2012-2013 NSC Qualification Guidelines

What’s New In 2012-2013

1. Tournaments which run multiple divisions will no longer qualify extra teams for the NSC. In the past, if a tournament divided teams into upper and lower brackets from the start, the top 25, 20 or 15 percent of teams would qualify from a metric based on (Number of Teams in the Top Bracket + Total Teams in the Tournament / 2). This year, the top 25, 20 or 15 percent of teams will be based solely on the number of teams in the top bracket.

2. Teams that qualify at gold and platinum certified tournaments no longer receive an extra discount for attending the NSC. However, these teams still have the opportunity to register early.

Qualification

There are three methods of qualifying for the NSC: Qualifying through affiliated tournaments, qualifying through a state championship, and applying for wild-card status. The below information explains each of those methods in detail and supersedes all previous announcements on NSC qualification.

A calendar of affiliated tournaments is maintained on our website here, and an index of qualified teams on our site here.

Multiple teams from the same school may qualify for the NSC. Each team qualifying from a school must consist of a unique roster of players in order to obtain a separate bid. For instance, if two teams from the same school both finish in the top 15% at the same tournament, then both of those teams will qualify for the NSC (since they would have to have distinct players). Similarly, if a team calling itself “City High School A” and consisting of the players A, B, C and D qualified at the “Fall Invitational Tournament”, if a team from the same school calling itself “City High School A” and consisting of the players E, F, G and H qualified at the “Winter Invitational Tournament”, then City High School would qualify two teams since it did so with two distinct rosters. However, City High School would not qualify a third team for the NSC if a team consisting of players A, E, H and I qualified at the “Spring Invitational Tournament” since players A and E had already qualified for the NSC.

Teams attending the NSC do not need to mirror the player composition at qualifying tournaments. For instance, using the City High School example above, City High School could send the following two teams to the NSC: One consisting of players A, B, E and F, and one consisting of H, I, J and K.

If you have any specific questions about how many teams your school has qualified for the NSC, please contact PACE President Mike Bentley at mbentleypace@gmail.com.

Affiliated Tournaments

Any tournament which uses head-to-head, two-team buzzer competition, in a format that is largely dependent on pyramidal tossups, offers all teams at least four games, is not designed exclusively for what can be considered junior varsity teams and is not known to have had major problems in the recent past, may become affiliated.

Tournament directors will be offered affiliation if they meet these criteria as they are discovered. Tournament directors will be contacted via email, offering them the opportunity to opt out. Tournament directors will have a minimum of seven days to opt out of being an affiliated tournament after being contacted by PACE. If the tournament director does not opt out, they will become an affiliated tournament.

Once announced as an affiliated event, teams that qualified at that tournament cannot be removed from our list of qualified teams. PACE will remove all references to this tournament from our site upon request from the tournament director, but PACE will not allow teams that have already been announced as qualifying teams to lose their status due to such a request.

The only exception to our policy of opting out are recognized state championships. All of these are will be treated as automatic qualifiers.

The above paragraphs imply that you do not need to directly contact PACE regarding affiliation. However, should you have any questions about your tournament or team’s affiliation, please contact PACE President Mike Bentley at mbentleypace@gmail.com.

The top 15% of teams at any affiliated tournament will qualify for the 2013 PACE NSC. Percentages will be rounded up to the nearest whole number. For instance, at a 10 team tournament, two teams will qualify since the threshold is 1.5, rounded up the nearest whole number. We encourage tournament directors to break ties for the last qualifying space in their tournament. If ties aren’t broken at the tournament, we will break ties based on points per game. All automatic qualifiers may register for the NSC beginning on February 1, or as soon as they qualify after that date. If a team qualifies at more than one affiliated tournament, then they may register beginning January 15.

PACE will also recognize “gold-certified” and “platinum-certified” tournaments. These are tournaments of exceptional quality, which qualify more teams than usual and give their qualified teams the right to register earlier due to their higher likelihood of corresponding to the results of the NSC. For tournaments to be considered for either gold or platinum certification, the tournament director must provide statistics detailing, at the least, the performance of teams at the event. Statistics with information specific to individual performance as well is preferred but not required.

Gold-certified tournaments are affiliated tournaments which offer all teams at least seven games and use varsity-level questions deemed “good”* by the PACE Certification Committee. Gold-certified tournaments will qualify the top 20% of teams for the 2012 NSC, rather than the top 15% for affiliated tournaments. Teams who qualify through a gold-certified tournament may register beginning January 1, or as soon as they qualify after that date.

Platinum-certified tournaments are affiliated tournaments which offer all teams at least nine games; use varsity-level questions deemed “good”* by the PACE Certification Committee; and do not use single-elimination playoffs. Platinum-certified tournaments will qualify the top 25% of teams for the 2012 NSC, rather than the top 15% for an affiliated tournament. Teams who qualify through a platinum-certified tournament may register beginning December 1, or as soon as they qualify after that date.

Please note that the platinum certification is reserved for tournaments which not only meet the standards of good high school quizbowl, but far exceed those standards.

Additionally, tournament hosts who are eligible to attend the 2013 NSC and host a gold-certified tournament receive a $10 discount on their entry fee for the 2013 NSC. Hosts that are eligible to attend the 2013 NSC and host a platinum-certified tournament receive a $20 discount on their entry fee for the 2013 NSC.

For multi-division tournaments (e.g., a tournament with both Varsity and JV divisions) only the top division can qualify teams for the NSC. If the tournament is an affiliated tournament, 15% of the teams in the top bracket will qualify. Similarly, if the tournament is platinum certified, 25% of the teams in the top bracket will qualify. The number of teams playing in a lower bracket does not impact how many teams qualify in the top bracket.

Certification levels will generally be made in advance of the tournament, although in certain cases we may require more information on the question set or the tournament format which will require use to delay certification.

The Certification Committee will be led by PACE President Mike Bentley (mbentleypace@gmail.com). It is not necessary to submit a tournament for certification separately; all tournaments affiliated with the 2013 NSC will also be examined for potential certification levels.

Tournaments using questions from vendors, and tournaments with questions written by the host, are equally eligible for affiliation and certification, depending on the past quality of the question source. PACE does not consider whether or not a tournament is affiliated with another national championship or organization when deciding to award affiliation or certification status. In the past, many tournaments have affiliated with both PACE and other nationals without any conflict, and we expect this situation to continue.

*PACE considers question sets produced by NAQT and HSAPQ to be “excellent” if they are not explicitly targeted at novice players and do not contain math computation tossups. Varsity-level sets produced by these vendors with math computation bonuses (but not tossups) are still considered “excellent”. Varsity-level sets produced by NAQT or HSAPQ that do include math computation tossups are considered “good”. Sets produced from other vendors or house-written sets will be judged on a case by case basis by the PACE Certification Committee. To be clear, it is not necessary to use an NAQT or HSAPQ question set for a tournament to earn gold or platinum certification.

Note that PACE is also offering a service this year to recognize the exemplary house-written high school sets (click here for more details). Every set that PACE recognizes to be exemplary through this program will automatically meet the bar for “excellent” above. However, sets can still be judged “excellent” for the purposes of tournament qualification without meeting the extra bar of being “exemplary”.