What is the Madison Cup?

Background: The James Madison Center at James Madison University sponsors the Madison Cup in the spirit of James Madison's idea that a republican democracy is healthy only when informed and civil debate thrives. The Arthur N. Rupe Foundation serves as the sponsor for the 2016 Madison Cup, and we are humbled by their continued commitment to furthering public debate. They have agreed to maintain a team, student awards, and travel stipends for teams that qualify through the application process outlined below.

We are hopeful that this year’s competition will be the strongest field that we have had, so please enter early.

Eligible Participants:  Each school may enter one two-person team.  The debate is open to undergraduate students who are in good standing at their respective institutions.  Second teams will be considered on a case-by-case basis, if space permits. 

Competition Format:  The debate uses a “long table” format. This is a public debate. Last year there was an audience of around 500 people for the final round, preliminary rounds were smaller (audiences of 20-30 people). The “long table” format features three (two person) teams on each side of the question.  Speeches start with the affirmative and alternate between the affirmative and negative throughout the debate.  Teams are randomly assigned to sides and speaker positions.  In other words, if a team is selected to be the first affirmative, they will give the first two affirmative speeches in the debate.  The first and last speeches on each side of the question are uninterruptible.  Any member of the opposing team may interrupt the speeches in the middle of the debate in order to ask the speaker to yield to a question.  Speakers are not required to answer these questions (although not answering questions may cause the audience to think that the speaker is “dodgy”).  Please see the example format below for more information.  You can view videos of previous final rounds: http://www.jmu.edu/debate/madison-cup/index.shtml (under the history tab).

Jury Adjudication Procedure:  A three to seven-member panel, or jury, will adjudicate the debate.  Juries will be comprised of local residents, students, professors, distinguished JMU alumni, and special invited guests.  At the completion of the debate, the panel will adjourn to discuss, deliberate and decide upon the winners as a group.  The jury votes for (2-person) teams, not sides of the question.  In other words, first place could go to an affirmative team, while second place could be awarded to a negative team. 

Example Debate Format: The 2004 final round proceeded as follows.

1st Affirmative Speech (Wake Forest #1): (4 minutes) uninterrupted

1st Negative Speech (George Mason #1): (4 minutes) uninterrupted

2nd Affirmative Speech (Wake Forest  #2): (5 minutes):  The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

2nd Negative Speech (George Mason #2): (5 minutes): The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

3rd Affirmative Speech (Georgetown # 1): (5 minutes): The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

3rd Negative Speech (James Madison #1): (5 minutes): The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

4th Affirmative Speech (Georgetown #2): (5 minutes) The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

4th Negative Speech (James Madison #2): (5 minutes) The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

5th Affirmative Speech (Mary Washington #1):  (5 minutes) The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

5th Negative Speech (Towson #1): The first and last minute of the speech are uninterruptible.  In the 2nd-4th minutes of the speech any opposition debater may ask the speaker to yield to a question.  The speaker may accept, or decline the question.

6th Affirmative Speech (Mary Washington #2):  (4 minutes) Uninterrupted

6th Negative Speech (Towson University #2):  (4 minutes) Uninterrupted


 

 

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