Questions Unlimited

7411 Hamilton Run Dr., Chattanooga TN 37421 . 1-800-868-1518

Each team may choose one of these phases:

New Orleans, May 28 - 30
Washington, D.C., June 3 - 5
Chicago, June 11 - 13

We offer three competitive levels at each venue:
High School Varsity ... High School JV ... Middle School/Junior High

With an option of locales, teams can choose a place that's fun to visit. With a choice of dates, schools with a conflict (e.g. graduation) in one time frame may simply select another date.

At the expense of Questions Unlimited ($500 max. air fare per person), the winners of the New Orleans and D.C. phases of the high school varsity tournament (four players and a coach) will be transported to Chicago and provided with two hotel rooms, to compete in the final rounds of the third (June 6-8) phase of the competition.


Thanks in part to the John E. and Adeline Simon Trust, there are $10,000 in prizes in 2016, to be awarded as follows:

  • Varsity #1 ........ $3,000
  • Varsity #2 ........ $2,000
  • Varsity #3 ........ $1,000
  • Junior #1 ........ $1,500
  • Junior #2 ........ $1,000
  • Junior #3 ........ $500
  • Junior V ........ $1,000

Six Guaranteed Matches

Each team will compete in at least six official tournament matches. Advancement to the final-day Single Elimination Round will be determined by performance in the six preliminary games. All 6-0, 5-1, and 4-2 teams will make the playoffs.

Bringing Two Teams.

Some schools choose to bring two or more teams. If you're considering this, be aware that players may not shift between teams. Also, for scheduling purposes, it will be useful for us to know whether you like to have the two (or more) teams scheduled at the same time – which would maximize sightseeing opportunities – or at different times – so the coach(es) can see everybody’s game.

Consider Also Bringing Your Farm Team

Ninth graders are welcome, as always, to play on your high school team. But if your high school includes grades 9-12, you might want to consider putting some ninth graders on the team of the middle school they graduated from, and bringing that team to compete in Junior Nationals, along with your high school team, to compete in high school Nationals. For details, read about Junior Nationals on this web site. It may well be that the contending high school teams of the future will be those that have developed solid farm systems on the middle-grade level.

Junior Varsity Tournament

At each venue we plan to run discrete JV tournaments. JV teams will be limited by the "Rule of 41." That is, the total grade numbers of the four players at any given time shall not exceed 41. For example, 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 = 42, and that's too much! 9 + 9 + 10 + 11 = 39, and that's within the limit of 41. 9 + 10 + 10 + 12 = 41 and that's fine. Etc. etc. JV teams will be fielding the same questions as Varsity teams, but will only face each other. Graduating seniors are allowed to participate on a JV team only if the school is also bringing a Varsity team as well as a JV.

Small School Champion

We crown a champion from among the "small schools" that come to Nationals (defined as any school with 500 or fewer students in grades 10-12 and a non-selective admissions policy). We do so after all three phases are finished, selecting the highest ranking team. In 2015, over 40 such teams competed.

Who Wants to Be a Game Show Host?

We again plan to conduct our popular reality show at each site, the winner of which will be invited to join us as a moderator for 2016 Nationals.

How to Qualify

Your team contingent should include four starters and one or more coaches. Alternate(s) are recommended but not required. Each team must win an academic competition (local or regional) of at least 8 teams or finish in the top 15% of any tournament. The winning team from any preliminary round match in the Questions Unlimited QuizNet online tournament qualifies. Any school making the playoffs at last year's National Academic Championship automatically qualifies. Wild card entry may be offered to teams that wish to apply to compete at the National Academic Championship. Teams from areas without easy-to-reach tournaments, and teams who seem always to finish just under the qualification guidelines in areas with a number of qualifying teams are advised to apply for wild-card entry. To apply for wild card entry into the field at the National Academic Championship, email us at with a one or two paragraph summary of your tournament finishes during the school year.

Academic Emphasis

The competition focuses on academic information - "significa" rather than "trivia" - and the questions are supplied by Questions Unlimited. Our emphasis is light on popular culture and heavy on the academic. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of question quality and academic relevance. Contests follow the superb four-quarter format created by Questions Unlimited.

Commitment to Excellence

We call the National Academic Championship "the finest in academic competition" because we boast the best questions and a highly professional officiating staff.


