2020-2021 NDT/CEDA Debate Topic

Who can debate in which divisions?  

Students shall have used their eligibility to earn points in a given academic year when they participate in three or more debate tournaments during that year.  All students may debate in the open division of any tournament.  For the other divisions, here is how eligibility is determined.

A.      A novice is defined as an individual with no more than 24 rounds of team policy debate at the high school or college level, or CEDA non-policy debate, or 50 rounds of debate (including Lincoln Douglas, public forum, parliamentary, and policy debate). If a debater competes in no more than 24 rounds of team policy debate during his/her first year as a novice at the college level, they retain novice eligibility during their second academic year in debate. However, if debaters have more than 24 rounds of team policy debate during their first year at the college level but have not advanced to elimination rounds at two tournaments during that first year of novice eligibility they are entitled to a second year of eligibility until advancing to elimination rounds in two tournaments or upon completion of the second academic year.

B.      Junior varsity - Any debater with under 100 rounds of policy debate is eligible for junior varsity. However, any debater with more than 100 rounds of policy debate who has not won an elimination rounds at three tournament in junior varsity, varsity or open at the college level will be allowed to stay in junior varsity until they do so. The elimination round provision only applies to those tournaments that clear to at least full quarters in the division and does not count for partial elimination rounds. An exception will be made for Junior Varsity National Tournaments. This exception only applies to the year in which the student was forced to progress. A waiver process for this section may be established by the Executive Council for extraordinary situations.


Helpful Websites

The rules and performance standards for each organization are available electronically.

CEDA Constitution & By-Laws 

Governing Documents of the NDT 


The Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) (/ˈsiːdə/ SEE-də) is the largest intercollegiate policy debate association in the United States. In cooperation with the National Debate Tournament (NDT) Committee and the American Debate Association (ADA), CEDA formulates the annual intercollegiate policy debate topic used in tournament competition throughout the nation.   CEDA acts as a tournament sanctioning agent, providing through its Constitution and By-Laws a framework for normalizing tournament practices and procedures.  Throughout the school year,  CEDA sanctions over 60 tournaments throughout the nation, including an annual National Championship Tournament that brings together over 100 individual debate teams from across the nation to compete on the basis of research, persuasive speaking, argumentation, and philosophy.  

Founded in 1971 as the Southwest Cross Examination Debate Association, CEDA is now the primary national association promoting policy topic intercollegiate academic debate.  Two of CEDA' s most important functions are to serve as a professional association for scholars and teachers in the field of applied argumentation and debate and provide a governance structure to examine the trajectory of the activity along with the inclusiveness of its practices. 

Disagreements over rules and the direction of the debate activity (concerns about speed, elitism, mistreatment of competitors and coaches)  led to a split in the policy debate community and the founding of the Southwest Cross Examination Debate Association.   In the mid-nineties, CEDA and the NDT agreed to debate the same topic each year with the same time limits, effectively merging their tournaments schedules enabling NYU, Columbia & Cornell to clash regularly with Harvard, Bard & Dartmouth, Michigan to debate Michigan State, and UC-Berkeley to battle Redlands.  

The NDT began at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1947. It was organized and conducted by the Academy at West Point for its first twenty years.  In 1967, the NDT entered a new era.  The American Forensic Association, the national professional organization of forensics educators, assumed responsibility for the tournament and rotating where it would be hosted to different schools every year since.

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should reduce its alliance commitments with Japan, the Republic of Korea, North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states, and/or the Republic of the Philippines, by at least substantially limiting the conditions under which its defense pact can be activated.  

Alex Sherman (LS/CAS '21) and Jack Booth (CAS '20), West Point Champions and NYU's latest team to qualify for the NDT in back-to-back years.