Who can compete at Nats?

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Past Case-by-Case Decisions

The league has had to decide who can debate at nats.

In 2004, Jon Marcus was granted a special exemption to allow him to debate at Nats because he was technically not enrolled that year at BU. Others argued that in the past, Brian Fletcher and David Silverman had competed while being on leave from their schools.

Also in that year, Mike Specian was not allowed to compete at nats because he was on an academic deferral while waiting to attend Johns Hopkins.

  • To those that might note the double standard here, Jon Marcus got his exemption first. If Mike Specian had gotten the same exemption to compete as a BU debater, Marcus and Specian would have been able to compete together at Nationals, and would have been one of the favorites to win.
Mayernick's Eligibility Amendment

In Response to the chaos surrounding Mike Specian and Jon Marcus, Michael Mayernick (Johns Hopkins, '06), proposed an amendment to clarify the eligibility requirements. It failed by one vote. The text follows

"An individual may be considered to be an eligible debater in the event that his or her enrollment is inactive provided that:

  • 1) The individual is actively engaged in an activity which is designed to augment his or her academic pursuits or enable the pursuit thereof;
  • 2) Is recognized as a member of the debate team by the debate team of the school with which he or she is affiliated; and
  • 3) Has not debated for more than a year outside of active undergraduate enrollment; where inactive enrollment is defined as the absence of enrollment status accompanied by a standing offer for enrollment at the affiliate member institution and an understanding that the status of full enrollment will be forthcoming."