2023 High School National Championship Tournament Logistics Information

The 2023 High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the Hilton Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 26–28, 2023. The 2022 HSNCT was also held at these sites. The two hotels are connected by a short skybridge. NAQT has guest room blocks in both hotels.

The HSNCT is NAQT’s overall high school championship event. NAQT also runs a Small School National Championship Tournament for small high schools. Make sure you are looking at information for the correct tournament. (Qualified Small Schools are welcome to attend the HSNCT, even if they also attend the SSNCT!)

Registration is now open for qualified teams. Rosters may be changed after registration, so it is neither necessary nor desirable to wait to register until a team’s composition has been finalized. Register as soon as possible and update the registration later if necessary.

Register Now

Contents

    Date

    May 26–28, 2023 (Friday–Sunday). This is Memorial Day weekend.

    Participants will check in on Friday, May 26 and have the opportunity to meet each other and play scrimmage games.

    The tournament’s preliminary games will take place throughout Saturday and on Sunday morning, and the playoff games will take place on Sunday afternoon and evening. Teams may arrive earlier or stay later to explore Atlanta at the discounted hotel rates negotiated by NAQT. Teams that cannot arrive on Friday night will have a chance to check in on Saturday.

    Location

    The Atlanta Marriott Marquis and Hilton Atlanta hotels in Atlanta, Georgia.

    The two hotels are connected by a short skybridge.

    COVID-19 Safety

    NAQT very strongly recommends that all participants (including spectators) receive all vaccinations for COVID-19 for which they are medically eligible.

    NAQT strongly recommends that all participants wear a well-fitting N95, KN95, or KF94 mask that properly covers their nostrils and mouth at all times while in tournament spaces. NAQT reserves the right to change this recommendation to a requirement that participants wear masks. Such a requirement might be instituted at any time, including during the tournament, and might apply to everyone present or only to specific people (e.g., in cases of close contact with someone who has tested positive). Such a requirement might include only certain kinds of masks being acceptable. Details such as what types of masks are acceptable, and whether NAQT will provide them or participants must provide their own, will be determined later if necessary.

    Any person showing symptoms of COVID-19 must immediately remove themself from tournament spaces unless and until they can provide proof of them testing negative for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours. NAQT reserves the right to make all judgments necessary for enforcing this policy.

    Schedule

    The general schedule for the tournament will consist of check-in and (optional) scrimmage games on Friday night, preliminary games on Saturday and Sunday morning, and playoffs on Sunday afternoon and evening.

    For Saturday, teams will be assigned to either the Morning Session or the Afternoon Session of games. Each team will play seven games in exactly one session and will be free during the other session. Each team will play three additional preliminary games on Sunday morning.

    A more detailed schedule will be posted closer to the tournament.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    NAQT has prepared answers to frequently asked questions about its national championships.

    Information Desk

    Starting Friday evening, NAQT will operate an Information Desk. The Information Desk should be the first destination for any questions about or issues with the tournament (other than protests, which must be lodged within the game room).

    Participants may also text 213‑279‑6278 (“NAQT”) with questions if it is inconvenient for them to get to the Information Desk (standard messaging rates apply). Tournament staff will answer incoming messages as quickly as they can.

    In general, lost-and-found items will be taken to the Information Desk during the tournament. We will notify owners to the extent we can identify them. At the end of the tournament, any unclaimed items will be brought to the hotel’s general lost-and-found.

    Rules and Eligibility

    Gameplay will follow the Official NAQT Rules. Player eligibility is governed by the High School Eligibility Rules.

    Qualification

    Schools qualify to send teams to the HSNCT through their performance at tournaments using NAQT questions throughout the year.

    Registration is now open for qualified teams. Rosters may be changed after registration, so it is neither necessary nor desirable to wait to register until a team’s composition has been finalized. Register as soon as possible and update the registration later if necessary.

    Register Now

    The field has historically filled. Receiving an invitation to the tournament does not guarantee a spot in the field; it merely allows your team to register for a spot if one is available. Once you have qualified, you should register as soon as you can to ensure your team a spot in the tournament. Last year, the field filled around March 1 (though some teams were promoted from the waitlist after that).

