LAWRENCE — For the 54th consecutive year, the University of Kansas has qualified teams to compete at the National Debate Tournament.
The KU Debate teams of junior Azja Butler, of Lansing, and senior Ross Fitzpatrick, of Leawood, and senior Nate Martin, of Lansing, and freshman Graham Revare, of Shawnee, were selected as automatic qualifiers for the National Debate Tournament by the NDT National Committee. The top 16 teams in the country as selected by the NDT National Committee receive automatic qualification to the National Tournament.
In 1973, the National Debate Tournament began recognizing the top 16 teams in the country as automatic First Round At Large Qualifiers for the tournament. Butler/Fitzpatrick and Martin/Revare are the 40th and 41st KU teams to be recognized as First Round At Large Qualifiers. This is the second time that Butler and Martin have been selected as automatic qualifiers. This is the eighth time that KU has had two teams receive automatic invitations.
KU joined Emory University, the University of Michigan and Wake Forest each with two teams selected as First Round qualifiers this year. The other automatic qualifiers are Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Northwestern University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.
The remainder of the 78-team field will be selected over the next three weeks. KU hopes to qualify a third team to the tournament, according to Scott Harris, the David B. Pittaway Director of Debate at KU. A maximum of six schools are allowed to qualify a third team for the National Debate Tournament. KU has been among those qualifying three teams for the past six consecutive years.
The National Debate Tournament will take place online March 25-28. Last year the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19 after teams had qualified.
KU last won the National Debate Tournament in 2018 and reached the Final Four in 2019.