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Debate is the League’s longest-running contest, dating back to 1910. A small group of debate coaches met in Abilene and enthusiastically began an interscholastic forensic program to motivate their students and provide them with a practical application for the skills they were developing. It was then that UIL was born. Ten teams representing ten divisions of the state competed in the first state tournament. Over one hundred years later, the UIL Cross-Examination Policy Debate State Meet is celebrated as the largest high school debate tournament in the nation.

At the first state meet, educators voted to add declamation as a state-qualifying contest. Since that time, the League has expanded speaking competition to include two debate contests, two public speaking contests and two oral performance contests and congress. Thousands of students from across the state of Texas compete each year in Cross-Examination Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Congress, Extemporaneous Informative Speaking, Extemporaneous Persuasive Speaking, Prose Interpretation and Poetry Interpretation.

Speech & Debate News & Updates

April 26, 2022
Speech State Tournament

Congratulations to schools qualifying for the UIL Speech State Championship Tournament May 24-25! The Speech State Tournament webpage will serve as the information hub for details about each speaking contest and important pre-tournament deadlines for required forms. Review all the information well in advance of State. If questions remain, send them to Jana Riggins, State Speech & Debate Director at jriggins@uiltexas.org.

https://www.uiltexas.org/speech/info/speech-state-tournament

April 05, 2022
FAQs About Speaking Events at the Regional Meet
April 01, 2022
State Speech Honor Crew

Coaches: If you would like to recognize someone on your speech squad that has exhibited dedication, discipline and character in your forensic program this season, nominating them for the State Speech Honor Crew is a perfect way to honor them.

The State Speech Honor Crew is designed for exemplary speech students who are not already involved in the Speech State Meet but who demonstrate outstanding qualities. The Honor Crew assists tournament officials during the State Meet through chairing competition rounds, timekeeping and serving as monitors for the rounds. Not only is it an honor to serve, but these students participate in a great learning experience, seeing the best of the best competitors as they compete for a state championship.

It is required that students be nominated by their UIL speech coach. Nominations should be based on academic and competitive excellence in your speech and debate program and must meet eligibility standards. Since maturity is vital to the role these students play in the State Meet, it is recommended that students be upperclassmen.

 

Speech Events: Spring 2022 Updates

Lincoln Douglas Debate Entry Clarification

In 2020-21, a permanent rule went into effect concerning the number of LD debaters schools may enter. The Constitution states a school may enter 3 individuals in its district meet. However, if there are fewer than a total of 8 LD debaters competing, each school with a full entry may enter a 4th debater at district. This recent rule change now parallels LD Debate with a similar provision that has existed for CX Debate. The Spring Meet Online System was adapted last year to allow for the potential fourth entry, should a district fall under this rule. For clarity, if your district has 8 or more debaters competing, you are allowed to enter 3 contestants.

Additionally, last year a temporary rule waiver was put into place to address the reduction in state qualifiers for CX Debate due to the pandemic, allowing CX district participants who did not advance to the CX State Meet to also enter LD Debate.  CX advancement was not limited this year and this waiver is no longer in place. If a student competed in CX Debate at District 2022, they cannot enter LD Debate this year.

​E-Learning Resources for Speech and Performing Arts Educators

In these uncertain times of the COVID-19 health crisis, UIL strives to serve as a resource for educators working hard to continue providing growth and encouragement to their students. In conjunction with the National Federation of State High School Associations and other organizations, the resource page below provides valuable information for e-learning experiences in speech and the performing arts.

https://www.nfhs.org/articles/performing-arts-covid-19-resources/

Speech and Debate: Opportunity Should be Provided for All Students

by Mellessa Denny - Oct. 26, 2017 (UIL Coach, Amarillo HS)

Mellessa Denny

Debate is an essential opportunity that should be provided to all students. Studies and professional opinions touting the benefits of participation in speech and debate, also known as forensics, are easily found. Students develop skills in research, critical thinking, organization, persuasion and communication.

Speech and debate students see tangible benefits from participation while in school – confidence in speaking situations, spontaneity in interviews, improved writing in other courses, diverse perspectives. These skills also benefit the student after high school.

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