About Us

Running Online Debate Tournaments Since 2011

Ziggy Online Debate™ is a national online debate tournament for junior high, high school, and collegiate debaters. Our students debate topics from the Stoa and NCFCA leagues as well as custom-designed current event topics for Parli. We offer Team Policy/Cross Examination, Lincoln-Douglas, Parliamentary, and Moot Court styles of debate. Our bespoke rules and guidelines designed were designed specifically for online tournaments.

Ziggy Online Debate™ was founded in 2011 by Isaac Sommers, a highly decorated alumnus of NCFCA and Stoa, former debate instructor and coach, and a graduate of Howard Payne University (Class of 2018) and Harvard Law School (Class of 2021). Isaac is now working full-time as a lawyer.

View our list of current Ziggy Staff members here.

SIGNUPS
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TOURNAMENTS
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How Does Ziggy Work?

Debaters are matched against an opponent either once a week (in the Fall) or once every two weeks (in the Spring). Debaters then use the Ziggy Tournament Platform to communicate with each other and schedule a time to debate. They then contact several judges from the Ziggy Judge List and ask that someone judge their round at the selected time. The Judge List is composed of parents of Ziggy debaters, coaches, and alumni.

Debaters compete using software like Skype, Zoom, Discord, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, FaceTime, etc. Ballots are filled out on the Ziggy Tournament Platform, which instantly notifies the debaters when their ballot is ready.

Read a more detailed explanation here.

Why Do Debate In the First Place?

Multiple studies have linked high school debate participation to higher GPA (2.83 vs 3.23 on average) significantly higher ACT scores, 27% higher likelihood of attending college, greater likelihood of graduating from college, and across-the-board lower risk rates and increased academic performance for students.

Debate also cultivates the kinds of communication, analytical, and leadership skills that are essential for success in any career.

And our alumni are up to great things—from attending T6 law schools, to pursuing medical, nursing, and international affairs graduate degrees, coordinating political campaigns, and running their own businesses. 

At its core, debate builds critical thinking, research, and public speaking skills.

 

Why Choose Ziggy

If you want to improve your debate and speaking skills.

If you want to get experience against other debaters from across the country.

If you want to debate other teams who are at your skill level.

If you want access to a national Team Policy prep group.

If you want up to 10 rounds of debate for only $25*

…and all this from the comfort of your own home?

That’s why you should do Ziggy.

01.

Power Matching

You will be randomly matched against other teams for the first four weeks. After that, the other rounds will be power-matched (meaning, you’ll debate other competitors who are performing roughly as well as you are) as often and as accurately as possible. Power-matching is based on the results from your previous rounds.

02.

Convenience and Price

Most in-person league tournaments cost between $40–55 for entry and debate alone (not to mention other speech events, and travel and hotel costs). That’s around $8.30–$9.15 per debate for a tournament! Plus, you’re only guaranteed 6 rounds!

Ziggy Semester Tournaments assign you a total of 10 debates in the Fall and 8 debates in the Spring (provided you sign up at the beginning). Ziggy only costs $25.* That’s over 250% less expensive than other tournaments per debate!

*Note: If you sign up after the tournament starts in the Fall, there’s a $5 late fee.

03.

National Competition

Students from all across the country are eligible to participate in Ziggy, which means that competitors have the opportunity to hone their skills by debating other students throughout the nation—Ziggy is essentially a national open.

04.

Real-World Success

Many debaters who have competed in Ziggy have found it to be immensely helpful for their tournament success. Just view our testimonials!

By getting a head start on the competitive season, and by receiving constructive feedback from parent judges from all across America, competitors have found their tournament performance greatly enhanced.

To date, 10 Ziggy participants have been NCFCA National Champion finalists!

05.

Flexibility

Instead of making you debate at a certain time during the week, Ziggy gives the debaters the ability to choose what time during the week best works for them to debate. The Judges List then offers a page with judges and their availability, as well as debate rounds and their scheduled time, along with detailed information for contacting both debaters and judges. Debaters must sign up at least one person to judge when registering. See the debate schedule here.

06.

Awards

At the end of the competition, we will tabulate results and announce the teams placing in the top 40%.  Those debaters will be ranked by win/loss records, rounds completed, and speaker points, and will receive placements (1st, 2nd, etc). Speaker placements will also be announced. First place teams are eligible for free Ziggy t-shirt prizes, and first place speakers are eligible for a $10 Ziggy voucher or gift card.

07.

No Registration Deadline

Ziggy Online Debate has no registration deadline, so you can sign up any time you want. We can only guarantee as many rounds as are left at the time you sign up, but if you sign up for extra rounds, we might be able to get you more debates. Sign up by NOON Eastern Time, Saturday (rounds are sent out on Sunday) to get in on the next round!

08.

Quality Customer Service

We strive to provide the best customer service possible. To that end, you can contact Ziggy Customer Support via Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, by text, or email (although Hangouts and Facebook are often fastest). We will do our best to respond within 24 hours—if you don’t hear from us by then, please send another message!

