2014 Small School National Championship

NAQT is pleased to announce that its first ever Small School National Championship Tournament will be held at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America ("the airport Hilton") on May 2-4, 2014.


May 2–4, 2014 (Friday to Sunday).

Teams will check in on Friday, May 2, and have the opportunity to meet each other and play practice matches on official NAQT questions. The tournament’s preliminary games will take place on Saturday, and the playoff games will take place on Sunday. Teams may stay through Monday (or longer!) to explore the Twin Cities at the discounted hotel rates negotiated by NAQT. Teams that cannot arrive on Friday night will have a chance to check in on Saturday morning (if they notify NAQT of the situation in advance).


The hotel contains both the guest room block and all of the competition rooms.

There is also an overflow hotel for teams that could not be accommodated at the Hilton. All competition will take place at the Hilton.


This schedule was updated on April 22 and is (hopefully) final.

Friday (evening)
5:00 (or upon arrival)General staff check–inExecutive Boardroom (2nd floor)
6:00–10:00Team check-inBallroom registration area (2nd floor)
6:00–10:00Optional scrimmage roundsMinnesota Valley Ballroom foyer
7:30–8:30Late-arrival team check-inBallroom registration area (2nd floor)
8:45–9:15Opening meetingMinnesota Valley Ballroom
9:30–12:30Rounds 1–6Meeting rooms and parlors
12:30–2:00Lunch (not provided)
2:00–4:00Rounds 7–10Meeting rooms and parlors
7:00Playoff Pairings PostedInformation Desk (2nd floor)
8:30–11:30Rounds 11–15Meeting rooms
8:45–11:30Consolation roundsMeeting rooms and parlors
11:30–12:30Lunch (not provided)
12:30–1:50Rounds 16–17Meeting rooms
1:50Finals (1 or 2 games)Minnesota Valley Ballroom
After finalsAwardsMinnesota Valley Ballroom
After awardsBuzzer returnBallroom registration area
After awardsQuestion distributionBallroom registration area

On Saturday morning teams should be in the Ballroom (on the 2nd floor) by 8:45 a.m.


This tournament is open to teams from schools that meet NAQT’s definition of a small, public school with a non-selective admissions policy. Teams from schools that don’t meet that criterion may still be eligible to attend a separate event, NAQT’s High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT), which is open to any school that overlaps grades 9 through 12.


Schools qualify to send teams to the SSNCT through their performance at NAQT invitational events and NAQT State Championships held throughout the year.

Schools that haven’t qualified via an automatic invitation may request wildcard invitations beginning on January 15, 2014.

Schools that didn’t qualify for the SSNCT (either via an automatic invitation or by wildcard), may attend the tournament on standby basis.


NAQT has reserved guest rooms and game rooms to accommodate a 50-team field; NAQT will make every attempt to accommodate more teams by blocking additional space, finding an overflow hotel, and/or altering the schedule of the tournament.

The current field is listed here.


On Saturday, the 50 teams will be divided into five preliminary brackets of 10 teams each. Each of those brackets will play a round-robin schedule (9 games). Each team will also have 1 bye round on Saturday. Every team with a winning record (5–4 or better) will advance to Sunday playoffs.

On Sunday, the playoff teams will play a double-elimination tournament; either 8 or 9 rounds will be played, depending on whether the champion finishes with a playoff loss or not.

The playoff pairings will be posted by 7:00 a.m. at the Information Desk.

Consolation Rounds:

Teams that do not qualify for the playoffs are encouraged to return on Sunday to play against any other teams they want (or to mix-and-match from across the country) on the playoff questions. These consolation rounds will be held in various game rooms of the hotel and will be moderated by NAQT staff and other volunteers. Please note that all students, even alternates or observers, are welcome to take part. Teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs may also take part.

There are two "styles" of consolation rounds available: Starting Saturday evening, teams can sign up for eight-team "mini-tournaments" that will last three rounds. These will provide more efficient pairing, but they entail a commitment to stay for all three rounds. Teams can also appoach the consolation rounds on a one-game-at-a-time basis. There is less commitment there, but there will be more delays in finding opponents and getting rooms set up. (Note that mini-tournaments are limited to all-student teams, rather than any that include parents or teachers.)

