smu debate 2018

Final Fall Report

 Wednesday, December 19, 2018 

SMU debate had a great semester and is presently ranked #6 in the nation for IPDA  (International Public Debate Association).  SMU student debaters won  more than 100 awards in  competition and it was perhaps the most  successful single semester in our 10 year history.  Our  team of twenty  debaters, three coaches, and director,  achieved the following results  in this fall  semester:

  1. Bullet17 Octafinalists
  2. Bullet13 Quarterfinalists
  3. Bullet9 Semifinalists
  4. Bullet6 Finalists
  5. Bullet5 Championships
  6. Bullet16 Speaker Awards
  7. BulletAnd 5 First Speaker Awards

SMU Debate also conducted a far reaching on campus debate program reaching hundreds of  people.  These debates included:

  1. BulletPresidential Power debate
  2. BulletTed Cruz vs. Beto O’Rourke public debate 
  3. BulletScooters debate
  4. BulletIs Faith in God reasonable debate
  5. BulletRwandan debate team on the International Criminal Court 
  6. BulletUniversity of North Texas on Genetic engineering of  
  7. Bullet      children by Parents
  8. BulletLiberty in North Korea on Democracy and North Korea

More than 100 SMU students  signed up at our opening registration event in August of 2018 and more  than 20 students travelled to competitions off campus.  More than 300  students and community members attended these events.  Debaters and  debate events were covered by the Washington Post and Fox News national broadcast. 

Director, Dr. Ben Voth continued his work as the Calvin Coolidge Debate fellow  that reaches thousands of high school students with the power of civic  debate and provides an annual national championship in high school  debate.  Dr. Voth also hosted President Bush on November 27 in his  Persuasion class to discuss how the President prepared for his  Presidential debates.  Dr. Voth’s 2017 book, James Farmer Jr.: The Great Debater was selected by his publisher Lexington Books  for re-release in paperback in April of 2019 based on its popularity  and success. Thanks for your support of SMU debate activity.  We look  forward to greater events here next semester.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Rwandan debate team at James Farmer Jr.’s home in Marshall, Texas




SMU Debate 10 years 2008 to 2018

SMU debate was re-born in 2008 after many starts and stops since the university’s inception in 1915.  This video provides a review of the past decade of debate at SMU: 


Ranked #5 in the Nation


Price  Morgan is the #1 rated speaker in the nation for novice and Connor  Pittman is the #5 rated speaker. SMU is the only school with two  speakers in the top ten nationally.  This ranking is based upon speaker  points awarded by judges rather than win/loss and indicates the overall  quality of speaking.  Criteria for speaking include:  cross examination,  delivery, refutation, and analysis.  In the November 5 rankings of IPDA  SMU is ranked #5 in the nation behind LSUS, Union University, Drury  University, and the Unviersity of Tennessee.

Connor Pittman and Price  Morgan are the # 3 and #8 novice debaters in the nation based on  win/loss records.   SMU’s novice squad is #7 in the nation.   Chip Myers  is the #7 JV debater and Ryan Booth is #15 in the nation.  SMU’s JV  squad is #4 in the nation overall.  Art Tay is the #7 speaker in the JV  division nationally.  Booth and Morgan are #14 and #15.

SMU has the #10 varsity squad in the nation.  Maggie Cook Allen is the #5 varsity speaker based on speaker points.

SMU won 11 out of 16 debates  at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association Tournament this  weekend at the University of North Texas November 3.  This is a nearly  70% win/loss rate for the squad.  Maggie Cook Allen, Michael Rollins,  Chip Myers, and Ryan Booth debated for SMU on the homecoming weekend.

Results can be viewed online here:

Rwanda's Debate Team 
in front of James Farmer Jr.'s  home in Marshall, Texas

Rwanda's Debate Team in front of James Farmer Jr.'s home in Marshall, Texas


Novice Division Debate at Louisiana State University Tournament

Journalism major, Connor  Pittman won first place in the novice division of the International  Public Debate Association Tournament at Louisiana State University  Shreveport this weekend.  Pittman defeated Drury University in the final  round after winning his octafinal, quarterfinal and semifinal round  debate.  The debate topic for his final round was:  Resolved:  The  Congress should kill the BEZOS bill.  The BEZOS bill would create  penalties for companies employing workers on federal aid while offering  low wages.  Pittman was affirmative. 

SMU won a number of  significant awards including: first and second speakers overall in  novice and junior varsity divisions, octafinalists in novice and varsity  debate, and fifth place in team sweepstakes.  SMU varsity debater  Stephen Frantz was the top seed and undefeated after six preliminary  rounds and lost his first elimination round.  Chip Meyer advanced to the  quarterfinal rounds of junior varsity debate.  Ryan Booth advanced all  the way to finals of junior varsity debate. He finished second place  behind Drury University. 

In International Public  Debate, competitors have 30 minutes to respond to a topic of controversy  by researching on the internet.  They then can use notes to present  their arguments to a judge.  The argumentation period takes about 30  minutes.  Students are evaluated on their arguments as well as speaking  criteria including:  delivery, courtesy, appropriate tone, organization,  logic, support, cross examination, and refutation.  Students are  assigned a win or a loss and speaker points on a 40 point scale. Art  Tay was top speaker in junior varsity and Price Morgan was top speaker  in novice.  SMU students completed 36 rounds of preliminary debates and  won a record percentage of preliminary debates.   LSUS is an important  campus in IPDA debate.  They will host the 2019 national championship  tournament in the spring and they have historically been one of the  strongest debate programs in this league of more than 200 colleges and  universities across the nation. 

SMU debate is coached by  three part time coaches—Keith Milstead, Matthew Lucci, and Ross Sloan.   The program is directed by Dr. Ben Voth an associate professor in  Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in Meadows School of the  Arts.

in photo from left to  right:  Matthew Lucci, Price Morgan, Art Tay, Stephen Frantz, Chip  Myers, Connor Pittman, Ryan Booth, and Ben Voth.

Matthew Lucci, Price Morgan, Art Tay Stephen Frantz, Chip  Myers, Connor Pittman Ryan Booth, B. Voth

Matthew Lucci, Price Morgan, Art Tay Stephen Frantz, Chip Myers, Connor Pittman Ryan Booth, B. Voth