2021 Middle School National Championship Tournament Logistics Information
The 2021 Middle School National Championship Tournament (MSNCT) will be held online on May 1–2, 2021.
The MSNCT is NAQT’s championship tournament for middle school teams. There is also a Middle School Individual Player National Championship Tournament for individuals on Sunday, April 25.
Waitlist registration is now open, as the field is full.
May 1–2, 2021 (Saturday–Sunday).
The tournament’s preliminary games will take place on Saturday, and the playoff games will take place on Sunday.
Online, via Zoom and in accordance with the rest of NAQT’s Online Tournament Guide.
To promote confidence in the integrity of online competition, NAQT has established an Integrity Policy for Online National Championships that establishes requirements for players while they are active. All players and coaches should read the policy, and all players should be prepared to comply with it during gameplay.
Players should read and must follow the rules and procedures in NAQT’s Online Tournament Guide. This includes, but is not limited to, the requirements that players must…
- Be visible on camera at all times during gameplay.
- Use an Internet connection with at least 2.5 megabits/second bandwidth, both upstream and downstream.
Furthermore, we very strongly recommend that players…
- Use a full-featured desktop or laptop computer (as opposed to a phone, tablet, or Chromebook) for Zoom. It is fine to use a phone to buzz in (but no other use of the phone is acceptable).
- Use the installed Zoom client application (as opposed to the web app).
- Read the player portion of the Online Tournament Guide, and potentially the entire guide.
In addition to the requirements of the Online Tournament Guide, for this tournament:
- All players must comply with the Integrity Policy for Online National Championships, including the requirement that every player’s face and both hands be visible at essentially all times when they are active in gameplay.
- Unless part of a team playing in a single, otherwise isolated location, all players must use headphones, earbuds, or a headset. Using a device’s speakers (whether internal or external) is not permitted. We furthermore very strongly recommend that players use a headset or external microphone rather than their device’s built-in microphone.
- If multiple players are playing from a single location, each player must have a nametag that is clearly visible to the camera. The nametag must consist of a standard, white, letter- or A4-sized piece of paper folded lengthwise with full-height letters in dark ink.
This schedule is final.
All times are listed in Central time.
Saturday (Preliminary Rounds)
|8:20 – 8:50 a.m.||Staff meeting|
|8:30 – 8:50 a.m.||Team meeting|
|8:55 a.m.||Be in your Round 1 Zoom room|
|9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.||Rounds 1–4|
|12:15 – 1:00 p.m.||Lunch|
|1:00 – 5:30 p.m.||Rounds 5–10|
Sunday (Playoff Rounds)
|8:30 – 8:50 a.m.||Staff meeting|
|8:55 a.m.||Be in your Round 11 Zoom room|
|9:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.||Rounds 11–14|
|12:15 – 1:00 p.m.||Lunch|
|1:00 – 4:00 p.m.||Rounds 15–18|
|4:00 – 4:15 p.m.||Break|
Frequently Asked Questions
NAQT has prepared answers to frequently asked questions about its national championships.
Rules and Eligibility
Qualification and Registration
Registration is limited to invited teams through Sunday, March 21. Beginning Monday, March 22 at midnight Central time, any middle school may register, with a limit of two teams per school. Beginning Monday, March 29 at midnight Central time, the two-teams-per-school limit will be lifted and any middle school may register any number of teams (subject to a cap on the total field size).
Because of the open registration window, there is no wildcard process for this tournament. Teams who do not receive invitations based on their performance may register on or after March 22.
The field is limited to 112 teams; these teams have registered. NAQT may expand the field depending on the level of interest and the availability of resources.
The preliminary rounds (Rounds 1–10, the entirety of Saturday) will take place using power-matching, also known as “the card system.” That is, each team’s opponents (after Round 1) 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. In the preliminary rounds, each team will play eight games and have two byes. Because of the card system, it is not possible to know each team’s opponents or Zoom rooms in advance.
