Information for Coolidge Cup Attendees

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2019 Coolidge Cup tournament! Below are answers to common questions you might have about the event. This is information for all attendees, including debaters, parents, family members, and coaches.

What is the Coolidge Cup?

The Coolidge Cup is national high school debate tournament sponsored by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. Debaters qualify through various preliminary competitions over the school year for a chance to compete in the championship tournament, held in President Coolidge’s historic village, the picturesque town of Plymouth, Vermont. It is held each year on the week of the Fourth of July. The tournament offers $10,000 in scholarship prizes.

Registration Form For Debaters Who Have Earned Invitations

If you have earned an invitation to the Coolidge Cup and accepted it by notifying Debate Director Jared Rhoads, then your next step to confirming your spot is to fill out the 2019 Coolidge Cup Registration Form. This form asks you for your travel plans, so you should make your travel plans first, and then fill out this form.

If anything changes with your plans after you’ve already submitted this form, you can email Mr. Rob Hammer  ( and we will make the changes in our database. Please note that this registration form is only for debater who have been offered an invitation and who have accepted their invitation. If you are unsure whether you have received or accepted and invitation to the Coolidge Cup, please email Debate Director Jared Rhoads (

Tournament Schedule

July 1st and July 5th are travel days. Debate rounds, in addition to other events (e.g., speakers) are held on July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. You can view the 2019 Coolidge Cup Schedule. Note that the schedule posted here is a draft and is subject to small revisions. A final schedule will be distributed to debaters in their welcome packets.

What costs are associated with the Cup?

The Coolidge Foundation covers travel, lodging, and meals for competitors. Although parents, family members, and coaches are invited and encouraged to attend the Coolidge Cup, the Coolidge Foundation unfortunately cannot cover the costs of their attendance. Most debaters attend the tournament by themselves. To get your reimbursement of travel expenses, after the tournament is over please fill out the Reimbursement Form, attach any plane/train ticket receipts (or indicate the mileage at the rate of $0.58 per mile), and send it all to Rob Hammer (

How will debaters get to and from Vermont?

For the 2019 Coolidge Cup, July 1st and 5th will both be travel days for the debaters. Most debaters will find it optimal to travel by plane, train, or automobile:

  1. If flying makes the most sense for you, then please book your own round-trip flight to Boston Logan Airport (airport code BOS). When booking your flight, select the most reasonably priced flight option you can find. For most debaters, flights should be less than $500. If you find that the only viable flight options are more than $500, then please contact us before booking so we can review your situation and make sure you are doing it correctly. For your inbound flight into Boston on Monday July 1st, please choose a flight that arrives no later than 1:45pm. For your outbound flight out of Boston on Friday July 5th, please choose a flight that departs no earlier than 12:30pm. You can go ahead and book your tickets now. Upon arriving at Boston Logan Airport, Coolidge staff members will be on hand to greet you in the baggage claim area of your respective terminal. After all the debaters have arrived, we will board a motor coach for the 3-hour drive to the hotel in Vermont.
  2. If you are coming from the NYC region, there is a really good train option that we HIGHLY encourage you to consider. The “Ethan Allen Express” on Amtrak departs Penn Station in NYC at 2:20pm and gets into Rutland, VT, at 7:52pm. From there, our shuttle will pick you up and drive you the short 8 minutes it takes to get to the hotel.
  3. If driving by car makes the most sense for you, then you have lots of freedom. Simply chart your course and plan to arrive at the hotel in Vermont between 4:30pm and 7pm. A Coolidge staff member will be there to welcome you. You are eligible for travel reimbursement, too, based on mileage. (Note: We mainly intend the mileage reimbursement for people who have to drive less than 500 miles. If you have to drive farther than that, then flying is likely more economical.)

After the tournament is over, we will send out a link to a form where you can fill out and upload your reimbursement information, including your receipts.

Where will the debaters be staying?

All debaters will stay at the Best Western Inn & Suites Rutland-Killington (5 Best Western Place, Rutland, VT 05701). Debaters will share a room with one of their fellow competitors of the same gender and we will provide debaters the opportunity to choose their preferred roommate. Coolidge Foundation staff will be staying at the hotel to chaperone debaters who are not accompanied by a parent or coach. The hotel is a 25-minute drive from the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site (3780 VT-100A, Plymouth, VT 05056) where the debate events will take place. The Coolidge Foundation will take debaters from the hotel to the Coolidge Historic Site and back each day via bus.

Can I attend the Cup with my debater?

Parents and coaches are welcome and encouraged to attend the Coolidge Cup, however the Coolidge Foundation is unable to cover costs associated with their attendance. Parents and coaches who wish to ride the bus between the airport and the hotel, as well as from the hotel to the historic site each day may do so, but please indicate that this is your plan in the registration form. Parents and coaches who wish to have more freedom of mobility than that should consider renting a car for the week.

Since dining options at the tournament site are limited, families and coaches who are attending the Coolidge Cup with their debater can partake in the catered lunches and dinners, at a reasonable cost. To purchase meals, family members and coaches should use the Coolidge Cup Meal Purchase Form. (Remember, debaters are taken care of and do not need to use this form.)

We ask that parents who wish to share a room with their child cover half of the cost of the room ($50 per night) which also includes breakfast at the hotel. If you will be coming with multiple family members, we do have a few suite-style rooms available as well. If you are interested in booking a room at the Best Western, please contact Jared Rhoads ( To avoid confusion please do not contact the hotel directly, they will not be able to extend our group rate to you over the phone. A light breakfast is included for those who purchase rooms from our block at the Best Western.

Resolution and Brief

The resolution for the 2019 Coolidge Cup is Resolved: The U.S. federal government should adopt a policy of unilateral free trade.

The is available for download here. This brief is intended as an introductory guide to the topic to help you get started with your research and preparation. You are encouraged to use this brief but also to go beyond the brief and conduct your own research and preparation.

Tournament Format & Debate Format

The Coolidge Cup tournament has six preliminary rounds of debate. After six preliminary rounds, the top 32 debaters based on win-loss record (first criterion) and speaker points (second criterion) advance to the elimination bracket. From this point forward, the tournament proceeds elimination-style by way of Double Octofinals, Octofinals, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and finally the Championship round.

The debate format is in the 1v1 Coolidge Debate Format. To learn more about the Coolidge Debate format, read our debate guide. That should answer most general questions. A few weeks before the tournament, we will hold a conference call that is open to all debaters and their coaches. The date, time, and call-in information for that conference call will be communicated to debaters as soon as it is set.

Recommended Packing List

We often get asked what kind of clothing and items debaters should bring. Here is a brief packing list that might help. Also, if you are wondering what the tournament site looks like, check out our photos from past tournaments.

We hope the information above helps to answer your questions about the tournament. If you have additional questions or encounter any difficulty in planning for the tournament, reach out to Debate Director Jared Rhoads ( or call 802-672-3389.