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Greeley Central High School Forensics: Team Handbook

Membership on the Greeley Central Forensics Team is open to all GCHS students. Due to the extensive nature of Forensics, this handbook is provided to each student to enhance his or her understanding of team policies. Students representing GCHS in forensic competition agree to abide by the rules contained herein, as well as other rules deemed necessary by the coaches.

The Forensics Season

Forensic tournaments occur primarily on Saturdays, usually lasting all day. The length of the tournament depends on its type, size and location.

Practice officially begins in September.

The Novice season begins in October.

The Varsity season begins in November, and runs through February.

The District Championships will occur at the end of February, with the State championships following in March.

National Qualifying tournaments occur in January and April,

and the National Tournament is held during the third week in June.


Forensics as an activity is sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) and the National Forensic League (NFL). As such, participating students must meet CHSAA eligibility standards in order to compete. Currently, this means that a student must maintain a grade of “D” or better in no less than five classes in order to participate in CHSAA-sponsored tournaments. Eligibility will be monitored closely; students who fail to meet the eligibility standard will not be able to compete on the GCHS team.


GOAL: The primary goal of each student on the GCHS Forensics Team is to be eligible for participation in the District, State, National-Qualifying, and National Tournaments, as well as be an active and contributing member of the team. In order to be eligible for the 'big' tournaments, students must have credit for competition in at least 5 varsity tournaments during the course of the season. Which tournaments the students attend are up to them. At the discretion of the coaches, a student who has not competed in five varsity tournaments during the season may still be allowed to enter the “Final Four” tournaments, provided that they are not preventing another student who has met the requirement from entering.

PRACTICE: Students will be required to attend regular practice sessions. Times will vary, and it is the responsibility of the student to check with the coaches to set up practice times.

HOSTED TOURNAMENTS: All members of the GCHS Forensics Team are expected to assist the team to host its’ tournament. We are committed to hosting a tournament in November. It is crucial that members properly represent GCHS when hosting a tournament. Failure to help administer a hosted tournament will negatively impact their class grade and standing on the team.

TEAM SHIRTS: Team shirts are available for you to purchase. The design will be decided upon in September so we have the shirts to wear at our tournament.

TEAM MEETINGS: Attendance to team meetings is mandatory. The frequency of team meetings is minimal. However, these meetings provide students with important and necessary information, and are usually over quickly.

NFL Key Pins: The NFL recognizes your achievements in earning advanced degrees and offers a NFL key that can be worn on your letter jacket or lapel. Pins will have the gem of your current degree (sapphire, ruby, emerald...) and may be purchased from the team for $15. Each time you earn a new degree, you can either trade in your current pin or keep your pin and buy another.


Students who are in the competitive speech class are required to have a second event. Those not in the classes are encouraged to have a second event.

* You must be in the class to be on the team! *


It is the responsibility of the students to sign up for each tournament in which they wish to compete. This can be done in Frenchie's room (307). A complete list of tournaments is available on the team website ( Coaches will announce sign-up deadlines at practices, in class and on the chalkboard. Because entries are limited for each tournament, students are encouraged to sign up at least 2 weeks in advance. Sign-up deadlines will be posed on the sign-up sheets.

Students who decide not to compete in a tournament for which they have signed up may do so without monetary penalty BEFORE the sign up deadline. After the entry deadline, students are responsible for either reimbursing the team for the entry fee(s), or finding substitutes to take their place(s) at the tournament. This also applies to students who are unable to compete due to ineligibility or disciplinary action. Entry fees will vary depending on the tournament. A last minute drop is both irresponsible and rude. The rest of the team will not be peanalized for your missing a tournament. Since drop fees are assessed, if you drop after the deadline, you will be responsible for the fee (In novice season, there is a $16 drop fee for each student, in varsity, the drop fee is $20 for an individual event and $32 for a team event). If you find a replacement, you will not be assessed a drop fee.


GENERAL: Students are obviously expected to try their best in the competitive forensics environment. Students should respect the efforts and achievements of their fellow competitors and most especially their teammates. Most importantly, students are expected to conduct themselves in a mature, responsible and respectful manner at all times. Failure to follow these standards may result in disciplinary action.

TRANSPORTATION: The GCHS Forensics Team usually travels on a bus that will depart from GCHS, GWHS, or Northridge, depending on the tournament. Departure times and locations will be given to students at practices and will be available on the website. Students are expected to arrive at the specified time and place in order to leave for tournaments. Lack of punctuality can result in the student being left behind resulting in that student being charged the entry fee(s) for that tournament. Appropriate behavior and conduct on the bus are expected at all times. You will NOT be allowed to drive yourself to or from tournaments.

