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NFA National Championship Tournament

NFA sponsors a national championship tournament for both individual event speaking and Lincoln-Douglas debate. The tournament normally covers 4-5 days, and championships are awarded in nine individual events and Lincoln-Douglas debate. Team awards are given in several divisions, based on the entry size of each school. Normally, between 75-125 colleges and universities attend the national tournament.

Congratulations to Western Kentucky University, the 2014 national champions, and to Andrew Neylon, Ball State University, the pentathalon (individual sweepstakes) champion.

The 2015 National Tournament will be at Ohio University on April 16-20, 2015. It will return to a five-day schedule.  Below you will find logistical information for planning travel, as well as 2015 policy changes announced at the NCA General Business Meeting in November.

Tournament Travel Planning

Lodging Information

Hotel Accommodations:
The following hotel properties have room blocks held for the NFA National Tournament included below is specific contact information and property details.

Ohio University Inn & Conference Center
331 Richland Avenue  Athens, OH 45701
Contact: Betsy Baringer
Phone: 866-593-6661 or 740-593-6661

The Ohio University Inn & Conference Center is delighted to offer preferred rates to those attending National Forensics Tournament in April 2015.  A Preferred Group rate of $115.00 is available- per night, plus applicable taxes. (Room rate is net, non-commissionable)

The Inn is the closest hotel to the campus of Ohio University (located on Campus edge) and is also Athens only full service hotel. Amenities include:  Complimentary Hi-Speed wireless internet, 24 hour business and fitness centers, Cutler's restaurant, Bunch of Grapes Tavern, In-room coffee makers, irons with ironing boards.  The bike- jogging path is within walking distance of the hotel as well as many uptown restaurants and shopping.

For reservations under the "National Forensics Tournament" group block, you may call the hotel directly at 740-593-6661 (866-593-6661) and ask for the National Forensics Tournament rate.  The block date is for Wednesday, April 14, 2015 departing Monday, April 20, 2015. Reservations must be made prior to  March 14, 2015 in order to receive the discounted rate.  For details information about The Ohio University Inn & Conference Center as well as directions to Athens, please visit their website at

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
11 East Park Drive Athens, OH 45701
Contact: Julie Ryan     Phone: 740-592-4640
Rate (Standard Double): $100 + tax 

Super 8

2091 East State Street  Athens, OH

Contact: MK Patel    Phone:  740-594-4900

Rate: $99.88 + tax

The following hotels have asked that you call individually for a rate

Baymont Inn   20 Home Street    Phone: 740-594-3000
Hampton Inn  986 East State Street   Phone: 740-593-5600

Days Inn   330 Columbus Road   Phone:  740-593-6655

Additionally please visit: to secure lodging at B&Bs, cabins in the Hocking Hills or any of the other unique places Athens County has to offer

Other accommodations outside of Athens can be found in the following surrounding cities:

Logan, Ohio - 25 miles                                         
Holiday Inn Express - 740/385-770                          
Amerihost Inn - 740/385-1700                            
Inn at Cedar Falls - 740/385-7489                            

Lancaster, Ohio - 43 miles
Hampton Inn - 740/654-2999
Baymont Inn and Suites - 740/654-5111
The Lancaster Inn - 740/653-3040

Jackson, Ohio - 40 miles
Red Roof Inn - 740/288-1200
Days Inn - 740/286-3464
Comfort Inn - 740/286-7581

Marietta, Ohio - 50 miles
Hampton Inn - 866/608-5968
Comfort Inn - 740/374-8190
Best Western - 740/373-5522
Holiday Inn - 866/630-3395

Parkersburg, West Virginia - 40 miles
Holiday Inn - 304/485-6200
Best Western - 304/485-6551
Comfort Inn - 304/424-5300

The Blennerhassett - 304/422-3131

Directions to Campus

Driving to Athens, Ohio

Please DO NOT trust your GPS when traveling in Southeast Ohio…unless you want to explore the ridges and back roads of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.   To make your journey pleasant, please follow these directions.

From Columbus, the Columbus Airport and points Northwest and West:

As you leave the airport, get onto I-270 South (it may be marked "Wheeling," because that direction takes you toward the I-70 interchange). You will travel approximately 10 miles on I-270. As you approach the I-70 interchange, I-270 splits into two sets of lanes. It does not matter which set you take, but the left set has less merging traffic, so is usually a bit faster. If you take the right set, stay to the left, so that you don't get forced onto I-70.

Immediately after the I-70 interchange, the two sets of lanes re-merge. Once that has settled out, change lanes toward the right, so that you will be positioned to take US-33 East, Exit 46 B (the second off-ramp at the I-270/US-33 interchange). You will travel on US-33E for approximately 67 miles from I-270 to get to Athens.

Fourteen miles from I-270 you will reach the exit for Business US-33 through the city of Lancaster. Business US-33 encounters numerous traffic lights, but provides access to motels, gasoline filling stations, and restaurants. The Lancaster bypass is now open, and unless you need those services, we do advise that you use the bypass, staying on US-33 instead of taking the Business Route exit as you approach Lancaster. Continue on US-33 East past Logan and through Nelsonville.

