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.

Online registration is now open.


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 is tentative.

Friday (evening)
5:00 (or upon arrival)General staff check–inTBA
6:00–10:00Team check–inTBA
6:00–10:00Optional scrimmage roundsTBA
8:00–9:00Late–arrival team check–inTBA
9:15–9:45Opening meetingBallroom
10:00–12:30Rounds 1–5Meeting rooms and parlors
12:30–2:00Lunch (not provided)
2:00–4:30Rounds 6–10Meeting rooms and parlors
8:30–12:00Rounds 11–16Meeting rooms
8:45–12:00Consolation roundsTBA
12:00–1:00Lunch (not provided)
1:00–2:20Rounds 17–18Meeting rooms
2:20Finals (1 or 2 games)Ballroom
After finalsAwardsTBA
After awardsBuzzer returnTBA
After awardsQuestion distributionTBA


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. Qualified teams may now register online.

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 48-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.


The precise format will be determined by the final size of the field. Teams are guaranteed nine preliminary matches on Saturday; the actual number may be more, depending on the final field size.

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.

NAQT may also offer "mini-tournaments" for teams interested in--and willing to commit to--more structured consolation play.

The consolation scrimmage 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 14, 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.

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. 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 still bring their lockout systems to the check-in desk around 6:00 p.m. so we can use them for scrimmage rounds.

Information Desk:

NAQT will be operating an Information Desk throughout the tournament . The Information Desk will be in contact with all control rooms and the stat room throughout the day.


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.

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 scrimmage rounds.


The exact list of trophies and awards will depend on the final size of the field; more teams will mean more trophies!

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


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)

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 888.411.6278 ("NAQT")
  • by fax at 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!