Teams that want to participate in the consolation rounds should go to registration area for the Minnesota Valley Ballroom at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday. Those that have signed up for mini-tournaments will be dispatched to rooms; those that are waiting for one-game pairings will then be matched with rooms and moderator.

The consolation rounds (whether mini-tournaments or not) have no effect on a team’s overall standing in the tournament. They are played solely for fun.


The registration fee is $545 per team if payment is received on or before April 4, 2014. The fee is $565 per team after April 4. Schools whose first qualifying event occurred after March 1, 2014, have until April 18, 2014, to register at the lower rate. The deadline to accept an invitation is April 25, or when the field fills, whichever comes first.

Qualifying for the tournament does not guarantee a spot in the field, it merely enables your team to register for one of the spots. Once you have qualified, you should register as soon as you can to ensure your team a berth in the tournament. For comparision, the field for the 2013 NAQT High School National Championship Tournament filled around April 1 (though a number of teams were promoted from the waitlist after that).

Teams that cancel after March 14, 2014, will be liable for one-tenth of the base registration fee. Teams that cancel after April 4, 2014, will be liable for one-half of the base registration fee. Those cancellation-fee deadlines notwithstanding, teams that register after March 7, 2014, will have a one-week grace period after they register to cancel with no penalty.

The registration fee only covers entrance to the tournament. It does not cover transportation, lodging, food, or other expenses.

Teams bringing a working lockout system to the tournament will be eligible for a $40 discount on the registration fee. Each team may claim up to two such discounts. Lockout systems will be tested at check-in, and those that don’t have at least eight functioning buzzers will be denied the discount. NAQT will only award the discount for lockout systems that it can keep from check-in until the Sunday lunch break. If a team anticipates leaving before that, we would prefer to use (and discount) a different system to avoid inconveniencing that team and ourselves.

Teams supplying a qualified, experienced staffer for the Saturday portion of the tournament will be eligible for a $50 discount on the registration fee. Staffers may be assigned as scorekeepers, control room staff, scoresheet checkers, or to other tasks. Staff assigned as scorekeeprs will not necessarily scorekeep for their school’s matches. The transportation, lodging, and all other expenses of team-supplied scorekeepers will be borne by the team, not by NAQT. Also, a team claiming this discount must still have at least one adult coach/chaperone with the team at all matches.

Teams that cancel a staffer (of any kind) after April 18 will not only forfeit the $50 discount, but will be charged a $50 penalty to offset NAQT’s cost for finding a last-minute replacement.

Every competing school will receive a complete copy of the question set used at this tournament. Please note that teams that do not pick up their questions at the tournament itself will be charged a shipping fee ($10) by NAQT to mail them. Questions will not be distributed until the end of the tournament.

Checking In:

NAQT will be checking teams in, disbursing information folders, answering questions, and handling outstanding administrative matters between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. in the registration area of the Minnesota Valley Ballroom on Friday, May 2. When teams arrive at the hotel on Friday night, one coach or chaperone should go to the check-in area. That representative will receive a folder containing a copy of the official rules, the schedule for the tournament, and information on local attractions. Team members are encouraged to take advantage of the social and practice opportunities on Friday night.

NAQT would greatly appreciate it if teams that choose to check in later would still bring their lockout systems to the check-in desk around 6:00 p.m. so we can use them for scrimmage rounds.

Teams that don’t arrive at the hotel until Saturday morning can check in between 7:30 and 8:30 at the reigstration area for the Minnesota Valley Ballroom. Teams that checked in on Friday do not need to check in again on Saturday.

Information Desk:

NAQT will be operating an Information Desk throughout the tournament on the second-floor balcony near the elevators and the Blue Heron Colony room. The Information Desk will be in contact with all control rooms and the stat room throughout the day, and it should be the first place to turn with any sort of question.


Between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Friday night, rooms will be set up in the hotel for teams to scrimmage against each other on questions from previous NAQT tournaments. This scrimmaging is free and will be moderated by tournament staff. We encourage all teams to come by to play a practice game or two. This will be an excellent introduction to the NAQT format, official rules, moderating style, and "nationals difficulty."

Scrimmage rounds will be organized in the foyer of the Minnesota Valley Ballroom; this is just a few feet beyond team check-in at the registration area.

