There are two tracks of debate:

  1. IPDA, or public debate, focuses on persuasive speaking. Students are invited to help select their topics each round and debate a variety of concepts from public policy to significant pop culture events. Students may compete both individually and with a partner. This format is open to any team member and retains a conversation-style approach.
  2. NFA-LD, or Lincoln Douglas Debate, adds technical elements to the debate. Students will often hear faster rounds, more in-depth research, and be expected to document their evidence used in round. Unlike IPDA, Lincoln Douglas retains one topic throughout the year, which students will research intensively and compete in defense of either side of the resolution. Lincoln Douglas is individual debate, where two students compete on opposite sides of the resolution.

Yes. Scholarships are currently available for incoming first-year students. Please contact EmilyMikkelsen@bac.edu for additional details.

Yes. While not required for the team, students may enroll in a renewable one-credit practicum each semester they are actively participating in debate.

There are no requirements regarding major. All current Belmont Abbey College students are eligible to seek a position on the team. Admission to and retention on the team, as well as travel rosters, are confirmed by the director.

No. We welcome anyone interested, and often those without debate experience during their secondary education have tremendous competitive and intellectual success in college.

The travel schedule for 2019-2020 will be up shortly. This year, students traveled to colleges including the University of Vermont, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Central Arkansas.

The college program will provide all lodging, transportation, tournament expenses, and meals during travel.

Not counting the weekends for travel, to begin gaining some competency in the activity will require five hours per week for public debate. For those hoping to compete on the more selective Lincoln Douglas team, this number increases to an average of 10 hours weekly. Debates will happen each week and then students are expected to conduct research on their own. Of course, the more a person works on this, the greater the success and the easier the activity becomes. Happily, however, the grounding from classes helps. Unlike other activities that require unique knowledge, debate requires students understand and focus the knowledge they have learned in class. Just being an excellent student or learning to be an excellent student will often reduce the workload for debate. The opposite is also true. The more proficient the individual becomes at debate, the less difficult certain projects will be for class.