Student News

UK Debate Team Finishes Season at National Debate Tournament

UK’s Intercollegiate Debate Team
UK’s Intercollegiate Debate Team

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team, housed in the College of Communication and Information, concluded the 2022 debate season at the 76th National Debate Tournament. This year’s tournament featured 45 schools from 24 states and was the first in-person competition the team has competed in since March 2020.

In the preliminary rounds, the sophomore pairing of David Griffith and Jordan Di had impressive wins over Tufts University, Trinity College and Michigan State University. The duo reached the round of 32 before losing to UC Berkeley. The first-year pairing of Jared Adam and Austin Kiihnl also finished the tournament with a strong 4-4 record.

This year marked the 48th year that UK has qualified for the National Debate Tournament and the eighth year in a row the team reached the elimination rounds, which ties a school record set in the 80s. The team also continued its streak of ranking in the top 16 nationally and earning an automatic first-round bid, a feat it has achieved each year since 2016.

With an impressive run at the National Debate Tournament, the team concluded a successful debate season. This season, four separate partnerships reached elimination rounds at major national tournaments and one partnership made a final round appearance at the Georgetown University tournament. Now, the team will prepare to host the High School Speech and Debate Tournament of Champions.

“This was a young team with a lot to figure out," said UK Director of Debate Dave Arnett. “Having a strong finish is really a testament to the hard work put in by the coaching staff and the growth of the students. We’re all looking forward to what next season brings.”

Follow UK’s Intercollegiate Debate Team’s journey by visiting

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.