Teams who finish with a winning record in the preliminary rounds (5–3 or better) will make double-elimination playoffs, which occur on Sunday. The playoff bracket will be seeded by win-loss record followed by points per tossup heard. Depending on how many teams make the playoffs, some teams may receive byes.
In the Traditional Public Schools Division, there is a small chance that 16 or fewer teams will finish with a winning record. If that happens, one playoff round will be entirely unnecessary and some parts of the Sunday schedule will be earlier than the listed times in that division.
In the Open Division, there is a very small chance that more than 32 teams will finish with a winning record. If that happens, the top 32 teams (by record followed by points per tossup heard) will make the playoffs, and the remaining team(s) will be omitted.
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.
Registration and Fees
Waitlist registration is now open, as the field is full.
The registration fee is $615 per team.
The registration fee only covers participation in the tournament. It does not cover equipment or other expenses.
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. If it is, follow the page’s instructions to request an invoice (so we have the proper billing information), and you will be offered the opportunity to pay by credit card.
You can also pay by sending a check, payable to “NAQT,” to
National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
11521 W 69th St
Shawnee, KS 66203–3749
Please send questions about billing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teams who cancel their registration on or before April 21 will owe a cancellation fee of $307.50. Teams who cancel on or after April 22 (including no-shows) will owe a cancellation fee of $461.25. 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 releases on time may be treated as a cancellation, including incurring a cancellation fee, at NAQT’s discretion.
Every player’s parent or legal guardian will be required to sign a participation release covering expectations, media coverage, etc. All releases must be submitted to email@example.com by Saturday, April 24, 2021. Release forms will be made available via the registration process.
If you’re not sure of your roster in advance, enter everyone who might play and submit releases for all of them. It’s fine to drop players, but if a player’s release is not submitted on time, they may not play. For the purposes of participation releases, it doesn’t matter which team from your school they’re on (if you enter multiple teams).
Please be sure that the signer initials the first page in the lower-right corner!
An example participation release is available.
Every team must have a chaperone, subject to the following rules:
- The chaperone must be a legal adult.
- The chaperone must be reachable by text message (at a number provided to NAQT) throughout the tournament, to the maximum extent possible given availability of cellular networks.
- The chaperone must always be able to reach every player essentially immediately, whether physically or by a reliable electronic communication method, during the tournament. In the latter case, all parties involved must take every reasonable step to ensure their reachability.
- The chaperone may also be the chaperone for other teams at the tournament, thus potentially reducing their regular proximity to the team (but without nullifying any of these requirements).
- The chaperone must follow the requirements of chaperones in NAQT’s Online Tournament Guide.
Teams who wish to request a variance from the chaperone policy should write to NAQT at firstname.lastname@example.org well in advance of the tournament to discuss their situation.
The teams who finish in thirteenth place or higher will each receive one plaque, one medal for each player, and one medal for the coach. These will be sent to one address specified by the team.
The top 20 scorers (by points per tossup heard in the preliminary rounds) will each receive a medal. For players on teams that receive plaques, the medals will be sent with the team awards. For players not on such teams, the medals will be shipped to the players.
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.
Please send concerns to email@example.com, ideally as soon as practical after any incident.
There are other suitable channels for reporting concerns, such as the Misconduct Reporting Form, but the Advocate Program is intended to allow for immediate reporting of sensitive complaints so they can be handled during the tournament.
Reports are confidential to the extent permitted by law and NAQT’s agreements to share critical information with other quiz bowl organizations.
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.
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 are welcome to attend any and all parts of the tournament. No registration or tickets are required.
Prospective spectators should read NAQT’s advice for spectators of online tournaments. To ensure the quality of the tournament experience for players, spectators may be removed from games if they are disruptive or if the moderator believes that their presence is degrading audio or video quality.
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, connections to social media, and other important documents related to the tournament.
To ask specific questions about the MSNCT, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!