Tournament of Champions
The Tournament of Champions was a high school national run by the American Scholastic Competition Network from 1987 to an ignominious end after the 2005 event. The format of the games was four-quarter, and the tournament consisted of playing prelim games until all but a certain number of teams had three losses, at which point the remaining teams were seeded into a single-elimination bracket to determine the champion.
The name derives from the unique qualification procedure for the TOC, which required teams to be the outright winner of at least one tournament of eight teams or more during the competition year.
From 1995 to 1997, the tournament prizes were sponsored by the computer manufacturer Gateway 2000, and the tournament was named the "Gateway 2000 Quiz Bowl Tournament of Champions."
The TOC was held in the Chicago area throughout its existence: at Lake Forest College from 1987 until 2001, and at various hotels from 2002 to 2005. At least in their later years, teams were required to stay at the officially designated hotel. Thus, few teams in the Chicago area ever attended, because most schools could not justify the enormous expenditure of staying at a hotel, when it was more logical to simply stay at home and travel to the tournament locale on a daily basis.
The 2006 TOC was cancelled at the last minute, but many teams did not receive refunds of their entry fees, and several teams even arrived in Chicago without being aware that there was no tournament. As of 2007 the Sioux City, IA police department was pursuing fraud charges against Gary Lipshutz (the proprietor of ASCN) over the matter of the entry fees, but it is unclear if anything came of that.
ASCN was often viewed as a tournament with all the quizbowl shortcomings of the National Academic Championship, but without the ethical baggage; many teams who preferred lower-quality tournaments but did not wish to deal with Chip Beall attended ASCN exclusively as their national of choice. Obviously, notions of ethical superiority were belied by the events of 2006.