2023 NSC Qualification Guidelines

For Tournament Directors

Tournaments posted to the hsquizbowl tournament database should receive an email about qualification within about a week. You can also directly enter your tournament into the system with the form (link). You’ll then receive follow-up mails about your qualifier status and asking for stats.

Qualification

There are two methods of qualifying for the 2023 NSC:

(1) finishing in a high enough place at a qualifier tournament, and (2) making a successful application for wild-card status.

The following information explains both of those methods in detail and supersedes all previous announcements on NSC qualification.

A calendar of qualifier events (link) and an index of qualified teams (link) are maintained on our website.

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 10% 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 from “City High School A” consisting of the players A, B, C and D qualified at the “Fall Invitational Tournament” and if a team from that same school labeled “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 use the same composition of players that they used in the tournament(s) at which they qualified. 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 (i.e. teams may add players who did not attend the tournament at which they qualified to their rosters).

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

Qualifier Tournaments

Any tournament can become an NSC qualifier event if it uses head-to-head, two-team buzzer competition, in a format which is largely dependent on academic pyramidal tossups, offers all teams at least six games, is not restricted to what can be considered “novice” / “junior varsity” teams, uses a code of conduct, and is not known to have had major problems in the recent past.

Tournament directors whose events meet the above criteria will be offered qualifier status as their events are discovered. Until we hear back from a tournament director, tournaments will be listed as “provisional qualifiers” so long as they meet the above requirements. See below for more information about provisional qualifier tournaments. Tournament directors may opt out of the list of official NSC qualifier tournaments after being contacted by PACE.

Once a tournament is announced as a Regular, Gold, or Platinum qualifier, teams that qualified at that tournament cannot be removed from our list of qualified teams. PACE will remove all references to a given tournament from our site upon request from that event’s tournament director, but PACE will not let teams that have already been announced as qualifying teams lose their status due to such a request.

The above paragraphs imply that you do not need to directly contact PACE to make your event an NSC qualifier if it already meets the standards laid out below. However, should you have any questions about your tournament or team, please contact PACE Treasurer Mike Bentley at mbentleypace@gmail.com.

Regular, Gold, and Platinum Qualifiers

PACE recognizes three levels of qualifier** events: Regular, Gold, and Platinum.

Regular Qualifier Events

PACE will recognize tournaments as regular qualifiers which meet the following criteria:

-uses a two-team head-to-head buzzer competition

-uses a format which is largely dependent on academic pyramidal tossups

-offers all teams a minimum of six games with both tossups and bonuses, or a minimum of nine games with only tossups

-is not restricted to what can be considered “novice” / “junior varsity” teams

-incorporates a code of conduct, described below

-is not known to have had major problems in the recent past

-requires participants to use video conferencing software (i.e. Zoom or Discord) while competing, to the extent that participants have access to the necessary equipment (applies only to online tournaments)

-requires participants to adhere to an integrity policy (described below) (applies only to online tournaments)

Teams qualify for the 2023 PACE NSC by finishing in the top 10% of the field at any regular qualifier event. Percentages will be rounded up to the nearest whole number. For instance, at an 11 team tournament, two teams will qualify, since the threshold is 1.1, rounded up the nearest whole number; at a 30 team tournament, three teams will qualify, etc. PACE encourages tournament directors to break ties for the last qualifying space in their tournament for the purposes of determining NSC qualification. If such ties aren’t broken at the tournament, we will break ties based on points per game. All teams that finish in the top 10% at one or more regular qualifiers, and which did not already secure a qualifying finish at a Gold or Platinum-designated event, may register for the NSC beginning on November 1, 2022 or as soon as they qualify after that date.

Provisional Qualifier Events

As was the case last year, any tournament that meets the requirements described for regular qualifier events above will automatically be listed as a “provisional” qualifier. These tournaments are considered the same as regular NSC qualifiers (i.e. top 10% qualifies) until more details are available. Because we often lack information about these tournaments, teams are encouraged to send us results for provisional qualifiers on their own initiative so we can get them into our system. Once we hear back from the tournament director, the tournament stops being a provisional qualifier and can become either a regular, Gold, or Platinum qualifier based on the criteria listed below.

