European University Debating Rankings

Some of you probably know that a guy called Jonathan Leader Maynard (JLM) has been composing IONA universities debating rankings for a few years. This year he’s doing it for all European tournaments, therefore giving more weight to non-IONA teams results. See where SSE Riga is placed by clicking the link below…

European University Debating Rankings 26/12/08 – After 16 Events – Author JLM

Rank – University – Points

1 Oxford 357.9
2 Cambridge 253.8
3 LSE 208.0
4 ULU 172.7
5 Manchester 137.0
6 Nottingham 114.3
7 KCL 100.6
8 Bristol 94.5
9 St. Andrews 83.7
10 MIT 72.0
11 Warwick 63.6
12 TCD 57.6
13 UCD 53.6
14 Birmingham 52.8
15 Helsinki 44.8
16 UCL 39.9
17 UCC 39.4
18 SOAS 38.8
19 Tartu 37.6
20 Tallinn 37.0

21 Loyola Marymount 36.4
22 Cardiff 35.0
23 Lincoln’s Inn 31.9
24 Newcastle 31.6
25 SSE Riga 31.2
26 Yale 30.2
27 Kings Inn 26.0
28 Haifa 24.4
29 Edinburgh 23.2
30 METU 20.8
31 York 20.4
32 Durham 19.2
33 Glasgow 18.0
34 NLS India 16.0
35 Portland 15.6
35 IIUM 15.6
37 Princeton 15.2
38 Erasmus 14.8
39 Galatasaray 13.2
39 VU 13.2
41 UNSW 10.5
42 Inner Temple 10.4
43 Stanford 9.4
44 City 8.5
45 Fordham 8.0
46 Bates 7.8
46 QMUL 7.8
48 Aberdeen 7.6
49 Strathclyde 7.2
50 BBU 6.8
51 Leeds 6.0
52 Aberystwyth 5.6
53 Ljubljana 4.8
53 NUIG 4.8
53 MRU 4.8
56 LZUU 4.0
57 Koc 3.2
57 Dundee 3.2
59 Imperial 2.4
59 Delhi 2.4
61 Glamorgan 1.6
61 Hacettepe 1.6
63 Leiden 1.0
64 VGTU 0.8
64 LU 0.8

Oxford and Cambridge are traditional leaders, and I think that it makes a lot of sense to have Helsinki as the best non-IONA institution. I highlighted the more important to us institutions, and, although we are not far from Tallinn and Tartu, we could do better… Standings are obviously due to reflect a lot of changes after Worlds and events in 2009 and this table does not show everything. But anyway, Your ideas and comments are welcome in comments. (These rankings are distributed via BritishDebate mailing list, so if you’re interested in what’s happening in debating world beyond our club, I’d suggest to join.)


9 thoughts on “European University Debating Rankings

  1. Well, the rankings are a bit strange. I would love to see the methodology. The fact that LSE is ranked so high or Leiden is ranked so low doesn’t speak in favour of this list.


    1. What exactly is your objection to this methodology? I am curious qua an LSE debate team member.

  2. Why MIT is here?

  3. Ranking is a little bit weird, but we would still love to see ourselves a bit higher..

  4. I don’t know the exact methodology. Ervinas – MIT is here because they have participated in tournaments in Europe 😉

  5. Off the top of my head, I think that points are a total number rather than average number, so if you are a larger institution (i.e. having many teams) doing moderately well, you will be ranked above a small institution doing extremely well.

    Worth checking though..

  6. Yuri is correct. I think that in principle you get points for points scored in in-rounds and more for how far you get in the break.

    And another note for Ervinas – after Worlds institutions like Sydney usually get quite high ranks and there has been some discontent with that in previous years – why should they be high in European table if they never debate here?.

  7. The thing with Estonian institutions ranking higher might be because JLM decided to add (Eastern) European tournaments to the ranking as well and I guess since no-one has come up with a way to rank the quality of tournaments, winning SSE Riga IV is as good as winning Oxford

  8. Jonathan Leader Maynard July 9, 2009 — 10:31 pm

    Hello, I have just found this discussion thread, and am firstly thrilled to see that the rankings are getting such attention. 🙂

    To answer a couple of queries that arose, the rankings do indeed aggregate, rather than average, performances across the debating calender. They encompass all tournaments in Europe over a certain size, and with enough different institutions taking part. Points are awarded for the two best performing teams from each institution, and the two best performing speakers.

    LSE do very well because they’ve had a very strong year in British domestic debating where, it remains the case, the vast majority of points are earnt. MIT and other non-European institutions are in the rankings as they have attended European competitions or the World Championships, which are also counted. It also remains unfortunately true that many European tournaments are opens, which, although counted, result in many European speakers entering as composite teams, and thus don’t earn points for institutions.

    Points earnt at tournaments vary depending upon the size of the tournament and the number of speakers competing who have broken in the main breaks of Euros or Worlds. As such, you score a lot more points for the Oxford IV, for example, than the SSE Riga IV. I hope that seems fair!

    I’ll certainly give some thought, now that the rankings have been spread to all of Europe, to no longer ranking institutions from outside of the continent in the list.

    Best of luck in up coming tournaments. If you have any queries about the rankings, you can e-mail me at

    Best wishes,

    Jonathan Leader Maynard

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