09.

Privacy & Security

We take your privacy seriously. All personal contact information (used for facilitating contact amongst judges and debaters) is password protected and only available to Ziggy members. Ballots are only viewable by the debaters in that round and their judge. And we have never and will never sell your personal information to third-parties.

10.

No Maximum Competitor Limit

There are no limits on how many people can sign up for Ziggy, so tell all your friends!

11.

Extra Debate Opportunity

In most tournaments, when there is an odd number of debaters, they give people “bye rounds,” which means that you end up getting less rounds than normal.  With Ziggy, we give you the option of choosing to sign up for an extra debate at no extra cost, in the event that there is an odd number of debaters. Of course, we know this doesn’t work for everyone, which is why it’s simply an option. Byes can still be given if necessary.

12.

Results & Analytics

At the end of the competition, we will tabulate results and announce the teams placing in the top 40%.  Those debaters will be ranked by win/loss records, rounds completed, and speaker points, and will receive placements (1st, 2nd, etc). Speaker placements will also be announced.

Debaters will also have access to the total amount of Aff/Neg win-loss numbers for the entire semester, helping them get a better idea if things like resolution or side bias might exist.

Meet Our Team

Thanks to the hard work of our awesome staff, Ziggy is able to provide top-quality customer service and support. Learn a little bit more about our team!

Perseus Aryani

Perseus Aryani

Director

Perseus is a friendly, energetic individual who competed in NCFCA for four years, three of which he competed in debate. He competed in Lincoln-Douglas and Ziggy for his last two years of debate. Ziggy Online Debate proved to be invaluable for Perseus as he had no formal camp going into his first season of Lincoln-Douglas Debate.  He is currently enrolled at Collin College in the DFW area. He plans to study neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas and enter the medical field where he wants to help children with medical needs.

Perseus also owns a small business that specializes in honey lemonade and bottled honey from his beehives. While not studying, managing his business, or beekeeping, Perseus enjoys writing stories, playing lively Irish jigs and reels on his fiddle, and reading his Bible.

Elijah Schow

Elijah Schow

Lead Software Developer

After a successful debate career, including placing 10th in Team Policy at the 2012 NCFCA National Championship and being the top-ranked Team Policy speaker in South Carolina two years running, Elijah became a software developer. His debate-related projects have included the CITE formatting system and formatting and design for multiple best-selling sourcebooks. He serves as the developer for the Ziggy tournament web app and related software features.

Jeremiah Mosbey

Assistant Director

Jeremiah Mosbey is an experienced NCFCA competitor, research assistant, and debate blogger. He plans to bring his skills in debate and research to Texas A&M University, where he’ll be studying business. One of his greatest passions is helping newer debaters grow in their speaking and debate skills, as he understands how scary and stressful the activity can be at first. In his free time, Jeremiah enjoys reading, traveling, and listening to 80s music.

Justus Aryani

Assistant Director

Justus is an experienced NCFCA Competitor and Sourcebook Writer entering his fifth year of competition. If found outside of arguing with somebody, helping someone argue with somebody, or even writing how to argue with someone the best, he can be found playing the Irish bagpipes, enjoying a good game of real football, fantasizing over a good espresso, or discussing theological dilemmas with family or peers. Justus believes that glorifying God and sharing research, skills, and knowledge with debaters and friends are the two most crucial parts of competitive debate. As a Junior, he plans to study in the field of Cybersecurity and Strategic Intelligence or Cyber-law after graduating.

Sponsors

More Details

Ziggy Fall Tournament: Debates start in mid-September and typically go through the first week of December. Minimum competitor number of 12 teams per style of debate. There are 10 debates over 11 weeks (students have Thanksgiving week off).

Ziggy Spring Tournament: TP and LD debates begin the first week of January and run through mid April; Parli and Moot Court debates begin the second week of January and alternate every other week (ending at the end of April). There are 8 debates (alternating styles every other week) over 16 weeks.

● If you register late, we’ll integrate you into the current week of debates—but you won’t be guaranteed the total number of rounds (example: if you sign up after Round 1 but before Round 2 during the Fall, you’re only guaranteed the remaining 9 rounds).

● In order to register, debaters must list at least one eligible adult available to judge at some point during the week. You can register another judge after your registration is complete.

● You will be emailed every Sunday in the Fall/every other Sunday in the Spring with your new pairing.

● If you complete all assigned rounds but also end up doing extra debates, the extra rounds will not be counted toward your overall record. If you happen to sign up late and miss some of the first rounds, any extra rounds you complete will count toward your overall round record.

Ziggy Seasonal Tournaments are $30 per debater/per style of debate ($35 if you sign up late in the Fall).

● Ziggy now offers discounts for families registering for more than 3 events. This means if you have 4 or more individual students signing up for Ziggy, or you have 4 or more registrations in total (i.e., your two students each sign up for two events, like Parli and LD), each additional registration after the 3rd is only $5.

Other Ziggy Tournaments are priced as needed.

Ziggy Calendar