2020 International Academic Competitions – Varsity & Junior Varsity 2020 US National Championships – General Information

International Academic Competitions is pleased to officially announce its tenth annual Varsity & Junior Varsity National Championships, originally postponed due to COVID-19, will be rescheduled for November 13 – December 20, 2020. The tournament will take place entirely online via Zoom and and using online buzzer systems.

Please see these sites for detailed information on:
Nationals Registration
Nationals Schedule
Nationals Qualification (for National History Bee and Bowl)
Nationals Costs
Teams Coming to Nationals
National Sports and Entertainment History Bee

The IAC Varsity and Junior Varsity National Championships consist of the following events. Please note that all of the linked sites have their own Nationals page with further details, rules, and information on each event.

1. National History Bowl (Sat. 12/5 and Sun. 12/6: preliminary rounds; Sun. 12/13: playoff rounds)
2. National History Bee (Sat. 12/5 and Sun. 12/20: preliminary rounds; Sun. 12/20: playoff rounds)
3. National Political Science Bee (Fri. 12/11: preliminary rounds; Sat. 12/19: playoff rounds)
4. US History Bee (Sat. 12/12: preliminary rounds; Sun. 12/13: playoff rounds)
5. US Geography Championships (Fri. 11/20)
6. International Geography Bee (Fri. 12/18: preliminary rounds; Sun. 12/20: playoff rounds)
7. National Science Bee (Sat. 12/19: preliminary rounds; Sun. 12/20: playoff rounds)
8. National Sports & Entertainment History Bee (Fri. 12/4: preliminary rounds; Sat. 12/19: playoff rounds)

Please note that our 2020 Varsity National History Bowl National Championships is capped at 180 teams and our 2020 Junior Varsity National History Bowl National Championships is capped at 120 teams! Register early to ensure your place in the tournament!

The deadline for registrations is TBD for Bowl Registrations and TBD for all individual events! (11:59pm EDT both days)

National History Bowl Tournament Format
At Varsity and Junior Varsity nationals, all teams will be guaranteed ten rounds of preliminary matches this year.

Nota bene: The exact format of Nationals (in particular, whether 2 or 3 teams advance out of each Friday and Saturday pool into the subsequent contention / playoff rounds) may vary somewhat from what is described below. Once the field size has been finalized (it will be a multiple of 6 in any case for both Varsity and JV), then we will confirm the final format for 2020 here.

Varsity teams who finish in the top 2 in their Friday group of 6 teams and and Junior Varsity teams who finish in the top 3 teams in their Friday pool advance to the Saturday Upper Bracket rounds and are still in contention for the title. Ranking in group is determined based on record, then total points scored. Ties among teams with 4-1 records that determine advancement to the Saturday Upper Bracket (i.e. two teams tied for 2nd and 3rd in Varsity) will be played off on a quarter of 8 powermarked tossups without bonuses with point differential from the 5 game round robin between the 2nd and 3rd place 4-1 ranked teams carrying over. Thus if one team is 4-1 with 1200 points and one team is 4-1 with 1100 points, the team with 1200 points begins the tiebreaker with a 100 point head start. If the point differential is greater than 240 points, no tiebreak is played.
Teams ranked first in their group regardless of record advance automatically. Ties for second and third place in the group among teams ranked 3-2 are broken solely on points (i.e. no tiebreaks will be played). If two teams are ranked the same on record and on points after five rounds, a sudden death buzzer tossup question is played (or more until one team answers one correctly). If more than two teams are tied for a position, a round robin of 3 or more questions (one question between each possible pairing) is played with the team who is most successful in these advancing (i.e. the team that gets both of its questions, or if a team is the only one to score). If two teams score and the third does not, then these two teams play a tiebreak question on their own. This procedure is repeated until a winner emerges.

After the first 5 rounds on Friday, teams are placed in different groups of 6, playing five more matches on Saturday.
In the Varsity Saturday Upper Bracket groups, there will be 3 teams per group who finished first in prelims, and 3 teams who finished second. In the Saturday Upper Bracket groups, the top 4 teams advance to playoffs, though teams in fourth place begin the playoffs in single elimination position, not double.
Varsity teams who do not make Upper Bracket will play 5 consolation rounds against teams who finished in identical position in their Friday group (e.g. against all other teams in one’s “supergroup” who finished fourth, if a team finished fourth on Friday).
In the JV, the top 3 teams out of each Friday group advances to the Saturday Upper Bracket. Each JV Upper Bracket group will have 2 teams who finished first on Friday, two teams who finished second, and two teams who finished third. Then, in the Saturday group of five matches, they need to finish again in the top 3 out of 6 to make the JV playoffs.
In the JV Saturday consolation rounds, each consolation group will have 2 teams who finished 4th in their Friday group; two teams who finished 5th, and two teams who finished 6th.

Saturday consolation group matches may or may not count to determine a team’s final ranking; we will know that once the field size has been confirmed, and then we will post that decision here.

After Round 10, teams outside the Upper Bracket are ranked in their Saturday groups by order of finish among comparably ranked groups, then Saturday record among teams in such a group, then Saturday total points among teams in such a group, then Friday order of finish, record and Friday points if still tied. The Upper Bracket teams are ranked in their Saturday groups by Saturday record, then Saturday total points; then, if still tied for any place, sudden death tossups will be used to break the tie per the procedures described above (though not doing any special tiebreaks among 4-1 finishing teams).

