[Ndca-l] NDCA Judge Protocol for Handling Card-Clipping Situations

Joshua Clark jreubenclark10
Wed Apr 9 00:32:32 EDT 2014

We have included the following in our Protocols for the NDCA tournament in
regards to the way judges should handle card-clipping situations and
We look forward to seeing everyone in a couple of days.

Josh Clark



While the NDCA has come to an agreement on the definition of "card

In response to a recent rise in the accusations of "card clipping" in high
school policy, public forum and Lincoln-Douglas debates, on February 2nd,
2014 the National Debate Coaches Association approved a definition of
"clipping." As a result, the NDCA currently defines "card clipping" as, "A
judge should find clipping has occurred when a debater represents they have
read five words or more that they did not read in any speech. If the judge
finds that clipping has occurred the penalty is a loss for the team and
zero speaker points for the debater who "clipped." If a team makes a false
accusation of clipping the penalty is a loss and zero speaker points for
both debaters on the team who made the false accusation.

Technical malfunction isn't an excuse for clipping. Debaters have an
obligation to accurately represent the material they have read. If a judge
finds that students represented they read material that they did not read
then it's clipping and penalties should be imposed even if the judge
doesn't think there was ill intent.

The enforcement is left solely to the discretion of the judge(s) and can
not be appealed to the tabroom or the NDCA Board.."

While the NDCA has come to an agreement on the definition of "card
clipping," the scope of the NDCA authority doesn't go beyond the NDCA
national championship tournament.  The NDCA encourages schools who host
tournaments to adopt this or a similar rule regarding clipping and post it
in their invitation. Tournament hosting schools are also encouraged to use
the NDCA Suggested Guidelines For Card Clipping Accusations in their
invitation materials and judge information packets.

The following are the suggested guidelines for judges in resolving "card
clipping" accusations:

1.  At whatever point the accusation happens, the judge should immediately
pause the debate.

2. The judge should then read the definition that the tournament provides
for what constitutes "card clipping."

3. Next, the judge should inform both teams that either the accused team
will be found guilty of clipping and will receive a loss and the offending
student will be given zero speaker points, or the accused team will be
found innocent of clipping and the accusing team will receive the loss and
both receive zero speaking points.

4. The accusing team can then decide to continue with or cease in their
accusation of clipping. In the event that they decide not to level the
accusation, the debate proceeds as normal. If the accusing team decides
they will indeed make a clipping accusation the debate ceases and the round
is decided entirely on whether or not clipping has occurred.

5. The accusing team then presents their evidence of clipping to the
judge(s) (a recording, differences in marked evidence documents, etc.)

6. The judge(s) reviews the evidence and makes a decision on whether or not
the definition of clipping has been violated or not.

*In the event that the judge feels that insufficient evidence exists, and
the judge has no firsthand knowledge the clipping occurred, the win should
go to the team being accused.

7. Judges are encouraged to use this as a teaching moment in the decision
process. The goal is to provide respectful and helpful instructions to both
sides while rendering their decision based on the result of the accusation.

8. When filling out the ballot, make sure to write the basis and
explanation for decision so that coaches can be made aware of the context
of the situation.

9. Please also alert the tab room so they can note that a challenge has
been made.

*All discussion while adjudicating the decision should happen in front of
both teams. The judge should refrain from any private conversations with
only one team or debater, so as to maintain complete transparency.

**None of this precludes a judge, based on their own judgement, from
deciding clipping has occurred. As has been traditional practice, judges
are empowered based on their own flow, following speech documents,
recordings and/or other information that clipping has occurred and to level
appropriate penalties

***These guidelines only apply to the varsity division.  JV and novice
divisions should be dealt with based on best estimation of intent and
judges should use the situation as a teaching moment instead of purely a
punitive measure."
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