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2018 National Championship Disqualifications in Novice Extemp and Novice Impromptu

posted Jun 9, 2018, 2:58 PM by Karen Morris

After the final rounds of Novice Extemp and Novice Impromptu, eligibility challenges were brought to the National Tournament Committee.  In both cases, the claim was that a student in each event did not meet NFA’s definition of a novice.  After reaching out to both students and their coaches, the Tournament Committee found that both students had competed on the high school level in individual events.  NFA bylaws state that students must be in their first year of competition, including high school and collegiate experience to be eligible for novice events.  The National Tournament Committee reported their findings on these challenges to the National Council who convened during the tournament to discuss the charges. The National Council found unanimously that a violation of eligibility did occur in both cases.  Both students were eligible to compete at the tournament but not eligible to compete in novice events.  The National Council agreed unanimously that the penalties for these violations should come from the list of penalties involving a specific event and not involving eligibility of competing at the NFA National Championship Tournament.  The bylaws say that for violations involving a specific event, the penalties will be selected from the following: 

      A.   Disqualification from the event in question;

      B.   Issuance of letter(s) of censure to the individual(s) and/or institution(s) in violation;

      C.   Issuance of letter(s) of reprimand to the individual(s) and/or the institution(s) in violation;

      D.  Disallowance of sweepstakes points or honors achieved in the event in question.

      E.   Prohibition from attendance at future national competitions.

F.   In the case of Lincoln Douglas Debate, a round result reversal in the round

      challenged with an ethical violation.

The National Council again unanimously agreed to impose ONLY sanction A and disqualify both students from these novice event finals.  Disqualifying the student in Novice Extemp dropped the number of entries in this event from 11 to 10. Only awarding the top five eligible speakers in Novice Extemp still respects the rule that no more than 50% of the non-advancing field will be awarded. However, disqualifying the student in Novice Impromptu dropped the number of entries in this event from 16 to 15. Awarding only the top five speakers in this event did not honor the 50% rule.  Since the Novice Impromptu Final had already occurred at the time the sanction had been issued, the National Council voted to acknowledge the student who was next out into the final round of Novice Impromptu. 

Congratulations to Luisa Gunn from Lafayette College who will receive an NFA Novice Impromptu Finalist plaque.

Moving forward, students who enter the NFA National Championship Tournaments as novice must sign a form certifying that they have never competed in high school or intercollegiate forensics in prior years. This form must be turned in with the student verification sheet at registration. This practice should help to remind students and coaches of NFA’s definition of novice going forward so that we honor those eligible to compete in these novice events.