In Varsity playoffs, an advantaged double elimination championship bracket will be used: the top 16 teams based on Saturday order of finish in their group, then record, then points will begin in the winners’ bracket (double elimination), while the next 16 teams will have a seed from 17 to 32 and begin in the losers’ bracket (single elimination).

The first three rounds of Varsity playoffs will be played; then either 3 or 4 rounds will be needed to determine the champion (depending on whether the ultimate champion goes undefeated or not). Once Varsity teams have been eliminated from the losers’ bracket, they will continue to play matches (up to 3 more games) to determine final placement. Teams still need to play these, even if they are out of contention for the overall title!

Full details on the Varsity double-elimination championship bracket and consolation placement games are available here. There are two moments when the championship bracket involves drafting. First, prior to Round 5, of the four teams remaining in the loser’s bracket, the one with the highest initial playoff seed selects their Round 5 opponent from the three other teams. Second, prior to Round 6, the undefeated winner’s bracket champion selects their Round 6 opponent from two of the three remaining one-loss teams; the team they just defeated in Round 5 is protected from being selected.

For the Junior Varsity playoffs, the top 24 teams from the Saturday Upper Bracket rounds will make the Playoff rounds. Teams ranked 1-8 will have double elimination status, the remaining playoff teams will have single elimination status, and all final positions will be played off (e.g. even if a single elimination team loses in its first playoff, it has remaining games against other teams who also lost their first playoff round with single elimination status to determine overall final placement in the tournament.) Drafts will occur at points comparable to the Varsity playoffs.

Small Schools and other classifications
We will once again award a small school Varsity and small school JV National Champion this year. A Small School is defined as a non-magnet, non-selective public school with 1000 or fewer students in a four grade school (e.g. 9-12) or 800 in a three grade school – (e.g. 10-12 or 6-8). Small schools do not play in a separate draw of the tournament.

We will also be offering a separate small school playoff bracket for both Varsity and JV Small Schools. The top 6 small school teams will make the playoffs in both age divisions. The top 4 teams go into the playoffs in double elimination position; the next 4 teams go into the playoffs in single elimination position. If a Small School-eligible team or teams make the playoffs of the main draw, then they will get advanced into later stages of the Small School playoffs automatically.

We will also award prizes for the top homeschool, middle school, and single-player teams, but these awards are not played off; they simply go to the highest team in the overall rankings with these designations in both Varsity and JV.

National History Bee Rules and Tournament Format

Primer for the National History Bee Preliminary Rounds

National History Bee Playoff Structure

In 2020, the playoff formats for the Varsity and Junior Varsity divisions of the National History Bee are identical; everything in this section applies to both divisions. This playoff format is similar to what was used in 2018 and 2019, though 48 players will make the quarterfinals in each division, and 18 players will make the semifinals in 2020 in both divisions (in 2018 and 2019, the numbers were 40 and 16 respectively). The questions in the playoff rounds are the same in both divisions.

The IAC Championships Individual Event Playoffs Scoring System, involving superpowermarked tossups and incorrect penalties, will be in use.

The top 40 students in each division will advance from the preliminary rounds to the playoffs. The National History Bee playoffs are played in quarterfinal, semifinal, and final stages.

The quarterfinals consist of 6 rooms of 8 players on a round of 35 tossups. The top 3 players in each room advance to the semifinals. The round is played as a race to 40 points. If a student reaches 40 points in the quarterfinals, they are finished playing in that round; the first player to do so finishes the round in first place, and so on. All 35 tossups are read, regardless of how many players have reached 40 points and stopped playing. If, after 35 tossups, there is a tie involving 1st-3rd places, the tied players will play sudden victory tiebreak questions (i.e. there are no negative points in tiebreaker questions). Note that going “beyond 40 points” is ignored; all that matters for purposes of tiebreaking consideration is the question on which a player reached 40 points and stopped playing.

The semifinals consist of 3 rooms of 6 players on a round of 35 tossups. The top 2 players in each room advance to the finals. Scoring and tiebreaking procedures are identical to the quarterfinals, with the exception that there is no 4th place wild card advancement.

The finals consist of 1 room of 6 players on a round of up to 40 tossups. If a player reaches 50 points, the match ends, they are crowned National Champion, and if 30 tossups have been read, the scores at that point are used as the final rankings. A minimum of 30 tossups will be read in the final. If no one reaches 50 points, the scores after 40 tossups are used as the final rankings. Any ties for First, Second, and/or Third Place are played off on sudden victory tiebreak questions.

Staff Wanted!
If you are interested in helping to staff the 2020 IAC Varsity and Junior Varsity National Championships, please contact us at info@iacompetitions.com.

If you have suggestions or comments, please let us know. If it’s a question that is specific to your team or does not relate to Nationals, email us. We’re working hard to bring you a great National Championships. Let us know your thoughts and we’ll take them into consideration. Good luck in qualifying and hope to see you and your team at the 2020 IAC Varsity and JV National Championships in December!