College Bowl  

Game Rules

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 format.

Format/Game Overview

  1. 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 between halves.
  2. Points are scored by correctly answering questions asked by the Moderator.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Game Procedures

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. At the end of each half, the Scorekeeper verifies the score and it is declared official.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)

Answering Toss-Ups

  1. 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 necessary.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 game).
  4. 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 to answer.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

Answering Bonuses

  1. A team earns the chance to answer a Bonus question after a team member correctly answers a Toss-Up.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 misses.

  5. 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.

  6. If the half or game ends while the Moderator is reading a Bonus, the game stops there, without giving the team a chance to respond.

    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 asking.

Acceptable Answers

  1. 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.

  2. 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 30].

  3. 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," for example.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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."

  7. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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 team only.

  3. If someone in the audience shouts out an answer, the Moderator throws out the question and reads the next Toss-Up or like point Bonus.

Player Eligibility & Substitution

  1. 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.

  2. Teams may substitute freely between games, but may not substitute during a game, except in the case of incapacitating illness.

  3. 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].

  4. 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 matches.

    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

  1. The Tournament Director has ultimate authority in all matters during the tournament. His/her decisions are final.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Discrepancies arising in the second half are reviewed only if the number of points in question would affect the outcome of the game.

  7. 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 Guide].

  8. 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.

  9. At the end of the game the Captains sign the scoresheet.

Page Last Updated 4/28/05
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