Collegiate Eligibility Rules

    1. Scope
      1. This document defines NAQT’s eligibility rules for collegiate tournaments.
      2. These rules apply to the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT) and Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCTs).
      3. NAQT suggests, but does not require, that other collegiate tournaments using questions from NAQT adopt these eligibility rules. NAQT recommends that hosts explicitly indicate the eligibility rules that apply to their tournaments.
      4. Collegiate tournaments not using questions from NAQT are welcome to use these rules—including linking to them, duplicating them, and distributing them to teams—so long as NAQT is credited as their creator. It is not necessary to inform NAQT that this is being done.
    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.
      2. If a group of schools is recognized as a consortium, or otherwise allowed to compete as a unit, by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, or United States Collegiate Athletic Association, then the schools will be treated as a single school for the purposes of NAQT competition.
        1. If the schools’ squads wish to compete separately, they may do so provided that the leaders of all relevant squads notify at least 14 days before the first tournament of the competition year at which the squads will compete (whether together or separately). It is not possible to change this status after having competed in a given competition year. This notification must be repeated (if applicable) each competition year.
        2. NAQT may otherwise decide to allow groups of schools to compete as a single school at its discretion, generally based on precedent in quiz bowl and other intercollegiate competition.
    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 credit as part of a degree-granting program or path during the competition year at that institution. This establishes an affiliation for the entire competition year, not just the duration of that term.
        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 their 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 according to the procedure of section H.
        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 (such as, but not limited to, a professional or post-graduate certificate) are eligible if, as part of the non-degree program, they are enrolled in a course that is also part of the curriculum for a standard degree-granting program or path in the same field.
      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 C.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 they are otherwise eligible.
        2. A student in such a situation must notify NAQT at 14 calendar days before they compete 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 they will play. Competing in Buzzword does not count as “appearing” for a squad.
      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 C.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 C.8.b.
        2. If a player exercises the option described in Eligibility Rule C.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 their campus’s playing unit in subsequent events in that competition year. [This rule supersedes Eligibility Rule C.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 C.7 and C.8.a). In no case may a player without a student affiliation participate on a team.
      10. A team that used an ineligible player in an event must retroactively forfeit all games in which that player appeared along with any benefits (e.g. ICT invitations) based on those games.
    4. Bans

      NAQT may ban specific players, coaches, squads, and/or organizations for a specific period of time, or indefinitely, in accordance with NAQT’s rules and procedures regarding improper conduct.

      1. When considering bans, NAQT will apply Section K of its Gameplay Rules. This may be applied to conduct that occurred at quiz bowl tournaments (regardless of whether the tournaments used the NAQT Gameplay Rules and/or NAQT questions) or outside of tournaments.
      2. A ban precludes participation in events using NAQT eligibility rules (and qualification thereto) regardless of other eligibility criteria.
      3. NAQT will communicate bans to the banned parties unless NAQT determines that communicating the ban is unnecessary to prevent their participation or NAQT is unable to find contact information for the banned parties. In these cases, NAQT will communicate the ban to whomever NAQT deems relevant, such as (but not necessarily limited to) coaches, school administrations, etc.
      4. NAQT may also communicate (or not communicate, as NAQT deems appropriate) a ban to any party, including (but not necessarily limited to) tournament hosts, school administrations, other quiz bowl organizations, and quiz bowl community members.
    5. Competing at Multiple Levels
      1. If a player has affiliations with institutions at different educational levels (middle school, high school, community college, college, etc.), they may compete for all such institutions up to and including attending multiple national championships, except as excluded below.
      2. Such a player may be prevented from attending some such tournaments due to the use of identical or overlapping question sets.
      3. The provisions in this section do not override the requirements for notification in Eligibility Rule C.6.b (nor any other rules).
      4. In a given competition year, a player may only compete at NAQT championship events at the secondary or post-secondary levels, but not both. The secondary-level NAQT championships are the Middle School National Championship Tournament, Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT), High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT), and Individual Player National Championship Tournament (IPNCT); the post-secondary-level NAQT championships are the Community College Sectional Championship Tournaments (CC SCT), Community College Championship Tournament (CCCT), four-year Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCT), and Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT). For example, a player may not play both the HSNCT and CC SCT (but may play both the MSNCT and HSNCT, if otherwise eligible). This applies regardless of dual-enrollment status and does not affect eligibility to compete in events other than the aforementioned NAQT championships, even if they use NAQT eligibility rules.
    6. 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.
    7. Responsibility

      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.
    8. Exceptions and Special Rulings

      Requests for exceptions to these Eligibility Rules, and requests to evaluate unusual and/or unanticipated situations under them, must be received by the NAQT Eligibility Committee at at least 14 calendar days before the start of the first relevant event. Retroactive requests are not considered. The request must come from the player themself or a coach of their squad. When requests come from players themselves, NAQT will ensure that decisions and their consequences are communicated to squad leadership.

    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