Missouri State University

Spicer Debate Forum

MSDI Donors Program

Missouri State Debate alumni & MSDI alumni are teaming up to fund scholarships for the 2014 MSDI. All interested persons should contact Dr. Eric Morris to be added to our MSDI scholarship listserv. Being added to the listserv creates no obligation, but will allow you to receive scholarship request letters send by applicants. Generally, the listserv will forward under 20 emails per year - most in April to early June. If you are moved by letters to make a donation, you can follow this link and select the Tom Black Debate Fund. It is important to also email Dr. Eric Morris to confirmed the amount.

Donations are tax deductible if NOT specified for a particular individual; the letters are shared to inspire general donations. You are, of course, welcome to donate without being added to the listserv

Facebook & Twitter

Missouri State Debate has joined the 21st centruy. Check out our Facebook and follow us ot Twitter. Even if you don't have an account,the pages are public so you everyone can see them. We try to keep the twitter account updated with results during tournaments. We want to use the Facebook page as a scrapbook, heading all the way back to 1906! If you have additional items to contribute, Joel would love to add them to the site. Feel free to shoot him an email.

Continuing the Legacy of Success

Missouri State has seven straight appearances in elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), including a semifinal appearance and the 1st place speaker in 2008. This is the longest streak of NDT elimination rounds in Missouri State history, and complements our streak of 17 straight NDT qualify seasons (1996-2012).

Having already extended the qualification streak, we will be attempting to extend the elimination round streak at the 2012 NDT on the Emory University campus in Atlanta (March 30-April 2, 2012) At the District 3 NDT qualifier in February, Jordan Foley & Wes Rumbaugh finished 1st and Katie Frederick & Jace Gilmore finished 4th. Foley was the top speaker, Frederick was 4th, and Rumbaugh was tied for 10th. Our 3rd team, Joel Reed & Jeff Bess, are seeking a 2nd round at large bid. Only six schools can receive a 3rd bid each year, and Missouri State is closer to this possibility in 2012 than ever before. Three of these six debaters (Rumbaugh, Gilmore, and Bess) will be returning for 2012-2013. 

In 2010, the team of Mike Kearney & Jordan Foley have received a 1st round, at large bid to the National Debate Tournament. This was the 3rd bid in program history (2006, 2008, and 2010). There are only 16 awarded, nationwide! In 2008, Martin Osborn was top speaker at the NDT and CEDA, and reached with semifinals of both with partner Clay Webb. The squad's 3 first rounds bids have overlapped with a couple of other trends: a 6 year streak of clearing at the NDT (2006-2011) and a 17 year streak of qualifying to the NDT (1996-2012). Both streaks are among the longest active streaks in the nation.

Perhaps most notably, none of the debaters referenced above were in the elimination rounds of the high school Tournament of Champions. There is NO other program, nationwide, where debaters with comparable high school experiences have had so much NDT success. There are only a handful of public universities consistently in NDT elimination rounds; most of the schools at this level are private schools, such as Harvard, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Emory & Dartmouth.

MSDI Public Debate Day: June 23 & July 7, 2012

Please join the Missouri State Debate Institute (MSDI) on Saturday, June 23, to judge and offer feedback on public debate rounds discussing the future of the US transportation policy.

The debate rounds will be held on the Missouri State University campus, in Craig Hall, at 9:30am and 2:00pm. Please arrive 15 minutes early; MSDI staff will have a table in the Craig Hall lobby (near the tent theater area), and will direct you to the appropriate classroom. Craig Hall is the building closest to the corner of Grand & National. You may park in Lot 22 (Yellow Commuter Lot just south of Grand) and get to Craig Hall via the underpass.

Although an RSVP is not required, it would help us plan for the events. You may RSVP, or get more information, by contacting MSDI Director Dr. Eric Morris at ericmorris@missouristate.edu or 417-496-7141. If you attend one or both rounds, we will provide lunch at 12:30pm in the Garst Dining Center to the first 25 volunteers who RSVP.

Missouri State Debate Institute offers opportunities for high school students to improve their skills in policy debate and other events. Although our normal curriculum relies upon judges with years of experience, many tournaments during the school year rely on judges with limited or no experience. Thus, we want our students to have an experience where they gather feedback from a wider range of perspectives. Even if you’ve never judged an academic debate before, we welcome you to join us and we will provide handouts giving you information about what to expect. You can find out more information about our institute at: http://debate.missouristate.edu/camp.htm .

