The Value Criterion Lincoln Douglas Debate Rankings


We're proud to host our own official national rankings and contribute to the national conversation on the 2017-18 debate season. As a new launch, we are continually testing this feature and would love your feedback!

Our ranking system is guided by three core values:

  1. Inclusive: We try to recognize the accomplishments of as many debaters as possible, because we believe this helps validate students' hard work and earned success. That's why we include elimination round participants from nearly every major tournament.
  2. Accurate: Our ranking system is oriented toward consistent success; other rankings may rank debaters unreasonably high or low based on the results of a single tournament. In other words, we reward debaters who do well as they compete more.
  3. Comprehensive: Not only do we include more tournaments than most, we've also created combined point rankings with a Tournament of Champions bid list in one interactive table. See for yourself how well they correlate!

Please give the interactive table a second to load. You can then scroll, search, and sort the rankings as you please.


Scoring Rules

  1. Tournaments eligible for scoring in our ranking are the official 2017-18 Tournament of Champions bid tournaments, as well as three national championships: the Tournament of Champions, NSDA Nationals, and NCFL Nationals.
  2. In addition to our ranking system, we also provide a side-by-side total of bids earned by competitors throughout the debate season. For the purposes of ranking competitors, we choose not to include "ghost" bids (earned via coach-over in the round prior to that tournament's bid level).
  3. The VC ranking system is designed to reward progression through elimination rounds, taking into account tournament difficulty. This means students who have reached at least the double-octofinals of a scoring-eligible tournament should be ranked. Students' point totals are the sum of their points earnings from each eligible tournament at which they reach at least the double-octofinals. Each tournament is worth a base value of 100 points and subject to the following multiplier system:

Elimination Performance Multiplier

Champion: 1.2x
Finalist: 1.0x
Semifinalist: 0.8x
Quarterfinalist: 0.6x
Octofinalist: 0.4x
Double-octofinalist: 0.2x

Tournament Difficulty Multiplier

National Championship: 3.0x
Octofinals Bid Level: 2.5x
Quarterfinals Bid Level: 2.0x
Semifinals Bid Level: 1.5x
Finals Bid Level: 1.0x


Note: We use designated bid level (or whether or not they are a national championship) as a reasonable proxy for the size and corresponding difficulty of a tournament. These designations are made prior to the beginning of the debate season, based on historical size and difficulty. Of course, it is possible these will not accurately reflect a tournament's true competitiveness once the season begins, which is why we reserve the right to adjust a tournament's difficulty multiplier should common sense dictate it be worth fewer or greater points (e.g. because of unexpectedly small size).