE PRACTICE. (ie. memorized, blocked, aware of the topic, everything already printed, etc.).

 2.  KEEP YOUR COMMITMENT: When you sign up for a tournament, you have made a commitment to the squad and you will be expected to keep that commitment. Check your schedule BEFORE signing up and be sure your calendar is clear.

  • Illness or family emergency should be the only reason for cancellations. If it is a family event that was scheduled prior to the sign up deadline this does not count.
  • If you must, you can drop no later than Monday afternoon before an event.
  • Besides being an inconvenience for your teammates and those running the tournament, drops cost the team money and sweepstakes points! Thus, ANY MEMBER dropping after the deadline for reasons other than emergency will owe the team their entry fee. Skipping, forfeiting, or refusing to perform/speak in a round will be treated as a late drop and will cost you your entry fee. 
  • VARSITY Member Commitments:
    • Participate in at least two events at a tournament if that is an option.
    • Supply 5 ROUNDS of judges throughout GSL competitions.
    • Pay a $15 participation fee at the start of the year.
    • Secure 20 ROUNDS of judging between the West Invitational and Districts
      • At least 12 rounds are for the West Invitational.
      • The student with the most covered rounds by October 1st will receive a reward
      • The student with the most covered rounds by tournament Friday will receive a reward
    • You may not compete until you have completed and committed to each requirement.
    • You may not attend an out of town tournament until you have attended at least one local tournament.
    • Any significant changes (ie. script/case change, partner change, event change) must be discussed with a captain or coach first
  • NOVICE Member Commitments:
    • Pay your $20 NFL lifetime membership fee when you gain membership.
    • Register your account at 
    • Any additional judges you can acquire will be appreciated but are not required unless you compete at districts where you will be obligated to supply 3 rounds of judging.

3. BE INFORMED & SELF-RELIANT: Read event postings for rules, deadlines, transportation plans, etc. BEFORE you commit! Remember, debate is an educational activity. Learning to be responsible is part of that

  • Be sure to have contact information for your coaches and event captains. These are available on the website.
  • There will ALWAYS be a tournament posting on the website on the deadline for sign-ups. You are responsible for this.
  • There will ALWAYS be a Sunday message on the website about the week coming up. You are responsible for this.
  • Quick, important updates will be sent via GroupMe. ONLY COACHES CAN WRITE IN THIS.
  • Assignments and resources will be posted in GOOGLE CLASSROOM, code itvfdi8.
  • YOU set up a practice time. YOU reach out to your captain.
  • It is your responsibility to make sure you have the materials you need (extemp file, evidence, interp book, etc).

4. BE ON TIME: Delays put a strain on the entire squad so set that alarm!

  • Make sure you arrange your transportation to and from West (or to nearby tournaments) well in advance. Rarely will a bus be available on Saturdays so plan accordingly.
  • Contact and/or reply to someone if you will be late, especially Saturday mornings.
    • EVERYONE is to meet at West at the given time unless you arrange for something different ONE WEEK in advance.
    • If you are more than 15 minutes late and have not been in contact, we will not wait any longer at the school.
      • If you then miss rounds as a consequence, you will owe your entry fee.
    • If this continues to occur (beyond one time), team consequence will apply.
  • Never leave a tournament without permission. If you are leaving to get food, do NOT leave campus until a coach has replied

 5. DRESS & ACT PROFESSIONALLY: You not only represent WEST when you compete but your teammates on the squad as well. You are expected to help maintain our professional reputation.

  • Dress should make you feel comfortable and confident such that it does not detract from your message.
    • For new debaters, know that the norm is business casual. You should look a little nicer than your audience (ie. judges)
    • If you plan to dress differently than this norm, you must inform coaches when, what, and why you are making this choice
    • While clothing is your choice, any choices that hinder the performance or perception of teammates will need to be revisited.
  • Use discretion with your behavior
    • Do not speak poorly of teammates, competitors, coaches, or judges.
      • Be aware of what you say at tournaments - word travels fast
      • Be aware of what you post on social media - word travels even faster
    • Use proper language and carry yourself with maturity.
    • Review the MSHSAA Code of Conduct as they are our governing body. You must:
      • Attend and pass classes
      • Use social media properly
      • Avoid drugs, alcohol, and other illegal activities.


  • Help them practice, talk to them about the events they are doing, learn about them!
  • At tournaments, it is expected that you watch teammates in out rounds. Support ALL teammates, even those that do different events.
  • Except for conflicts that have been cleared in advance (one week), attendance at the awards ceremony is expected. We are a TEAM—conveying a team presence and supporting each other with our cheers are vital to our success, as individuals and as a group.
  • As a competitive activity, there is a level of confidentiality that MUST be enforced:
    • Do not share passwords with other teams
    • Disclosure of arguments, cases, etc. will be done on a mutual and individual basis. All shared materials must be cleared with a coach and must come from an individual. You may not share teammate materials.
    • If communication is needed with other teams to share materials, it must occur between coaches. No student to student deals should be made and you should not approach another team’s coach on this issue.
  • As the West Fall Classic is our primary fundraiser, you must participate in our invitational in at least one of these ways:
    • Provide judges beyond the required amount
    • Work at the tournament itself (this DOES NOT count as service hours)
    • Donate food or needed items

7. CONSEQUENCES for failing to meet any of the requirements listed above:

  • First Offense – A warning from the coaches & message to parents
  • Second Offense – Dropped from the upcoming tournament
  • Third Offense – Dropped from the upcoming tournament and barred from the next tournament.

8. HAVE FUN: Most importantly, this activity builds relationships that will last a lifetime. Enjoy your time with your team and always remember that we are here because we love it!


