(Revised March 2021 for Videoconference)


  1. Each contest features two teams of four players each from one school (no all-star teams created from different schools).
  2. Substitutions are permitted between quarters. Subs must mute their microphone and not use chat when they are not in play.
  3. Each team must designate a captain before each round. When a captain is required to give an answer, he may designate another player. The player must say the word ANSWER before giving their “final” answer so that the moderator knows that the team discussion is over.
  4. Each question has a pre-stated value. Points are scored by correct answers only; incorrect answers do not lose points. All questions missed may be answered by the opposing team for the points.
  5. At their discretion, officials may give a player a chance to “be more specific” if the answer is deemed neither correct nor incorrect. For example, surnames are acceptable provided there are no others having the same surname with whom he might be confused (e.g. the Roosevelts). If more information is provided than is required for a correct answer and some portion is incorrect, the whole answer will be deemed incorrect.
  6. All math answers must be expressed in simplest terms, except denominators need not be rationalized. Calculators may be used; however, no other reference materials or coach help will be permitted.
  7. Units must be given in math answers where applicable, unless it is stated in question what units are sought; for example, “. . . Give me the volume, in cubic centimeters, of a sphere . . .”
  8. On matching questions, all elements to be matched must be included in the response, not merely, “In order, they are…”
  9. SCRIPPS RANCH RULE. Spelling questions are judged using National Spelling Bee rules, although a player need not pronounce the word. A player, having started to spell, may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning; however, there can be no change of letters.
  10. A’DARIUS RULE. Racial slurs are not tolerated. If there’s a violation, unsportsmanlike conduct may be declared, and points deducted (or game[s] forfeited) at the judges’ discretion.
  11. If equipment malfunctions, please call the tournament tech director, Pat Jewell, at 440-487-8781 for help. Most technical difficulties can be solved without any issue. If those difficulties prevent a match from being played, the school having difficulty will be given time to discuss the issue with their school tech department and the match will be rescheduled for another time. We recommend trying a practice Meet with students before each of your blocs to resolve issues ahead of time.
  12. Any appeal may be adjudicated at the end of the Match if it makes a difference in which team wins. An appeal shall consist of the player and/or coach explaining the issue to the official(s). The official(s) may then consult with the opposing coach as they see fit. It is considered unsportsmanlike conduct to interrupt the flow of a match by lodging a protest at the wrong time. There are only a few times when it is correct to interrupt the flow of a match – e.g. equipment malfunction, illness, pencil and paper issues, – but protests and scoring issues need to be addressed at the end of the period. A team is permitted a maximum of two question appeals per game.
  13. Paper and pen or pencil are allowed for contestant use during the game.
  14. There is no objective time scheme on assigned questions.  The moderator will give what is deemed sufficient time for discussion, based on the question itself.

First Quarter (“Warmup Round”)

  1. All questions are assigned to a team and are worth 10 points apiece.
  2. This is a buzzerless competition. Questions will be read alternately to Team A and Team B. Each pair of questions will be on the same topic. The order will be ABBA ABBA etc.
  3. If the first team is incorrect, the question will be referred to the other team.
    Consultation is allowed on all questions in all quarters. Students may confer both verbally and through the chat feature so that audio cannot be misinterpreted by the captain. Except in the 70 seconds round the moderator will never just call time; rather, the moderator, after an amount of time considered sufficient for team
  4.  consultation, will say “Captain, your answer?” or the like, after which there will be a three-second period for the team to answer, after which the moderator will call time. All answers will be given by the team captain (unless the captain elects to “designate” on a particular question) and preceded by the word “Answer” so the moderator can easily distinguish a definitive answer from consultation.

Second Quarter (“Bonus Round”)

  1. There are two kinds of questions: assigned and bonus. Assigned questions will be read alternately to ABAB etc.Assigned questions in this round will have three parts. The assigned question carries 15 points if answered correctly on the first clue; 10 points on the second; 5 points on the third. The moderator will pause
    after each part of the question. Any member of the team may “buzz in” by saying answer and giving an answer. If the first team guesses incorrectly, the question is stopped there and the opposing team may answer for that number of points and if correct control the ensuing bonus. If, however, the first team passes, they will be read the next question, a presumably easier clue. If a team takes “too long” to answer, in the moderator’s opinion, the moderator may move to the next clue for them.
  2. Correctly answering an assigned question gives a team control of a three-question category-oriented bonus series, worth a possible 30 points. The team starts off with a 5-pointer, then a 10, and finally a 15. If the team misses at any level, the bonus for that team stops there, and the opposing team is offered only the question missed at that level, and the bonus for the second team stops there (they may not continue to other levels).
  3.  In the event that a team’s answer to an assigned question is initially ruled incorrect but is later accepted on appeal, the team will play an additional bonus category.
  4. If a team answers out of turn on the other team’s question, the other team will be awarded the points.

