What is competitive debate?

Our competitive debate program competes in the most rigorous and challenging format of English language debate: National Debate Tournament-Cross-Examination Debate Association (NDT-CEDA)-style policy team policy debate. There a few key things to know about NDT-CEDA debate.

It’s team debate. Each competitor competes in debate rounds with a partner against two-person team from other schools. Each schools can field as many two-person teams as it wants.

It’s intercollegiate. We travel around the region and country and compete against other schools.

It’s single topic debate.  College policy debate uses a dynamic, large area topic for an entire season, with debates occurring over sub-sections of the topic. The 2016-2017 topic is:

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should establish a domestic climate policy, including at least substantially increasing restrictions on private sector emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States.

Team pick a narrower plan or advocacy within that topic area and other teams oppose their plan or advocacy.

It’s dynamic and open debate. NDT-CEDA debate has few set rules and relies upon competitors to argue for/against the rules of the debate.

It’s research-intensive debate. NDT-CEDA debate, unlike some other types of competitive debate, has a strong-focus on issue and policy research its use in debate.

It’s open to all levels of competitors. Our format of debate has three levels: novice, junior varsity, and varsity. First-year competitors compete exclusively against other competitors in the novice division. Competitors with some experience compete in the junior varsity division. Advanced competitors compete in the varsity division.

It’s long-format debate. NDT-CEDA debate rounds are roughly a total of two hours long, with each side delivering four speeches and engaging in four cross-examinations.

It’s full contact debate. NDT-CEDA debates are intense experiences with ideas and arguments coming out communication, rhetoric, philosophy, political science, sociology, physical sciences, psychology, literature and much more. Participants almost always describe it as the much intense and in-depth explorations of their undergraduate experience.