|The following rules are in effect for the current season and remain
unchanged from the prior year. These rules are also available as a
Word document and in PDF
- College Bowl is a question and answer game played between two
teams of four players each. A team may play with no fewer than
three players. A team of three may be completed to four players
- Points are scored by correctly answering questions asked by
- There are two types of questions: Toss-Ups, worth 10 points
each and Bonuses, worth a stated number of points, from 20 to
30 each. A team must correctly answer a Toss-Up in order to be
given a chance at a Bonus.
- Every College Bowl Tournament is run by the Tournament Director,
who has the final say in all matters pertaining to the management
of the tournament and implementation of the rules.
- The answers provided by College Bowl are the official answers.
Alternately acceptable answers are indicated on the game cards.
The underlined information on the game card is considered the
minimum needed for a correct response.
- College Bowl is played in halves. A whistle may be used to
start and end each half. The team that is ahead at the end of
the game is the winner.
- In campus games, each half is 7 minutes. At Regionals and Nationals,
halves are 8 minutes in length. Each half is begun by the Moderator,
reading the supplied script. The reading of the first Toss-Up
signals the start of each half (and is when the clock starts).
- At the end of each half, the Scorekeeper verifies the score
and it is declared official.
- If the score is tied at the end of the game, the tie is broken
by a sudden-death play-off of Toss-Up questions. The first correct
answer scores 10 points and wins the game. An incorrect interruption
loses 5 points and the game. Toss-Up questions continue until
a score change breaks the tie.
- If the Moderator has read all 28 Toss-Up questions in a packet,
s/he should go to a back-up packet. (NOTE: Unused questions can
be gleaned from a number of packets for this purpose.)
- On Toss-Ups, players must signal and be recognized before beginning
their answer. Players are given approximately 3 seconds from the
time the Moderator stops reading to signal and must answer immediately
once they are recognized. The Game Officials should allow for
a natural pause, but no stalling. Timing with a stopwatch is not
- A correct answer on a Toss-Up question scores 10 points. If
the answer is incorrect, the question is turned over to the other
team. The players on the second team must still signal and be
recognized before answering.
- Every time a player answers a Toss-Up question correctly, their
team, and their team only, gets the chance to answer a Bonus question
(there is no Bonus question if the Toss-Up ends the half or the
- A player may interrupt the reading of a Toss-Up before the Moderator
has completed it. Once the player has signaled, the Moderator
stops reading. The player is recognized and given the opportunity
- If the answer is correct, the team earns 10 points and a chance
at the Bonus question. If the answer is incorrect, the team is
penalized 5 points and the question is finished for the other
team. The Moderator should not re-read the entire question for
the other team, but should pick it up from a logical point.
If the second team also interrupts and answers incorrectly,
the second team is not assessed a 5 point penalty. There is
only one 5 point penalty per question.
On a Toss-Up, an answer given before a player is recognized
is considered incorrect. If it is the first team to signal,
the question is turned over to the other team.
If a player does not answer immediately, a Game Official calls
"time." An answer given after time has been called
does not count. When applicable, the question is turned over
to the other team.
If a player confers with a teammate on a Toss-Up question,
the answer is disqualified, even if it was correct. Obvious
non-verbal cues are considered conferring. Where applicable,
the question is turned over to the other team.
- If the half or game ends while the Moderator is reading a Toss-Up,
the game stops there, without giving either team a chance to respond.
However, if a player on either team has signaled before the whistle,
s/he is recognized and may answer. There is no Bonus question
given in this situation, nor is the question turned over.
A team earns the chance to answer a Bonus question after a
team member correctly answers a Toss-Up.
On Bonus questions all team members should confer. If there
are conflicting answers, the Captain must speak for the team.
The Captain may designate (verbally or with a gesture) another
player to answer. The Moderator will take the first clear answer
obviously directed toward him/her, so teams should be sure that
they agree on their response before anyone gives an answer.
The team is given 5 seconds to confer on a Bonus. The Moderator
should allow for natural pauses but no stalling. Once the Moderator
has prompted for an answer ("Captain, your answer please"),
the Captain or designee must begin the answer immediately.
If a Bonus has several parts that are numbered and are to be
asked separately, the Moderator will allow 5 seconds per part
for the team to confer before prompting the team. The Moderator
will also give the correct answer after each part if the team
If a Bonus calls for two or more answers within a single- part
question, the Moderator will allow only the initial 5 seconds
for the team to begin its answer. The team must then give its
full answer without stalling.
If the half or game ends while the Moderator is reading a
Bonus, the game stops there, without giving the team a chance
However, if the team has begun its answer, they may continue.
If the question was read in one part, the team may complete
the answer. If it is a Bonus with numbered, multiple parts,
the team may complete only the part the Moderator has begun
- The correct answer and acceptable alternates are given on the
question card. The necessary information is underlined. The Moderator
and Judge must determine if the player has pinpointed the answer,
giving clear and precise knowledge of the information requested,
or if the player is just rattling off a list of related facts
in an effort to hit the required answer.
For example, if the question listed some performers and the
player interrupted and responded "Violinists," when
the answer on the card was "Violin" (the question
finishes by asking for the common instrument), it should be
considered correct. Titles or names in the original language
are acceptable only if such are commonly used in English.
- On a Toss-Up, the first response given is the one that counts.
