Someone else can give a more detailed answer, but I'll summarize -
Stoa was formed in 2009 when, after a long history of disagreements and bad blood with NCFCA leadership, basically the entire state of California seceded from the NCFCA and formed their own league. Now, there are basically two national homeschool speech and debate leagues running in tandem, although which parts of the country are dominated by which league has varied over time. (People can have strong opinions about which is better, but for the most part, most clubs just go with whatever league is biggest in their area.)
The main difference is that the NCFCA is a top-down, national organization that creates uniform rules for the entire country, while Stoa is more democratic and open-ended. The only thing the national leadership really controls is the Stoa national championship (NITOC) - local clubs can kind of do whatever they want, although in practice, they usually run the same resolutions and events as NITOC just for the sake of uniform competition and practice. (I mean, you could
decide to run a local tournament with a different TP resolution, but... why?)
Qualification to NITOC is done through speechranks.com
: you just have to do well enough at several tournaments to accumulate enough "check marks." You can actually qualify to NITOC as an NCFCA-only competitor - they accept results from any
homeschool tournaments, not just tournaments run by Stoa-affiliated clubs. As you might expect, NITOC is big. Really big.
_________________Abe bimuí bithúo dousí abe
- "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"COG 2016 generics-only sourcebook
- NCFCA/Stoa (thread)Factsmith research software
- v1.5 currently available (thread)Loose Nukes debate blog
- stuff to read with your eyes.