Wisconsin Forensic Coaches' Association
Wisconsin Forensic Coaches' Association


The WFCA's mission is "to instill and develop in students communication skills vital for a lifetime of effective participation in a democratic society." To that end, the WFCA promotes the interests of Wisconsin interscholastic forensics by assisting in the regulation and improvement of forensic practices and by serving as a forum for the airing of opinions concerning forensic activities. Member schools receive notices of invitational tournaments through an official mailing list. The season culminates with the State Tournament, open to every member school. Read more ...

See the video of coaches reflecting on the impact of forensics and scenes from the 2010 State Tournament.

facebook twittericon

WFCA Fall 2016 Meeting and Coaching Clinic

Save the date - Saturday September 10.

Location update: Muskego High School, W183 S8750 Racine Avenue, Muskego, WI 53150. Use the main entrance Door 1 along Racine Ave. Room 243.

The WFCA Fall Meeting will be held Saturday September 10.

The day will begin with a Coaching Clinic 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM, and the Fall meeting will be at 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM or perhaps earlier.

Some of the agenda items include:

Approval of the minutes of the Spring 2016 meeting
Proposed WFCA 2016-17 Calendar
Reports of officers and committees
Category Commitee Proposals (see separate front page article)
Other proposals (see separate front page article)

If there are any proposals you wish to have on the agenda, contact WFCA President Mariah Ervin, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Proposals which amend the constitutional or operating bylaws must have been received by August 20 due to the three-week notice rule.

2016 Fall Meeting Proposals

Proposal: Clarify that multiple sources may be interwoven to create a cohesive thematic performance for Poetry, Farrago, Group Interpretation and the poetry selection in OIL. To accomplish this, the WFCA category rules would be amended with the following changes:

Add the following line to the rule number one of Farrago, Group Interpretation, Oral Interpretation of Literature, and Poetry:

Multiple sources may be combined and creatively woven together to create a cohesive thematic performance.

Submitted by Ben Kroll, Sheboygan South


Proposal: State Tournament Format. Add clarification to the State Tournament Practices and Procedures in the Operating Bylaws that there are three preliminary rounds, a semi-final round, and a final round for each category (submitted by Scott Peterson, Eau Claire North).

Background: This is our existing practice and has been this way for many years. The most basic framework of our state tournament should be formalized and published in our bylaws so that there is no ambiguity.

Operating Bylaws
C. State Tournament Practices and Procedures

Insert new numbered item 3

3. Format. The State Tournament shall consist of three preliminary rounds, a semi-final round, and a final round for each category.

Renumber remaining items as appropriate

Proposal: Add a documented procedure for determination of semi-finalists to the State Tournament Practices and Procedures in the Operating Bylaws.

Background: This is the same procedure which has been used for many years. However, it was never documented in the operating bylaws, and therefore was not published in any official form. This proposal is simply to delineate and publish the existing procedure.

Operating Bylaws
C. State Tournament Practices and Procedures

Insert new numbered item 8

8. Determination of semi-finalists: Within each category, total preliminary round ranks for each entry will be calculated and sorted from lowest total (best performance) to highest. All entries with the same rank total are considered tied. The cumulative number of entries that have the same rank total or better will be noted. The number of entries selected for semi-finals will be the first achievable number which occurs in this preferred order of entry totals: 14, 13, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, etc. These are factors before taking in squirrels. All squirrel entries, which are entries having two 1st rankings, will be additional advancers to semi-finals if not already included. If the total number of semi-final entries is 14, 13, or 12, there will be two sections, with the top 3 in each advancing to finals. If the total number of semi-final entries is 15 or more, there will be three sections, with the top 2 in each advancing to finals.

Delete current numbered items 10 and 15

10. Speaker points will not be used. In the event of an unbreakable tie at the break point, all tied contestants will advance into the semi-finals with the possibility that three sections may be necessary to accommodate ties.

