Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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Falwell's Debate Team revisited

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]hummingwolf)

As was noted here a few days ago, Newsweek recently published a story on Liberty University's debate team. A commenter over in the World Magazine Blog pointed out that the claim that Liberty has the number one debate team, while technically true, is misleading. This post at ScienceBlogs goes into some detail. Among other things,

Liberty attended 9 tournaments in the fall. Michigan State, a genuine national power (national champions in 2004, currently #8 in the varsity rankings), attended 7. But they were only at the same tournament three times. Liberty avoided the Kentucky and Harvard tournaments, where they would have faced all of the top teams in the nation, and instead attended smaller tournaments at Kings College, Army and Richmond. So they accumulate lots of points that don't mean a whole lot and boost their rankings.

What happens when Liberty faces the top teams? Not so good. At the Georgia State University tournament, for example, their two teams went 3-5 and 4-4 (Michigan State won the tournament). In the 2005 NDT championships, Liberty didn't even make the top 32 teams to make the elimination rounds. They also didn't break the top 32 in 2004. Or 2003. Or 2002. In fact, they've only made the elimination rounds of the NDT once since 1997, with a 5-3 record, where they were promptly eliminated by USC. So this isn't exactly a debate powerhouse we're talking about, despite the Newsweek story's exaggerated claims.

The comments on that last post include an exchange with Michael Hall, Assistant Director of Liberty Debate.

[Edit: [info]jade_woulf actually linked to the ScienceBlogs post in comments to the earlier entry on this community, but I did not notice till after making this post.]

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