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Since 1864, we have been investing in and creating resources for deaf and hard of hearing children, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
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Jesse SaundersDirector, Youth ProgramsEmail
Casey Johnson-PasquaSpecialist, Youth ProgramsEmail
Alison O'HaraSpecialist, Youth Programs OperationsEmail
1. What is the Academic Bowl?
Quiz tournaments, in which teams of high school students compete against each other in local, regional, and national events, is popular among high schools and colleges throughout the country. The Gallaudet University Academic Bowl competition consists of a question and answer game of general knowledge and quick recall. Questions are drawn from the following categories: Arts and Entertainment; Current Events; Language and Literature; Mathematics; Pop Culture, Leisure, and Sports; Potpourri; and Science and Technology.
2. When and why was it established?
Gallaudet University established its first National Academic Bowl in 1997 with the goal of promoting academic competition among school teams, and to foster academic excellence and achievement among deaf and hard of hearing students across the country.
3. What is the format of the Academic Bowl competition?
There are four regional competitions across the United States: South, West, Midwest, and East. For the 2020-2021 school year, all of our competitions will be online. Up to 20 teams will compete in each regional competition, and teams take a ranking test to determine their seeding for the playoff bracket.
The top four teams from each region are automatically invited to the virtual National competition in April 2021. The Consolation bracket finalists will then take the wild card test. The top four scoring wild card teams out of the 8 teams that take the wild card test will then be invited to the virtual National competition.
The 20 Nationals teams will take a ranking test to determine their seeding for the National competition bracket. The winners of the National semifinal matches advance to the National Championship match shown live via Gallaudet's Facebook page. The losers of the semifinal matches play in the Third Place match which is also shown live via Gallaudet's Facebook page.
4. What will an Academic Bowl match look like?
The Preliminary matches will have three rounds. Round One will consist of 12 toss-up questions and 12 bonus questions. The first player on either team to buzz in gets to answer. If that player is wrong, the first player from the opposing team gets a chance to answer as well. If a player gets a toss-up question right, a bonus question is awarded and the entire team can discuss the answer.
Round Two will also consist of 12 questions. Players will take turns answering the questions with no communication amongst teams allowed.
The Final Round consists of 10 questions relating to one category and usually one topic. Teams are given two minutes to discuss and record their answers.
During the National Playoff matches (starting in the Quarterfinals round), the number of questions in Round One and Round Two goes up from 12 to 16. During the Championship match, the number of questions in Rounds One and Two goes up to 20.
The number of questions in the Final Round for the Championship match also goes up to 15.
**The match format is different for the 2020-2021 school year. More details are shared in the Rules and Guidelines manual.**
5. Who can participate?
The Academic Bowl is open to teams of high school students currently enrolled in recognized schools or programs for deaf and hard of hearing students. Schools or programs may be residential schools, day schools, mainstream programs, or any other type of educational program. The number of players allowed on a team is (4) four. All players must be in grades 9-12. If a school or program does not have enough students to field a team, one may be formed by combining students from another school or program and submitting a request to the Youth Programs office. When a single school or program does not have enough students to field its own Academic Bowl team, teams may be assembled by combining students from two or more schools or programs within a 25-mile radius of each other. In some cases, as in a school in a rural area, the school may petition in writing for special consideration, which may include a larger radius. Other options are for a mainstreamed or home-schooled student to join the team of a local school or program for the deaf. All written petitions for special consideration will be considered by the Youth Programs office.
6. How many teams are allowed to participate in the Academic Bowl competition?
A maximum of 80 teams may participate in the Academic Bowl competition with 20 teams in each of the four regions. A waiting list will be established for teams that do not make the cut in the ranking test. In the event a team is forced to withdraw from the competition, the first team on the waiting list will be offered the opportunity to participate in the competition.
If a region is full, then teams on the waiting list for that region may be invited to another region if there are spots available in that region.
7. Is there any expense for participating in the Academic Bowl competition?
Schools and programs that participate in the Regional Academic Bowl competitions are expected to make their own travel arrangements and cover their own travel expenses. A non-refundable fee of $400, to help offset Academic Bowl operation costs, will be charged to all participating teams. This $400 fee is waived for all Regional host schools. Schools may apply for a registration fee waiver if they already need to fundraise a large amount of money for travel expenses to the Regional competition. All requests for registration fee waivers must be made to the National Academic Bowl office. There is an additional $100 fee if schools fail to pay their registration fee on time.
All team registration fees are non-refundable.
Accommodations and meals will be covered by Gallaudet University during the Regional competitions. Schools and programs will be expected to inform travel arrangements, including time of arrival at and departure from the airport closest to the Regional competition sites.
The 20 teams that compete at the National Academic Bowl competition will have all of their expenses covered, including travel, lodging, and meals.
***For the 2020-2021 school year, there is no fee to participate in the Academic Bowl as we are fully virtual for this year.***
8. When will the competition(s) be held?
The Regional Academic Bowl locations and dates and the National competition dates can be found at: Academic Bowl
9. What if my school needs to withdraw from the competition after I have submitted an application and fee?
If your team needs to withdraw from the competition, please inform the Youth Programs office immediately so that a team on the waiting list can be invited to participate. The team entry fee is non-refundable.
10. Can families and visitors watch the competition?
Families and visitors are more than welcome. The competition schedule will be posted on our website. There is no charge to attend. A hospitality room for families is available at both the Regional and National competitions. Families are not allowed to join their children at the social outing, meals, and farewell party.
11. What is the best way to prepare my team for the competition?
Each coach varies with the type of preparation they use with their team. Some teams practice after school, weekends, or in the evenings. Some teams hold practice competitions with neighboring public schools, or with parents and their school community. Some schools even schedule matches via video conferencing with other schools. More information can be found in the Rules and Guidelines manual and at our AB Resources Center: AB Resources Center
12. Who do I contact for more information about the Academic Bowl?
Please look at our sidebar for contact information.
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