Debaters Lead College Rankings After Recent Win

Georgia State Victory Shoots Duo to No. 1 in Three Separate Systems

Sept. 29, 2009

In a first for the UT Dallas debate program, forensic duo Brian Rubaie and Andrew Baker have been ranked No. 1 in three national ranking systems after winning last week’s tournament at Georgia State University.

Rubaie and Baker are the first UT Dallas debaters to win a national-level tournament, and they did so without suffering a defeat in 12 rounds.

They were the top-ranked team at the conclusion of the seven preliminary rounds, and won five elimination rounds in a row to win the Georgia State tournament.

“This is a major victory for Brian, Andrew and the entire UT Dallas debate team,” said Christopher Burk, program director. “It gives us great momentum for the rest of the season.”

Results released Monday had the pair leading the nation under three different ranking systems:

  • The Bruschke system, created by Dr. Jon Bruschke, The California State University.
  • Hanson system, created by Dr. Jim Hanson, Whitman College.
  • Gannon coaches’ poll, a new debate ranking system created by Seth Gannon, Wake Forest University.

Rubaie and Baker also won individual speaking awards among the field of 350 debaters; Rubaie was named third overall speaker and Baker was fifth overall speaker.

“The Georgia State tournament was an excellent weekend for us and for the UT Dallas debate team,” said Baker. “It was the first time a UT Dallas debater won a top five award for speakers – and we did it twice at this tournament.”

Baker and Rubaie compete next at an invitation-only pre-tournament “Run for the Roses” contest for the country’s top nine debate squads. Other team members join them later this week for the second national tournament of the season at The University of Kentucky’s 39th Annual Henry Clay Debates Oct. 3-5.

“Perhaps it will hit when we land, but I don’t feel any added pressure going into the debates this weekend in Kentucky,” said Rubaie. “The coaches’ ranking is only a reflection of one tournament, and it’s a very long season.

“I know other teams will be working very hard for our debates, but I’m excited for any heightened intensity that may result. Win or lose, I love great debates.”

Baker is a political science major, and Rubaie is pursuing a degree in criminology.

The UT Dallas Debate Program was created in 1996 as a student initiative and gained University sponsorship in 2001 when Michael Coleman, the dean of undergraduate education, appointed Burk as director and Scott Herndon as associate director. The program has enjoyed steadily growing success during the last eight years, finishing ninth in the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) national rankings in 2008 and third in 2009.

“Ever since four-year undergraduate programs at UT Dallas were started in 1990, we have emphasized intellectual competitions for our students,” said Hobson Wildenthal, executive vice president and provost. “Early in the 1990s, the College Bowl teams enjoyed great success, and the UT Dallas Chess program has for years ranked at the top of U.S. and international college rankings.

“Our successes in intercollegiate debate, a field in which all of the leading U.S. universities compete vigorously, should be a beacon of pride for our entire University community. I heartily congratulate our student debaters, their coaches, and Dr. Coleman, whose creative leadership led to these accomplishments.”


Media Contacts: Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, 972-883-4329, karah.hosek@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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The top-rated college debate team

In addition to claiming the first-place trophy, UT Dallas debaters Brian Rubaie and Andrew Baker won individual speaking awards at the Georgia State University tournament.

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