Our superb team of moderators includes:

  • Charles Beall

    Executive Director of the National Academic Association and President of Questions Unlimited
  • Brick Barrientos

    Creator of the long-running Maryland Classic tournament.
  • Ernie Anderson

    Creator and Host of the High-Q TV program (Huntington, West Virginia)
  • Jason Russell

    Chief Editor, Questions Unlimited; Show Run Manager, Sight and Sound Theatre in Branson, MO.
  • Chris Hunter

    host of the South Louisiana Quiz Bowl, a production of KWBJ-TV in Morgan City.
  • Ariel Schieler

    (Princeton, NJ) was team captain of the 2007 NAC champions and appeared on Jeopardy in 2011.
    She currently works as a lab technician in molecular biology at Princeton University
  • Sierra Mannie

    A writer from Canton, Mississippi; winner of 2009 WHO WANTS TO BE A GAME SHOW HOST? contest.
  • Rob Grierson

    Skokie, IL, Project Manager for Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity, and the original "Friend of Scholastic Bowl,"
  • Arjun Plakkat

    Winner of 2007 "Who Wants to Be a Game Show Host?" contest. Chemical engineering graduate of Penn State University and an academic tutor in the Philadelphia area.
Meet the Pros

Pictures and descriptions of our unsurpassed staff of moderators and judges.

Fair Warning

Although we always ask you to send no money until you're certain your team is going to compete, we also strongly advise early enrollment. We fully expect to be "sold-out" in all three venues, as we were by April 2015. (Note that we will run out of on-site room lodgings before we run out of space to accommodate you in the tournament itself.) By late April 2015, we had run out of rooms at our hotel locations in New Orleans, DC & Chicago, a situation we expect to be repeated in 2016. To avoid the higher entry fees assessed after April 15, and to avoid having to arrange your own off-site accommodations in the event that we run out of space at the competition venue, or possibly missing out altogether, please don't wait until the last minute to send in your entry fees!


Register on or before April 15 at the flat entry fee of $600 per team. After April 15, the fee increases to $700 per team. Should we accept any last-minute registrations after May 15, the fee in that case is $800 per team. When the entry fee is received, a place for your team will be reserved and registration materials emailed to you. (You are advised to "white-list" our email address, otherwise this email with attachments might be caught in your spam filter.) Purchase orders will not reserve a spot for any team. After April 15, you must send either a cashier's check or a school check, and should use overnight mail. THERE ARE NO REFUNDS (unless, of course, we run out of space and have to turn you away), so please send no money until you are certain that your team will be participating. All fees are due by May 15.

Make your check payable to NATIONAL ACADEMIC ASSOCIATION, send to 8856 Shady Meadow Dr. Sandy, UT 84093.
All fees must be received by May 16, 2016.


New Orleans

Memorial Day Weekend May 28 - 30 (Saturday - Monday),
Hampton Inn & Suites New Orleans Convention Center Hotel.

Competition will start on the morning of May 28. The final match will take place no later than 3:00 Monday. Hampton Inn will be the site of all competitions. Staying at Hampton Inn is recommended, but not required, for participation in the National Academic Championship. Your competition schedule will allow some time for exploring. There are countless things to do in the New Orleans area, and you may wish to arrive a day early or leave a day late (or both) in order to enjoy some tourist activities. The special group discount rate of $119 per room applies for 1-4 people per room. A hot breakfast is provided at no additional charge.

Call 1-800-311-1200 and request to make a reservation under the National Academic Association room block, coded NAC in their system. Or you can do it online: Please make your reservations as early as possible, by April 27, 2016 at the latest.

Washington, D.C., Area

Jun 3 - 5 (Friday - Sunday),
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel, 5000 Seminary Rd, Alexandria, VA 22311

Competition will start on the morning of June 3. The final match will take place no later than 3:00 Sunday.

The Hilton Alexandria Mark Center will be the site of all competitions. They do offer a free shuttle ride from Reagan National Airport. The special group discount rate of $112 per room applies for 1-4 people per room.

The toll free number to make reservations is 877-783-8258 and you must request Group Code – NAC. If you prefer, you can make your reservation online,


June 11 - 13 (Saturday - Monday),
Sheraton Four Points at O'Hare

Competition will start on the morning of June 11. The final match will take place no later than 3:30 Monday.

Sheraton Four Points Hotel will be the site of all competitions. They offer a free shuttle from O'Hare. Staying at this hotel is recommended, but not required, for participation in the National Academic Championship. There are countless things to do in Chicago, and you may wish to arrive a day early or leave a day late in order to enjoy some tourist activities; the $117 room rate will apply if you choose to do so. Make reservations online at this special website the hotel has created for us,

or you may call 800-323-1239 and ask for the National Academic Championship special group discount rate of $117 per room, which applies for 1-4 people per room. No meals are provided.

Entry Fees.

Regardless of venue, the entry fee is $600 per team before April 15 and $700 per team after April 15 ($800 per team if we accept your registration after May 15). Staying with us at the competition venue in each city is recommended but not required.
Note: We do plan to have an orientation session relative to the game format at 8 p.m. the evening before the competition starts, for those who are arriving the day before. This is offered for your convenience, and is not required.

How to Raise Money for your Team to Attend Nationals.


Contact the National Academic Association Phone:801-699-3424, Chip Beall, Director

Note: You may submit your registration form(s) any time after you're sure your team(s) will be participating at Nationals, but the registration is not official until the entry fee(s) have been received.