AWARDS CEREMONIES: The theme of “Pride, Class, and Dignity” is especially relevant during awards ceremonies. Other coaches, competitors and judges carefully scrutinize the manner with which people conduct themselves when they win, as well as when they lose. During awards, the team will sit as a group, and rise to applaud each time a GCHS competitor is recognized. As a gesture of goodwill, the team will also rise when a Greeley West or Northridge student is recognized.

When accepting awards, it is appropriate to shake the hand of the presenter and thank them. Excessive celebration or expressions of disappointment lack the class and dignity expected of the GCHS team and is neither appropriate nor acceptable.

TOURNAMENTS: Team members must recognize that they are guests at another school and should behave accordingly. Students will adhere to all announced, posted or assumed policies of the hosting school. All trash and personal belongings must be dealt with accordingly before leaving the tournament site.

DRESS CODE: In order to reflect the dedication and effort that students put forth in preparation for each competition, the GCHS Forensics Team has implemented a dress code. All students are required to wear clothing that is clean, safe and in good repair. It should not disrupt or distract from the competitive process. Students’ dress should also reflect both modesty and good taste. The dress code is necessary to show professionalism, readiness, respect and pride for your efforts and accomplishments.

ALL STUDENTS: Baseball caps, tennis shoes, and jeans are prohibited.

GENTLEMEN: Collared, button-down shirt with a tie, slacks, and dress shoes are required. The NFL insignia pin is encouraged. A sports coat or suit is recommended.

LADIES: Slacks or a skirt with a blouse, and a dress or business suit, with dress shoes is required. The NFL insignia pin is encouraged, and nylons are recommended.

Failure to comply with the dress code may result in that student being pulled from competition for that tournament, or being dropped from the next tournament for which they have signed up.

There is virtually no limitation on what a student may wear in order to comply with the dress code. However, even an impartial judge is likely to be influenced by your appearance as well as your performance. Keep that in mind as you choose what to wear.

Finally, although it is acceptable to bring a change of clothes for after competition, you many not change until you are certain that you are done competing for the day (i.e. after your last round or after Finals are posted.) Further, students should keep in mind that whatever clothes they wear after competition will reflect upon themselves and the rest of their teammates just as greatly as what they wear in competition. Therefore, the same standards as above should apply: clean, safe, in good repair, non-disruptive, and reflective of good taste and modesty. You are required to stay in dress clothes if you are taking an award.

LEAVING CAMPUS: Students should remain on-campus at all times during a tournament. Leaving campus without the express permission of a coach is not allowed, and may result in disciplinary action.

OVERNIGHT TRIPS: Occasionally, the GCHS Forensics Team will attend tournaments requiring overnight stays. When staying in hotels, respect for hotel policies, property and other guests is both expected and required. Inappropriate behavior in hotels will not be tolerated. Moreover, students will be informed of other rules regarding room assignments, curfews and any other rules the coaches deem necessary at the time of the tournament. If a student is found in violation of rules and regulations, their parents will be called immediately to come pick them up.

ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES: The use of illegal drugs and/or alcohol by any member of the GCHS Forensics Team is strictly prohibited. The use of these substances at any tournament, team activity, or during the students’ free time (including weekends, vacations etc.) will result in an immediate disqualification and/or suspension from the team. Furthermore, additional disciplinary measures will be taken in accordance with the GCHS Administration.

ACTIVITES: Students must remember that any team function or activity outside of tournaments or practices still requires strict adherence to team policies at all times.

TEAM EVENTS: Students who compete in team events (i.e. CX Debate, Public Forum Debate and Duo Interp) must recognize that their event involves a unique relationship with a partner. It is imperative that each student understands how he or she can affect his/her partner’s participation on the GCHS Forensics Team. For instance, a student should neither solely blame their partner for a bad performance or loss, nor take sole credit for a good performance or win. It takes a cooperative effort from BOTH students to succeed or fail in competition. Thus, communication with your partner and coaches regarding cohesiveness, teamwork, effort and direction is necessary when competing in one of these team events.

Coaches will also hold one partner accountable for the other partner at practice and tournaments. Students should know why their partner is missing practice or why they are late. Partners absolutely must know one another’s telephone numbers.

Finally, coaches may break up teams and/or pair two students together if they deem it necessary. As a rule of thumb, the coaches will carefully evaluate all individuals interested in a team event and the coaches will pair teams... remember, we have your best interest in mind.


The NFL District and NFL Student Congress tournaments are sponsored by the NFL and are independent of all other tournaments. They determine which students will attend the National Championship tournament in June. The NFL has a unique system that determines individual chapter strength.

