Qualifying for the HSNCT
There are two ways in which a school may qualify for the NAQT High School National Championship Tournament:
Finishing in the top 15% of the field at a high school varsity tournament that uses NAQT questions and is attended by teams from at least three schools.
- This includes traditional one-day tournaments, leagues, televised tournaments, and all other events that use questions provided by NAQT (regardless of whether they use NAQT gameplay rules), as long as their results can be interpreted as having a coherent ranking of the teams that play them.
- This computation “rounds up,” so a tournament with 15 teams results in three (2.25 rounded up) invitations.
- In general, every team tied for a spot in the top 15% receives an invitation, though NAQT reserves the right to break ties reported by the host at its discretion (and so award fewer qualifications).
- “Varsity” means that the tournament must not use rules that exclude schools, teams, or players on the basis of stronger ability in quiz bowl, stronger academic ability, or other similar factors (including the perception of such factors), nor may it be limited to younger players by age or grade.
Winning any class or division of a varsity state championship (or championship of a region or equivalent or larger scope, such as provinces, countries, and multi-country regions) with rules and questions similar to those of NAQT.
- Such events must be run by recognized administrative bodies whose scope is the entirety of the state (or other applicable region).
- The same definition of “varsity” applies as from the previous qualification criterion.
Invitations to the HSNCT are generally based on the NAQT High School Eligibility Rules, but hosts are permitted (though not encouraged) to deviate from NAQT’s eligibility rules. In general, a team’s performance cannot qualify it to the HSNCT if it would be ineligible to play at the HSNCT (e.g., if it comprises players from multiple schools or includes one or more players who are ineligible to play at the HSNCT under the High School Eligibility Rules). However, NAQT may choose to consider qualification based on other eligibility rules, as for events run by major state activities/athletic associations. In such cases, teams may qualify to the HSNCT despite not satisfying the High School Eligibility Rules, but if they attend the HSNCT, the team there must satisfy the High School Eligibility Rules.
NAQT reserves the right to adjust rankings submitted by hosts to better conform to game results. In such cases, if the host requests it, we will post both the original ranking and NAQT’s ranking (but qualification to the HSNCT will be based on NAQT’s ranking).
If a tournament divides its field into varsity and junior varsity divisions (or similar divisions based on skill) that don’t compete against each other, then only teams from the varsity division may qualify for the HSNCT, but the number that qualify will be equal to 15% of the total field from both divisions (rounded up). For instance, if there are 10 varsity and 10 junior-varsity teams, then a total of 3 teams will qualify ((10 + 10) × 15% = 3), but they will all come from the varsity division. Winners of junior varsity divisions are encouraged to apply for wildcards.
If a tournament divides its field into divisions based on school size and/or school type (e.g., public versus private) that don’t compete against each other, then each division will be considered a separate tournament for the sake of qualification. If 10 “class A” schools and 16 “class B” schools attend, then two (10 × (15%) = 1.5, which rounds up to 2) “class A” schools and three (16 × (15%) = 2.4, rounds to 3) “class B” schools will qualify for the HSNCT.
Qualifying Multiple Teams
In order to qualify multiple teams from the same school for the HSNCT, the teams must attend the same tournament and qualify independently. Teams that qualify at different tournaments—even if composed of entirely different students—do not provide their school with more than one berth at the HSNCT. Wildcard consideration will be given to additional teams from the same school that have demonstrated a high quality of play throughout the year.
Invitations Are Not Guaranteed Spots
Qualifying for the HSNCT (that is, receiving an invitation) does not guarantee a team a spot in the field: The tournament has a limited field size, and it is likely that the field will fill and some qualified teams that wish to attend may not be able to. Teams are encouraged to register as soon as they know they have earned a berth (and have secured funding). It is registering for the championship, not qualifying, that guarantees a spot. A limited number of tournaments (mostly state championships) may have national championship berths reserved for their winners.
For an online tournament to be a qualifier, it must require all players to be visible on camera at all times during gameplay.
For a tournament to be a qualifier, participating teams must be allowed to consist of at least three players (but do not need to actually consist of at least three players). In other words, “singles” (“solo”) and “doubles” tournaments cannot be qualifiers.
NAQT reserves the right to designate additional tournaments as qualifiers for the HSNCT as it sees fit. This is extremely rare.
NAQT reserves the right to decide that a tournament is not a qualifier if NAQT believes that the tournament deviated very strongly from acceptable quiz bowl practices or involved substantial aspects that are not quiz bowl, or otherwise at NAQT’s discretion. This is also extremely rare.
NAQT may decline to issue, rescind, or attach additional conditions to an invitation, if it finds that one of more of the recipient school’s players, coaches, or other affiliates engaged in conduct inconsistent with Section K of the NAQT Rules. This may be applied to conduct that occurred at quiz bowl tournaments (regardless of whether the tournaments used the NAQT Rules and/or NAQT questions) or outside of tournaments.
At specified times, NAQT considers wildcard applications from schools that did not qualify by the above criteria but whose teams have demonstrated a high quality of play in academic competition throughout the year. Particular consideration will be given to schools that, for geographical reasons, had difficulty attending NAQT tournaments.
Wildcard requests for the 2024 HSNCT may now be submitted. Applications will be accepted until May 3, 2024.
Due to MSHSAA rules, schools in Missouri that are members of MSHSAA are ineligible to receive wildcard invitations for their first team. Wildcard invitations may be issued to second and subsequent teams from a school that has received an invitation via automatic qualification.
Qualifiers for the HSNCT are also qualifiers for the Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT), assuming at least one small school is present. The SSNCT has its own qualification rules; even if a (small-school) team doesn’t qualify for the HSNCT, it may qualify for the SSNCT.
Teams located near the tournament site, or ‘B’ and subsequent teams from schools attending the championship, may be interested in attending on a standby basis. Standby teams are not guaranteed a spot in the field but may be used to replace teams who cancel very late or fail to show up, or otherwise to facilitate a good tournament schedule. Standby teams are not required to qualify and do not pay an entry fee.
Due to MSHSAA rules, schools in Missouri that are members of MSHSAA can only register standby teams if a team from the school has received an invitation via automatic qualification.
NAQT has made a number of special rulings regarding unusual qualification situations.
Questions, comments, or suggestions may be directed to NAQT at email@example.com.