About PACE

The Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence (PACE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer alliance of advocates and organizers for the game of high school quizbowl and related scholastic competitions.

PACE has many objectives:

  • to promote and encourage the growth of quality high school academic tournaments around the country,
  • to provide guidance or assistance to colleges or high schools that wish to organize academic tournaments,
  • to encourage innovation and creativity in academic competition,
  • to establish visibility for college quizbowl programs that run high school tournaments,
  • to foster cooperation among college and high school quizbowl programs in preparation for upcoming regional, state, or national tournaments,
  • to encourage quizbowl teams to participate in tournaments across the country prior to regional, state, or national championships,
  • to promote adequate opportunities for all teams to practice, compete, and socialize among other fellow competitors,
  • to produce the question set for and run the National Scholastic Championship each year.


PACE was founded in 1996 by a group of collegiate players and high school coaches who were disappointed in the options which were available at that time to high school teams, coming together to improve the game they loved.

PACE first ran its annual National Scholastic Championship (NSC) in 1998, capping off that year’s season for 31 high school quizbowl teams with the first national quizbowl competition designed to use high-quality academic questions, a fair game format, and impartial staff throughout. In the years since then, PACE has continued to refine and improve the quality of its NSC question set, the NSC field has more than tripled in size, and many events and organizers across the country have followed PACE’s lead in building up local circuits that reward teams for their learning and intellectual engagement (as well as a qualification to NSC).

Besides the NSC and their other contributions within local circuits, PACE members have taken the lead in establishing a center for advice-sharing and open discussion at the Quizbowl Resource Center forums (2003-present), starting and maintaining the free, open-access question archive at the Quizbowl Packet Archive (2008-present), and archiving past quizbowl events on the Quizbowl Resource Database (2011-present), a storage site for tournament statistics. PACE has also started a number of initiatives to enhance the quizbowl community, including the Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Awards (1998-present), the David Riley Coaches Conference (2015-present), and the Morgan Costa-Rhodes Memorial Scholarship (2017-present).

Affiliated tournaments

PACE promotes its standards for high school academic competition by seeking out and affiliating with regional quizbowl tournaments which take place across the country throughout the year. Teams who finish in the top 15 percent of the field at an affiliated tournament automatically qualify for the year’s upcoming National Scholastic Championship. Some affiliated tournaments with even higher standards for logistical and question quality are certified by PACE as “Gold” or “Platinum” affiliated tournaments; such tournaments qualify a larger percentage of the top of their field for the upcoming NSC. Many regions of the country have over a dozen affiliated tournaments a year, run by high schools, colleges, or quizbowl alliances/state organizations. While many PACE members direct and staff affiliated tournaments in their regions, you need not be a PACE member to run an affiliated tournament. Hosts may affiliate their tournaments with PACE absolutely free of charge.


PACE members commit themselves to helping run the NSC and serving as leaders in their local quizbowl circuits. PACE members pay no dues and contribute largely on a volunteer basis. PACE frequently collaborates with other high school and college academic competition organizations to achieve greater success at its projects.

New members are inducted twice a year in January and June. PACE seeks out public nominations, and elects by internal vote to invite new members.

Current high school students are not eligible for membership.

For further inquiries, contact us at communications@pace-nsc.org.