For every degree an individual GCHS student earns, so does the GCHS Forensics Team. The more degrees we have, the greater our chapter strength. The strength regulates the number of students a team can take to these tournaments. Consequently, eligibility for these tournaments follows a different set of policies.

For Student Congress, team members must have attended the required number of practices to be considered for participation. For the NFL District tournament, students must have attended at least 5 varsity tournaments during the year and they must have earned 50 NFL points in competition during that year.

As the standard for determining eligibility, students are selected based on total NFL points and on Seniority. In the case of a tie in points, class will be used to break the ties. If still tied, random selection will be used. Participation in team events is not protected – both team members must be eligible. Finally, students with 500 NFL points (Degree of Special Distinction) or higher have the opportunity to petition for double entry at the NFL Qualifying tournament. In the event of unbreakable ties, or at the discretion of Frenchie, a try-out will be set up to determine who will compete.


From time to time, the team may choose to publicize the accomplishments of its members. We will send press releases to the Greeley Tribune, or other media outlets. Further, the team maintains its own web site, which can be found at A student’s name may appear on the website, in conjunction with recent accomplishments. No personal information beyond the student’s name and class will be publicized. The students will have the option to list their e-mail address on the site, but it is not required and is up to the student and the student’s family. As coaches, we feel this is important in order to inform the community about the students’ efforts and accomplishments in a worthy academic endeavor. If the student and/or their family does not want the student's e-mail address to appear in the student directory on the website, Frenchie still needs to have it on file for the purpose of communication.


Each student is required to submit a form attesting to their acknowledgment of and willing adherence to the GCHS Forensics Team rules and policies – with parent/guardian signature stating the same. Each student must submit this form by the first week in September in order to be eligible to participate in team activities, which include: competition, practice, and any other team function. Additionally, students will be required to sign the training rules that members of sports teams adhere to.

By submitting this form, students and parents/guardians testify that they have fully read and understand the policies of the GCHS Forensics Team. They also acknowledge that they are responsible for maintaining team integrity and promoting a fair, cohesive and efficient environment. Finally, students realize that failure to adhere to these standards may result in coaches and/or administrators taking disciplinary action against them.


The Student Guide is provided to each student on the GCHS Forensics Team. It is necessary because forensics at Greeley Central is very extensive. Additionally, it is structured in a way that puts a great deal of responsibility on the students. The Student Guide will assist each student in being prepared and knowledgeable about all that is going on for the 2006-2007 season.

Students in GCHS Forensics are accountable for themselves in every way. It is in their best interests to use this guide as much as possible. It will answer many of the questions students will have throughout the year.


An application for forensics captain will be available in September. There are currently 3 captain positions open... debate, interp and platform. Captains will have an increased role from what was seen last year. You must be willing to contribute and have the following:
1. Leadership
2. Coordination skills (not eye-hand coordination)
3. Administrative capabilities
4. Help with T-shirts and Awards for our tournament
5. Be hands-on with prepping for, organizing, and running our Castle Classic tournament


You may letter once per year in forensics if you meet the following:
1) Be a productive member of the team (adhere to all team rules and represent Pride, Class and Dignity)
2) Accumulate 100 points and qualify for state and/or nationals
3) Accumulate 150 points but you don't qualify for state and/or nationals
4) Compete in at least 5 tournaments 1st semester
5) Compete in at least 5 tournaments 2nd semester (including districts and nat quals)
6) Be Active in planning, organizing, and executing the GCHS Castle Classic tournament in November



Cross-Examination Debate

A team of two students will debate a pre-determined policy topic using factual evidence and statistics. Teams must be prepared to debate both sides of the topic. Speaking skills, analysis, organization, and research are significant. This event takes a lot of time, dedication, and a high commitment level. Some supplies are provided, but some will need to be purchased by the two members of the team. I have limited materials, so the rest is up to you. CXers will meet twice a week for practice after school.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

The student will debate a pre-determined topic using value and moral oriented arguments. The student must be prepared to debate both sides of the topic. Research, speaking skills, persuasion, reasoning and organization are significant. LDers will meet at least once a week for practice.

Public Forum Debate

A team of two students will debate a pre-determined topic using value and moral oriented current event arguments as well as simplified policy issues. The student must be prepared to debate both sides of the topic. Speaking skills, persuasion, reasoning and organization are significant. Research is required, but this research is not as intensive as CX or LD. The topic changes every month.


