NAQT’s official intercollegiate tournaments are its Sectional Championship Tournaments and the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament. These events are run according to the NAQT Collegiate Eligibility Rules and feature separate competition for Division I and Division II teams. Open and Undergraduate teams compete together in Division I, but separate titles are awarded.
Other intercollegiate events using NAQT questions are encouraged (but do not need) to use the NAQT Collegiate Eligibility Rules.
The eligibility rules of non-intercollegiate events using NAQT questions (namely, intramural tournaments) are entirely at the discretion of the host.
NAQT’s official community college tournaments are its Community College Sectional Championship Tournaments and the Community College Championship Tournament. These events are run according to the NAQT Community College Eligibility Rules.
Other community college events using NAQT questions are encouraged (but do not need) to use the NAQT Community College Eligibility Rules.
The High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) and Small School National Championship Tournament (SSNCT) use the NAQT High School Eligibility Rules. The SSNCT additionally uses NAQT’s definition of Small Schools.
Other high school events—including but not limited to invitational tournaments; conferences; leagues; and district, state, and sectional championships—are encouraged (but do not need) to use the NAQT High School Eligibility Rules. Events that permit teams or players that wouldn’t be eligible under the NAQT High School Eligibility rules should notify NAQT of this no later than when they submit results so that NAQT can properly handle invitations to national championships.
Other middle school events—including but not limited to invitational tournaments; conferences; leagues; and district, state, and sectional championships—are encouraged (but do not need) to use the NAQT Middle School Eligibility Rules. Events that permit teams or players that wouldn’t be eligible under the NAQT Middle School Eligibility rules should notify NAQT of this no later than when they submit results so that NAQT can properly handle invitations to national championships.
General Policies on Eligibility
Allowing Ineligible Teams to Play
In most cases, hosts may allow ineligible teams to play. This is most commonly done in the following manners:
Allowing a “chimera team” to be formed, consisting of players from multiple schools…
- to allow for a better tournament schedule or format
- to allow extra players more playing time
- to allow a player who does not attend a school, but is closely connected to it, to play with a team otherwise consisting of players who attend that school (e.g., an eighth-grader at a middle school “playing up” with players for the high school they expect to attend)
- Allowing a school to play a question set for a second time with a different set of players (see below)
For this to be permitted:
- The affected school must ask permission well in advance from the director of the affected tournament. The tournament director is not obligated to allow it at all and may impose conditions if they choose to allow it.
- There are significant downsides to allowing ineligible teams. All people involved must fully understand and accept these.
- NAQT must be informed of the agreement as soon as it is established.
For certain types of tournaments, hosts must observe NAQT eligibility rules strictly and cannot allow ineligible teams or players. This applies to Sectional Championship Tournaments (four-year and two-year) and other tournaments at NAQT’s discretion. NAQT also enforces its eligibility rules strictly for all national championships.
Failure to comply with these rules may result in forfeits being awarded and other sanctions to be determined by NAQT, including but not necessarily limited to the cancellation of national championship invitations.
Playing Questions Twice
Once any person who is part of a school’s quiz bowl program has heard questions, teams from that school are ineligible to play those questions again later.
- A school cannot enter teams in two different tournaments that use the same question set (even with different players).
- A school cannot enter teams in two different tournaments that use the same questions, even if they are not literally the same question set. For example, a school whose conference uses IHSA-style questions based on Invitational Series #213 cannot enter teams in a tournament that uses Invitational Series #213. These “sharing” arrangements are communicated to hosts of relevant sets, and hosts are required to communicate them to teams attending their tournaments.
- Suppose a player is dual-enrolled at Central High School and North Community College. If Central High School plays a given question set, then North Community College cannot play the same questions (even if the dual-enrolled player doesn’t attend).
- If a coach or player works at a tournament using a given question set, that person’s school cannot enter a tournament using the same question set.
These examples are somewhat simplified. For example, an exception to the first example is that if one tournament uses packets 1–6 of the set and the other tournament uses packets 7–12, there is no problem. These examples are also not exhaustive. The policy is that described in the first paragraph of this section; the examples are merely illustrations.
As described above, in most cases hosts can permit ineligible teams to play, including teams that are ineligible for this reason. However, doing so comes with significant downsides, NAQT recommends against it, and the following additional rules apply besides the general rules regarding ineligible teams:
- No player may play both events.
- All personnel who attended the first event must be cautioned strongly, in advance, against discussing question content from that event with any other personnel in the program.
- If the school has access to the questions via the Study Library, they may not use such access in the presence of players who will play the second event.
NAQT has a collection of Frequently Asked Questions about Eligibility (focused on collegiate eligibility).
Other questions about NAQT’s eligibility policies, and requests for exceptions, should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests for exceptions must be received at least 14 calendar days prior to the start of the first relevant competition; requests submitted later than that will be denied.