The University of Kansas has one of the most successful college policy debate programs in the country. KU competed in its first intercollegiate policy debate in 1885, a win over the University of Nebraska, and that legacy of success has continued ever since. Today the KU debate team represents the University of Kansas in debate competitions across the country and is historically the most successful public university policy debate program in the United States and is one of the "blue blood" programs of college debate.
A Tradition of Excellence
KU Debate has won six National Debate Tournament National Championships: 2018, 2009, 1983, 1976, 1970, 1954. The only schools to have won more NDT national championships are Northwestern University, Harvard University, and Dartmouth College.
KU Debate has qualified for the Final Four of the National Debate Tournament 19 times: KU has had a team reach the Final Four at least once in every decade since the NDT began in 1947, a span that includes nine different decades. KU has reached the Final Four in 2022, 2021, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2009, 1999, 1994, 1983, 1979, 1977, 1976, 1973, 1971, 1970, 1970, 1960, 1954, 1948.
KU has qualified teams to compete at the National Debate Tournament 55 consecutive years, a streak dating back to 1968.
Lawrence Daily World December 14,1910
"Since the stone walls of old North College first dimmed the horizon on the crest of Mt. Oread, debating has held a place among the various activities of school life at the University of Kansas"