The Coolidge Debate League at the Luddy Schools

The Coolidge Debate League at the Luddy Schools is a regional debate league for high schoolers and middle schoolers in North Carolina. It is jointly run by the Coolidge Foundation and the schools founded by Robert L. Luddy (Thales Academy Rolesville, Thales Academy Apex, Franklin Academy, and St. Thomas More Academy), but tournaments are open to students grades 6 through 12 from any school–even from schools beyond North Carolina who are willing to travel.

The 2022-2023 Season

There are four tournaments scheduled for the 2022-2023 season:

  1. September 10, 2022, at Thales Academy Rolesville
  2. November 12, 2022, at Thales Academy Apex
  3. February 11, 2023, at St. Thomas More Academy
  4. April 29, 2023, at Franklin Academy


Information About Our Next Tournament

Date:      Saturday, April 29, 2023
Time:      Check-in starts @8:30am; Morning seminar @9am
           Tournament day goes until about 5:30pm 
Location:  Franklin Academy
           648 Flaherty Ave, Wake Forest, NC 27587 
Eligible:  All students grade 6 through 12
Cost:      FREE for Luddy schools (Apex, Rolesville, Franklin, STMA, Waxhaw)
           $10 per team for other schools and homeschools
Register:  Luddy schools: your coach will register you on Tabroom.
           Non-Luddy school teams please register below.
           Registration closes Monday, April 24 at 11:59pm ET.
Attire:    Business Professional 
WiFi:      Do not assume there will be WiFi at the school 
Schedule:  Schedule for the Day


Resolution and Research Brief

The resolution for the tournament is “Resolved: the U.S. federal government should adopt a policy of unilateral free trade.”

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 additional research and case-writing. You are not limited to the arguments and sources in the brief.

Tournament Overview

You will begin the day with a seminar on the debate topic. Then you and your partner will debate against other teams in multiple rounds throughout the day, getting a chance to argue both sides of the resolution. We ask that you find a partner in advance and and register as a team. If you do not have a debate partner, you may register solo and we will attempt to pair you with another solo debater, but we cannot guarantee that there will be someone to match you with.

All students grades 6 to 12 from any school are eligible to compete, including homeschool students and students from schools other than the ones named above.

Format and Style

Students will compete in the Coolidge 2v2 Debate Format. 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.


The tournament will have three divisions: middle school, high school novice, and high school varsity. High school teams with no experience or minimal experience may elect to participate in the novice division. (We define a novice as a debater who has participated in no more than two tournaments in his or her lifetime.) Teams with experience debating in either the Coolidge Debate League or other leagues should participate in the varsity division.


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. If you are interested, please take a look at our Information for Judges. On the morning of the tournament, we will hold a brief judge training session, where we will give you all the guidance you need for the day and will answer all of your questions. To volunteer as a judge, Register to Judge.

Relation to the Coolidge Cup

For 2022-2023, the Coolidge Debate League tournament that will serve as a direct qualifier for the 2023 Coolidge Cup will be the fourth tournament held at Franklin Academy on April 29, 2023. The other tournaments in this league throughout the year are not direct qualifiers for the Coolidge Cup. In order to receive a bid to the Coolidge Cup from the qualifier tournament, a debater must have participated in at least one other Coolidge Debate League tournament this season. If a debater is a top placer at the qualifier tournament but has not participated in any other of our tournaments that season, the bid will go to the next-highest-placing eligible student. The top 10 eligible debaters as determined by the high school varsity team category (win/loss as first criterion and combined raw points as tiebreaker criterion) will receive the Coolidge Cup bids.


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


Register for the Next Tournament

Thank you for your interest. If you are registering a team from a non-Luddy school or homeschool, please use the form below. If you are registering a team from Thales Apex, Thales Rolesville, Franklin Academy, St. Thomas More Academy, or Thales Waxhaw, DO NOT use the form below. Instead, please contact your Luddy-school coach, and they will register you directly into the tournament using Tabroom.

Registration is now closed for the April 29th tournament



Students compete in a tournament at Thales Academy Rolesville, August 2018