Welcome! This post is intended for new parli debaters, to raise awareness of the organizational structure and different online resources that exist for parli.
Parli tournaments are held between September and March of each academic year, predominantly in the Midwest and West with some in the Southeast. (There are no NPDA schools in the Northeast; they predominantly compete in APDA parli.) Most tournaments consist of 4-8 preliminary rounds, followed by a single-elimination bracket of teams who achieved a winning record during prelims. Preliminary rounds are judged by a single critic; elimination rounds are generally judged by a panel of 3 or 5 critics. Critics are usually coaches and former debaters; at some regional tournaments, critics are also commonly speech coaches or other academics without debate experience; such critics are referred to as “lay critics.”
The largest tournament of the year (besides nationals) is always Mile High, a swing tournament (two tournaments on one weekend) held in early January at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. For Midwest schools, larger tournaments include William Jewell (Kansas City), McKendree (St. Louis), and Washburn (Topeka). For West coast schools, larger tournaments include Lewis & Clark (Portland) and Pacific (Stockton, CA); also, California always has the largest concentration of tournaments due to its large number of community colleges which compete in debate.
A running but incomplete list of tournament invitations can be found here (and pinned to the top of the On Case board). The complete list of NPDA sanctioned tournaments can be found by clicking the “Sanctioned Tournament List” link from the NPDA homepage, but is generally not posted until shortly before the academic year begins.
There are a number of national tournaments for parli debate each year; the two most prestigious are NPDA and NPTE (National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence). NPDA is open to all competitors and advances all teams with winning records after 8 elimination rounds, generally reaching to partial triple-octafinals or occasionally partial quadruple-octafinals. NPTE is only open to competitors who attain at least 18 points at their top 4 tournaments over the course of the season (or 12 for schools sending just one team to NPTE, which is commonly the case for younger programs). Points are awarded for tournament success (preliminary round record and elimination round wins) and are tracked on the NPTE website. The NPTE is unique in that it features double elimination after preliminary rounds and also has prereleased topics (so competitors can research the topics in the weeks leading up to the tournament).
Other national tournaments include Phi Ro Pi (only open to community/2-year colleges); NCCFI (only open to Christian colleges and universities); and Pi Kappa Delta (only open to schools with a chapter of PKD).
- Net Benefits (this site) is an online forum for discussion of debate, tournament invites, etc. Net Benefits is divided into several categories (or boards): On Case, for tournament invites and direct discussion of debate; Off Case, for jokes, memes, and other off-topic discussion; NPTE, for NPTE topics and updates; Judging Philosophy Book, for judging philosophies from regular judges; and Older Forums & Resources, mostly an archive of discussions from the early days of parli.
- College Parliamentary Debate is a Facebook group for people associated with NPDA/NPTE parli. Also, NPTE/NPDA Tournament is a Facebook group for posts related to the current year’s national tournaments (although it is also often used for general discussion; most important updates are crossposted between the two groups).
- Parli-L is a listserv (mailing list) used for tournament invites and other important updates; anyone can register their email address to receive updates. Most of the updates from the Parli-L are also posted to Net Benefits.
- Parli Prepbook is a book/PDF that teaches the fundamentals (and beyond) of competing in parli debate, with each chapter written by a successful debater from the past few years. It costs $10, with the proceeds going towards funding assistance for new programs attending the NPTE. (If the cost is sincerely prohibitive, use the contact form and they will work with you.)
- DebateVid.io is an online collection of debate round videos hosted on YouTube and Vimeo. There is also an old Net Benefits thread with many video resources, although most have also been added to DebateVid.io and/or are dead links.
- NPDA Lit Master List is a community-maintained Google document containing links to useful literature on a variety of topics, mostly critical in nature.
If you have questions about parli debate, feel free to post either in the Facebook group or here on Net Benefits and somebody will likely be glad to help you.