2020 Sectional Championship Tournament Host Requirements


Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCTs) will be held on Saturday, February 8 and Sunday, February 9, 2020. (NAQT expects most SCTs to be limited to one, not both, of those days.)

SCTs in North America must use NAQT’s registration system.

Rules and Format

SCTs must be run according to NAQT rules; they must be untimed with 11-question halves.

The format used for the tournament must guarantee all teams at least nine games. Formats must follow NAQT’s policies on allowed tiebreakers and elimination. If an SCT does not wish to use one of NAQT’s suggested formats, it must obtain advance approval from NAQT for an alternative format.

SCTs must use NAQT’s Collegiate Eligibility Rules; in particular, chimera teams and high-school teams are not allowed to play (even as exhibition teams).


NAQT will produce separate sets of Division I and Division II questions (16 packets of each).

The two sets will share question content, with some questions in the Division II set being easier versions of a corresponding Division I question. In such cases, the two overlapping questions will appear in the corresponding packets (i.e., packet 4 of the Division I set and packet 4 of the Division II set). Tournament directors must be cognizant of this overlap and not adopt a schedule likely to lead to teams having indirect exposure to questions they have not yet heard.

Tournament directors must offer separate competitions for Division I and Division II teams if there are at least four teams in each division. If there are fewer than four teams in either division, the fields must be combined. Combined fields will use the packet set appropriate to the division in which the majority of teams are registered; if the combined field contains an equal number of Division I and Division II teams, the Division II packet set will be used.

Each SCT will declare a Division I (Overall) champion, a Division I (Undergraduate) champion, and a Division II champion (in each case, assuming at least one eligible team participates). (This is true even if there are insufficient teams to run separate divisions.)


Statistics must be reported to NAQT in accordance with its SCT reporting requirements.

Tournament hosts that do the bulk of the work in running an SCT (generally meaning that they provide the tournament director, provide the rooms, plan the event, and provide the bulk of the staff) will earn a Tier-3 invitation (“autobid”) to the ICT. By default, this invitation will be assumed to be for Division I. A host may write to sct@naqt.com to request that its hosting invitation be in Division II instead. This request may be made at any time between when the school is confirmed as a host and 24 hours after the conclusion of its tournament. The number of hosts that may switch their bids to Division II is limited by the new tier structure of invitations; requests will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Earning a Tier-1 invitation will dissolve a hosting bid, so a host school that wants to qualify two teams in the division of its hosting bid will need to enter two teams and have both perform well enough at the buzzer to earn invitations.

NAQT will be collecting and analyzing scoresheets from every Sectional to measure the actual rates at which individual questions are converted. Tournament directors will be expected to promptly mail their scoresheets to NAQT after the event and to have staff who fill them out in such a way that it can be quickly and accurately determined which tossups were answered, powered, and interrupted. Scorekeepers must also record which part(s) of each bonus was (were) answered correctly (by using the “Bonus Parts” column of the scoresheet). Tournament directors may subtract the cost of mailing the scoresheets from the amount their programs owe NAQT for the questions.

Fees and Finances

Each tournament director will be responsible for invoicing and collecting payment from schools that attend their tournament.

The SCT entry fee will be $145 for the first team from a school and $120 for each subsequent team. SCTs must offer these discounts:

Discount Amount Notes
Buzzer System $10 Allow at least one discount per team. Hosts should require that systems be functional, and may require that they satisfy NAQT’s buzzer discount policy.
Moderator $40 Qualified team moderators must be accepted up to two weeks before the tournament; after that, discounts are at the host’s discretion
New School per team: $20 Teams from schools that neither attended nor hosted the SCT, ICT, CC SCT, or CCCT in the previous two full competition years

Tournament directors may offer additional discounts for scorekeepers, statisticians, early registration, long drives, or anything else they feel will contribute to a quality event; if a given style of discount is not supported by NAQT’s registration system, check with NAQT before announcing it.

The cost of the questions is $40 for the first team from a school and $35 for each subsequent team. Other than this per-team licensing fee, there is no other fee to be paid to NAQT to host a Sectional. Hosts must also pay this licensing fee for their own house teams. The licensing fee for teams that qualify for the new school discount is only $25 for the first team and $20 for each subsequent team.

Other Requirements

Tournament directors must distribute, free of charge, one printed copy of the Division I questions to each school with a Division I team in attendance and one printed copy of the Division II questions to each school with a Division II team in attendance. (Note that this is one copy per school, not one per team.) Each host school may also retain one printed copy of each division’s set of questions.

SCT hosts must provide at least one experienced staff member in each game room. This is in addition to whatever control room staff are necessary to run the tournament, resolve protests, and tally statistics. Hosts that are earning autobids may not enter house teams if doing so would leave insufficient staff to meet these requirements. Staff members assigned to moderate matches should be capable of reading a 22-question game in 21 minutes of gameplay. Moderators who are slower than this should be paired with scorekeepers.

SCT hosts must report the starting time of their first round and the ending time of their last round to NAQT along with information about time allocated for lunch and other breaks. NAQT will use this information to determine what effect, if any, untimed rounds have on the length of tournaments.

NAQT will provide email and telephone access to support, including a “protest committee,” during the SCTs. Tournament directors have the authority to rule on protests at their own events, but they are strongly encouraged to contact NAQT about any nontrivial protests or any other matter of concern.

Important: High school and middle school players and coaches may not staff (or observe) SCTs. (NAQT is expanding the use of the Division II SCT set for spring-semester high school tournaments.)

The tournament director has the option of providing trophies or other awards to the top teams and individuals. NAQT prefers SCTs that provide prizes, but does not expect them to be lavish.


SCTs may not close their fields until seven days before the tournament. If a tournament director does not have the resources to handle the number of teams that wish to play (even with the potential assistance of NAQT personnel and equipment), alternatives will be sought. As the SCT is the sole method of qualifying for the ICT, it is important that no team (even multiple teams from the same school) be turned away. Teams who attempt to register fewer than seven days before the tournament may be accepted or rejected at the tournament director’s discretion.

Tournament directors may charge teams that withdraw within 72 hours of the beginning of the tournament a cancellation fee of up to $40. They may charge teams that withdraw within 24 hours of the beginning of the event, or which do not show up at all, a cancellation fee of up to $80. Historically, it is rare for cancellation fees to be charged at quiz bowl tournaments; NAQT expects that they would be used only when the host actually occurs unnecessary expenses due to a team’s cancellation and not as a simple matter of course.


Tournament directors must make a full announcement including contact information, tentative schedule, suggested lodging, tournament location, fees, special events, and any other relevant information by January 10, 2020 on the Quizbowl Resource Center’s Collegiate Announcements forum and by email to likely attendees.

During the Tournament

SCTs are expected to run an initial rules meeting that covers, at a bare minimum, the eligibility requirements for Undergraduate and Division II titles, the location and date of the ICT, the qualification procedures, and the ways to contact NAQT with questions, problems, or comments. There should also be a period during which questions about the format, rules, and other issues may be asked and answered.

SCT staff are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner while planning and administering NAQT tournaments. This includes, but is not limited to, sending prompt and informative responses to interested and registered teams, attempting to accommodate reasonable requirements of individual teams, dressing appropriately, and refraining from offensive, rude, or abusive behavior while interacting with teams and volunteers.


Please send any questions about these requirements to sct@naqt.com.

Tournament Schedule

NAQT maintains a schedule of college events, including novice tournaments, sectional championships, and the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament.

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