No stranger to debate, Liberty University has ended any discussion that they might not field the best team in the country.
Liberty finished first in the rankings of three national policy debate groupsa feat that no college has accomplished beforeafter flirting with the distinction for several years.
"That's a big accomplishment. I'm actually surprised they haven't done it before," said John Katsulas director of forensics at Boston College and president of the American Debate Association. "It demonstrates overall excellence in their program."
For the last three years, Liberty has finished in the top three in the ADA, National Debate Tournament, and Cross Examination Debate Association.
Katsulas said Liberty has consistently done well in policy debate tournaments because of the university's "giant debate budget." Liberty spends about a quarter of a million dollars on its team each year, said the team's coach, Brett O'Donnell, who is on a campaign to raise a $10-million endowment.
"It's very important that Christians know what they believe and why they believe it," O'Donnell said. "Debate helps you understand the arguments behind your belief system, not just your belief system."
Liberty, which focuses on debate to train its students in advocacy, sends about 75 percent of its debaters to law school. "Liberty is not training their students to be preachers, they're training their students to be lawyers, business leaders, and good public citizens," Katsulas said. "They become better speakers, better researchers, and have a grasp of the burning public issues of the day."
Other Christian colleges have also used their debate teams to bring home national trophies this year.
Bethany University's debate team took the Novice National ...1
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