The affiliation of a player is, colloquially, the school(s) which they attend and represent in competition. A player who establishes affiliation with an educational institution by doing things like attending classes for credit or pursuing a degree may be eligible to play quizbowl for them if they meet additional criteria.
Like eligibility, affiliation operates on a competition year spanning from August 1st to July 31st of the following year. Both teams and players are said to be affiliated with the school which they play for.
For high school and middle schoolers, NAQT rule E applies.
Rule E2 was changed for the 2021-2022 season; changed section is indicated in bold.
|Before 2021-2022 season||2021-2022 season onward|
|A player automatically establishes an affiliation with a school for a given competition year by enrolling in an academic term the majority of whose days fall within that competition year. This applies to non-online and online schools, but not homeschool co-ops.||A player automatically establishes an affiliation with a school for a given competition year by enrolling in at least one class in a single traditional core curriculum subject (such as science, mathematics, language arts, literature, history, or social studies) in an academic term the majority of whose days fall within that competition year. This applies to non-online and online schools, but not homeschool co-ops.|
Players and the coaches representing them can apply for exceptions to this rule, and all NAQT eligibility and affiliation rules by contacting them at least 14 days before playing.
PACE does not have a formal concept of "affiliation" and instead mandates that students must represent a school which they are enrolled in.
In college play, NAQT rule C2 is the primary factor: "A player establishes a student affiliation at an institution for a given competition year by registering for at least one course normally offered for degree credit during the competition year at that institution. This establishes an affiliation for the entire competition year, not just the duration of that academic term. For the purposes of these rules, academic certificates do not count as degrees.
In the ACF rules there is no separate concept of "affiliation", but its eligibility rules function in much the same way as NAQT rule C2.
It is possible for a player to have multiple affiliations. The most common examples of this are individuals who are in schools which function as both middle schools and high schools, high schoolers who attend multiple schools, and high school students who are taking classes at a local college or university. The act of having an affiliation with and playing games for a institution above one's current level of schooling is typically referred to as playing up.
The following table shows what options are available for students who have various affiliations in a given competition year (assuming they are eligible):
|Middle school/High school||College||NAQT||ACF|
|one affiliation||can play||not applicable|
|multiple (non-online, non-homeschool) affiliations||can play for all†|
|one non-online, non-homeschool affiliation and one online or homeschool affiliation||cannot play for more than one|
|multiple online or homeschool affiliations||cannot play for more than one|
|one affiliation||can play||can play|
|multiple affiliations||cannot play for more than one||can play|
|one affiliation||one affiliation||can play for all†||can play for all††|
|multiple (non-online, non-homeschool) affiliations||one affiliation||can play for all†||can play for all††|
|one affiliations||multiple affiliations||cannot play for more than one college, but can play for both a college and any number of middle schools/high schools†||can play for all††|
†: players must contact NAQT at least 14 days before playing for a second squad
††: since players that are affiliated with both a secondary and post-secondary education institution are typically not enrolled in the latter, they must ensure that they are eligible under ACF rule 4C