The West Point National Tournament
Debaters Magazine June, 1947

The first invitational debate tournament of national scope was held at the West Point Military Academy, New York, this spring. The Academy prepared for a year to extend its tournament to National significance. The country was divided into districts and each district was assigned a definite number of entries and in each district a board of debate coaches was set up to choose the teams to compete at West Point. The plan worked nicely and only a few of the teams chosen were unable to attend. Out of thirty-two invited, twenty-nine appeared and competed.

Here is the account by George Dell, West Point debater:

William Scott Nobles and Gerald Sanders of the Southeastern State College of Oklahoma won the first annual West Point National Intercollegiate Debate tournament, held on May 2-4 at the United States Military Academy, losing only one decision in nine debates. George Grover and Potter Kerfoot of the University of Southern California in the final round by a 3-2 decision.

Twenty-nine colleges and universities, previously selected as the most outstanding teams in the country by regional coaches' boards, participated in the first nonorganizational nation-wide tournament, in which the competition was so severe that no team remained undefeated. Army, Navy, and Vermont, which won all five preliminary rounds, were eliminated in the eighth, seventh, and sixth rounds, respectively.

The U.S. Military Academy (George Dell-John Lowry) and Notre Dame University (Frank Finn-Tim Kelley) were the eliminated semi-finalists, being defeated by Southeastern and U. S. C., respectively. Army won seven out of eight; Notre Dame, six out of eight.

The highest 16 teams out of the 29 entered were selected after five preliminary rounds, which permitted two teams that had sustained three defeats and seven that had lost two to enter the elimination rounds.

Reprinted from: Allan D. Louden and William Southworth, eds. "The 50th National Debate Tournament." Winston-Salem, NC: Wake Forest University, 1996.