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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join?

Joining is simple: just show up! To kill more birds with this stone, you might also like to know the following:

If you would like to join, check out the front page of the Web site to find out where we meet. Click on "Contact Us" in the navigation menu to the left to contact an officer about joining.

What am I getting myself into?

Quiz bowl is a game in which two teams of four compete for points awarded for proving knowledge and recall skill. However, at the college level, teams are involved in more than just playing. We host tournaments, write questions, drive for hours and hours, coach the team ourselves, find hotel rooms; the list goes on and on. Running an entire program can be very demanding, so we have to work together. As a result, we, as a team, along with other quiz bowlers (well, most other quiz bowlers), enjoy a camaraderie born out of our common desire to enjoy and improve this game, as opposed to some other groups which exist solely to fulfill some people's need to belong to a group and fit in. And if that weren't enough, we quiz bowlers have more fun than you can throw a bag of rocks at.

Is college quiz bowl different from high school quiz bowl?

In a word, yes. But don't let that frighten you. The most important differences are in format, team quality, and player involvement. All college-level play uses the tossup/bonus format. There are no lightning rounds.

As for team quality, in college, teammates rely more on each other instead of on one star. If you played in high school, you may recall that most of the best teams were dominated by one excellent player. In college, the subjects are deep enough that it is nearly impossible for one player to answer everything, and teamwork is crucial as a result.

There are two kinds of tournaments in college: the format tournament and the invitational. Three nationwide organizations (ACF, NAQT, and TRASH) run international tournaments with regional elimination stages. These three formats still couldn't satisfy the hungry quiz bowlers, and since there is no nationwide public organization to run quiz bowl (such as at the state level), the teams themselves have formed a circuit. Teams host invitational tournaments, usually staffing them with their own players, and many tournaments are packet-submission, i.e., each team brings a complete packet of questions.

Our team has no coaching staff, which means that players run the team. As a result, player participation can range from the occasional visit to presidency of the club.

I'm afraid it might be too hard.

We won't lie and say that it's a piece of cake. You will be challenged without a doubt, but this challenge is a lot of what makes quiz bowl fun. Before you feel overwhelmed, keep the following in mind:

  1. Tournaments have special divisions for first-year players, and some tournaments are exclusively for first-year players ("junior birds"), so you needn't worry about facing grad students.
  2. Even one tossup per game can turn the tide because it could lead to 40 points. So if you don't get 10 tossups a match, don't worry about it because even one tossup can count big. If you don't get any tossups, remember that the bonuses are where the games are won.
  3. Skill will improve with practice. None of the people playing on the "varsity" squad now got there during their first year. Keep in mind that most of the knowledge tested in quiz bowl is learned in college, so if you already know it all, then you should have your degree!

Who do we play against?

Everyone in the US. The schools we've played range from Northwestern Oklahoma State to Harvard and even Oxford. The South Central US has several schools with multiple teams each, such as Harding, Missouri S&T, Oklahoma State, Texas-Austin, and Tulsa. Still, this area is relatively poor in teams compared to the area east of the Mississippi. Since the circuit's center of gravity is probably near West Virginia, we end up traveling a whole lot.

Travel, eh? So how much will that cost me?

Practically nothing. Hotels, airfare, and car rentals are paid for, and gas is reimbursed when we have to drive (because we take our own cars). The only things you'll have to pay for are meals and any souvenirs or nights out. We've been all over the country for tournaments, as far as Boston and Los Angeles, and all for free.