Competing at ACU

Philosophy: Abilene Christian University enjoys a long and rich history of excellence in forensics. Long-term success is built on enduring principles, both at the team and individual level. Individually, a successful public speaker is one who sets high goals and, in the process of striving to reach those goals, discovers abilities and limitations. Forensics, at the highest level, is an enjoyable process of intellectual and personal self-discovery. This level of individual success is available to students of all experience and talent levels; therefore, our team is open to all that are willing to strive towards success. As a team, success is measured in terms of group effort and synergy. Personal sacrifice and compromise is often repaid many times over—each team member shares in the joy of the accomplishments of other team members.

Attitude: As defined above, success is an ongoing process. As such attitude, or outlook, is both a reflection and product of this success, and an essential ingredient in it. A successful attitude as a member of this team is based on responsibility and respect. Responsibility requires honesty and integrity in fulfilling promises to God, oneself, and to others. Respect necessitates treating others politely, kindly, and honestly.

Academics: Academics come first. Your studies should be your primary concern. However, we do not view academics and forensics as competitive with each other. Rather, they are complementary. Those who manage their time well will find they have time to succeed in both environments.

Tournament Hosting: As a forensic team member, you devote three weekends out of the school year to assisting with the TAPPS, UIL Regional,  and Texas Christian School tournaments. These tournaments are a service to the public speaking community. Everyone on the team gives up his or her lives for these three weekends to assist with these tournaments.

Meetings: We meet each week as a team at a designated time. These meetings are essential for the coordination of such a large group. It is the only regular opportunity for everyone to get together as a team. It is wise to regularly check your email so you can keep up to date on schedule changes or other general information.

Travel Schedule: Plan on attending competitive tournaments that will challenge your skill as a public speaker. The average number of tournaments attended per semester is three to five. The forensic program pays for hotel costs and entry fees. Meal money is also provided at the rate of $10.00 per day.

Travel Conduct: It is an honor to attend tournaments as representatives of the University. Tournament attendance is an officially excused class absence. As representatives of ACU, you are expected to behave as such. What this means is that you should avoid rude, illicit, or illegal behavior at tournaments and remember whom it is you represent.

Use of Facilities: Abilene Christian University has provided us with a large squad room, which is equipped with three computers, high speed Internet, and a laser printer. It is a privilege to have access to these facilities, therefore, it is import to take steps to care for them. Plainly speaking, keep things clean. This means both the mess you make and the mess you see. Additionally, sensitivity to noise levels during office and class hours and general politeness are necessary.

Assignments: In order for weekly squad meetings to run efficiently, it is imperative that you complete the necessary assignments on time. This includes having speeches ready for presentation, being knowledgeable about current events so that practice extemporaneous speeches can be given, and having assigned debate research and cases available for practice sessions.

Team Information: All information gathered for the purpose of competition (e.g., debate cases, extemporaneous research) is for the use of all team members. Furthermore, all competitive information is for the exclusive use of the Abilene Christian University Team only. Trading, giving away, taking it with you when you quit or graduate, or other distribution of information is expressly prohibited.

Partner Pairings: The procedure for partner pairings aims to contribute to the team and individual success as defined above. Practice rounds will be scheduled soon after the beginning of the semester. After the practice rounds, debaters will submit a rank ordered preference list. Based on these lists, pairings will be made, maximizing overall debater preference. When preferences don’t match, debaters may be asked to re-rank from a different list OR the coaches will make a decision based on their best judgment of individual and overall team needs. After all teams have debated at two tournaments the possibility of revision will be considered. Should debaters quit or other unforeseen events occur, pairing decisions will be coaches’ discretion.