Elected Executive Board Duties

The Executive Board is a leadership structure that allows each elected person to complete assigned duties as a unit - working as an EQUAL WHOLE. These duties can and will be divided equally upon election but all are the job of the board.

Each Board Member will be expected to fulfill the following duties:

  • Coordinator & Captainships
    • Each member will serve as a captain and adhere to those rules (posted elsewhere).
    • Each member may serve as a coordinator of a group of events
      • They will be expected to check in with and/or assign captains each Sunday to ensure expectations are being met, answer questions, and help guide.
      • They will make sure everyone is informed and is reading all relative updates
      • They will be responsible for knowing and communicating all event rules
      • Any captains or team members not meeting expectations should be reported.
  • Team Meetings:
    • Discuss agenda prior to the meeting with Borgsmiller
    • Be prepared to lead the meeting if asked
    • Attend all team meetings, both before & after school
  • Tournaments
    • Demonstrate commitment through competitions
    • If not competing, make an effort to attend awards
    • Lead team building – Fight song, warm-ups, etc.
    • Lead problem solving when coaches are unavailable
  • Our Tournament (Oct. 11th & 12th)
    • Attend the entirety of this event
    • Perform a leadership role as assigned
    • Help present at the awards ceremony
    • Manage others and keep them focused on their job
  • Team Building & Recruitment
    • Plan and lead events to recruit and retain new members
    • Reach out to current members for feedback & bring it to Borgsmiller
    • Specifically, help new members feel welcome & integrated
    • Plan events outside of debate to build camaraderie
  • Leadership
    • Communicate all team and leadership concerns to Borgsmiller
    • Help in implementing team rules & lead by example
    • NEVER administer punishment but indicate to Borgsmiller when it is needed




Speech and Debate Captains

Responsibility Agreement

  1. DELEGATED ROLES: Each event (or cluster of events) has ONE captain or a CO-CAPTAIN that will serve as the “go to” person(s) between the Captain Coordinator and team members. To clarify these roles:
    1. CAPTAIN COORDINATOR: This individual will not serve as a captain. Rather, they will be a point person for the appointed captains to ensure smooth application of team and captain rules and to communicate issues to the coach. They will:
      1. Hold, at a minimum, monthly captain meetings to check in with each captain to offer assistance or share ideas about best leadership practices
      2. Check with each captain during tournament weeks to ensure rules are being followed by competitors. If not, they should help troubleshoot the issues. If that fails, they will bring it to a coach for resolution.
      3. Arbitrate disputes between co-captains and ensure each captain is meeting their own requirements.
      4. Stand in at the request of a captain to fulfill their duties when a captain cannot.
    2. CO-CAPTAINS: Willfully share and take turns as a captain. They must:
      1. Write ONE set of rules that are agreed to by both.
      2. BOTH be present at meetings and practices as much as possible.
      3. Evenly share the duties without over-relying on one to do the work
      4. Communicate clearly with each other and the coordinator if there are disagreements
    3. ALL CAPTAINS: When it comes to YOUR EVENT, there are two very important jobs:
      1. EVENT PROMOTION: Champion your event. You will recruit members you feel would excel in said event and help them learn the ropes. You should never DISCOURAGE participation in an event.
      2. SUPPORT: NEVER speak ill of another event. To promote your event, you cannot tear down another. If you think someone would be better suited for another event, do not hesitate to direct them there.
  1. BEYOND YOUR EVENT: Your job is NOT to "coach" fellow members. Your role will be:
    1. COORDINATION: Ensure that all who compete know what they are doing, how they are doing it, and when (including event rules which sometimes change between tournaments).
      1. On the last day of tournament sign ups (TWO Mondays prior to the tournament), it is YOUR responsibility to know who is competing in your event and CONTACT THEM about practices.
      2. YOU will set up and coordinate when, where, and with whom practices will take place. We WILL need to share our spaces but this may also mean you need to FIND another space to practice in PRIOR to practice.
      3. YOU will report to your coordinator the MONDAY the week of the event if there are competitors failing requirements rather than administering consequences yourself.  Let the coordinator know:
        1. who has set up or done practices and who has not.
        2. who was not/is not/will not be prepared appropriately for the practice.
        3. if they have or have not completed their ballot analysis
        4. if they have or have not complied with your rules and/or deadlines.  
    2. DELEGATION:  You are not the coach. Your job is to coordinate other varsity so they can lead:
      1. You should NOT be the only one watching practices, teaching lessons, or demonstrating the process. It is expected that you share this responsibility evenly with other varsity members. It is your job to coordinate these sessions but it is not your job to run them.
      2. You must make sure that A COACH is present for supervision purposes. If you don’t have a coach, you don’t have a practice.
  1. POWER: With great power comes great responsibility:
    1. RULES & CONSEQUENCES: You will establish your “plan” but adhere to team enforcement:
      1. Outline your specific deadlines for materials (consider revision time prior to practice deadlines
      2. Determine how feedback will be provided and how you want to handle communication
      3. Determine how you will use your revision days (you are required to attend or send a representative on Mondays and ballot analysis is now required if they want to compete in that event again)
      4. Do not establish consequences - those are made and enforced by coaches. However, consequences will apply to your rules if approved.  
    2. COACHING: You CAN provide “coaching” based on your experiences but you cannot mandate how it “has to be.”
    3. ROLE MODEL: You are serving as a ROLE MODEL for your peers. You must:
      1. Adhere to your own rules
      2. Demonstrate all parts of the process (preparation, practice, taking and giving feedback). This cannot be done in private, you must do this when present so they can learn from you.
      3. Consider providing extra encouragement for your competitors (notes, gifts, etc. prior to events)

If at any time you fail to meet these requirements you may be asked to relinquish your position.