Gold Qualifier Events

PACE will recognize tournaments as Gold qualifiers which meet the following criteria:

-uses a two-team head-to-head buzzer competition

-uses a question set deemed acceptable* by the PACE NSC Qualification Committee

-guarantees all teams a minimum of seven games with both tossups and bonuses

-commits to provide statistics detailing, at minimum, the performance of teams at the event (individual player statistics are encouraged but not required)

-incorporates the honor code policy provided by PACE, described below

-is not restricted to what can be considered “novice” / “junior varsity” teams

-incorporates a code of conduct, described below

-is not known to have had major problems in the recent past

-requires participants to use video conferencing software (i.e. Zoom or Discord) while competing, to the extent that participants have access to the necessary equipment (applies only to online tournaments)

-requires participants to adhere to an integrity policy (described below) (applies only to online tournaments)

Teams that finish in the top 20% of the field at a Gold qualifier may register for the PACE NSC; such teams may register starting on November 1, 2022, or as soon as they qualify if they qualify after that date. If a tournament uses divisions, the number of qualifiers is based on the total number of teams at the entire tournament. For a qualifier tournament to be classified as Gold, all of the Gold criteria must be met for all divisions. Teams can only earn an automatic qualification if they compete in the top division of a tournament. The number of automatic qualifiers for such a tournament is the lesser of the number using the formula for all tournaments or 50% of the teams in the top division.

Schools which qualified their team(s) for the 2023 NSC and host a Gold qualifier during the 2022-23 competition year receive a discount on their entry fee for the 2023 NSC (-$10).

Platinum Qualifier Events

PACE will recognize tournaments as Platinum qualifiers which meet the following criteria:

-uses a two-team head-to-head buzzer competition

-uses a varsity-level question set deemed acceptable* by the PACE NSC Qualification Committee

-guarantees all teams a minimum of nine games with both tossups and bonuses

-does not use a single-elimination playoff format

-commits to provide statistics detailing the performance of teams and individuals at the event

-incorporates the honor code policy provided by PACE, described below

-is not restricted to what can be considered “novice” / “junior varsity” teams

-incorporates a code of conduct, described below

-is not known to have had major problems in the recent past

-requires participants to use video conferencing software (i.e. Zoom or Discord) while competing, to the extent that participants have access to the necessary equipment (applies only to online tournaments)

-requires participants to adhere to an integrity policy (described below) (applies only to online tournaments)

Teams that finish in the top 25% of the field at a Platinum qualifier may register for the PACE NSC; such teams may register starting on November 1, 2022, or as soon as they qualify if they qualify after that date. If a tournament uses divisions, the number of qualifiers is based on the total number of teams at the entire tournament. For a qualifier tournament to be classified as Platinum, all of the Platinum qualifier criteria must be met for all divisions. Teams can only earn an automatic qualification if they compete in the top division of a tournament. The number of automatic qualifiers for such a tournament is the lesser of the number using the formula for all tournaments or 50% of the teams in the top division.

Schools which are eligible to attend the 2023 NSC and which host a Platinum qualifier event during the 2022-23 competition year receive a discount on their entry fee for the 2023 NSC (-$20).

The NSC Qualification Committee will be led by the NSC Tournament Director (tournament.director@pace-nsc.org). It is not necessary to submit a request separately to confirm a tournament as Gold or Platinum; all qualifying events for the 2023 NSC will also be examined for potential Gold or Platinum status by us.

Tournaments may become NSC qualifiers irrespective of whether they purchase their question set from vendors, use a set by another independent writing team, or write their own questions. PACE does not consider whether or not a tournament is affiliated with another national championship or organization when offering NSC-qualifier status. In the past, many tournaments have allowed teams to qualify both for PACE and for other nationals without any conflict. We expect and encourage this situation to continue.

