National Academic Quiz Tournaments

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National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC
President or CEO R. Robert Hentzel
Location: Various
Status Open

NAQT or National Academic Quiz Tournaments is a company that produces quizbowl questions and tournaments.


Introduction to Quizbowl

How Quizbowl Works

Tossup-Bonus Format
Good quizbowl
How to Get Good at This Game
How to Write Questions

How Collegiate Quizbowl Works

The circuit

Quizbowl basics

NAQT was founded in 1996. They hosted the first NAQT Sectionals in fall 1996, the first NAQT ICT in January 1997, and the first HSNCT in spring 1999. They also hosted the British Championship from 1998 to 2003, and ran Conference Championships, later renamed Intercollegiate Fall Tournaments, from 1998 until their discontinuation in 2001. NAQT's middle school program began in the 2010-11 school year, and continues to this day.

NAQT's first president was Patrick Matthews, who moved on from the organization in 1998. The current president, R. Robert Hentzel, has been running the organization since.

Invitational Series packet sets, for use at tournaments throughout the year, debuted in fall 1997. There are two difficulties of IS sets: IS-A sets, which are "introductory" level and identified by an "A" after the set number, such as "Invitational Series #123A", and "regular" IS sets, such as "Invitational Series #124". IS sets were originally marketed towards college teams, but they are now a staple of high school play. However, some college events still run IS questions, a practice which is generally frowned upon. There have been over 120 IS-sets produced since.


NAQT's official rules use timed matches consisting of two 9 minute halves (high school) or two 10 minute halves (college). Questions are in the standard Tossup/Bonus format, but NAQT also uses powers, early answers in a tossup worth 15 points rather than the usual 10 points.

High School Program

NAQT's flagship tournament is the HSNCT or High School National Championship Tournament. They also produce a series of Invitational Series (IS) Sets for use in regular season tournaments throughout the year. NAQT encourages each state to run NAQT State Championships on an IS-set. NAQT currently produces five Invitational Series sets per year. From 2010 until 2012, six of these sets were produced each year.

In 2003 NAQT produced its first Introductory Invitational Series set. These sets (also known as "A-series" or "A-level" questions) are intended for less-experienced teams and players. They feature easier answer selection and shorter tossups than the Invitational Series.

NAQT also takes custom orders. For example, it produces sets of questions in Illinois format by cannibalizing two IS sets and adding questions unique to the Illinois format in subjects such as vocational education and home economics. They also provide questions for several TV quiz competitions, including Quiz Central in Michigan.

College Tournaments

NAQT runs two major college tournaments. NAQT Sectionals (SCT) are typically held in February and are necessary to qualify for their national tournament, the ICT or Intercollegiate Championship Tournament.


NAQT's two divisions at the college level are Division I and Division II, with Division I using more difficult questions at SCT and ICT. Division II, designed for newcomers to college level quizbowl, has a restricted field, limiting participants by the following criteria:

  • They have not completed their fourth distinct academic year of competition in NAQT collegiate events,
  • They have played on a Division I team at no more than one previous NAQT Sectional.
  • Prior to the current competition year, they have never played on a Sectionals team that qualified for the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament nor played at the Intercollegiate Championship Tournament at either the Division II or Division I levels. This final eligibility rule does not apply to Community College players, though all other eligibility rules do.

National winners of each division by year can be found here.

NAQT also controversially provides its high school-level IS sets for use in college events. The use of IS-sets for college tournaments is strongly disparaged and in decline.

Middle School Program

In 2010, NAQT produced its first middle school set, MS-01, and it continues to produce an increasing number of middle school sets each year. NAQT's middle school questions are as long as, but easier than, A-set questions.

The MSNCT, or Middle School National Championship Tournament, debuted in April 2011 as the first and only national tournament for middle school teams that follows good quizbowl standards.



Although thankfully NAQT has had few problems compared to other companies such as Questions Unlimited or CBI, there have been some controversies. These include:

  • 2004 ICT Division II Eligibility Scandal, where UCLA won Division II in 2004 despite having played in ICT Div II the year before
  • Allowing the use of IS high school level questions for college tournaments
  • Occasional use of funn questions, especially in sets before about 2007
  • Use of strictly-enforced character limits for tossups (291 characters for middle school and Introductory Invitational Series sets ("A-sets"); 425 for Invitational Series sets, HSNCT, and Division II; 500 for Division I)
  • Large current events and pop culture distributions in their sets
  • 2012-13 cheating scandal, in which it was discovered that several players had abused a loophole in NAQT's question-writing system to access questions for future sets (the loophole has since been closed)
  • Continued use of computational math questions

External Links


National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC

Members Emeriti