    Teams who have not qualified as of Wednesday, February 1, 2023 will be able to request a wildcard invitation (while also continuing to try to qualify automatically by their tournament performance).

    Teams who don’t receive an invitation may attempt to participate in the tournament on a standby basis. Standby signup begins on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. The order of standby teams who sign up in the first 24 hours will be randomized; standby teams who sign up after the first 24 hours will be added to the list in order of signup. Qualified teams may also attend on a standby basis. Standby teams are not guaranteed to participate; they are added to the field if replacement or additional teams are needed.

    Field

    The field is currently limited to 256 teams; these teams have registered. NAQT may expand the field depending on the level of interest and the availability of resources.

    Format

    Saturday Preliminary Rounds (1–14)

    The preliminary rounds will take place using power-matching, also known as “the card system.” That is, each team’s opponents (after their first game) will depend on their performance in previous rounds, and teams will always face opponents with the same record or as near to the same record as possible. Because of this system, it is not possible to know each team’s opponents in advance.

    On Saturday, each team will play seven games in either the Morning Session (rounds 1–7) or the Afternoon Session (rounds 8–14) and be free during the other session.

    Sunday Preliminary Rounds (15–20)

    On Sunday morning, every team will play three more games (still according to the same power-matching scheme) and have three byes. Each team will begin using the same card they finished Saturday with, so teams must not lose their cards overnight.

    Playoff Rounds (21–31)

    Teams who won six or more of their preliminary games will compete in double-elimination playoffs, except that teams who went exactly 6–4 may begin in the elimination bracket (i.e., as if they had already lost one playoff game). The playoff bracket will be seeded by preliminary win-loss record followed by points per tossup heard. Depending on how many teams make the playoffs, some teams may receive byes.

    For the finals, there are two possible cases depending on the results of the semifinal round. In the semifinal round, the last team who has not lost in the playoffs will play a team who has taken one loss in the playoffs, while the other game will involve two teams who have each taken one loss in the playoffs. If the team who has not lost in the playoffs wins its semifinal game, then it will have the advantage in a final against the winner of the other semifinal game, that is, the former team need only win one of two games to claim the championship, while the latter team must win two games to claim the championship; meanwhile, the teams who lost the semifinal games will play for third place. If the team who had not yet lost in the playoffs loses its semifinal game, then the final will be a three-team, two-game procedure: the two semifinal winners will play each other, and the winner of that game will play the team who had not lost before the semifinals in a one-game final, while the team eliminated in the semifinal round will finish in fourth place.

    All teams eliminated in the same round of the playoffs will be considered tied. Teams who did not make the playoffs will be ranked (behind teams who made the playoffs) by win-loss record followed by points per tossup heard.

    Fees and Payment

    Registration is now open for qualified teams. Rosters may be changed after registration, so it is neither necessary nor desirable to wait to register until a team’s composition has been finalized. Register as soon as possible and update the registration later if necessary.

    Register Now

    The registration fee is $805 per team.

    The registration fee only covers participation in the tournament. It does not cover transportation, lodging, food or other expenses.

    Teams who bring a working buzzer system to the tournament will be eligible for a $30 discount on the registration fee if it meets NAQT’s national-championship standards. There may be some surprises in that policy! Please read it in advance to make sure your system qualifies.

    Unless otherwise approved by NAQT, no team may receive more than four buzzer-system discounts.

    NAQT will only award the discount for buzzer systems that it receives by 9:30 p.m. Friday and may keep until 7:00 p.m. Sunday; if you cannot commit to those times, do not register to bring a buzzer system!

    NAQT will begin returning team-provided buzzer systems at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday (and not before, except in emergencies). As mentioned above, this might make it impractical for teams planning to leave as soon as they are eliminated to receive buzzer-system discounts (as their systems will not have been returned at that point). Buzzer return will stay open until 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. If a team knows in advance they will be unable to pick up their buzzer system in time, they should make special arrangements at check-in; barring other arrangements, unclaimed buzzer systems will be left with the hotel bell desk.

    Other Discounts

    Teams attending both this tournament and the Small School National Championship Tournament will receive a $125 discount on their HSNCT registration fee.

