On June 13th the world's largest academic event will take place; one of the largest Speech and Debate tournaments of the season. The 2010 NFL Nationals, Jazzin' it up in KC, will begin. In fact, Kansas City already is stirring with some officials and NFL Staff prepping the tournament. Alfred Charles Snider has served as the Director of Tournament Operations for years. And in his Global Debate Blog he offers a glance into just how gargantuan NFL Nationals really is:
"Live Blogging from the largest speech and debate tournament in the world begins today as I report from the National Forensic League's Speech and Debate National Championship tournament being held this year in Kansas City. I have been the Director of Tournament Operations here for many years, and I want to share some of the events and features of this tournament. I serve at the request of J. Scott Wunn, the Executive Director of the NFL, and Billie Tate, the NFL's President.
The NFL has been in operation since 1925 and sponsors speech and debate in high schools all over America. It currently has over 3100 member schools and over 112,000 member students. Schools and students pay to be members. and must receive charters. The nation is divided into 106 districts. Each district has a qualifying tournament and the top two winners in each speech or debate event can come to the nationals.
There are 18 speech and debate events here (6 of them debate - policy debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, public forum debate, supplemental debate [new event] and two divisions of congressional debate). There are 3232 student contestants here and 1754 judges representing 937 qualifying schools. Winners will receive lots of trophies along with over $200,000 in scholarships.
Today is Thursday, and my team and I are here preparing for the tournament. We walked all the rooms, checked all the entries, confirmed the judge paradigm sheets and now near the end of the day we are proofing the schedules for the preliminary six rounds. After they are proofed, we will print judge assignment sheets for each of the 1754 judges that will tell them where and when they will be judging. Tomorrow we will proofread each of those judge assignment sheets and take the pairings to be printed. The NFL staff has stuffed all of the entry packets and prepared for registration on Sunday.
The whole tournament is run by one program, designed by Rich Edwards of Baylor University, that coordinates all events, judges and contestants. This can be a challenge as there are too many events to use one site, so we will be using four different very large high schools just north of Kansas City.
I am very lucky to have this opportunity. I love a big tournament, and this is the biggest speech and debate tournament in the world. It is also the largest student academic competition in the world. If you know of a bigger one, please let me know."