The event will recur, with different students, on July 7th. The students will be debating the National Forensic League topic for 2011-2012, which is:
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.


Many students are familiar with the Missouri State Debate Institute, but here's a highlight of recent changes.

First, MSDI offers a 4 week policy camp in addition to the 2 and 3 week options. The 2012 camp will be June 17-July 14, 2012.

Second, MSDI will also offer an events camp with Chris Roberds & Chris Rothgeb. These mini-camps have small caps, so they are likely to make. There are mini-camps for LD, Public Forum, Extemp, Oratory, and Congress. It's possible to do several, or to do Extemp or Congress in the 3rd week if you do the policy camp for 2 weeks. For these camps, use the same online application as you would for MSDI.

2007-2008: A year for the record books!

The 2008 NDT was in Fullerton, CA, March 26-April 1, 2008)

Missouri State's Martin Osborn and Clay Webb reached the semifinals, tying the record from 1973 set by Tom Black and Jon Jackson. They competed as a 1st round large bid to the 2008 NDT, which was the 2nd time Missouri State secured a 1st round bid. Their elim run included a win over Emory, who had been 8-0 in prelims, top seed, and 2nd in the Copeland voting based on their year-long performance.

Missouri State's Michael Mapes and Meggie reached the octofinals, which we believe means this is the first time Missouri State has advanced two teams to the NDT elimination rounds. Their 6-2 run through prelims included a 3-0 win over Berkeley, who had been the Copeland Award winner (the top vote getter in the 1st round voting process).

Martin Osborn won 1st speaker, surpassing Bill Maynard's previous Missouri State record (2nd speaker, 1955). Osborn was also the 1st speaker at the CEDA Nationals the week before, and is the second* debater in history to win BOTH top speaker awards in the same year. Michael Mapes was 17th speaker. The field included 156 debaters.

The week before, Missouri State sent 5 teams to CEDA Nationals in Wichita Kansas (March 19-25, 2008)

The team of Martin Osborn & Clay Webb also reached the semifinals, meaning they had the best combined elim depth at both national tournaments. They eventually lost to a team from Towson State University, but our teams rebounded and gave Towson 3 of their 4 losses at the NDT.

Martin Osborn was 1st speaker at CEDA, our of a field of over 360 individual debaters.

Two additional teams cleared to elim rounds at CEDA. The team of Jessica Johnson & Jordan Foley cleared, and were eliminated by the eventual national champions. The team of Aaron Kruse & Kristen Stout cleared and won their partial doubles round before losing to Kansas A. Jessica Johnson is a senior, but the other three are freshmen.

Alumni: If we have your email, we attempted to send you an email detailing the season. You can also read it below. If you didn't get it via email, please drop a note to Dr. Eric Morris so we can add you to future email updates.

The 2008 Missouri State Debate Institute is now open for registration - see link on the side. Our institute has moved up to late June (after NFL Nationals), and includes both a two-week and three-week option! An earlier problem with the online entry page has been corrected, and it should now work correctly.

 * Previous statements about the "first" debater were based on records in the official CEDA tournament book. It has since been brought to CEDA's attention that Harvard's Michael Klinger was actually awarded the top speaker award on tie breakers in 2005, and was in fact the first to win top speaker at both national tournaments.

Welcome to the Holt V. Spicer Debate Forum at Missouri State University!

Whether you are a prospective debater, high school student or coach seeking a debate institute, program alumni, a debater from another program request cites, or just curious about the debate program, you've reached the right place.