    Payment

    Payment is due by the beginning of the tournament. NAQT strongly prefers payment prior to tournament check-in but also accepts payments at check-in. Schools that will be unable to pay by this time (typically for reasons related to school bureaucracies) should discuss their situation with NAQT well in advance.

    NAQT will send invoices well in advance of the tournament. If you would like to pay or request an invoice earlier, once you have entered all the information that can affect costs (but not necessarily entered your roster), at the bottom of your registration page or the field page (while you’re logged in), click “View Cost.” Verify that the listed information is correct, and if so, follow the instructions to request an invoice (so we have the proper billing information); you will also be offered the opportunity to pay by credit card.

    Checks, payable to “NAQT,” should be sent to

    National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
    11521 W 69th St
    Shawnee, KS 66203–3749

    Please send questions about billing to billing@naqt.com.

    Cancellation

    Teams who cancel their registration between March 15 and April 14 (inclusive) will owe a cancellation fee of $79.50. Starting one week after the field first fills or on April 15, whichever comes first, teams who cancel their registration will owe a cancellation fee of $397.50. Teams who cancel their registration on or after May 1, or who fail to show up to the tournament, will owe a cancellation fee of $596.25. These deadlines notwithstanding, teams will always have a seven-day grace period after registering during which they can cancel without incurring a fee.

    Failure to submit participation agreements on time may be treated as a cancellation, including incurring a cancellation fee, at NAQT’s discretion.

    Cancellation due to COVID-19

    NAQT expects all prospective participants to follow the recommendations of the CDC (and any other applicable health agencies) with regard to isolation, quarantine, not traveling, etc., based on testing positive for COVID-19, having symptoms thereof, or having been exposed to people who are symptomatic or who have tested positive, etc.—even if that means they are unable to participate in the tournament.

    NAQT will waive cancellation fees for any team whose chaperone or any player is unable to participate due to following such recommendations, though NAQT strongly prefers affected teams to play shorthanded or find an alternative chaperone if at all possible. For a cancellation fee waiver, notice should be given to NAQT as early as possible, supporting documentation or information may be required, and the offer is only available to teams who are in full compliance with other requirements pertaining to payment, submission of participation agreements, etc.

    Participation Agreements

    Players, coaches, and chaperones must sign a participation agreement covering expectations, media coverage, etc. All agreements must be submitted to participate@naqt.com by Friday, May 12, 2023.

    For participants who are under age 18, both the participant and their parent/guardian must sign the agreement. For participants who have reached age 18, NAQT strongly recommends and requests that the parent/guardian sign in addition to the participant.

    Download Agreement Form

    The signature(s) on the participation agreement must be handwritten, not typed. The agreement may be submitted by sending a scan or photo to participate@naqt.com. Only the last page is required unless the participant is indicating a preference not to be recorded (in which case the page with the checkbox to indicate that preference must be included).

    Chaperones

    Every team must have a chaperone, subject to the following rules:

    All players’ parents/guardians must affirm (via the participation agreement) that they accept their child’s team’s chaperone and the chaperone’s role of responsibility.

    Teams who wish to request a variance from the chaperone policy should write to NAQT at hsnct@naqt.com well in advance of the tournament to discuss their situation.

    Session Assignments

    There will be two sessions of play on Saturday. Each team will be assigned to either the Morning Session or the Afternoon Session; this determines whether it plays its first seven preliminary games on Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon. The two groups will be merged for each team’s last three preliminary games on Sunday morning.

    Each team may request a specific session. The first 150 session requests (by the time the sessions are requested via the registration form, which is not necessarily the same as the time of registration itself) will be guaranteed, provided that neither session is requested by more teams than can fit in it. Session requests after the first 150 will be subject to NAQT’s efforts to balance the sessions and other considerations. However, for schools that enter multiple teams, NAQT will always honor the school’s preference as to whether those teams are assigned to the same session or spread out (unless doing so is truly impossible).

    NAQT will assign and announce sessions no later than May 13, 2023.

    Checking In

    The primary check-in period will be from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26. During this period NAQT will be distributing information folders, answering questions, receiving payments, verifying rosters, and taking care of other administrative matters. There are “late” check-in periods on Saturday, but NAQT would prefer that as many teams as possible check in on Friday night.