*PACE considers all pyramidal sets produced by NAQT to be acceptable for qualification purposes (although note that unaltered NAQT IS sets include computational math tossups, which make the ineligible for Platinum certification). In addition, PACE judges house-written sets or sets from other vendors on a case-by-case basis. Varsity-level sets are defined as a high school question set that is either at or above the difficulty of an NAQT IS set. In general, though, any all-subject, non-novice question set announced on the Quizbowl Resource Center forums will be presumed acceptable for the purposes of NSC qualification unless clear evidence emerges that a set has unusually major problems with appropriate question length, difficulty, factual accuracy, etc. To be clear, it is not necessary to use an NAQT question set for a tournament to become a Gold or Platinum qualifier.

**For the purposes of this post, a “qualifier” is always an event at which quizbowl can be played. Teams which have become eligible to register for the 2023 NSC are referred to in full as “qualified teams.”

Code of Conduct Policy

PACE places a high priority on creating a welcoming environment at all academic competitions for any individual to participate. Tournaments serving as qualifiers for NSC are required to put in place a code of conduct, to inform competitors of what constitutes appropriate behavior and establish a strong set of community norms that all participants should treat others with respect and courtesy.

Tournament directors are welcome to adapt and change the PACE NSC code of conduct (link) or use their own. A variety of resources for what is a code of conduct, as well as examples, is also available (link).

Honor Code Policy

PACE places a high priority on preserving fair and honest competition as many tournaments continue to be held online, and meeting that goal begins with fostering a strong sense of integrity upon all participants. For online tournaments that wish to serve as a qualifier for NSC, PACE requires that tournament directors incorporate the honor code written by PACE (link). If you are following the PACE online tournament guide, we recommend posting the honor code in the appropriate #honor-code channel before matches begin, then requiring all players and coaches to reply with the message “I, [name], agree to abide by the honor code for this tournament.” Alternatively, you may require teams to verbally affirm the honor code at the start of each round to their opponents and to the moderator.

Integrity Policy

PACE places a high priority on maintaining competition integrity as tournaments continue to be held online, which requires that tournament directors proactively establish policies that deter potential cheating incidents. For online tournaments that wish to serve as a qualifier for NSC, PACE requires that tournament directors incorporate an integrity policy. PACE has created a general use integrity policy (link) that tournament directors are free to modify and adapt to better suit their needs. However, the integrity policy must require all competitors to keep visible during gameplay their face, their hands, or both.

State Tournaments

State tournaments without any eligibility restrictions or regional stages feeding into a championship site will be treated as regular tournaments. State tournaments that have their own qualification systems, regional stages feeding into a state-wide event, or other deviations from standard tournament procedure 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. As in past years, PACE does not reserve specific spots in the NSC field for state champions.

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, 2023. More information can be found on the 2023 NSC Registration page (link).

Leagues

In general, teams cannot qualify for the PACE NSC through their performance in leagues or local weekday conferences. However, directors of quizbowl leagues should e-mail PACE VP of Editing Mike Bentley at mbentleypace@gmail.com to discuss any special situations regarding organized quizbowl play of those kinds. The Wild Card Committee may consider performance at local leagues in the event that an applying team has a lack of available opportunities to play quizbowl tournaments in their area.

Subject-Specific Competitions

Teams cannot qualify for the PACE NSC through competitions whose questions focus entirely or predominantly on a single academic subject (e.g. National History Bee and Bowl, National Science Bowl). The Wild Card Committee may consider performance at subject-specific academic competitions in the event that an applying team has a lack of available opportunities to play all-subject quizbowl in their area.

Reserving Spots

Once a team qualifies for the NSC and it is later than November 1st, 2022, that team can fill out the registration form. The team’s spot will be guaranteed when PACE receives the $100 deposit from the team.

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If you have any questions about NSC qualification, please contact PACE Treasurer Mike Bentley at mbentleypace@gmail.com.