Commissioner's Academic Challenge

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The Commissioner's Academic Challenge (CAC) is a high school academic tournament in Florida. It is held at the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World each spring, usually in April. Each school district is asked to send a team composed of six high school students. Participating counties are separated into three divisions based on their full-time enrollment numbers for grades 9-12.

Tournament Format

Teams compete in up to four untimed matches, with each match consisting of 1) the 5-point question round of 20 "Button" questions, followed by a 10-point Team Question, 2) the 10-point question round of 20 "Button" questions, followed by a 20-point Team Question, and 3) the 15-point round of 25 "Button" questions followed by a 30-point Team Question. Button questions are quick-response toss-ups, excepted answered by only one team, with correct answers earning points and incorrect answers losing points. The Team Questions are written worksheets, completed by each team, requiring several minutes to complete. Teams earn points for each correct answer, and are not subject to losing points for incorrect answers as they are in Button questions. The questions asked become progressively harder in each round and cover a variety of fields including English, computational, science, social studies, art, music, foreign language (French and Spanish), technology, and multi-subject. The questions take a variety of forms, such as matching, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and free response.

Only four players may compete during a given round, but coaches are allowed to make substitutions between rounds. Most matches feature somewhere between four and six teams competing at the same time. A panel of judges is present in each competition room to deliberate if a challenge is declared by a team. These judges are experts in their field of study. A Reader reads most of the questions, aloud, to all the teams in the competition. Some questions, such as foreign language, music, art and physics are written and are distributed on handouts, simultaneously, to all participants. Others, such as music, are played as audio tracks, and some, such as foreign language are displayed as video tracks. A Coordinating Judge manages the competition in the match, which, although untimed, generally runs about two hours.

The CAC is unlike many other quizbowl tournaments in that it is a slower-paced, more team-oriented competition. Team members are allowed to converse with each other at all times, and instead of having individual buzzers, each team is provided with only one or two buzzers that they must share. The CAC also differs from most tournaments in that there is no "rebounding." This means that once a team has buzzed in on a question, that question is finished regardless of whether the team gave a correct or incorrect response.

The CAC format was the basis for the now defunct Panasonic Academic Championship.

Awards and Prizes

At the conclusion of the tournament, the top three teams in each division receive rings from Herff Jones, while the championship and second place teams also receive trophies and medallions from the Florida High School Athletic Association.

In addition, one winning player from each of the three championship counties, and three other players selected "at large," are chosen to serve on Team Florida, which competes at the National Tournament of Academic Excellence in June.

History of CAC

The tournament began in 1986 and changed names several times before settling on its present title in 1997. The following is a list of winning counties:

Year Division I Division II Division III
1986 Seminole Suwannee only two divs.
1987 Orange Highlands only two divs.
1988 Duval Clay Suwannee
1989 Polk Bay Suwannee
1990 Pinellas Highlands Suwannee
1991 Dade Indian River Suwannee
1992 Pinellas Collier Suwannee
1993 Duval St. Lucie DeSoto
1994 Pinellas Bay Suwannee
1995 Broward Clay Suwannee
1996 Leon Osceola Suwannee
1997 Duval Indian River DeSoto
1998 Seminole Hernando Suwannee
1999 Brevard Indian River DeSoto
2000 Escambia Leon Taylor
2001 Palm Beach Indian River Suwannee
2002 Escambia Leon Suwannee
2003 Escambia Leon Suwannee
2004 Brevard St. Lucie Hardee
2005 Manatee Okaloosa Gadsden
2006 Escambia Santa Rosa Hardee
2007 Polk Leon Hardee
2008 Pinellas Martin Hardee
2009 Brevard Indian River Jackson
2010 Escambia Santa Rosa Jackson
2011* Escambia Leon Suwannee
2012 Orange Leon Monroe
2013 Pinellas Martin Suwannee
  • - 2011: Held at Coronado Springs Resort

External links