Qualifying for the MSNCT
There are three ways in which a school may automatically qualify for the Middle School National Championship Tournament:
- Finishing in the top 15% of the field at a middle school varsity tournament that uses NAQT questions and is attended by teams from at least three schools. This computation “rounds up,” so a tournament with 15 teams results in three (2.25 rounded up) invitations. This includes traditional one-day tournaments, quiz bowl leagues, televised tournaments, and all other events that use questions provided by NAQT whether or not they use NAQT’s official format and rules. 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 own discretion (and so award fewer qualifications). NAQT also reserves the right to rule that a tournament is not a qualifier if it has an eligibility policy designed to exclude teams or players on the basis of ability.
- Winning any class or division of a state championship with rules and questions similar to those of NAQT. Such a state championship need not be self-described as “quiz bowl.”
- Teams of players eligible for the MSNCT that qualify for the High School National Championship Tournament at a high school tournament will also be invited to the MSNCT.
Invitations to the MSNCT are generally based on the NAQT Middle School Eligibility Rules, but hosts are permitted to deviate from NAQT’s eligibility rules. In general, a team’s performance cannot qualify it to the MSNCT if it would be ineligible to play at the MSNCT (e.g., if it comprises players from multiple schools or includes one or more players who are ineligible to play at the MSNCT under the Middle 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 MSNCT despite not satisfying the Middle School Eligibility Rules, but if they attend the MSNCT, 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 MSNCT 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 MSNCT, 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 MSNCT.
Qualifying Multiple Teams
In order to qualify multiple teams from the same school for the MSNCT, 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 MSNCT. Wildcard consideration will be given to additional teams from the same school that have demonstrated a high quality of play throughout the year.
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 MSNCT 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 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.
NAQT reserves the right to accept wildcard applications at any time after they have been submitted; that is, NAQT may accept particularly strong applications immediately but may postpone making a decision on others until further tournaments have completed or it has a better idea how many MSNCT spots will be taken by automatic qualifiers. Teams may inquire as to the status of their request at any time. NAQT understands that wildcard teams need to know whether or not they can attend the tournament as soon as possible and will make every effort to contact teams as soon as a final decision has been made about their request.
Wildcard requests for the 2020 MSNCT may be submitted beginning on January 1, 2020.
Teams located near the tournament site may be interested in attending on a standby basis, even if they have not qualified. Standby teams are not guaranteed a spot in the field, but if there is a last-minute cancellation, they’ll replace the missing team without paying a registration fee.
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.