Scrimmages are open to all players, including alternates and standby teams. Ineligible players (e.g., parents or coaches) may not compete at this time, as the purpose of the scrimmages is to let actual teams experience actual tournament conditions. Parents and coaches may partake of quiz bowl during the Sunday consolation rounds.


The top ten teams will each receive a team trophy, and the members (and coach) of those teams will receive individual awards (up to six per team). The top ten individual scorers will receive All-Star awards.

In addition, the top three underclassmen who are not overall All-Stars will receive Rising Star awards. All individual awards will be based on the results of the preliminary rounds. Players in eighth grade (or below) are not eligible for Rising Star awards.

Players must have at least 120 tossups heard (approximately six games) to be eligible for individual awards.


Tournament T-shirts are available to players and coaches at $15 each. These may be ordered when submitting the team’s registration form. They will also be available for sale during the tournament.


Teams will want to fly into Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP). There is a free hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel.


The Minneapolis Hilton is now full; NAQT has arranged an overflow hotel.

The official hotel for the tournament is the Hilton MSP/Mall of America itself. Quadruple-occupancy rooms (with two double beds) are available for $89 per night To receive that rate, book via this website or mention the group code "NAQT" when making a reservation over the phone. The last day to reserve rooms at this special price is April 11. Note that there are several Hilton hotels in the Twin Cities area; make sure that your reservations are at the proper one.

Parking is complimentary to all tournament attendees regardless of whether they are staying at the hotel. This includes buses.

As part of the contract negotiated by NAQT, the hotel will offer complimentary guest room Internet access to tournament participants and their families. This only applies to rooms booked using the NAQT group code.

The hotel has a complimentary shuttle to MSP airport. Teams may rent cars if they want to have more freedom to travel, but there is no need to have a car merely to reach the tournament from the airport.

Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America
3800 American Blvd E.
Bloomington, MN 55425
Telephone: 952.854.2100
Fax: 952.854.8002

Overflow Hotel:

NAQT has arranged for the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis Int’l Airport to serve as the overflow hotel for the tournament. Note that there are multple Crowne Plaza hotels in the Twin Cities (and its suburbs); make sure you are booking at the correct one.

The Crowne Plaza has king and (quadruple occupancy) double/double rooms available for $95/night. There are also suites with two double beds and a pull-out sofa available for $115. The suites could conceivably sleep six, so they might be a good deal for large teams.

In-and-out parking is complimentary. Bus parking is also complimentary, but teams must contact the hotel in advance to ensure that sufficient space is reserved. Guest-room Internet is complimentary.

The hotel operates a free shuttle to the Minneapolis airport and another to the Mall of America.

The Crowne Plaza is within an easy walk of the Minneapolis Hilton; walking directions can be found here. Note that you should follow the dotted path on that map as the (slightly) more direct route cuts across a Park-and-Ride lot surrounded by fences (though it’s okay to exit the Crowne Plaza on the north side).

To make reservations at the overflow hotel, call 877.810.5190 and say that you are with "National Academic Quiz Tournaments" (our group code is QUZ). Teams can also make reservations online.

Crowne Plaza Minneapolis International Airport
3 Appletree Square
Bloomington, Minnesota 55425
952.854.9000 (general)
877.810.5190 (reservations)


The hotel operates a complimentary shuttle between MSP airport and the hotel. Since the official hotel is also serving as the competition site, NAQT will not be providing additional shuttle or bus services.

Relationship to the HSNCT:

Small schools remain eligible and welcome to attend the 2014 HSNCT, which is NAQT’s overall championship for high schools (but the HSNCT will no longer name a Top Small School as it did prior to 2014). The SSNCT and HSNCT will use different question sets, and a school that attends both will receive a $100 discount on its HSNCT registration fee.

Further Questions:

To ask specific questions about the SSNCT, please contact us:

  • by e-mail at ssnct@naqt.com
  • by phone at 1‑888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”)
  • by fax at 1‑413‑473‑1617
  • by postal mail at:
    11521 W 69th Street
    Shawnee, KS 66203

We look forward to answering any and all questions, no matter how expansive or trivial, in the hopes of eliminating any possible confusion or mistakes in teams’ plans. If something’s not clear, let us know!