Sometimes a player will attempt to give more than one piece of
information. The Judge must evaluate the first answer only. In
certain instances more than one response is acceptable [see Rule
- Unless otherwise stated in the question, players may use abbreviated
answers, such as last names only, nicknames, acronyms, etc. Chemical
symbols are not acceptable for element names, unless specifically
requested in the question. Numbers in astronomical catalogs are
not acceptable for the name of a astronomical object, unless specifically
requested in the question.
However, proper names, quotations and titles must be exact. "M.L.
King's Dream" is not acceptable for "I Have A Dream,"
- In questions dealing with created works, including artistic
works (plays, paintings or book) and scientific works (inventions
or theorems), an answer giving both the name of the "creation"
and the "creator" is acceptable if given as one answer
without a discernible pause.
The Judge must determine that the player gave two pieces of
information in which one is a possessive of the other, one of
which is the name of a person. The player need not phrase the
two pieces in a specific order, nor indicate the possessive.
Thus, "Plato, The Republic" and "The Republic
by Plato" are correct, as are "Euclidean Geometry"
or "Cotton Gin, Eli Whitney." However, "Civil
War, 1865" or "Pond's Cold Cream" are not; they
are not created works. Films are not included in this category.
- When the Moderator gives a list of choices for answers, the
player must give the specific answer. Answers like "the third
one" or "the last one" are not acceptable.
- The Moderator has the option of asking the player for "more
specific information" in order to determine if the answer
was correct. On questions requiring multi-word answers, if an
answer is incomplete (yet not incorrect), the Moderator must ask
for "more specific information." Such questions will
include the word "Prompt" as a note below the answer.
For example, if the player answers "Roosevelt," the
Moderator must ask for more information, to elicit "Teddy"
or "Franklin." A Moderator may ask a player to spell
a response to determine if s/he was correct, for example to distinguish
between the phonetically similar "Monet" and "Manet."
- Conversely, if a player spells an answer to a question which
does not ask for spelling, it should be considered correct, as
long as s/he spells the answer correctly.
Correcting Moderator Errors
- If the Moderator inadvertently gives an answer to a Toss-Up
without giving either team a chance to respond, the Moderator
simply reads the next Toss-Up. If the problem occurs on a Bonus,
the Moderator uses the next like point Bonus.
- If the Moderator gives the answer to a Toss-Up after one team
has answered incorrectly, without giving the second team the chance
to respond, the Moderator reads the next Toss-Up for the second
- If someone in the audience shouts out an answer, the Moderator
throws out the question and reads the next Toss-Up or like point
Player Eligibility & Substitution
- The College Bowl team consists of up to five players (four
players and an alternate). No more than four and no fewer than
three may play in any game. If for any reason a team is left with
only two players, they automatically forfeit the match in progress.
- Teams may substitute freely between games, but may not substitute
during a game, except in the case of incapacitating illness.
- In campus competition, any registered student is eligible to
play (schools may add additional eligibility requirements). For
Regional and National Championship Tournament play, there are
additional eligibility rules [see RCT
Eligibility or NCT Eligibility Rules].
- A player whose conduct is unsportsmanlike or who disrupts game
play will be warned once. This warning is in effect for the duration
of the tournament.
A second violation will result in the player's ejection from
the match in progress. The team may not substitute for this
player during the match, but the player may rejoin the team
for subsequent matches.
A third violation will result in a player's expulsion from
the tournament. The team may substitute for this player in subsequent
This pertains to conduct of the entire team (including the
Coach) during the entire tournament (including at the hotel,
etc.). Warnings may be issued by any Game Official.
Resolving Game Discrepancies
- The Tournament Director has ultimate authority in all matters
during the tournament. His/her decisions are final.
- Every attempt should be made to rectify procedural discrepancies
(discrepancies concerning the implementation of the game rules
and procedures) quickly and fairly within the game room. The Game
Officials should talk to the Captain and Coach of each team, one
team at a time, away from the rest of the players. They should
then attempt to decide if the discrepancy is valid and if so what
adjustments should be made.
If the Game Officials in the room are unable to rectify the
situation to the satisfaction of both teams, or if it is a factual
discrepancy (concerning the correctness or acceptability of
an answer), the Game Review Committee should be convened. This
Committee consists of the Tournament Director and two or three
experienced Game Officials not involved in the match in question.
- At the end of each half, the Game Officials should review the
half amongst themselves to ensure that no errors were made. They
should also approach each team and ask if there are any questions.
- If a player or Coach feels an error has been made, s/he must
wait until the end of the half to bring this to the attention
of the Game Officials.
- The Game Officials and/or Game Review Committee will review
the discrepancy and adjust the point totals in accordance with
their decision. The outcome of the review and resultant score
changes should be announced before the start of the second half.
- Discrepancies arising in the second half are reviewed only
if the number of points in question would affect the outcome of
- The only points in question are those points awarded or not
awarded in error. Intangible issues like momentum will not be
considered [see Sample Game Discrepancy Solutions in the Info
- In most cases discrepancies should be resolved by the addition
or subtraction of points and/or the playing of additional questions
without the clock [see Sample Game Discrepancy Solutions in the
Info Guide]. Replaying a half or game should be resorted to only
in extreme situations, such as one plagued by numerous discrepancies,
poor officiating (the Tournament Director has the authority to
replace Game Officials) or equipment malfunctions.
- At the end of the game the Captains sign the scoresheet.
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