FAQ: Travel

What is the UNLV travel schedule like (how many and to which tournaments does UNLV travel)?

The Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum is blessed with a travel budget that will allow our team to travel to nearly every major national tournament and a variety of large regional tournaments ("mid-major tournaments") across the country. We typically travel to several major national tournaments, including Georgia State University, Harvard University, Wake Forest University, University of Southern California, and Northwestern University. The "regional" tournaments to which we may travel include Gonzaga University, Arizona State University, University of California-Berkeley, Whitman College, and others.

How many tournaments can the typical first-year debater expect to attend?

First-year debaters can expect to travel to between three and seven tournaments per semester. A student’s travel schedule generally depends on the student's prior competitive performance, commitment to improving, work ethic, commitment to the team, etc.

How do you decide who travels and where we travel?

Travel determinations are made by the coaching staff, with input from individual debate teams. Your travel schedule largely depends on your level of experience/skill, work ethic, and motivation, as well as your personal goals as a debater.

How do you travel to tournaments?

We generally fly to tournaments more than 12 hours (driving time) from Las Vegas. We fly out of McCarran International Airport, the primary Las Vegas airport, which is located just minutes from the UNLV campus.

What if I can’t/don’t want to travel?

Frankly, then, competitive policy debate is probably not the activity for you. It is intrinsically tied to travel, because we must travel to compete.

What schools do you compete against?

Given our extensive national and mid-major regional travel schedule, we basically compete against every college and university with a policy debate team. Our travel schedule is specifically designed to expose members of the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum to the best competition that NDT/CEDA debate has to offer. The coaching staff believes that a debater can be only as good as the competition to which he or she is exposed. Therefore, it is our wish to debate against all of the best teams in our district, our region, and across the nation.

How long is the debate season — when does it start and end?

The competitive debate season begins in early- to mid-September and ends in late March or early April as the National Debate Tournament or the CEDA National Championship Tournament concludes. The dates of these tournaments are predetermined approximately a year in advance, and the "order" of the two national championship tournaments is not necessarily fixed, meaning that one year the NDT may be held before CEDA, and the next year CEDA may be held before the NDT.

That being said, our preparations for the season definitely begin much earlier in the year. After the final national championship tournament, we will take a month or so to decompress, catch up on school, etc. Then, after the topic area is announced, we will distribute research assignments to each member of the team and begin preparations for the coming year. As a team, our collective preparations for the season begin in earnest three to four weeks before the first day of school at our preseason college workshop.

How long do tournaments run?

We typically compete at regular season tournaments starting early Saturday and ending (hopefully) late Monday. This means that we typically travel on Fridays and return to Las Vegas very late on Monday or very early on Tuesday. The two national championship tournaments (NDT and CEDA Nationals) last much longer than regular season tournaments — approximately five days each.