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"Tournament director" redirects here. For the software, see Tournament Director.

Officials or staff are people who facilitate tournaments and games happening.

Tournament Officials

Tournament Director

The tournament director (or TD) is the logistical head of the tournament. Though the TD's responsibilities vary with the size of the tournament and number of assistants to whom responsibility can be delegated, some essential TD functions are:

  • Ensuring the registration of teams for the tournament, and serving as the main point of communication between participating teams and the host,
  • Reserving the rooms in which the tournament is to be held,
  • Acquiring enough other staff and equipment to run the tournament,
  • Getting the packets of the question set to moderators in proper order, either by making paper copies or by email at a paperless tournament,
  • Creating a schedule for the tournament,
  • Keeping track of payment,
  • Ensuring the keeping of stats, as well as their swift posting after the tournament for all teams who attended,
  • Determining protest resolution (or heading the protest resolution committee),
  • Awarding prizes and recognizing top scorers.

The tournament director of a tournament often uses a control room, or "War Room," separate from the game rooms as a place for the delivery of scoresheets, keeping of stats, and resolution of protests. At very large tournaments, there may be multiple control rooms, e.g., for different divisions, pools, or physical areas. At very small tournaments, the TD may also be a moderator or have another role.

In most cases, decisions made by the tournament director are final.

Protest Committee

The protest committee is a small group of people appointed by the tournament director to decide protests. The committee may be a single person or several people; an odd number is generally ideal in case an issue must come down to a vote. If one or more primary editor(s) of the question set is/are available, they will typically be on the protest committee. The tournament director is usually on the protest committee.

Protest committees generally decide protests without knowing the identity/ies of the team(s) involved.

Local tournaments (as opposed to national championships) often decide protests much less formally.

Some rule sets require protests to be decided within the game room rather than involving external officials, rendering the notion of a protest committee inapplicable.


The statsperson, or stats guru or statkeeper, is responsible for collecting scoresheets from each individual game, entering them into a quizbowl statistics program such as SQBS, and displaying the results for teams to see. At some tournaments, the TD is also the statsperson; at very small tournaments, the statsperson may also be a moderator or scorekeeper. Large tournaments often have multiple statspeople.

Game officials


These two roles are by far the most common in quizbowl. You will see these officials at essentially every quizbowl tournament that you attend.


The moderator (sometimes also called the reader) is the official responsible for reading the questions, determining the validity of responses, awarding/deducting points based on those responses, resetting the buzzer system prior to the start of the next tossup/bonus cycle, and resolving any protests that come up (or choosing to send them along to the tournament director). Some of these responsibilities may be delegated to or executed in collaboration with a scorekeeper.

Moderators are crucial to holding a successful quizbowl tournament. Every room at the event needs a moderator and the number of moderators available for an event generally limits the number of teams allowed in to a tournament. Moderators need to have training to understand the rules that are being used at the tournament as well as improve at the other aspects of moderation like pronunciation and enunciation. See, for instance these tips for moderators from PACE. Sometimes moderators will also double as scorekeepers if no scorekeeper is available, though this usually will add additional stress on the moderator and slow down the match to some extent.


The scorekeeper is responsible for keeping an accurate tally of individual and team points scored for each team. Scorekeepers may keep score by writing on a physical scoresheet or, increasingly, use a variety of online scoresheets that can automatically do the math and share results. In many tournaments, particularly untimed tournaments with a small number of staffers, moderators keep score for themselves, sometimes requesting assistance from a coach in the room or even a player who is not in the game at the time.


Most quizbowl formats just need a moderator and scorekeeper in every room. Some formats use additional game officials.


Often a volunteer during playoff/finals matches of tournaments, the scoreboarder functions as a scorekeeper, recording the score on a blackboard, whiteboard, poster, or electronic presentation so that the audience can keep track of the score from afar during the match. In Illinois high school quizbowl, this function was traditionally performed by a non-playing team member on a whiteboard or blackboard.

Third Official

NAQT national championships typically assign a third official to late playoff games. The third official's responsibilities include following along in the packet to ensure there are no egregious misreadings; texting the control room or protest committee with any protests, likely protests, or other issues; possibly keeping backup score; helping evaluate borderline answers; and attending to any other issues. Depending on staff availability and multitasking ability, the third official may also operate the electronic scoreboard.


CBI tournaments used a judge whose role was to determine the validity of answers given by the players. The judge also recorded the points scored on each tossup or bonus in case there is a discrepancy in the score. In mainstream tournaments these jobs are handled by the moderator and scorekeeper, respectively. This is extremely similar to part of the Third Official job described above.

Reset/Timer Announcer

Another CBI official whose duties would be performed by the moderator in most other formats, the reset/timer announcer (or RTA) is responsible for starting the clock at the beginning of each half, recognizing the player that buzzed in, and then resetting the buzzer system. Apart from timed halves, this role is still used in some MSHSAA tournaments, where the role is referred to as the "spotter."

Audiovisual Operator

For tournaments with audio and/or visual questions, and tournaments that record and/or amplify the players and/or moderator, an additional person may be required to operate the equipment.


Some local high school formats require a separate official to be in charge of timing the match.

VHSL Scholastic Bowl

The official rules of VHSL Scholastic Bowl provide for a quizmaster, timekeeper, math/science judge, social studies judge, and two team-provided scorekeepers in each room, though in practice games at the local level often combine these roles into as few as (often) two people or (rarely) one. The state tournament tends to follow the full rules as written regarding staff quantity and roles.

See Also