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SMU Debate Rises from 8th to 5th in IPDA National Rankings

Team member Price Morgan wins national championship/junior varsity category in IPDA National competition

SMU Debate Team

When the SMU Debate team arrived in Shreveport, La., in mid-April for the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) Nationals, the team was ranked eighth out of a field of 130 universities for the 2018–19 competition year. By the end of the tournament, with only nine students competing, SMU rose to the number five program in the overall sweepstake rankings.

In addition to strong arguments from SMU Debate in team, novice, junior varsity and varsity categories, student Price Morgan took home the national championship in the junior varsity competition, winning a 4-1 decision based on his arguments concerning whether Hulu should be able to sell consumer data gathered from its subscribers.

One of Price’s coaches was James Farmer Fellow and 2018 SMU alumnus Matthew Lucci, who won the overall season national championship in junior varsity IPDA in 2018. Both Lucci and Morgan won their titles with one year of debate experience and no previous high school debating experience.

SMU’s nine debaters completed more than 70 preliminary rounds on topics such as health care, sports, international affairs, domestic politics and entertainment. Students debated more than 50 different topics and had 30 minutes to research and prepare for each debate.

Members of the SMU Debate team competing at the IPDA Nationals included Meadows journalism major Connor Pittman (’21) and eight students from other schools across campus: Ryan Booth, Berkley Breaux, Maggie Cook-Allen, Stephen Frantz, Price Morgan, Chip Myers, Alexandra Randolph and Grayson Sumpter.

Approximately 200 competitors participated in the 2019 Nationals. Competing universities included University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, Liberty University, Idaho State University, University of Tennessee, University of Oklahoma, Exeter University (Great Britain), University of Colorado, California State University, Oregon State University and Boise State University.

SMU Debate is supported by the Vice President of Student Affairs, Office of the Provost, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and the Meadows School of the Arts. The program is directed and coached by Dr. Ben Voth, associate professor in the Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Division at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

For more information, contact Director of Debate Dr. Ben Voth.

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