Speech & Debate Eligibility FAQ
• I am younger or older than the eligibility requirements, but I am eager to compete. Will the American Speech and Debate Association make an exception?
No. Eligibility exceptions will not be made for students who are younger than 12 on January 1 of the competition season or older than 18 on September 1 of the competition season. If you are younger than 12 on January 1, you may participate in junior speech events.
• I have graduated from high school. Am I eligible to compete?
No. Students who have received a high school diploma are not eligible for competition.
• I have special needs or a learning disability. Am I allowed to compete?
Yes. Students with special needs or learning disabilities are encouraged to compete. Accommodations for students with special needs or learning disabilities are provided at the discretion of league leadership. Any adaptation of event rules must be approved by the [director of something] in advance of any competition.
• I have physical limitations. Can I compete?
Yes. Students with physical limitations are eligible to compete. The American Speech and Debate Association will make accommodations when practical. Accommodations may vary from tournament to tournament. Requests for special arrangements that may affect competition must be made in advance by sending a detailed explanation of the situation to the board of directors.
• I compete in a college forensics league. Can I also compete in American Speech and Debate Association tournaments?
No. A student who competes in forensics at the collegiate level is ineligible to compete in American Speech and Debate Association tournaments. Taking a college course while in high school on a dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment basis does not make a competitor ineligible for ASDA competition, even if that course includes forensics instruction.
• I compete in another high school forensic league. Can I also compete in American Speech and Debate Association tournaments?
Yes. Any student who meets our eligibility requirements is encouraged to compete.
• I am homeschooled. Can I compete?
Yes. Students from any educational background are welcome to compete.
• I attend a public or private school that does not have a speech or debate team. Can I compete?
Yes. Students may register for tournaments as individuals. A school team or competition club is not required for participation.