15. During the preliminary rounds, any contestant who earns two rankings of # 1 will automatically be advanced to semi-final competition regardless of the score in the other round.

Renumber remaining items as appropriate

Proposal: Replace NFL (National Forensic League) with NSDA (National Speech & Debate Association) wherever it is mentioned in the bylaws and handbook (submitted by Scott Peterson, Eau Claire North).

Background: On May 17, 2013, the National Forensic League Board of Directors voted to change the name of the organization to the National Speech and Debate Association. This change brings WFCA references to NFL up to date.


G. Material
1. A student or group may not use the same selection, topic or original speech more than one school year regardless of the number of competitions in which it was used (e.g. WFCA, MLFA, WHSFA, NFL, NCFL). Selection shall be defined as the use of the same main character, title or cutting. A student may not use the same topic or theme more than one school year except in Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking. 

From the Hintz Memorial Award criteria:
b. Candidates must be active in WFCA, be supportive of the WFCA, demonstrate enthusiasm for forensic activities, have a high regard and respect for the students he/she works with, have a high regard and respect for fellow coaches, work toward the improvement of WFCA, promote interest in interscholastic forensic activities through the strength of his/her own program, have acquired the respect of students he/she works with, and be involved in a supportive way or a member of other speech organizations, i.e., WDCA, NFL, WCA, WHSFA, CFL.

Proposal: Create a flexible deadline for submission of scholarship applications and coaching award nominations (submitted by Scott Peterson, Eau Claire North).

Background: The bylaws state the deadline is March 1. However, with the 2017 State Tournament date of April 1, it leaves less than a month to process these awards. The change would allow the executive board the flexibility to determine an appropriate deadline date each year, taking into account the date of that year's State Tournament.

Replace "March 1(st)" with "a deadline date determined by the Executive Board" in 3 locations:

A. The Awards Committee shall be chaired by the Past-President and shall include the three most recent
recipients of the William Hintz Award.
that will be given once a year to an active WFCA coach.
c (partial clause). The process of election will be as follows: Nominations from the membership postmarked no later than March 1 will be accepted by the Past-President.

2. THE HALL OF FAME AWARD is a special award presented to deserving forensic coaches. The award will be presented by the President at the Spring Convention. This award will be bestowed as follows:
a. Nominations from the membership postmarked no later than March 1 will be accepted by the Past-President.

4. SCHOLARSHIP. Any senior on a WFCA affiliated forensic team is eligible to apply for a scholarship.
The Awards Committee will select scholarship recipients. Scholarship forms must be submitted to the Past-President postmarked no later than March 1st. The scholarships will be announced and presented at the State Tournament. The criteria for selection will be as follows:


Proposal: Copy of schedule on Thursday printed (or pdf) and provided to TPP. TPP make preliminary schedule available to coaches interested in seeing how the tournament changes with drops. (submitted by Tom August, DeForest)



Proposal: Standardize section sizes. All events, regardless of time, should have a guideline for ideal section numbers. (ie. 6, 7, 5, 4, 8). That means students in 4 min have the same odds of getting a 5 as a student in Farrago. This impacts team awards by creating equal value for all events, and impacts students who choose shorter events making their chance of getting 5,5,5 less. (submitted by Tom August, DeForest)

Category Committee Proposals

The WFCA Category Committee has proposed the following rule changes to be voted on at the 2016 WFCA Fall Meeting on September 10.

1. 2016-17 Category Topics

Proposal:  Propose the 2016-17 topics for Moments in History, Special Occasion, and Storytelling.

Moments in History
The 2016-17 season has two time periods; each student has the choice of:

and / or

Special Occasion
1.    a speech to a veterans' organization
2.    a speech in response to a scandal
3.    a sales pitch to investors for a new product or invention
4.    a dedication for an art exhibit or public art installation

1.    a story from Scandinavia
2.    a story about food
3.    a story about overcoming obstacles
4.    a story about technology

2. Use of the Manuscript in Group Interpretation, Farrago, and Oral Interpretation of Literature

In Group Interp, Farrago and OIL, The phrase "Costumes, props, music or other audio-visual supports may not be used." be changed to say: "Costumes, props, music or other audio-visual supports may not be used, with the exception of the manuscript. The manuscript and/or binder containing the manuscript may be used as a prop or in other creative ways. Use of the manuscript is subject to critique."

