2014 NTAE

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The 2014 NTAE is scheduled to occur on June 14-17 at Disney World's Contemporary Resort Hotel. Though the tournament does not refer to itself as a quizbowl competition, it will likely use a similar format as previous iterations, which was considered bad quizbowl. Teams currently known to be attending include Florida and Oklahoma. The chosen date of June 14-17 notably conflicts with the 2014 NASAT.

Tournament format

There were only nine participating teams in the tournament. The format was changed for this year: each team plays four qualifying rounds, with three teams in each room. In each of the first three qualifying rounds, the ranking within the room determines the room where that team will play the next round. The system is set up so that the second, third, and fourth qualifying rounds will not only feature one team from each room, but also one first-place team in the previous round, one second-place team, and one third-place team.

After the four qualifying rounds, the team with the highest aggregate score proceeds directly to the championship round. The other teams continue to the elimination round (formerly, the semifinal), competing in two rooms of four teams each. The top two teams in each room, as well as the highest scoring third-place team, advance to the championship round.

It should be noted that using a Steiner triple system for 9 teams for the qualifying rounds would have allowed every team to participate in a match against every other team exactly once during qualification. The system NTAE chose to use has the perverse side effect of requiring teams who finish lower-ranked to face stronger teams in the next round. For example, a team that wins its room faces a second-place and a third-place team in the following round, while a team finishing in third place faces a first-place and a second-place team.


The Ohio team was Fisher Catholic, a school which plays several good quizbowl tournaments each year and should know better.

The Pennsylvania team was Downingtown East, who played three NAQT tournaments in 2013-2014 as their first foray into good quizbowl.

The South Carolina team was Southside; North Carolina was represented by NCSSM, and Colorado was represented by Grand Junction. Florida, Maine, and Oklahoma were all represented by squads comprised of students from other schools.


A live audio broadcast of the final was subscribed to by several quizbowl personalities, who confirmed that the questions are still atrocious and incapable of distinguishing which team knows more about anything. The tossup questions alternated between first-clue buzzer races ("What kind of event did Pope Urban II organize...?") and impossible multi-stage matching questions. About 1 tossup out of every 2 went unanswered, even with the "best" six teams in the country by NTAE's reckoning all having an opportunity to ring in first.

In the final match, where five teams played for the trophy, a controversial decision swung the decision of crowning the tournament champion. Team Pennsylvania had rung in first on a music theory question and delivered what was initially ruled to be a correct answer. However, the member of the judges panel (representing the auditory arts component of the multidisciplinary panel) for the final match had intervened and said that the answer, while correct on the answer sheet of the questions, was actually incorrect given the question that was presented. Upon further review, Team Pennsylvania was penalized for an incorrect answer. Up until this point, before the question was answered and before the ultimate decision was rendered, PA was in the lead. As a result of the penalty for an 'incorrect answer', that by good quizbowl standards would've otherwise been thrown out and replaced with a brand new (and correctly written) question, Team Pennsylvania fell to second (because, at NTAE, wrong answers are actually penalized), with Team Florida seizing the lead.

Across the competing teams that were not the home team, Team Florida, all of the representatives concluded that the tournament - in quiz bowl terms - was bad, and that the primary motivation behind attending was out of vacationing interests.

The non-buzzer questions in the final were themed, with all of them relating an academic topic to a different newspaper comic strip, usually preceded by a paragraph-long history of the comic strip itself which had no relevance to answering the question.

Given that this tournament has a far lower rate of answerable questions than any other event in quizbowl, it is possible that some attending teams will be interested in playing the NASAT, a very challenging tournament that nonetheless manages to have far more than 50% of its tossups answered in any particular game. NASAT costs about 15% as much to enter as NTAE and offered 16 games of good quizbowl against actual quizbowl teams in 2014.

External links

2014 NTAE
2009 NTAE
2015 NTAE