The MTSU Blue Raider Debate team is hosting the International Public Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament and Convention for colleges and universities this week.
The tournament, which is open to the public, runs Thursday-Sunday, April 10-13, with debate rounds starting in the morning and continuing throughout the day at various buildings on campus. The tournament and convention concludes with an awards banquet set for noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13, in the Student Union.
A printable campus map with parking instructions is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.
Organizers expect almost 300 competitors from 33 colleges and universities in 13 states to visit campus and showcase their debating skills. Registered schools include Boise State, Southern Illinois and the United States Military Academy at West Point, with categories including novice, varsity and professional divisions. In IPDA formats, debaters primarily go one-on-one with various time limits.
“It’s the largest tournament that IPDA has ever hosted,” said Dr. Patrick Richey, MTSU debate team coach and a member of the IPDA governing board.
Richey noted that to his knowledge, this marks the first time the national tournament is being hosted on the MTSU campus and it comes as the MTSU debate team completes its third year of returning to competition after being dormant for a number of years.
“It’s a monumental task to go from a nonexistent team more or less to hosting a national tournament,” said Richey, director of forensics at MTSU. “I think it brings huge prestige for the university and the state to be the school chosen for this event.”
Richey, who said he has coordinated two national debate tournaments in the past, submitted a bid to host the tournament and attributes the opportunity to host the tournament to MTSU’s location and the quality of its debate team.
Richey said MTSU is fielding 13 students in the tournament, with another 10 debate team members needed to help him with the logistics of hosting an event that will likely involve 600-plus attendees when visiting faculty and judges are factored in.
MTSU debaters will be from Richey’s Communications 3210 Argumentation course as part of the Experiential Learning, or EXL, project. Richey said he’s fielding some of his least experienced debaters because his veterans are needed to serve as hosts.
“But I think we’re going to do pretty well,” he said.
Top sponsors of the national tournament are the MTSU College of Graduate Studies and the Belmont School of Law.
Founded with the university in 1911, the MTSU Debate Team was revamped in 2011. In October 2012, the team hosted its first tournament on campus in nearly a decade and now participates in debates throughout the region.
For more information about MTSU Blue Raider Debate, contact Richey at 615-898-2273 or email him at Patrick.Richey@mtsu.edu. You can also visit www.mtsu.edu/debate/index.php.
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)