How does the NFL receive and enter points?

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After doing much research on Nationals and top teams, all of these numbers kept cruising in my brain: 1378, 1376, 1288, 1195…how does the National Forensics League keep track of all this? With District Tournaments all across the country how does one organization stay so organized that ten teams out of hundreds upon hundreds can be correctly chosen?

With almost 85 years of experience, the NFL has devised a system for point submission that is highly detailed and leaves nothing to the imagination. This is after all the group of people who also award points for coaches (1/10 of every point earned by the competitor)!

I knew at tournaments points are given to each competitor in regard to their rank per round—a rank of 1 earns 6 points; a rank of 6 earns 1 point, for instance. I also knew those points were added together for a school total to figure the best teams at each tournament. But after that, I knew nothing. I competed in the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) and we only were offered a chance to go to the IHSA’s State Tournament. Well, other schools were. The team I competed in, though I loved it, never sent someone passed Sectionals while I was on the team. Thus, learning about rankings that meant nothing to me was not important.

Now my interest is peaked. Time spent on the NFL website led me to learn how points are recorded for a National organization. Only after every event has been held (Debate, I.E. (International Extemp.), and Congress) can a report be sent to the NFL. Copious amounts of forms are filled out with precise information detailing the student’s name, rank, what they competed in, and the school they go to. Points are entered into computers at the NFL, perhaps why mistakes are few, and then a report is sent back to the school.

Coaching points, when more than one registered coach is at the school, are given to the coach with the most points unless previous arrangements have been made (for example, if a particular coach was given the okay to have the points even if they do not have the most).

Points are not recorded until all events are finished and tournament reports have been filed. And NFL reports are not sent to schools until the points are entered in the system. Ergo, if one tiny mistake exists the whole district tournament’s results are left in limbo. If any mistakes exist after reports are sent back, they are to be reported immediately with proper verification stating why/where they are wrong so they can be correctly fixed.

Also, on the NFL website are numerous links and Q&As on recording points. It was slightly daunting to someone who never looked beyond points for that tournament of the week. It’s an exciting idea to know from the moment you step into a round your points are continually kept and added upon to add up to a final score. I cannot help but think speech would have been taken more seriously by some individuals on my previous team if we had had this system of competitiveness. It would sure have made things more interesting at the very least!

I liked the NFLs system for entering points. But for some reason, all of my points weren't entered and it cost me the milestone of 1000 pts. I also had other competitors tell me that that was an issue for them as well

Greetings from the NFL Headquarters in Ripon, WI!

What a great blog/article, and gives perspective to making our information a little more user-friendly for someone new to the NFL.

To clarify something both alluded to in the article and the other comment, it is the head coach's responsibility to file points with the NFL on a regular basis. There's an online points database (similar to how teachers might put grades/attendance in an online system). The coach (or someone s/he designates) can log in on a regular basis and put in points for each round at each tournament a student attends. The NFL national office only records points for the official NFL District Qualifying tournament and the NFL National Tournament.

You can view the database and look up schools/reports at

Please let me know if you have further questions!
- Jacobi

Visit - the original community for speech and debate!

As I am new to the NFL's way of doing things, and thus learning as I go, your help is very much appreciated! I am sure other users on the site thank you as well.

You had a couple key errors:

1)The 6 points for a 1 and 1 point for a 6 is not true for all events. Interp events are 5 points for a 1 and 1 point for a 5 or 6.

2)Forms? Sent to the NFL? Reason why there are so few mistakes?

None of that was true. As a previous comment noted, any teacher/coach just logs in and uploads them whenever she feels like.

Here's what happens at my school:

My coach writes down everyone's rankings at the tournament.
The Sunday morning after the tournament, I wake up, eat a breakfast, and upload our points. The NFL never checks it. Nobody ever checks it. It's all based on how accurate I happen to be...which is why Parkview's are completely accurate but you see a lot of people with gross inaccuracies all over NFL.

However, Districts and Nationals are logged as you described.

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