Collegiate Eligibility Rules

    1. Events
      1. These rules apply to the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT) and Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCTs).
      2. Other events may also be run according to these Eligibility Rules in accordance with the desires of their tournament directors.
      3. When using these rules at an event, it is necessary to credit NAQT as the source of the Eligibility Rules, but it is not necessary to explicitly notify NAQT that its rules are being used.
    2. Schools
      1. Tournaments run according to these Eligibility Rules are open to students at all accredited post-secondary educational institutions. This includes military academies, historically black colleges and universities, junior colleges, and so forth.
    3. Individuals
      1. For the purpose of determining eligibility, the competition year is defined to extend from August 1 through July 31 of the following calendar year (for example, the 2017–2018 competition year began on August 1, 2017). For eligibility purposes, courses or other degree work must be undertaken in an academic term for which the majority of its days falls within the competition year.
      2. A player establishes a student affiliation at an institution for a given competition year by registering for at least one course normally offered for degree credit during the competition year at that institution. This establishes an affiliation for the entire competition year, not just the duration of that academic term. For the purposes of these rules, academic certificates do not count as degrees.
        1. A player must be registered for the equivalent of three semester or quarter hours.
        2. A player registered for a lower course load may be eligible, so long as the player is certified by his or her degree program(s) as making normal progress toward the degree(s) or that the lower course load is all that is necessary to finish the degree(s). This status must be confirmed in advance, under Eligibility Rule 12.
        3. A player who engages in work other than courses (including, but not limited to, thesis research) necessary for attaining the degree(s) the player is pursuing establishes an affiliation even if the player takes no courses in the competition year.
        4. Players taking courses in non-degree programs are not eligible unless approved in advance, under Eligibility Rule 12.
      3. If for the purpose of establishing a student affiliation a player is using a course undertaken in an academic term prior to the given event, such course must have been satisfactorily completed, or the player must have an approved extension or acknowledgment of satisfactory progress toward completion from the player’s institution.
      4. A player may appear in an event prior to undertaking the course or engaging in non-course work; teams should note that failure to undertake the required course or non-course work renders a player retroactively ineligible and subjects the team to the penalty described in Eligibility Rule 10.
      5. A squad consists of all players permitted to play on teams representing an eligible institution.
        1. To be eligible to represent an institution, a player must have a student affiliation at an eligible institution or a branch or associated campus.
        2. An eligible institution is an accredited institution which confers degrees beyond the high school or International Baccalaureate diplomas, or the equivalent.
      6. A student that has an affiliation with a post-secondary school may also have an affiliation with a primary or secondary school and thus be eligible to join its high school squad in accordance with NAQT’s High School Eligibility Rules.
        1. A student in such a situation may compete for both the high school squad and the college squad in the same competition year. In some cases, the use of the same questions in high school and collegiate tournaments may force such a player to forgo a tournament for which s/he is otherwise eligible.
        2. A student in such a situation must notify NAQT at 14 calendar days before s/he competes for the second squad. Failure to do so will result in all appearances for the second squad being recorded as forfeit losses.
      7. A player may appear for only one squad representing a post-secondary institution in a given competition year. If a player has or will have a student affiliation with more than one post-secondary institution in a given competition year, the player must choose the squad for which s/he will play.
      8. If a player’s home campus has an active academic competition program, a player from that campus must play with that campus’s squad.
        1. If a player’s campus does not have an active program, that player may appear for the squad of any of that institution’s branch or associated campuses. If a player exercises this option, per Eligibility Rule 7, the player may only appear for the chosen campus’s squad in subsequent events in the same competition year, except as outlined in Eligibility Rule 8.b.
        2. If a player exercises the option described in Eligibility Rule 8.a to appear in an event, and subsequently in the same competition year that player’s campus organizes an active program, that player must appear for her or his campus’s playing unit in subsequent events in that competition year. [This rule supersedes Eligibility Rule 7.]
      9. A team must be composed solely of players eligible to represent that squad. In no case may a team consist of players from more than one school or campus (except as noted in Eligibility Rules 7 and 8.a). In no case may a player without a student affiliation participate on a team.
      10. A team which used an ineligible player in an event must retroactively forfeit all matches in which that player appeared along with any benefits (e.g. ICT invitations) based on those matches.
      11. NAQT may bar specific players, coaches, squads, and organizations from NAQT events for a period of time determined by NAQT in accordance with its rules and procedures regarding improper conduct.
      12. Appeals for exceptions to these Eligibility Rules must be made in advance to the NAQT Eligibility Committee. Please e-mail Requests must be received at least 7 calendar days in advance of the start of the competition or they will be summarily denied.
    4. Experience
      1. For events other than the Sectional Championship Tournaments and Intercollegiate Championship Tournament, tournament directors may—at their discretion and without contradicting these Eligibility Rules—place limits on the prior experience of players or on the composite experience of teams as long as the limitations…
        • Treat all otherwise eligible institutions equally.
        • Are reasonably seen to further the overall interests of quiz bowl and the quiz bowl community.
        • Are publicized along with other details of the tournament.
        • Depend only on measures of a player’s experience, time, and/or skill in quiz bowl (for instance, numbers and/or types of tournaments attended, results at tournaments, years of playing), and not irrelevant factors (such as eye color).
      2. Tournament directors may also, at their discretion and without contradicting these Eligibility Rules, divide teams into divisions based on reasonable measures of the players’ or teams’ prior experience. The teams may or may not play interdivisional games and certain prizes may be reserved for teams or players in specific divisions.
      3. The Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCTs) and the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT) must have two divisions: Division I (Open) and Division II. There must also be a Division I (Undergraduate) subdivision of Division I, though the two classes of Division I teams compete together.
    5. Responsibility
      1. At all tournaments using these Eligibility Rules…
        1. Players are responsible for knowing these Eligibility Rules and ensuring their own compliance with them.
        2. The person who registers a team is responsible for ensuring that all players on the team comply with these Eligibility Rules.
        3. If a nonpseudonymous team’s program has one or more coaches, the coach(es) is (are) responsible for ensuring that all players on the team comply with these Eligibility Rules.
        4. If a school is found to have used ineligible players, NAQT may take actions that may also affect eligible players, such as disqualifying results or rescinding invitations.


    NAQT has granted the following eligibility variances:



    • To Ryan Rosenberg to play for Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), effective August 1, 2018. Affiliation was granted to compete for Northwestern due to enrolling for an undergraduate math class that was necessary to fulfill entrance requirements for a graduate program at a different school (and this represented a concrete, necessary step in the process of obtaining a specific degree).

    All approved variances pertaining to the NAQT College Eligibility Rules in the current and next competition years are posted here. Non-approved requests are not listed.

    Collegiate Divisions

    NAQT offers three forms of collegiate quiz bowl competition — read about them all!

    Division I Undergraduate Division II
    Formal Eligibility Rules Eligibility FAQ