2014 NSC: Qualification Guidelines

This page describes how teams qualify for the 2013-2014 PACE NSC.

What’s New In 2013-2014

We have moved all registration dates up by 1 month. Platinum certified teams can now register on 11/1, compared to 12/1 last year, and so forth.

Non-novice tournaments that run on pyramidal questions will by default be considered “provisionally affiliated”. These tournaments grant the same benefits as “regularly affiliated” tournaments. This designation allows teams to qualify at tournaments that we haven’t been able to get all required information from tournament directors from. Should we hear back from tournament directors about these tournaments, they will be upgraded to the appropriate level (i.e. regular affiliation, gold or platinum).

We have changed the rules around state tournament qualifications. State tournaments without any previous qualifiers will be treated like regular tournaments, although they won’t be penalized for restricting the field geographically. State tournaments that have qualification systems or other deviations from standard tournaments will be handled on a case-by-case basis. As in previous years, we will not be reserving specific spots for state champions.

Qualification

There are two methods of qualifying for the NSC: Qualifying through affiliated tournaments and applying for wild-card status. The below information explains both 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” and 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 restricted to 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. Until we hear back from a tournament director, tournaments will be listed as provisionally affiliated so long as the meet the above requirements. See below for more information about provisionally affiliated tournaments. Tournament directors may opt out of affiliation after being contacted by PACE.

Once announced as an regular, gold or platinum 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 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.

Affiliation Levels

Regular Affiliation: The top 15% of teams at any affiliated tournament will qualify for the 2014 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 January 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 December 15.

Provisional Affiliation: Any tournament that meets the basic requirements described above will automatically be listed as “provisionally affiliated”. These tournaments are considered the same as regular affiliated tournaments for purposes of NSC qualification. Because we often lack information about these tournaments, teams are encouraged to send us stats for the tournament on their own initiative so we can get them into our system. Once we hear back from the tournament director, the tournament stops being provisionally affiliated and becomes either regular, gold or platinum affiliated.

Gold and Platinum Affiliation: 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 questions deemed “good”* by the PACE Certification Committee. Gold-certified tournaments will qualify the top 20% of teams for the 2014 NSC, rather than the top 15% for affiliated tournaments. Teams who qualify through a gold-certified tournament may register beginning December 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 that do not contain math computation tossups 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 2014 NSC, rather than the top 15% for an affiliated tournament. Teams who qualify through a platinum-certified tournament may register beginning November 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 2014 NSC and host a gold-certified tournament receive a $10 discount on their entry fee for the 2014 NSC. Hosts that are eligible to attend the 2014 NSC and host a platinum-certified tournament receive a $20 discount on their entry fee for the 2014 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 2014 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 all pyramidal sets produced by NAQT and HSAPQ to be “good”. It judges house-written sets or sets from other vendors on a case-by-case basis. 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 “good” above. However, sets can still be judged “good” for the purposes of tournament qualification without meeting the extra bar of being “exemplary”.

State Tournaments

State tournaments without any qualification requirements will be treated like regular tournaments, although they won’t be penalized for restricting the field geographically. State tournaments that have qualification systems or other deviations from standard tournaments will be handled on a case-by-case basis. PACE will reach out to the directors of state tournaments to clear up any questions about these tournaments.

Leagues

In general, PACE does not affiliate with leagues. However, tournament directors of league tournaments should e-mail mbentleypace@gmail.com to discuss any special situations.

Wild Card Bids

Teams that have not qualified for the NSC through the above system can submit a wild card bid starting on January 1st. Additionally, a team that has qualified its A Team for the NSC can submit a wildcard bid for its B Team if that team has not qualified through other means. This bid will consist of an e-mail to a TBA address. The mail should include the team name, contact information, and a summary of their accomplishments throughout the year. The PACE Wildcard Committee will then vote on whether to grant this team entry into the NSC.