Third Quarter (“Seventy Seconds Round”)

  1. Four categories (which vary from game to game) are announced. Each category contains ten questions worth 10 points apiece, and a team is awarded an extra 20 points if it answers all ten correctly.
  2. The team that is trailing (or, in case of a tie, the last team to score) selects a category first.
  3. Once the categories are announced, coaches are not allowed to tell their team what to select.
  4. Answers must be given by the captain. The captain may interrupt the question, but the moderator reserves the right to complete any question.
  5. The team has at most seventy seconds to complete a category, so it is playing against the clock.  The moderator will move on to the next question in the category only when the captain gives a correct answer, gives an incorrect answer, or refuses a question by saying “pass”.
  6. Once a team misses or passes a question, they cannot later return to it.
  7. After time has expired for the first team, the second team may try to answer only the questions that were missed or passed or, in some cases, the part of the last question that was read but went unanswered.”
  8. After the second team has finished rebounding, the second team will select from the remaining three categories and play the round. Then the first team will be given opportunity to rebound.
  9. In the event of an error (e.g. mispronunciation by the moderator) which appears to “cost the team time,” adjustments will not be permitted, unless, in the opinion of the moderator, the error was so significant as to create a situation of extreme prejudice to the team. In such cases the officials, solely at their discretion, may elect to compensate the team. If the problem occurred during the first team’s category, the “time lost” may be deleted from the second team’s category in order to ensure a level playing field. If the problem occurred during the second team’s category, the “time lost” may be added to the end, or the team may be permitted to attempt an additional question from one of the unused categories at the rate of one question per each six seconds “lost”.

Fourth Quarter (“Stump the Experts Round”)

  1. Rules are identical to the First Quarter, except assigned questions are valued at 15 or 20 points.
  2. If, at the end of the round, both teams have the same number of points,
    •  in the preliminary rounds, both teams will be declared the winner.
    •  in the playoffs, the tie is broken in overtime.

Abridged versus Unabridged Format

  1. The rules as described above can be used into two formats: unabridged (designed for games to be scheduled 40 minutes apart) and abridged (25 minutes apart).
  2. In the unabridged format, the 1st Quarter has 14 assigned questions, the 2nd Quarter has 10 tossups feeding into 6 bonus categories, the 3rd Quarter has 4 sixty-second categories, and the 4th Quarter has 18 assigned questions
  3. In the abridged format, the 1st Quarter has 8 assigned questions, the 2nd Quarter has 6 assigned questions feeding into 4 bonus categories, the 3rd Quarter has 4 seventy-second categories, and the 4th Quarter has 8 assigned questions.
  4. In the abridged format, all first- and second-quarter assigned questions are worth 10 points; fourth-quarter tossups are worth 20 points.

Tournament Format

  1. Each team competing in the tournament shall be guaranteed six qualifying round matches. Qualifying round pairings shall be made at random according to a team’s time-bloc preferences, if any are noted on the registration form.
  2. After the qualifying rounds, all teams with records of 6-0, 5-1, and 4-2 will advance and be paired into a single-elimination playoff by virtue of record and points. Ties for record shall be broken using the total points scored in the qualifying rounds. Ties for total points shall be broken using a team’s highest scoring single game.
    1. Exception: In small tournament fields (10 teams or fewer), any team finishing the preliminary rounds with at least a two-game lead over the second-ranked team shall be declared the champion without necessitating a playoff. For example, if the best team is 6-0 and the second-best 4-2, the 6-0 team wins the title.
    2.  NORRIS RULE: No team that has broken 400 twice shall be kept out of the playoffs, regardless of won-loss record.
  3. Preliminary matches will be in the abridged format; playoff matches will be in the unabridged format.
  4. If a team arrives ten minutes past game time or does not show up at all, it automatically forfeits. A team that wins by forfeiture in a preliminary round shall be awarded an average of the number of points accumulated in their other preliminary matches. The moderators, however, are encouraged to be lenient before declaring a forfeiture, given the new technology. Moderators who have a late match occurring may indicate this to the tech director who can let the next moderators know an approximate time for the next start.
  5. Preliminary round schedules will be posted online a week before the competition begins. After the last preliminary round date, a playoff chart showing contests for the third and final weekend will be displayed at


  1. A team consists of players from one school whom the school has declared eligible.
  2. Although a team is not required to be coed (male and female), the National Academic Association encourages schools to field mixed teams if at all possible.
  3. JV teams will be limited by the “Rule of 42.” That is, the total grade numbers of the four players at any given time shall not exceed 42. For example, 10 + 10 + 11 + 12 = 43, and that’s too much! 9 + 10 + 11 + 11 = 41, and that’s within the limit of 42, etc. Graduating seniors are allowed to participate on a JV team only if the school is also bringing a Varsity team as well as a JV.
  4.  To equalize the playing field between junior high teams and middle school teams, each middle school team is welcome to include up to two ninth graders from the high school into which that middle school feeds. A junior high team may play no more than two ninth graders at a given time. (Ninth graders are not eligible to compete at both Junior Nationals and Senior Nationals.)
  5. To equalize the playing field between schools that only go up to 5th grade and those that go up to 6th, each of the former is welcome to include up to two sixth graders from the middle school into which that elementary school feeds. (Sixth graders are not eligible to compete at both Junior Nationals and Elementary Nationals.)
  6. Team behavior should conform to the high standards of the competition.
  7. Teams must be accompanied by at least one adult coach/advisor. Coaches are responsible for the behavior of their team members.

Appeals to the Supreme Court

  1. In the event that a team is dissatisfied with an official decision, an email explaining the issue must be submitted within 6 hours to the Executive Director.
  2. Teams are allowed one such appeal throughout the whole of the preliminary rounds (i.e. not one per match) and one throughout the course of the elimination rounds. If the opposing coach wishes to counter-appeal, it does not “use up” their appeal.
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