Geographic Exclusivity

Geographic exclusivity is a policy that helps ensure the secure nature of the questions used at tournaments since the same set will be used on different dates around the country. Essentially, it is the right to host a tournament using a specific set of questions in a specific set of states.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about geographic exclusivity is that it does not affect the teams that are allowed to attend a tournament. A team from California may attend a tournament in New York regardless of the tournament’s geographic exclusivity—but it must check with the host first to make sure that it has not heard the questions at another tournament. If the host had requested California exclusivity, the team could attend without fear of hearing those same questions at an in-state tournament.

Geographical exclusivity is only applied by NAQT to high school invitationals; collegiate tournaments at any level (sectional, invitational, intramural) are not affected by it.

Hosts specify the exclusivity that they want by providing a list of states; NAQT will not allow another tournament to be hosted in any of those states using the same questions. Tournaments may be hosted at any time in any of those states, even on the same day, using different sets of questions.

Hosts of open tournaments (i.e., events that are not restricted to teams in a pre-existing league, a single city, or a single county) must purchase geographic exclusivity for the state in which the event is hosted.

This means that the hypothetical California team, by going to New York, may be unable to attend a local tournament that is using the same set of questions. Similarly, it’s unlikely that they would attend the New York tournament in the first place since they would be able to attend a local tournament. Hosts request geographic exclusivity in order to allow them to run “regional” tournaments attended by many teams: Their attendance would go down if teams were forced to choose between their tournament and a closer one using the same set of questions.

It is the responsibility of hosts to announce the name of the NAQT set that will be used at their tournaments and the responsibility of participating schools to make sure that they have not attended (and do not plan to attend) a second tournament using those questions. The list of packet sets used (or scheduled to be used) at all tournaments in the current school year is available on the NAQT website. NAQT has a full description of the various parties’ responsibilities in maintaining question security.

All tournaments receive geographic exclusivity for the state in which they are hosted.

There is a cost to requesting additional geographic exclusivity, however. Hosts must pay for at least ten teams from each additional state for which they have exclusivity.

For example, if a tournament in Minnesota requested additional exclusivity for Iowa and 5 teams from Iowa and 17 from Minnesota attended, that host must pay as if 10 teams from Iowa attended and 17 from Minnesota. If the host had not requested Iowa exclusivity, then he or she would only pay for 5 teams from Iowa (and 17 from Minnesota). Note that this “minimum of 10” only applies to additional states; if only 6 teams had attended from Minnesota, the host would only pay for those 6 teams despite the fact that the host does have geographic exclusivity for Minnesota (the difference being, of course, that Minnesota is the tournament’s “home state.”)

Also note that for the purposes of calculating geographic exclusivity, Northern California and Southern California are treated as separate states; Northern Florida and Southern Florida are treated as separate states; New York City and Upstate New York are treated as separate states; Eastern Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania are treated as separate states; El Paso and the rest of Texas are treated as separate states; Rhode Island and Connecticut are considered to be a single unit; and Maryland and the District of Columbia are considered to be a single unit.

If you have questions about this policy, or if you think that it should be amended in a particular case, please feel free to contact NAQT at