National Educational Debate Association

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Patrick Henry College's NEDA debate team at the 2006 NEDA National Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.

The National Educational Debate Association (NEDA) is a collegiate debate association emphasizing audience-centered debate. It was founded by debate educators who believe that the debate tournament is an extension of the communication classroom and that even competitive debates should provide students with skills of research, argument selection, and presentation style that will benefit them as public advocates. NEDA schedules eight invitational tournaments a year, primarily in the mid-west. The association debates two resolutions per year. The fall resolution is one of value, and the spring resolution is one of policy.

Several aspects of NEDA make it distinct from other debate organizations, including the ability to decide topicality at the end of the constructive speeches, the ability of judges to give "double losses" in those cases in which neither team argues in a manner consistent befitting a public advocate, closed cross examination, and a focus on argumentation and delivery. Also, half of all tournament judges are 'lay judges' - that is, they are not debate coaches. Membership in NEDA is awarded to individuals, not institutions, and all members must apply and be approved the governing body. The intended focus is on the clash over the issues central to the debate proposition. The debate is similar to Public Forum debate in that it is audience-friendly, but is more formal, and more evidence-based.


NEDA began in the fall of 1994 at the Central States Communication Association convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. About thirty debate educators and their institutions left the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) because they felt CEDA tournaments were no longer conducive to the audience-centered debate to which they were philosophically committed and desired to teach their students. The resulting organization was co-founded by Gary Horn, professor at Ferris State University, and Larry Underberg, then a professor at the University of South Dakota. There were quickly nineteen other founding members of the association. In 1999, the Western division of NEDA became the Great Plains Forensic Conference.


Teams in NEDA compete in one of three categories:

  • Novice - Standard cross-examination format of debate for competitors who have participated in six or fewer tournaments ever (including high school).
  • Open - Standard cross-examination format debate for debaters who have competed at six or more tournaments.
  • Crossfire Debate - Developed from Ted Turner style televised debates, this format is more interactive, involves more cross-examination, and emphasizes succinct arguments that get to the heart of the issues quickly.

Institutions With Current NEDA Members[edit]

Institutions that formerly sponsored NEDA teams[edit]

Tiffin University


  • Spring 2013: Resolved: The United States should significantly increase its humanitarian efforts across the world.
  • Fall 2012: Resolved: Collegiate online instruction enhances college education.
  • Spring 2012: Resolved: The United States should significantly increase programs to rehabilitate inmates.
  • Fall 2011: Resolved: Political parties are bad for effective government in the United States.
  • Spring 2011: Resolved: The United States Federal Government should legalize marijuana for recreational use.
  • Fall 2010: Resolved: Increased use of nuclear power in the United States is beneficial.
  • Spring 2010: Resolved: The United States should significantly reform The Welfare System.
  • Fall 2009: Resolved: The United States is over-reliant on China.
  • Spring 2009: Resolved: The United States federal government should significantly limit the authority of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Fall 2008: Resolved: Americans Overvalue Athletic Competition
  • Spring 2008: Resolved: The United States federal government should make adequate and affordable medical care available to all U.S. citizens.
  • Fall 2007: Resolved: Corporations exert undue influence over public policy.
  • Spring 2007: Resolved: The United States Government should significantly increase the acceptance of immigrants.
  • Fall 2006: Resolved: United States foreign policy inappropriately emphasizes military action over diplomacy.
  • Spring 2006: Resolved: Non-violent crimes should not carry prison sentences.
  • Fall 2005: Resolved: Wal-Mart's business practices are detrimental to the United States.
  • Spring 2005: Resolved: The United States should substantially reform public secondary school education.
  • Fall 2004: Resolved: Separation of church and state is being inappropriately eroded.
  • Spring 2004: Resolved: The United States should significantly reduce its foreign military commitments.
  • Fall 2003: Resolved: United States corporations are insufficiently loyal to American workers.
  • Spring 2003: Resolved: The United States federal government should significantly increase its citizens' access to affordable health care.
  • Fall 2002: Resolved: Civil liberties are being inappropriately eroded.
  • Spring 2002: Resolved: The United States should substantially expand its efforts to prevent terrorism.
  • Fall 2001: Resolved: A national missile defense system would be beneficial to the security of this nation.
  • Spring 2001: Resolved: The United States should significantly decrease its dependence on foreign oil.
  • Spring 2000: Resolved: The federal government should significantly increase the use of privately operated prisons.
  • Fall 1998: Resolved: Corporate emphasis on profit is excessive.
  • Spring 1998: Resolved: The United States should abolish the use of peer jurors.
  • Spring 1997: Resolved: The Central Intelligence Agency should be eliminated.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]