Drama/Humor/Poetry/Duo Interp

The student will interpret a cutting of up to ten minutes in length that will be comprised of a scene or scenes from a published literary work. Voice, body and gesture are used in the performance, however, movement is limited to an extent. A manuscript of the cutting may be optional at novice and varsity meets, depending on the event. For duo interp, a team of two students will perform the cutting, while adhering to all other rules. Memorization is required


Extemporaneous Speaking

The student will have 30 minutes to prepare a speech of up to seven minutes in length from three topics drawn every round. The topics will cover current events, both national and international in context. The speech should be supported with evidence from current sources (i.e. magazines, newspapers etc.). Movement is allowed; the use of a note-card is optional at most tournaments.

Original Oratory

The student will write his/her own speech of up to ten minutes in length. The speech should be personal, inspirational, sincere and persuasive in nature and should be supported by opinions, personal experience and credible sources. Movement is allowed; manuscripts are not allowed at varsity tournaments. Memorization is required

Student Congress

Students participate in mock congress with the purpose of obtaining “a realistic approach to the democratic idea of cooperative discussion.” Student write and research bills and resolutions, deliver speeches, and deliberate on the legislation, utilizing formal parliamentary procedure.

Supplemental Events

Some tournaments like to mix it up and offer events that are not considered "primary events". These may include the following:
1. Creative Storytelling - You will have 3 choices of characters, settings and situations and have 15 minutes to come up with a story.
2. Improv Pairs - Basically Creative Storytelling with a partner, but you only have 5 minutes to prepare
3. Impromptu - Choose from a word, sentence or quote. This is for those of you who like on the spot reporting... this is more of a news commentary


The following is a listing of pertinent differences in rules between CHSAA and the NFL. The events are generally the same, but there are enough significant differences that this sheet is warranted.


Under CHSAA rules, the use of a manuscript is optional, and virtually no movement is allowed. NFL rules do not allow the use of a manuscript. Furthermore, under the NFL *secret email code=5323nfl4n6* rules, a student is allowed, and encourages, to gesture, move and assume a much more active role in the interpretation. A general rule of thumb for the NFL is that virtually anything goes within reason. This rule applies at NFL Districts, but CHSAA rules on movement should be observed due to some judges’ inability to adapt to the rule changes. At CHSAA sanctioned tournaments, use your discretion, and push the envelope, but remember to adapt to your judge.


CHSAA rules state that a script is optional, while the NFL does not allow the use of a manuscript.


Sadly, there is not an option to compete in poetry for a national qualifying spot. Poetry is not a main event in the NFL.


NFL rules do not allow the use of a note card during the speech.


There are no rule changes between CHSAA and NFL.


New resolutions are introduced for both the NFL District tournament and the National tournament.


At NFL-sponsored tournaments, rebuttals are 5 rather than 4 minutes in length. Complete source citations for evidence are required. Finally, no verbal prompting of one’s partner is allowed. Violation of the second and third rules listed here can result in disqualification from that round.


This event is in CHSAA and the NFL. At state quals and state, the NFL topic WILL NOT BE USED... CHSAA will supply the topic for these two tournaments.

Everything you ever wanted to know about forensics, and ALWAYS ASK!

• What time will we be home from the tournament?

Tournaments vary in length. If a tournament is done early, we could be home by 6:00. If a tournament runs late, we may not be home until 11:00 or later. There’s never any way of knowing for certain, but it is reasonable to say that we will be home between 8:00 and 11:30 p.m.

• Are the non-debate events power-stacked?

NEVER. The reason for this is simple: assume that a tournament has six sections of Humor. If you power-stack, you can take the top person out of each round, and have finals right after the first round of competition. At all tournaments up to and including State, preliminary rounds are randomly scheduled. At NFL Districts, the power stacking is built-in with the double elimination system.

• When are they going to post again?

When they have the next round scheduled and judges are assigned. Since we are never certain of exactly how long this process will take, we are like wise never certain when they will post again.

• When will awards be?

As soon as all results come in from the final round and they have all of the scores tabulated. Once again, we’re never certain how long this will take, so we’re never certain exactly when awards will be.

• Can I drive myself to the tournament?

Absolutely not. There are issues of liability at stake. If you are attending a school function, your safety is the responsibility of the coaches. Therefore, if you, the student, are driving your own car and get into an accident, it is the responsibility of the coaches. If you parent drives you, that is fine, but you cannot drive yourself. Only if the tournament is at a location in Greeley will you be allowed to drive yourself to a site.

• Can I leave early if my parents come pick me up?

It is possible, pending coaches’ approval, but we absolutely must have one week’s notice that you are going to do so, and you must check out with a coach when your parent/guardian arrives at the school.

• Can I leave early if my boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/buddy comes to pick me up?

Absolutely not. The only people who may pick you up from a tournament are parents/guardians, due to the liability issues involved.

• Why can’t I/we/they?

Because I said so.

• Frenchie, can I give you $1,000,000?

Well, I guess so.

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