Coolidge Cup Qualifier for Debate

The 2021 Coolidge Cup Series offers several methods for qualifying for the Coolidge Cup, including one online tournament run by the Coolidge Foundation in partnership with the Southern Methodist University Debate Program. If you are looking for ways to qualify for the Coolidge Cup, consider competing at this tournament! The top finishers at this tournament will earn an invitation to the 2021 Coolidge Cup. Details for the tournament are below.

Date:      Saturday, March 27, 2021
Time:      Check-in time 9:30am - 9:55am ET
Format:    Virtual via Zoom (please install the latest version of Zoom)
Location:  Online in partnership w/ Southern Methodist U. Debate Program
Eligible:  All U.S. high school students grade 9-12
Cost:      Registration is free
Register:  If you already have a Tabroom account, register via Tabroom.
           If you do not have a Tabroom account, scroll to the bottom 
           of this page and register via the form located there.
Deadline:  Please register by Monday, March 22 at 11:59pm ET
Attire:    Business Professional 
Schedule:  Schedule for the Day
Rules:     Coolidge Debate Rules (1v1 Format)
Preview:   On March 15th, we held a preview webinar. 
           You can access the recording of that webinar here.


The resolution for this tournament is Resolved: The U.S government should end its program of federally subsidized student loans.

Research Brief

The research brief can be downloaded here. The purpose of the brief is to help you get started on your case preparation. You are welcome and encouraged to use the brief as a starting point and build upon it by doing your own research and case-writing. You are not limited to the arguments and sources in the brief.

We will be holding a webinar “preview” for the tournament on Monday, March 15th at 8pm ET. At this webinar, Coolidge Debate Fellow Dr. Ben Voth and Coolidge Debate Director Jared Rhoads will answer your questions about the tournament as well as offer some guidance about the resolution and some strategic analysis about the debate. We encourage you to attend in person so that you can ask questions in the Q&A, but a recording of the webinar will be made available for those who cannot attend. The webinar information will be sent to students who are registered by that time.

Tournament Structure

An overview of the tournament will be posted here shortly. At the moment, we anticipate running at least 4 rounds of debate. Since the goal is to identify the top 12 students in order to award bids to the Coolidge Cup, there is no need to narrow the field all the way down to a single champion, so we most likely will not do full outrounds.

Format and Style

Students will compete in the Coolidge 1v1 Debate Format. This is the same format that is used at the Coolidge Cup. If you are new to debating in this league, we highly recommend you review our Debate Guide, which provides information about this particular format, style, and rules.

Bids to the Coolidge Cup

This tournament is a qualifier for the 2021 Coolidge Cup, which will be held in July 2021.  The Coolidge Cup is an expenses-paid national invitational speech and debate tournament sponsored by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. It is held in President Coolidge’s historic hometown of Plymouth, Vermont, and takes place each year during the week of the Fourth of July. More than $15,000 in scholarship prize money is awarded to the top finishers. Learn more about the Coolidge Cup.


We need volunteer judges for our debate tournaments! We welcome citizen judges of all types, including parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, and other members of the community. Experience with debating or judging is not necessary. Register to judge in this tournament.


If you have any questions about the tournament, the Coolidge Cup, or about judging, please contact Coolidge Foundation Debate Director Jared Rhoads (


Registration is now  closed for the March 7th tournament.


The full results including RFDs will be posted on Tabroom by the end of the day on March 29. The top 15 placers from this tournament, all receiving a Coolidge Cup bid, are: Brendan McDonald, Destiny Hale, Alicia Piper, Anish Verma, Gabriel Medina, Sarah Fox, Joshua Rush, Luke Castle, Jaden Rams, Justin Marwad, Deborah Mendenhall, Joseph Rubas, Pranav Moudgalya, Faith Hollister, and Luke Carlsen.




Students compete outdoors at the Coolidge Cup in Plymouth, Vermont, July 2018