The 2012 NSC took place on June 9-10 at Washington University in Saint Louis, with 60 teams participating. Hunter defeated Bellarmine in a one-game final. Centennial (Georgia) came in third and IMSA A came in fourth.
The 60 teams were split up into prelim brackets composed of seven or eight teams, from which the top two of each bracket went to two playoff brackets and the top four from each playoff bracket played in crossover "superplayoff" games, implementing the 2010 format with four fewer teams. The tournament was successfully directed by Matt Weiner.
The All-Stars for the 2012 NSC were selected by a new method without balloting: as usual, the top four prelim scorers (Adam Silverman of Centennial, Ben Chametzky of Carbondale, Daniel Brach-Neufeld of Georgetown Day, and Max Schindler of Ladue) made up one four-person team; for the other team, the traditional ballots were replaced by selecting the top individual scorers on the highest-placing teams in the tournament from 1st on down, using superplayoffs PPG and skipping over any team whose high scorer was already an overall All-Star. This process selected the remaining All-Stars: Richard Yu of Hunter, Sameer Rai of Bellarmine, Webster Guan of 4th place IMSA, and James Bradbury of 6th-place TJ. "Team Yus" (the latter 4) defeated "Team Jews" (the former 4) 480-290. Additionally, PACE President Mike Bentley read audience-only "Before and After" questions every three tossup-bonus cycles and at the end of each half, for prizes.
The 2012 NSC was the site of the first annual National Quizbowl Awards, hosted by Dave Madden.