Frequently Asked Questions About National Championships
This page addresses common questions asked about NAQT’s national championships, especially those by teams attending or considering attending a national championship for the first time. Except where otherwise noted, answers apply to all of NAQT’s team-based national championships: the Community College Championship Tournament (CCCT), the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament (ICT), the Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT), the Middle School National Championship Tournament (MSNCT), and the High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT).
How many players can we bring?
There is no limit on roster size. Players can be substituted at the end of a half, at timeouts, and between games. Schools that plan to bring a large number of players might consider signing up a standby team.
Must my team at nationals have the same roster as we qualified with?
No. Invitations to national championships are issued to schools, not to specific groups of players, so you can bring any players who are eligible to compete for your school.
The only exceptions to this rule are for the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament: invitations to Division II may only be used by teams whose players are all eligible for Division II, and some invitations in Division I may only be used by teams whose players are all eligible for the Undergraduate title.
Can we bring multiple teams?
If you want to bring multiple teams, you must receive multiple invitations. The only ways to get multiple invitations are to qualify multiple teams at the same tournament and to receive additional wildcard invitations.
If a school sends teams to two different tournaments and qualifies for the same national championship at each, the school will still only earn one invitation. This applies even if the teams had completely different players, though such cases are given strong consideration (upon request) for wildcards.
What are the differences among the standby list, waitlist, and wildcard requests?
The standby list comprises teams who commit to show up at the tournament without a spot. They will play if there is a last-minute cancellation or no-show, or possibly if the tournament’s field size is an awkward number and adding standby teams would allow for a more elegant schedule. Standby teams need not have qualified for the tournament and do not pay an entry fee even if they play. The standby list is maintained in order, but standby teams that sign up in the first 24 hours after the list opens are randomized.
The waitlist comprises teams who have been invited to the tournament but did not register in time to earn a spot in the main field. They will be promoted into the main field, in order, if there is a non-last-minute cancellation or if the main field is expanded. Waitlist teams must pay an entry fee if they actually play, but not if they are left on the waitlist.
Wildcard requests are made by schools who have not qualified for the tournament, or by schools who want more invitations than they have earned. NAQT members evaluate wildcard requests and determine whether to issue a wildcard invitation; if they decide to do so, the school may register a team (or an additional team) in the same way as any other school who has been invited, which means that they are eligible for the main field but will be waitlisted if the field is full.
What sort of chaperone is required?
At the MSNCT, every team (not just every school) must have a chaperone who is at least 18 years old. The chaperone must always be near the team.
At the SSNCT and HSNCT, every school must have a chaperone who is at least 18 years old (and it’s okay for the same chaperone to be responsible for multiple teams from the same school, though having a chaperone for each team is better). The chaperone must always be able to reach the team (physically) within ten minutes.
At the IPNCT, the analogous rules apply per division (the Middle School Division requires a chaperone for each player; the High School Division requires chaperones for each player but players from the same school may share a chaperone).
Schools that wish to request a variance from the chaperone policy should contact NAQT at the tournament-specific address (e.g., email@example.com) to discuss the need.
No chaperones are necessary at the CCCT or ICT.
Can we bring a bus?
Generally, yes, but the bus may need to park off-site and there may be extra costs associated with doing so. Contact the hotel well in advance to discuss options for bus parking.
How do we prepare?
NAQT offers tournament questions from past years, including from national championships, as practice material. Study guides are available on the same page.
New teams will also want to consider playing scrimmage rounds on Friday night at the championships at which they are available (SSNCT, MSNCT, and HSNCT). This helps players adjust to the fast-paced timed format, reading style, etc.
Is the tournament free?
No. NAQT charges a registration fee to cover its costs incurred in renting facilities and equipment, creating questions, and bringing in highly qualified staff from all over the country.
Does the entry fee include travel, lodging, or meals?
No. Since teams’ needs in those areas vary considerably (compare a team of four players to a team of 20 players, or a team that lives in the city of the championship to a team from 2,000 miles away), the entry fee only covers costs that are fixed to NAQT.
Can we register and pay later?
Yes. We very much appreciate prompt payment, but you are not required to pay at the moment you register.
How do we pay?
When you complete your registration, you will be offered the opportunity to request an invoice. NAQT will issue the invoice and send it along with a link to complete payment online; you can also send a check. If you require additional paperwork for payment, or have other questions or issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checks should be sent to this address:
National Academic Quiz Tournaments
11521 W 69th Street
Shawnee, KS 66203–3749
At the Tournament
What is the card system? How does it work?
NAQT’s larger national championships (SSNCT, MSNCT, and HSNCT) use a “card system”-based format, which is an implementation of power-matching. In short, in the preliminary rounds teams are guaranteed to play opponents that have the same record as, or a record within one win/loss of, their own. This keeps games close and exciting for teams of all abilities.
At check-in, each team is given a card with a number and a schedule. At the beginning of each game, both teams give their cards to the moderator, who verifies that the teams are in the correct place at the correct time. At the end of the game, the moderator gives the winner the card numbered closer to 1 and gives the loser the other card. Each team then uses its (potentially new) card to determine where its next game is.
The card is not a schedule! Teams should take care not to rely on any information from their card other than where their first or next game is, since teams will almost certainly trade cards frequently throughout the tournament, and their new card may have different byes or other attributes.
Are the Friday-night activities mandatory?
No, with the exception that at the Community College Championship Tournament the preliminary games occur on Friday night and are mandatory.
At other national championships, teams can check in either Friday night or Saturday morning; the former is strongly recommended but not required. There are also other optional activities like scrimmage rounds or (sometimes) pop culture tournaments. NAQT strongly recommends that teams new to nationals play scrimmage rounds.
What should we wear?
Whatever you’re comfortable in, within reason. You will see teams in formal attire of varying degrees; teams wearing team, school, or tournament shirts; and teams wearing street clothes.