The American Debate Association began in 1985 as an intercollegiate debate association. It uses the resolution selected by the Cross Examination Debate Association and the National Debate Tournament. Currently they have 44 member schools. Its current president is Patrick Waldinger, Co-Director of Debate at the University of Miami.

The ADA’s mission of increasing participation, maintaining a balance between education and competition, and ensuring an equitable and fair activity for all programs, regardless of their size or experience is facilitated by the ADA’s rules and is premised on the following assumptions:
1. Debate is a controlled discussion which analyzes the substantive issues raised by a particular policy proposition.
2. Debate is a persuasive, oral communication activity in which debaters assume the obligation to communicate reasons for positions taken in a manner that is coherent, intelligible, and consistent with the limitations on human speech and listening.
3. Debate tournaments will be run efficiently, honestly, and in a manner which promotes the educational values of debating for all participants.
4. Coaches and judges are educators whose job it is to effectively prepare students to debate, to objectively and fairy evaluate rounds of competition to which they are assigned, and to behave in an ethical and professional fashion.
5. Debate is an educational activity to be engaged in by undergraduates who are officially enrolled full-time students in good academic standing at the colleges and universities they represent in competition.