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Clarification of the CX Certification 8-Round Rule

In Cross-Examination Debate, debaters advance from district to state, with first and second place teams qualifying for the State Meet. The CX Certification 8-round rule affects only districts that have only one school participating or districts that have fewer than eight teams participating in the district competition.

A statement of the rule can be found in the UIL Cross-Examination Debate Guidebook - page 35. The rule stipulates that in districts with only one school entered in the district meet, first place advances to state competition only if the high school principal certifies that the team has competed in a minimum of eight competitive interschool debate rounds prior to the certification deadline. In districts with eight teams or more competing, the second place team advances automatically. In districts with fewer than a total of eight teams competing, the second place team advances to state competition only if the high school principal certifies that the team has competed in a minimum of eight competitive interschool CX debate rounds prior to the certification deadline – see (i) (2) (B). The remaining teams placing at the district meet will serve as alternates.


The intent of the rule is to insure that debate teams have experience debating in a competitive situation on the current CX topic prior to the CX State Meet, since this debate event advances straight from the district level to the state level.

  • What will meet the CX certification requirement?
    • competitive CX debate rounds at invitational tournaments
    • two or more schools' participation in mini-tournaments where the debaters are judged by someone other than the coaches involved and a winner is declared
    • district CX debate tournament rounds against opposing schools
  • What will not meet the CX certification requirement?
    • classroom debates
    • practice rounds against own teammates
    • non-judged festival rounds
    • district rounds against your own school
    • bye rounds in invitational meets or the district meet

The certification form can be located online here.

Questions & Answers

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If my school is the only school competing in the district meet, who has to be certified?
Both first and second place teams must submit certification forms.
Does only 1 member of the team have to meet the 8 round rule in order for the team to advance after district placement?
No, both team members must be able to document 8 CX rounds, though the rounds for certification could be with a different partner than the one with whom they are debating at the district meet.
If more than one school competes in the district meet, but less than 8 teams participate, who has to be certified?
Second place must submit certification forms.
If the second place team is not certifiable, does the third place alternate team have the opportunity to advance to State?
Yes, if the second place team cannot meet the certification requirement and the third place team can be certified, the third place team has the opportunity to advance to State.
If the district champion elects not to come to State, can the second place team advance to State even if they are not certifiable?
No. The rule states that only the first place team from a district with multiple schools participating automatically advances to State. Second place teams from certifiable districts must still meet the certification rule to advance.
Is this rule exclusionary in nature?
No. For several years, a provision has been made in districts where fewer than a total of eight teams are entered on the official Cross-Examination entry form for each school to be allowed to enter a fourth team, in an effort to be inclusionary.
What procedure must be followed in order for a team that has placed at district to be certified?
The team's high school principal must sign a certification form included in the District Winner's/Coaches packets, testifying that both debaters meet the certification rule. The form is also available online. A coach may choose to use ballots from rounds, signatures from invitational tournament directors verifying numbers of rounds debated, etc. to document certification for their principal. The Contest Director will submit the district results online. Schools with teams that require certifications must submit the certification form to the state office by the specified deadline (see C&CR). If they are unable to do so, the State Debate Director should be contacted in order to obtain the proper paperwork from the 3rd place team, in the event they can be certified.
Do the eight rounds have to be within the current academic school year?
Do classroom debates or practice rounds against teammates count?
No. These do not meet the certification requirement.
Can a district meet round count if it is a "bye" round?
No. The debate did not occur and therefore, does not count.
What should teams from limited participation districts avoid?
Don't assume that your district contest will provide all the rounds that you need. Be aware of your particular district's tournament format: consider that you could possibly draw a bye during the tournament or debate against your own school which will not count towards certification. Plan ahead so that you have secured your rounds well in advance of the district meet.
What happens if substitution of a team member after the District Meet becomes necessary?
The substitute needs to meet the certification requirements. In a last-minute emergency situation, the League will evaluate whether to consider the "team" certified, even if the substituted member has not debated the minimum rounds. In the event this occurs, school officials must notify the State Debate Director in a timely manner to receive approval to compete in the State Meet. According to UIL rules, one member of the original team that qualified must remain on the team.

Competing at the Texas UIL CX Debate State Meet is an honor. The CX Certification 8 Round Rule is in place to insure that State is a privilege earned by hard work and fierce competition and where the very brightest of minds clash on the battlefield. Good luck with your forensic season!