Memberships Explainer

California High School Speech and Debate Association (CHSSA)

Affiliation:  CHSSA consists of 4 areas, which are further split into 11 leagues (including CFL). CHSSA is not affiliated with NSDA.

Pronunciation: CHAH-sah

Geography: all of California

Registration: combined with CFL, see instructions

Runs: CA State Championship

Leadership: CHSSA Executive Committee


Coast Forensic League (CFL)

Affiliation: CFL is part of CHSSA Area 1. CFL is not affiliated with NSDA.

Geography: San Mateo, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties (see map)

Membership: see instructions

Runs: Demo Day, regular-season league tournaments, State Qualifiers

Events offered: all CHSSA events

Leadership: CFL Board of Directors


National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA)

Geography: all of the United States of America

Membership: see instructions

Runs: National Tournament

Leadership: NSDA Board of Directors


California Coast

Affiliation: California Coast is an NSDA district.

Geography: same boundaries as CFL, but is a separate organization from CFL

Membership: if you are an NSDA member, you are automatically a district member

Runs: NSDA District Qualifying Tournament (a.k.a. Nat Quals)

Events offered: all NSDA events

Leadership: California Coast District Committee


Description: Invitationals are tournaments open to all high schools, regardless of league membership.

Affiliation: Invitationals are usually run by individual high schools or universities. Performance at invitationals does not count toward state or national championship qualification. It can, however, count toward qualification to a Tournament of Champions (a.k.a. TOC) in a given event. University of Kentucky runs a TOC for NSDA events. NIETOC runs a TOC for several speech events. Northwestern University runs a TOC for Extemporaneous Speaking. National Parliamentary Debate League runs a TOC for Parliamentary Debate.

Website: Most invitationals post their information on

Eligibility Summary

CFL Demo Day: all schools are eligible

CFL Regular-Season League Tournaments: only schools with CFL membership are eligible

CFL State Quals: only schools with both CFL and CHSSA membership are eligible

NSDA Nat Quals: only schools with NSDA membership are eligible

Invitationals: all school are eligible

Paths to Championships

1) CFL league tournaments → CFL state quals → CA State Championship

2) NSDA nat quals National Tournament

3) invitationals Tournament of Champions

Events Offered

Events Offered