Our program competes in policy debate (NDT-CEDA) at both the national and regional levels. We are perennially in the top 25 in national sweepstakes awards, and have a strong record and a strong history. Our FAQ page will help you learn more about the program.  If you are interested in joining us as a debater, please fill out a scholarship application. There is an option for an online application (now available for Fall 2008 applicants!), which can be completed in a matter of minutes. Also, please contact Director of Forensics Eric Morris to discuss the team, scholarship opportunities, etc.
The debate team is housed in the Missouri State University Department of Communication (inside the College of Arts and Letters). Many debaters are communication majors, but several also major in political science, philosophy, etc. We are eager to talk to prospective students about opportunities on the team, scholarships (both debate and academic), or the university in general. Please note that academic scholarships typically require application to Missouri State by March 1 for the freshmen beginning in the fall.
The debate forum, now named after former coach and NDT Champion Holt V. Spicer, is over 100 years old (as old as Missouri State University). Debate is a program within the Communication Department, which is itself housed in Craig Hall (named after the first debate coach, Virginia Craig). The program is financed with both University and alumni contributions. We cover the costs associated with travel, including ground and air transportation, lodging, tournament entry fees, and meal money for debaters. We are committed to creating the infrastructure that debaters need to succeed, as the program's recent success attests.
In the last two years (2005-6 & 2006-7), Missouri State has qualified two teams each to the National Debate Tournament. In 2005-6, Michael Mapes & Matthias Bostick received our first-ever First Round At-Large bid this year, and Mike Kearney & Martin Osborn completed a 7-1 run through the District III tournament. In 2006-7, Michael Mapes & Meggie Mapes were the top 2nd Round At-Large bid at the NDT, clearing to NDT elims with a 6-2 record. Sheena Walters & Clay Webb qualified to the NDT through the District III tournament. Each of the last two years, we're cleared three teams at the CEDA National Tournament, and had teams compete in the octofinal round (top 16). In the NDT varsity sweepstakes rankings, we've placed 5th & 10th (11th & 16th when JV/Novice divisions are counted). We've cleared 1-5 teams at every tournament attended, national or regional.
Perhaps most significant, we are committed to debaters at all levels, not just our top team. Fewer than ten schools have enough depth to qualify the maximum of four teams to the Wake Forest tournament; we've been one of those schools all three years since the 3rd & 4th slots became qualification based. Most other colleges with a similar competitive record are quite expensive to attend - Missouri State is comparatively inexpensive (and has strong scholarship support). Nonetheless, our debaters with strong academic profiles have been accepted at several of the highest ranked law schools and graduate schools in the country.
We look forward to meeting you!
Dr. Eric Morris
Asst Prof of Comm
Director of Forensics, Spicer Forum 
Ok - I'd like to know more - what should I do right now?

There are several possibilities:

    Browse these pages for more information,

    Contact Dr. Eric Morris by email, AIM (ermocito or ericandtaleyna), Facebook, etc.

    Contact debaters in the program for their feedback (most are on Facebook as well)

    Arrange for a campus visit. We recommend you contact Dr. Eric Morris to plan for your visits while the debate team will be in town. We'll be happy to provide you and your parents several hours of contact time with the coaches & debaters. Planning an official campus visit through admissions also allows for campus tours and scheduling of meetings with professors.

    Apply to Missouri State (all students applying by March 1 are automatically eligible for many scholarships - some scholarships have earlier deadlines or application materials). You can do this today - the fee is $35.

    Apply for a scholarship. Supporting materials, such as letters of recommendation, files you've completed, or video of your debating are encouraged. Debate begins considering applications in April, but earlier application to Missouri State is recommended for academic scholarship consideration.

 2007 Reunion Wrap-Up - UPDATED 8-28-07
The reunion was well attended! We had 62 guests during the dinner, around 40 at the wine tasting, and nearly 30 at the Stanton reception. We've had a reunion on about a five year basis - there were discussions about holding them more often. If you have feedback about this reunion or future ones, please email Dr. Eric Morris.
Fundraising. We did not charge for the reunion (including the dinner), but are still happy to accept contributions to defray the cost. We are also pursuing a couple of fund-raising goals, and will have a page up shortly explaining those goals.
Video. We did some video recording during the reunion; that recording is available here. Each file is actually a zipped folder (easily unzipped with Windows). In each folder are a series of large video files in mp4 format. They should play easily with Quicktime Player or Itunes (many have it, follow the link and it is free), though they do not open with my version of Windows Media Player. I must warn you that the zipped files are very large (too large to fit on a CD) - almost a GB each. One possibility, if several want them but have dial-up (downloading would take forever) would be to assemble a mailing tree and have me send them out on a big flash drive. Anyway - if you attempt to download but have trouble, email Dr. Eric Morris.
Contact Info. The old online registration page is still a good way to add someone's name or contact info to our system! Just add what you have, click no on the reunion, and submit. A copy of the invitation letter is also available on the Debate Reunion 2007 page (under the alumni section). We are consulting with foundation about distributing our contact list to alumni to update it, improve it, and help you remain in touch with each other as well.
Photos. We will be adding a reunion picture gallery soon. If you took digital pictures and would like to submit some, please email them to Dr.  Eric Morris' alternative email (ermocito@gmail.com), as the normal university email has stringent size limitations. We may also include them in future alumni newsletters.