Ineligible Teams at Regular-Season Tournaments
NAQT recommends that tournaments use its Eligibility Rules, but most regular-season tournaments are permitted to deviate from those rules.
The most common deviation from NAQT Eligibility Rules is allowing chimera teams (teams consisting of players who don’t all attend the same school). This includes, but is not limited to, allowing a player who attends a middle school to play with a team from a corresponding high school (without NAQT having granted permission for that) or combining players from multiple schools to form a team to help “round out” a pool.
Another situation in which a team may want to play despite being ineligible is if other players from the school have already heard the question set.
Tournament directors are never required (by NAQT) to allow ineligible teams to play. Prospective players or coaches of an ineligible team may request that a tournament director allow the team to play, but the tournament director is not required to say yes, and should make sure they fully understand the implications of doing so before they agree.
Tournament directors who permit ineligible teams to play should keep in mind the following:
- Tournament directors should notify NAQT of the details of ineligible teams at their tournaments no later than when they send in results (but preferably as soon as possible, especially if the tournament is using NAQT’s registration system).
- Ineligible teams cannot qualify for NAQT national championships.
- Ineligible teams are ignored when NAQT determines how many teams qualify for national championships. For example, if a high school varsity tournament has seven teams, then ordinarily the top two teams would qualify for the High School National Championship Tournament (since 15% of 7 is 1.05, which rounds up to 2). However, if one of the seven teams is ineligible under the High School Eligibility Rules, then there are only six eligible teams, so only the top team qualifies (since 15% of 6 is 0.9, which rounds up to 1). This applies regardless of how the ineligible team performs. This means that the presence of ineligible teams can prevent eligible teams from qualifying for national championships.
- The allocation of national championship invitations when ineligible teams are involved may be counterintuitive and is solely at NAQT’s discretion.
- Depending on the reason for the ineligibility (e.g., if it is because the team’s school has already heard the question set), ineligible teams may create the perception of impropriety.
- For ineligible teams, post-tournament access to the question set(s) used by the tournament is at NAQT’s discretion.
- In some cases, state activities associations forbid their members from playing teams that don’t meet those associations’ standards of eligibility, which may include teams that are ineligible under NAQT Eligibility Rules. Schools subject to such rules would have to forfeit their matches against such teams.
- Even if not forbidden to play them, opponents of ineligible teams may be upset at playing teams that violate NAQT’s rules and/or their expectations.
- When NAQT ranks teams on its website, ineligible teams are not ranked.
- Hosts are billed for ineligible teams the same way as for eligible teams.
Please send any questions about eligibility to email@example.com.