There is now a bypass around Nelsonville.  For those of you who have been here before you will enjoy the luxury of traveling at 70 mph and this fine new road.  PLEASE NOTE, while the speed limit is 70 mph as you pass the 2nd Nelsonville exit and go down the hill, the speed limit changes to 55 mph with little warning.  And if that is not enough, you will drive past the Ranger Station for the Wayne National Forest.  Our Forest Rangers take their jobs very seriously and they will happily ticket you for zipping through the Wayne Forest at 57 mph.  You have been warned.

After US-33 E joins US-50 W and OH-32 W in Athens, take Exit 17, for OH-682 N. Take the first right at the traffic circle, onto Richland Avenue, to cross the Hocking River and enter the Ohio University campus.

From Northeast Ohio and PA:

If you are driving from the Cleveland or Akron area, take I-77 S through Marietta and into West Virginia.

Stay on I-77 South, approximately 4 miles past WV-2, to US-50 West.

The four-lane bypass for US-50 through Parkersburg, WV, and Belpre, OH, has been completed, using a new bridge over the Ohio River. Stay on US-50 W (which joins OH-7 W and OH-32 W for parts of your travel) from Belpre to Athens. Once you cross the Ohio River, you have about 45 minutes still to go.

Stay on US-50 W all the way up the Hocking River valley to the city of Athens. This will require an exit from the OH-7 four-lane less than a mile west of the small sign to turn left for "downtown Coolville."

US-50 has been upgraded, and is now four lanes all the way from Belpre to Athens. After US-33 E joins US-50 W in Athens, take Exit 17, for OH-682 N. take the first right at the traffic circle, onto Richland Avenue, to cross the Hocking River and enter the Ohio University campus.

From Southwest Ohio and Cincinnati:

If you are driving from Southwest Ohio, take OH-32 E to Athens. If you are driving from the Chillicothe area, DO NOT take US-50 E to Athens (unless you wish to travel on 2-lane roads over the ridges).  Continue on US-35S to Jackson.  In Jackson take the exit for OH-32E.

Just West of Albany, OH, at the Ohio University Airport, OH-32 E and US-50 E join together. Continue East on OH-32 and US-50.

Pass the exit for US-33 E to Pomeroy, OH (that off-ramp exits to the left).

Take Exit 17, for OH-682 N. You will have gone about nine miles from the airport. Take the first right at the traffic circle onto Richland Avenue, to cross the Hocking River and enter the Ohio University campus.

Parking on Campus

The tournament will be run out of the Baker University Center.  PARKING IS DIFFERENT THAN IN THE PAST.  To reach the NFA parking lot, as you cross the Hocking River on Richland Avenue, turn RIGHT onto SOUTH GREEN DRIVE and the turn LEFT onto OXBOW TRAIL (poorly marked).  The large 5-story building on your right is the Baker University Center.  Buses should drop off at this location.  Vans and cars can park for free in either the surface lot next to, or in front of the Baker Center.  There are parking meters and self-pay machine at both locations but you will not need to use these as long as you have an NFA Parking Pass (available at registration) in the window of your vehicle (pick up passes at registration).  There will be uniformed parking lot attendants at the lots to assist you on the first day.

Buses can drop off in front of Baker Center and should park in the rear of the Convocation Center (big round building on the corner of Richland and South Green Drive).  

Food and Dining
The West 82 Food Court and the Front Room Coffeehouse located in the Baker Center will be open (limited hours) during the NFA tournament.  The Uptown Business District is located 2 blocks North (out of the 4th floor entrance) of the Baker University Center.  You will find Wendy’s, Chipolte, Brennen’s, Subway and many other fast-food restaurants a short walk from campus.

Internet Access

Ohio University will provide 3 internet logins per school.  While we are happy to provide login access we cannot guarantee your unlimited access to the system.  Staff from the Office of Internet Technology will be available on the first day of the tournament to answer any of your internet questions.

2015 Tournament Policies

The NFA supports teaching and learning about the use of presentational aids in public speaking.  Audio -Visual aids are permitted in the four public address events, and students learn by making choices – about whether or not their speech requires a visual aid, and if so, what kind of use of what kind of aid will best support their message.  Considering the diversity of presentational aids available today and the increased use of electronic audio visual aids, the NFA adopts the following policy.

 The invitation to the national championship tournament will include a section that describes how (if at all) the rooms in which public address events are held will accommodate presentational aids.  For example, the invitation might explain that all rooms in which informative speaking is held will include a surface onto which students may project an image, such as a (dumb, not electronic) screen, blank wall, or white board.  Other accommodations might include providing a table at the front of the room that is within 30 feet of an electrical outlet.  Announcing these or similar features of the rooms before the tournament allows students and coaches to plan for the best use of presentation aids at the tournament.  Moreover, the NFA encourages other tournament hosts to include similar information in their invitations. 

 As the way speakers make use of presentational aids changes over time, the information they need about the spaces in which they will speak changes as well.  The purpose of this resolution is not to encourage all students to replace their poster boards with a laptop and a portable projector.  Rather, the purpose is to provide students and coaches with the information they need in order to make effective choices about the use of all kinds of presentational aids, including electronic ones, without placing any new burdens on the hosts of tournaments.  

2015 General Business Meeting