John C. Adams Memorial
Intramural Debate Tournament

April 25th, 2021

Tournament Invitation

Are you a former high school debater wanting to relive the glory days, passionate about public speaking, engaged in relevant issues, or just want to compete for $400 of prizes? If so, the Yale Debate Association welcomes you to complete in our annual Adams Cup! 

The Adams Cup is a one-day intramural debate tournament on Sunday April 25th starting at 11 AM EDT. The cup will have three preliminary rounds, a semifinals, and a finals. Debaters compete in teams of two in an abridged parliamentary debate format. 

Though today's students are well aware of Yale's longstanding tradition of debate and discourse, few know that formal competitive debate between residential colleges was once a popular embodiment of this tradition. Indeed, starting in 1946, the ten residential colleges organized themselves into an umbrella organization, the Inter-College Debate League. Membership in the league numbered in the hundreds, and included all of the standing residential college debate teams. Two years later, the Adams Cup was established as a salute to John "Jack" Chester Adams, outgoing coach of the Yale Debate Association who was retiring after 34 years of service.

We believe that the spirit and values of the Adams Cup - camaraderie in critical thinking, analytical discourse, and informed discussion - highlight some of the best aspects of Yale's community and liberal arts tradition. In this light, the Yale Debate Association is pleased to bring the Adams Cup back to Yale after the in-person Cup was cancelled last spring.

JUDGES: This year, we are thrilled to host two exceptional Yale faculty members as judges for the grand final. Our panel will include Tamar Gendler, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy; and David Blight, Sterling Professor of American History. Other rounds will be judged by members of the YDA!

PRIZES: We are offering over $400 in prizes available to competitors including: first place $150 cash, second place $75 cash, third and fourth place $25 cash, and gift cards to the top 10 speakers of the tournament. The first twenty people to register will be put in the drawing for a Yale pullover of their choice (winning contingent on competing).

REGISTRATION: The deadline for registration is April 18th at Midnight EDT. Please register at this link, or You may register a team of two, or as an individual (and we will pair you up!)

MOTIONS: Although extemporaneous speaking is encouraged, specific motion areas will be released Friday morning before the tournament to allow for competitors to feel more comfortable with debating potentially new subject areas.

Please contact either Maia Decker at or Michael Ning at for any questions you may have. More information can also be found at the Facebook event page and our website. Please subscribe to our Facebook page,, for more information and updates.

Thank you and we hope to see you at the Adams Cup!