How to Qualify

The Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence announces the up-to-date field size and qualification process for the National Scholastic Championship, effective immediately for the 2009-2010 high school quizbowl season.

The 2010 NSC will take place on June 5 and 6 at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. 64 of the top teams in the country will compete for the PACE national championship. The 2010 tournament format will offer at least 15 games to all teams and will produce a top-to-bottom ranking of the entire field.

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.

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. To request affiliation for your tournament, contact PACE Qualification Director Fred Morlan at fredmorlan@gmail.com.

Note: the following three paragraphs are new as of April 17, 2010; however, it accurately describes our affiliation procedures for the entire 2009-2010 year, and are procedures we will continue to follow in the future.

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 top 2 teams from any affiliated tournament of fewer than 20 teams, the top 4 teams from any affiliated tournament of 20 to 39 teams, and the top 8 teams from any affiliated tournament of 40 or more teams, receive automatic qualification to the 2010 PACE NSC. Automatic qualifying teams also receive $20 off their NSC registration fee. All automatic qualifiers may register for the NSC beginning on February 1, or as soon as they qualify after that date. If a team finishes in the qualification zone at more than one affiliated tournament, then they may register beginning January 15.

Beginning immediately, 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 teams to be considered for either gold or platinum certification, they 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, use varsity-level questions deemed “good” by the PACE Certification Committee, and have at least two teams in attendance likely to finish in the top half of the NSC. Gold-certified tournaments will qualify 2 additional teams at each field size level in comparison to normal affiliated events–the top 4 for tournaments of fewer than 20 teams, the top 6 for tournaments of 20 to 39 teams, and the top 10 for tournaments of 40 or more teams. Teams who qualify through a gold-certified tournament receive $40 off their NSC registration fee and 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 “excellent” by the PACE Certification Committee; have at least four teams in attendance likely to finish in the top half of the NSC; do not use single-elimination playoffs; present a field that is diverse in terms of geography, talent and/or regular presence on the circuit; and report their statistics in SQBS or TAFT format shortly after the tournament. Platinum-certified tournaments who receive this status in advance are directed by a school or TD who has organized at least one prior tournament in the very recent past that was well-received and demonstrated excellence in scheduling, staffing, and other aspects of tournament operation; the tournament itself demonstrates those qualities if granted retroactively. Platinum-certified tournaments will qualify 4 additional teams at each field size level in comparison to normal affiliated events–the top 6 for tournaments of fewer than 20 teams, the top 8 for tournaments of 20 to 39 teams, and the top 12 for tournaments of 40 or more teams. Teams who qualify through a platinum-certified tournament receive $60 off their NSC registration fee and may register beginning December 1, or as soon as they qualify after that date.

PACE does not expect to award platinum certification to more than a handful of tournaments per year. It 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 2010 NSC and host a gold-certified tournament receive a $10 discount on their entry fee for the 2010 NSC. Hosts that are eligible to attend the 2010 NSC that host a platinum-certified tournament receive a $20 discount on their entry fee for the 2010 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. The average of the number of teams in the top division and the number of teams in the whole tournament will be used as the field size number for such events.

Certification levels may, and often will, be granted retroactively since the Certification Committee needs to see the tournament field to make a decision. For the most part, PACE will try to make the certification announcement a day or two after the tournament so the appropriate number of qualifying teams can be notified promptly.

The Certification Committee will be led by Fred Morlan and will also include Dan Goff, Matt Weiner, Ian Eppler, Matt Chadbourne, George Berry, Rob Carson, Charlie Dees, Hannah Kirsch and Auroni Gupta. It is not necessary to submit a tournament for certification separately; all tournaments affiliated with the 2010 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.

A list of affiliated tournaments can be found here.

State Championships

Beginning with the 2009-2010 season, state championships will be treated like all other tournaments with regards to the number of teams qualified.

It is possible for state championships to become gold or platinum certified, but the tournament in question must meet the same criteria as regular season events.

Wild Cards

Wild-card qualification will now be supervised by Charlie Dees. Teams from regions without easily accessible affiliated tournaments and teams who repeatedly finished just below the qualification zone in regions with many qualifying teams are encouraged to apply for wild-card bids. We will also accept wild-card bids from “B” and “C” teams representing schools whose “A” teams qualified automatically, but such bids are less likely to be accepted than the other two types. To apply for wild-card entry into the NSC field, contact Charlie Dees at charlie16@gmail.com with a one to two page summary of your tournament finishes during this year. Starting on March 1, wild-card bids will begin to be accepted and wild-card teams will have the opportunity to register for the tournament.

Notes on Qualification

Bids are not transferred downwards if a tournament sees all of its qualification spots claimed by teams who have already qualified. It is possible for an affiliated tournament to qualify no new teams in that situation.

Qualifying more than once will earn a team the chance to register earlier, but otherwise has no benefits. Qualifying several times does NOT entitle a school to claim automatic qualification for a “B” team.

There are three ways to qualify a “B” or a “C” team to the NSC:

1) If a school’s A and B team (or A team, B team, and C team, etc) all finish within the automatic qualification zone at a single event, then all such teams qualify automatically.

2) If a team wins an automatic qualification spot with a roster that is entirely distinct from the roster which already won an automatic bid, then they may claim another automatic bid. There must not be any players in common between the qualifying teams in order to qualify multiple teams in this fashion.

3) Teams may apply for wild-card bids for B and C teams after their A team qualifies automatically. There is no guarantee that such bids will be accepted, but strong finishes by the school�s B and C teams in a variety of tournaments will aid their case.

Other Announcements

PACE announces that Chris Ray of the University of Maryland is serving as Editor-in-Chief for the 2010 National Scholastics Championship.

PACE announces that Michael Sorice of the University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign is serving as Tournament Director for the 2010 National Scholastics Championship.

PACE encourages all high school quizbowl tournament hosts to list their events on the Quizbowl Resource Center Tournament Database and to announce events to the Quizbowl Resource Center Forums.

Please use the following contacts for questions about anything in this announcement:

Questions about tournament affiliation or team qualification in general: Fred Morlan, fredmorlan@gmail.com
Questions about the tournament certification program: Fred Morlan, fredmorlan@gmail.com
Questions about wild-card qualification: Charlie Dees, charlie16@gmail.com
Questions about PACE in general or anything not covered in the above: Trygve Meade, tmeade2@uiuc.edu