3. Change Four Minute Speaking to Informative Speaking

Change Four Minute Speaking to Informative Speaking, lengthen it to six minutes and allow visual aids.  This brings it in line with the minimum time limit for our other shorter original speeches, which makes scheduling tournaments more equitable, and allows for more content, depth and analysis of the topic.  Visual aids, as permitted for Spec Occ and Moments, also enhances a speech that is meant to inform.  For teams interested in the NSDA Informative Speaking event, this is a solid foundation for developing a longer speech, without going all the way and adding another 10 minute speech to the WFCA. See attached rules page which would replace the current Four Minute Speaking page.

Proposed Rules for Informative Speaking.pdf

Also, this change would require an amendment to the Operating Bylaws:
II Recommended Tournament Practices and Procedures
C Categories
1. (second sentence) Sanctioned categories are: ...
{delete "Four Minute Speech"; add "Informative Speaking"}

1. Each festival or tournament director has the freedom to offer categories of his/her choosing, but is encouraged to offer all categories sanctioned by the WFCA. Sanctioned categories are: Demonstration Speaking, Duo Interpretation, Extemporaneous Speaking, Farrago, Four Minute Speech, Group Interpretive Reading, Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, Interpretation of Poetry, Interpretation of Prose, Moments in History, Oral Interpretation of Literature, Original Oratory, Play Acting, Radio Announcing, Solo Acting Humorous, Solo Acting Serious, Special Occasion Speaking, and Storytelling.

4. In Storytelling, change the way stories are chosen for each round

In Storytelling, change the way stories are chosen for each round to the way in which prose and poetry rounds are decided in OIL.  This eliminates the cards for storytellers and has everyone in the room competing with similar stories, rather than judge's choice. Rule 2 would be changed. It currently states "The tournament will provide a single card to all contestants. The contestant will list one title and author for each topic area. Before each individual performance, the contestant will present the card to the adjudicator, who will choose and initial the selection to be told that round. The contestant must tell a different topic area story each round, including any semi-final or power round. Students advancing to the final round of the WFCA State Tournament will select the story of their choice (immediately prior to the start of the final round) for presentation in the final round."  This would be changed to "The tournament will determine by random selection the round in which each of the four story topics will be presented. The story topics and round schedule will be announced to competitors and judges prior to the start of round one.  Every contestant will perform the same story topic in a given round." The wording on the final round at state remains the same and is the student's choice.

5. Printed Manuscripts

Add wording to all manuscript categories (Prose, Poetry, Farrago, OIL, Group) that states the manuscript held by the competitor must be printed on paper, as opposed to using a Kindle, iPad, etc.

6. Eliminate Speaker Stand in Special Occasion

Eliminate the words “, and a speaker stand is permissible” from Special Occasion.

2016 Spring Meeting Recap

The 2016 WFCA Spring Meeting was held on May 14 in Neenah. Here is a brief summary:

Two distinguished coaches were inducted into the WFCA Hall of Fame for their contributions to their students, the WFCA, and the forensics community:

Debra Weiher-Traas, Appleton East
Michael Traas, Appleton East

The 2016-17 proposed calendar was presented. The 2017 State Tournament dates are March 31 for Congress and April 1 for all other events, but the remainder of the calendar will become official at the fall meeting in September.

Officer terms concluded for Joe Meinecke as Past-President and Jon Balcerak as Treasurer. Elections were held for the two open positions. Amy Geyser was elected as Treasurer, and Ben Kroll was elected as President-Elect. Officers continuing to serve next year are Mariah Ervin, President; Deb Weiher-Traas, Past-President; and Michael Traas, Secretary.