MHSAA Speech & Debate Internet Usage Rule Changes


***NFHS change for Speech/Debate Programs***

GUIDELINES for Electronic Device Use in Debate Events

  1. Contestants may use electronic devices (including computers, tablets, and/or cell phones) to access the internet during debate rounds with the following conditions:
    1. Computers or other electronic devices may not be used to receive information for competitive advantage from non-competitors (coaches, assistant coaches, other students) inside or outside of the room in which the competition occurs, information that would be restricted would include, but not limited to, coach/nonparticipating competitor generated arguments, advice on arguments to run, questions to ask during cross examination, and other information not generated by the participating competitors.
    2. Internet access may be used to retrieve files, exchange evidence and/or arguments, research arguments, and partner to partner communication. These electronic device guidelines do not limit communication between debate partners during the debate round.
  2. Penalty: Contestants found to have violated these provisions will be disqualified from the tournament and will forfeit all rounds and merit points in that event.
  3. Availability of Evidence: Contestants electing to use computers have the responsibility to promptly provide a copy of any evidence read in a speech for inspection by the judge or opponent.  Printers may be used.  Evidence may be printed in the round or produced electronically but must be provided in a format readable by the opposing team and the judge.
  4. Contestants electing to use computers are responsible for providing their own computers, batteries, extension cords, and all other necessary accessories.Tournament hosts will not be responsible for providing computers, printers, software, paper, or extension cords for contestants.  Host schools may provide wireless internet access, but will not guarantee that contestants will be able to gain access when needed.
  5. Contestants choosing to use laptop computers and/or related devices accept the risk of equipment failure. Judges and/or contest directors will give no special consideration or accommodation, including no additional speech time or prep time, should equipment failure occur.
  6. By choosing to use electronic devices in the round in the round, debaters and other relevant parties are consenting to give tournament officials the right to search their devices in the event of a protest. The device may only be searched by tournament officials and must be restricted to files and/or electronic exchanges relevant to the protest. Failure to comply would result in upholding of the protest.  Debaters and coaches should be present as their device is searched.  Debaters who do not wish to consent should not use electronic devices in the round.




GUIDELINES for Electronic Device Use in Congressional Debate


The use of internet enabled electronic devices is permitted.  Students may not use the internet to gain help from coaches, other students, or any person, such that it would prevent the speech from being the original work of the competitor.  Electronic device use must comply with the Guidelines for Electronic Device Use in Debate Events.


GUIDELINESfor Electronic Device Use in Extemporaneous Speaking


  1. Preparation: As soon as a question is chosen, the contestant will prepare a speech without consultation and without references to prepared notes.  Students may consult published books, magazines, newspapers and journals or articles, including internet enabled devices either used in the draw or those materials published from internet sources, provided:
  2. They are originals or copies of whole pages.
  3. Provided those originals or copies are uncut.
  4. There is no written material on that original or copy other than citation information.
  5. Topical index without annotation may be present.
  6. Files stored either on a computer or electronic device hard drive or cloud storage system. All files in this format must meet the same guidelines as printed sources.
  7. Active research from the internet during the round that meets the established criteria found in the Guidelines for Use of Internet Enabled Devices.
  8. No other material will be allowed in the Extemp prep room other than stated above.Extemp speeches, handbooks, briefs and outlines, including those stored on cloud storage systems or published on websites created for that purpose, are prohibited from the Extemp prep room. Students may not use the internet to gain help from coaches, other students, or any person, such that it would prevent the speech from being the original work of the competitor. Students are prohibited from accessing outlines and speeches that have been written prior to their draw time. Underlining or highlighting in Extemp will be allowed if done in only one color on each article or copy.  Electronic device use must comply with the “Guidelines for Electronic Device Use in Debate Events.”  Printed copies of information from online computer services may be used. Electronically retrieved evidence in any Association Extemp competition must conform to the same citation standards as evidence used in debate events as described on pg. 27 of the National Speech and Debate Association’s Unified Manual.

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