    To check in, each team should send only one coach or chaperone to the check-in area. That person will be given the team’s information folder. Others should not enter the check-in area.

    In past years there has been a long line just after check-in opens, so we encourage teams to keep an eye on the line and send one person to check in when the line is short. There is no need to check in immediately. In particular, it is not necessary to check in before playing scrimmage games.

    Teams that don’t arrive at the hotel until after 9:30 p.m. on Friday may check in early Saturday morning or (if they are in the Afternoon Session) early Saturday afternoon. Teams that checked in on Friday do not need to check in again on Saturday.

    Scrimmages

    On Friday night, game rooms will be set up for teams to scrimmage against each other on questions from previous championships and/or the regular season. This scrimmaging is free and will be moderated by tournament staff.

    A team does not need to have checked in to play scrimmage games.

    Scrimmages are open to all players, including alternates and standby teams.

    Availability of scrimmage games will likely be limited, and priority may be given to schools with less experience with NAQT-style quiz bowl.

    Awards

    The top teams will receive trophies, and the members of those teams will receive medals (up to five per team). The number of teams receiving these awards will depend on the field size.

    The top individual scorers (determined by points per tossup heard in the preliminary rounds) will receive All-Star medals. There will also be awards for the top freshmen and top sophomores. The number of medals in each category given will depend on the final field size.

    Consolation Games

    Teams who do not qualify for the playoffs are encouraged to return at the beginning of the playoffs to play consolation games on the playoff questions. These games will be moderated by tournament staff.

    Details about the structure and procedure for consolation games will be determined closer to the tournament.

    Consolation games have no effect on a team’s final rank in the tournament. They are played solely for fun.

    Transportation

    Flights

    Participants should fly into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (airport code ATL).

    Ground Transportation

    The hotels do not operate a shuttle to or from the airport.

    NAQT recommends that participants take the MARTA train to reach the tournament. It is safe and convenient; there are also taxi and shuttle options, but MARTA will probably be the easiest and cheapest way to travel. It is approximately a 20-minute trip.

    Taking the MARTA train costs $6 per person for a two-trip Breeze ticket. To reach the Marriott Marquis, take a northbound Red Line or Gold Line train (it doesn’t matter which one) from the airport to Peachtree Center Station (one stop north of the Five Points transfer station). After getting off the train, take the escalator labeled “John Portman Blvd.” to the mezzanine, then follow the signs to “Peachtree Street East” after walking through the fare gate. At street level, turn right (north) on Peachtree Street then right (east) on John Portman Boulevard. The hotel is one block down at the intersection of John Portman Boulevard and Peachtree Center Avenue. Here is a map of the walking directions. Between roughly 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., you can also walk through the Peachtree Center mall and cross the skyway to the Marriott Marquis. The Hilton is through a further walkway after crossing the Marriott Marquis.

    Driving Directions

    The Atlanta Marriott Marquis’s address is 265 Peachtree Center Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia.

    The Hilton Atlanta’s address is 255 Courtland Street Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia.

    Parking

    Parking standard vehicles at the Hilton Atlanta is $32/day (without in-and-out privileges) for overnight guests who book in NAQT’s block; it is $32/day (without in-and-out privileges) for people not staying at the hotel.

    Parking standard vehicles at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis is $16/day, including in-and-out privileges. The hotel only offers valet parking, so participants should be prepared to hand over their keys in exchange for a valet ticket when they reach the hotel. Parked cars will not be easily accessible, so participants should remove everything they will need before leaving their car and allow extra time for retrieving their car when leaving.

    Groups with large vehicles (vans, buses) should contact their hotel to discuss options for parking. They will likely have to park off-site.

    Hotel

    The official hotels for the tournament are the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the Hilton Atlanta. Rooms are available for $125 per night. There are several hotels with similar names in the Atlanta area; make sure you are reserving rooms at one of the correct, downtown hotels!

    Book at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Book at the Hilton Atlanta

    The last day to reserve rooms at our rate is May 10. There is little difference between the hotels’ accommodations; teams should book in either.

