American Debate Association

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The American Debate Association began in 1985 as an intercollegiate debate association. It uses the resolution selected by the Cross Examination Debate Association and the National Debate Tournament. Currently they have 66 member schools. Its current president is Adrienne Brovero, debate coach of the University of Mary Washington.


The ADA is a 1985 group that broke off from the National Debate Tournament. It was originally not intended to replace the national debate tournament. The ADA attempted to correct the excesses of debate, wanted to emphasize speech elements and provide a training ground for novice debaters, i.e. debaters that had no formal debate training in high school but nevertheless had potential. It was formed in the mid Atlantic region of the United States, in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The group grows and becomes the American Debate Association, for National and Cross examination. The same topics and tie limits from the national debate tourney was used. The exception was that new rules are implemented in the ADA that are designed to protect these ‘novice’ debaters. The only events the ADA attends are policy debates, no persuasive, or other debate forums are used. They attend all National Debate Tournament tournaments, 88 of them a year, and have in the neighborhood of 60 institutions nationwide.

Member Schools[edit]

Mission and Policies[edit]

The ADA's mission of increasing participation, maintaining a balance between education and competition, and ensuring an equitable and fair activity for all programs, regardless of their size or experience is facilitated by the ADA's rules and is premised on the following assumptions:

1. Debate is a controlled discussion which analyzes the substantive issues raised by a particular policy proposition.

2. Debate is a persuasive, oral communication activity in which debaters assume the obligation to communicate reasons for positions taken in a manner that is coherent, intelligible, and consistent with the limitations on human speech and listening.

3. Debate tournaments will be run efficiently, honestly, and in a manner which promotes the educational values of debating for all participants.

4. Coaches and judges are educators whose job it is to effectively prepare students to debate, to objectively and fairy evaluate rounds of competition to which they are assigned, and to behave in an ethical and professional fashion.

5. Debate is an educational activity to be engaged in by undergraduates who are officially enrolled full-time students in good academic standing at the colleges and universities they represent in competition.

Standing Rules of Tournament Procedure[edit]

Follow this link for a webpage of the current American Debate Association debate rules:,20.0.html