The Oakland City University Academic Challenge is a buzzer-style contest for teams of high school students that tests their knowledge of the entire high school curriculum plus current events, popular culture, and sports.
The overall structure of the game will follow rules laid down by National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) for its quiz bowl tournaments, with the exception of a few changes outlined in this document.
Each game will match teams from two schools against each other and will be divided into three rounds. The first and third rounds will consist of tossup and bonus questions, while the second will consist of lightning rounds.
Tossups are the individual aspect of the competition; players will use the buzzers to "ring in" to answer them. The bonus questions and lightning rounds are the team aspect. Players may not confer on tossups, but they are encouraged to do so on bonuses and lightning rounds.
Four players compete at one time. Schools are permitted to send an alternate fifth player to each taping date, but that player may only compete if one of the original four is unable to compete.
Schools may send different sets of players on different taping dates.
Tossup questions are answered (after buzzing in) by a single player without conferring with teammates. Once the moderator starts reading a tossup question, players can buzz in at any point. After a buzz, the moderator stops reading and signals a player to answer the question.
Players should wait until the moderator has recognized them, but answering early is not grounds for disallowing an answer.
Players have 3 seconds after buzzing in to answer the question. A correct answer usually earns the team 10 points; if the buzz is given very early in the question, the player may earn an extra 5 points (for a total of 15) recognizing that he or she knew the questions' harder clues. This is called "powering" a tossup or "answering for power."
If an answer given to a tossup is incorrect, the moderator will finish the question for the other team. One player on the other team can then buzz in and answer, again without conferring.
Any correct tossup answer earns that team access to the bonus question. Only one player from each team may buzz on each tossup question. There is no penalty for answering incorrectly (this is a change from standard NAQT rules).
After a player correctly answers a tossup, his or her team gets a bonus question. Bonuses are worth 30 points total and usually have three parts worth 10 points each. The entire team can confer on bonus questions, with the team captain giving the answers. The moderator will not accept bonus answers from any player except the captain (this is a change from standard NAQT rules).
Teams get 5 seconds to confer on bonus questions. After 5 seconds, the moderator will prompt the team captain for an answer. The captain must answer immediately or lose the bonus points.
Missed bonus parts are not bounced back to the other team; the moderator will reveal the correct answer and move on.
At the start of the lightning round, the team that is currently behind will be given three choices of topics (e.g., "Presidents," "World Capitals," and "Things that start with 'X'.") The team will choose one topic and then have 60 seconds to answer as many of ten rapid-fire parts as possible.
Each correct answer is worth 10 points.
Afterwards, the second team will have 30 seconds to convert as many of the parts that the first team missed as possible. Each such conversion is also worth 10 points.
Then the second team chooses its lightning round topic from the two remaining categories and has 60 seconds to score points followed by 30 seconds for the first team to "bounce back" any that they missed.
As with bonuses, teams may confer during lightning rounds.
If lightning round parts are passed, the moderator will not come back to them, so teams should always make the best guess they can.
If a game is tied at the end of the third round, the teams will play sudden death tossups: The first player to answer a tossup correctly wins the game for his or her team.
Each question lists its answer and any acceptable alternate answers. It also indicates the required information. If a player gives less than the required information, the moderator can prompt players to elicit more information. Multiple prompts can be given as long as the player continues to be more specific.
Any incorrect information given makes the whole answer wrong.
Titles and quotations must be exact. Leading articles like "a" and "the" can be omitted from titles.
Once a player has given an answer, it cannot be changed. Only the first answer will be considered.
Commonly used nicknames and acronyms are acceptable.
Last names are acceptable for people. If not, the question should prompt for more. First names are acceptable for fictional characters.
Players may spell answers and phonetic spellings are acceptable.
For more details about answer correctness, please consult the NAQT Correctness Guidelines: http://www.naqt.com/correctness-guidelines.html
Unsportsmanlike conduct by players, coaches, or audience members--as determined by the producers of the Oakland City University Academic Challenge --may result in warnings, ejections, and even banning from the entire contest.
All decisions of the Oakland City Academic Challenge producers are final.
Teams may protest the correctness of answers or other issues during the first taping stop-down that follows the round in which the issue occurred.
Protests that are not lodged at the first stop-down may not be lodged in the future.
Protests will only be adjudicated if it affects the final outcome of the game.
There will be a taping stop-down at the end of each round of play.
Differences from Standard NAQT Rules
In addition to the points noted in the above rules, there are a few other differences to standard NAQT play:
Each game has three rounds, rather than two halves
Substitution is not allowed (except in the case of illness or incapacity)
There are no timeouts
The first round will be allotted seven minutes and the third round will be allotted however much time remains in the episode