    Between the HSNCT and the other events scheduled to be held at the hotels, it is expected that the hotels will run out of rooms. NAQT strongly recommends that teams book their rooms as early as possible, particularly if they want quadruple-occupancy rooms (with two double beds).

    We have room blocks that are calculated to cover the entire tournament, but we encourage teams to reserve their rooms as early as possible; if we end up needing more space, we would like as much time as possible to negotiate that!

    As part of the contracts negotiated by NAQT, the hotels will offer complimentary guest room Internet access to tournament participants and their families. This only applies to rooms booked using the NAQT group codes.

    The standard checkout time at both hotels is 11:00 a.m. Teams that are not staying Sunday night should make sure to check out of their rooms before their Sunday-morning games.

    Food

    The hotel is connected by skyway to a 60-restaurant food court at Peachtree Center that offers a variety of affordable meals (sandwiches, Thai, pizza, Chinese, cheesesteaks, etc.). There are also restaurants in the hotel itself, and more within walking distance, that should satisfy any combination of appetite and price range.

    Advocate Program

    Because NAQT believes that quiz bowl is an activity for everybody, and in which all participants should feel welcome and respected, we have established the Advocate Program to make sure select tournament staff are available to hear reports about problematic behavior and comments by anyone at the tournament.

    Staff wearing blue ribbons that say “Advocate” have been specifically selected to receive reports about inappropriate behavior (as opposed to run-of-the-mill questions about the quiz bowl aspects of the tournament). At least one such staff member will generally be available at the Information Desk during tournament hours; if no such person is available (e.g., due to being on a break), the other Information Desk staff can be asked to have a senior tournament official come to the Information Desk to hear the report. Additional Advocate Program staff will be available in many places around the tournament site.

    Feedback about problematic behavior can, of course, always be sent to NAQT by email (advocate@naqt.com) or other channels such as the Misconduct Reporting Form, but the Advocate Program is intended to allow for in-person reporting of sensitive complaints on-site so they can be handled immediately.

    Reports are confidential to the extent permitted by law and NAQT’s agreements to share critical information with other quiz bowl organizations.

    Practice Material

    Participants may be interested in purchasing questions from previous years to prepare for the event. All of NAQT’s past regular-season sets are available, as are the sets from previous championships.

    Participants may also want to purchase frequency lists, Power Up study guides, and/or Thumbs Up! question anthologies. These are also available on our practice materials page.

    Finally, participants may want to look at the information contained in NAQT’s free You Gotta Know articles before the tournament. These detail the most frequently asked-about question topics in a wide variety of areas.

    Spectators

    Spectators are welcome to attend any and all parts of the tournament (though some portions may have limited capacity).

    No registration or tickets are required for spectators.

    Spectators are required to comply with all COVID-19 safety measures.

    Sightseeing

    The hotel is downtown and within walking distance (10–15 minutes) of many of Atlanta’s major attractions, including the Georgia Aquarium, the High Museum, Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the College Football Hall of Fame.

    Social Media

    The official hashtag for the tournament is hsnct; please use this tag for all posts about the tournament.

    Remember that question content for the championship cannot be posted online (or shared through other channels)! This means that players, coaches, spectators, and moderators should not discuss clues, answers, or even overall themes (e.g., “Lots of opera”) with people on other teams (even those from the same school).

    We will post highlights from the tournament on NAQT’s social media, especially Twitter (@NAQTLive) and Instagram (@NAQTqb).

    NAQT Nationals app logo

    Companion Mobile App

    NAQT has created a companion mobile app for attendees. The app includes the tournament schedule (with the ability to set reminders for various events), links to results, maps of the venue, help reaching the Information Desk, connections to social media, and other important documents related to the tournament.

    Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

    Relationship to the SSNCT

    Small Schools are eligible and welcome to attend the HSNCT (if qualified), regardless of whether they attend the Small School National Championship Tournament. The SSNCT and HSNCT will use different question sets, and a school that attends both will receive a $125 discount on its HSNCT registration fee.

    Further Questions

    To ask specific questions about the HSNCT, write to hsnct@naqt.com.

    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 participants’ plans. If something’s not clear, let us know!

    2023 High School National Championship Tournament

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