Luddy Debate League

The Luddy Debate League is a Coolidge Debate League in North Carolina. It is jointly run by the Coolidge Foundation and the schools founded by Robert L. Luddy. Those schools are Thales Academy Apex, Thales Academy Rolesville, Franklin Academy, and St. Thomas More Academy. Throughout the year, the Coolidge Foundation organizes debate tournaments at these schools. These tournaments are open to all students grades 6-12 in North Carolina.

For the 2018-2019 season, there will be four Luddy Debate League tournaments: #1 on August 25th at Thales Rolesville, #2 on November 10th at Thales Apex, #3 on February 16th at Thales Rolesville, and #4 on May 11th at Franklin Academy.

Join us for the next Luddy Debate League tournament!

Date/Time:   Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 8:30am to 5pm
Location:    Franklin Academy High School (648 Flaherty Ave, Wake Forest, NC)
Eligibility: All North Carolina students grade 6 through 12
Cost:        FREE for students of Luddy schools (Thales, Franklin, STMA);
             $10 for students of other schools and homeschoolers;
             (non-Luddy schools please bring 1 judge per 4 students)
Deadline:    Kindly register by May 4, 2019 (registration closes on Monday May 6th at 11:59 pm ET)
Attire:      Business Professional
Schedule:    Schedule for the day (PDF)


The resolution for this tournament is…

Resolved: The benefits of obtaining a bachelor’s degree outweigh the costs to students and their families.

*A note on the resolution: This resolution defines a “bachelor’s degree” as a traditional, on-campus, undergraduate degree. Bachelor’s degrees typically take four years to complete, however some are five-year programs.

Download the Brief here [PDF]

SPECIAL RESOURCES: Our friends at the podcast What’s the Res?  have recorded two episodes about this very resolution. Click on the following links to listen to the episodes that explore the Affirmative side of the resolution and Negative side of the resolution. We also recommend that you add What’s the Res?  to your favorite podcast player app on your smartphone!

Tournament Overview

Students will begin the day with a seminar on the debate topic delivered by a subject matter expert. Then they will debate in teams of two in multiple rounds throughout the day, getting a chance to argue both sides of the resolution. Students are encouraged to find a debate partner ahead of time and register as a team.

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. The tournament will have separate high school and middle school brackets. All interested students are encouraged to participate, regardless of whether they are experienced debaters or brand new to debate.

Students should register through the form at the bottom of this page by the registration deadline noted above. If interest exceeds the number of classroom spaces and judges that we have, then it is possible that we may have to close registration after that date and not allow late registrations. Note to students: to make this the best experience for everyone, please plan to be there for the full day. Students who arrive after the first round has begun will not be allowed to participate.

Lunch (pizza) will be provided to all students and judges.

Debate Format and Style

In the Luddy Debate League, students debate in teams of two. If you are new to debating in this league, we highly recommend you review our Luddy Debate League Debate Guide, which provides details about the format, style, rules, and so on.

Relation to the Coolidge Cup

For 2018-2019, the Luddy Debate League tournament that will serve as a direct qualifier for the Coolidge Cup will be the May 11th tournament at Franklin Academy. The other tournaments in the Luddy Debate League are not direct qualifiers for the Coolidge Cup. Please note, however, that in order to receive a bid to the Coolidge Cup from the May 11th qualifier tournament, a debater must have participated in at least one other Luddy Debate League tournament this season. If a debater is a top placer at the May 11th qualifier tournament but has not participated in any other Luddy Debate League tournaments that season, the bid will go to the next-highest-placing eligible student.

We Need Volunteer Judges!

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 curious, take a look at our Information for Luddy Debate League Judges. Additionally, we will hold a brief judge training session on the morning of the tournament, where we will give you all the guidance you need and answer all of your questions. To volunteer as a judge, Register to Judge for the Luddy Debate League.

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


Registration is now closed for the May 11, 2019 tournament.


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