Open Letter to the TOC Committee: Change the “No Hybrid Rule”

By Adam Jackson | Call To Action

Apr 09

TOC logo

To the Tournament of Champions (TOC) Committee and concerned members of the policy debate community:

As a former Urban Debate League student, I know full well the troubles of having competition locally, regionally, and nationally. My mind is bogged by the situation I as a coach and Charles and Geo as students are in. It is obvious that the 2014 Tournament of Champions committee does not understand the situation we are explaining to them which is why “one size fits all” will never fit those who never got a chance to make it to the fitting. Attending the Tournament of Champions might be another tournament for a director at a big school but not for Charles, Geo and myself. Denying Bronx Law’s participation on the grounds of “No Hybrids” mystifies the situation.

High school debaters Geo Liriano and Charles Athanasopoulos were recently disqualified from participating in the Tournament of Champions.

While Charles does not attend the same school he is an active member in the Bronx Law community, he does not have a team, a partner or a director at his school. He began and decided to end his career under Bronx Law. Charles and Geo have debated together for almost all of their high school careers. The Tournament of Champions committee has decided in several instances to hold up the letter of the law in response to the teams with peculiar circumstances without taking into account that the structure of an Urban Debate League is distinct and difficult to navigate considering the unique circumstances of the students – life aint been no crystal stair for us. Taking from numerous members of the community, they have stood by their word to not allow Hybrid teams perpetuating what we feel is a clear culture of exclusion that exists in debate right now. An illusion of inclusion does not sufficiently address the current climate of debate – there is a culture of exclusion.

Not only must these students deal with the hostility from the opposition in debate rounds, but also the hostility from administration and the activity as a whole. It is an unfair burden to have to deal with all of that. But many minorities in the activity, they have been counted out again, but as their coach, their mentor, their friend, and as a concerned community member, I am counting them back in. I urge that others do the same. The time to address structural exclusion of minority students has always been now!

There is no official process, just a committee. Please email your letters of support to

You can also sign the petition!

Help me help them by rallying for policy change at the TOC. The “No Hybrid Rule” actively works to exclude students with little to no access to debate now. The more access to debate for students, the better this activity!


Ryan Wash
2014 CEDA Champion and 2014 NDT Champion

NOTE: LBS is supportive of all students who participate in academic activities like debate. We are 100% supportive of this message and encourage people to email their letters of support to 

DEMAND that this exclusionary rule be changed!

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About the Author

Adam J. Jackson is the CEO of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS). Adam is a West Baltimore native, and Towson University graduate.