SIU Debate Team | Communication Studies | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Saluki Debate on football field

SIU Debate

Tradition of Excellence:

Southern Illinois University has a long history of success in competitive debate, both policy-style and parliamentary-style, with two-person teams winning National Championships in six different years, the squad winning National Sweepstakes Championships five times, and an individual taking home the National Top Speaker award four times. All of this spans several decades of competition in the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA), National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), and the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE).

Recently, the team has improved its legacy by winning the 2008 NPTE National Championship, the 2008 NPDA Top Speaker Award, the NPTE and NPDA National Championship and NPTE Top Speaker Award in 2013, the NPDA National Championship in 2014, and the NPTE National Championship and NPTE Top Speaker Award in 2015.

SIU teams were ranked #1 or #2 in the country during the 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 seasons. SIU has had a team in the semifinal round or better of at least one national championship tournament for each of the past nine years, a feat never before accomplished.

Current Members:

The debate team is headed by Director of Debate, Dr. Todd Graham, and also benefits from the contributions of assistant coaches Zach Schneider and Zach Moss. Saluki Debate is comprised of ideally four competitors, all of whom had extensive debate experience in high school. All team members are required to maintain strong academic credentials while participating in debate, undergraduate research, community service, and other extracurricular activities. Debate team alumni have been accepted to and have excelled at top law and graduate schools across the country.

About the Team:

The SIU Debate Team formerly competed in NPDA-style parliamentary debate and NDT/CEDA policy debate. As of the 2017-2018 academic year, the team will be moving to the Worlds format of debate (also called British Parliamentary or BP). BP is growing rapidly and is now the largest format of collegiate debate; the team will compete against world-renowned schools from Ivy Leagues to Oxford. The team will attend tournaments across the United States and internationally for the World University Debate Championship. The team is welcoming any new students who would like to participate; please contact Dr. Todd Graham at