Academic Competition Federation
The Academic Competition Federation (ACF) is an organization, founded as the Academic Competition Foundation in 1991, that runs a national championship for collegiate quiz bowl as well as other tournaments.
During the mid-1980s, several schools began to prepare for College Bowl's regional and national tournaments by holding independent invitationals, during which players became unsatisfied with College Bowl's questions. Several scandals soon emerged, in which the 1988 College Bowl Regionals were found to have recycled nearly all of their questions from the 1982 College Bowl Regionals, independent tournaments were threatened with lawsuits from College Bowl, and the 1983 and 1985 College Bowl Nationals were cancelled.
In response to these concerns, the University of Maryland and University of Tennessee stopped participating in College Bowl, followed a few years later by the Georgia Institute of Technology and a steadily increasing number schools.
In the fall of 1990, the then-coach of the University of Tennessee team Carol Guthrie joined with a few University of Maryland team members to found the Academic Competition Foundation. In 1991, they held the first ACF Nationals, which was won by the host Tennessee team over Georgia Tech. While departing from College Bowl's structure, the tournament initially included a few elements carried over from College Bowl games. Those elements were later removed. No ACF Nationals tournament was held in 1992, but, beginning in 1993, Regionals and Nationals tournaments were held every year. By 1996, ACF Nationals was attracting 40 teams, but after the 1997 Nationals, Carol Guthrie announced that she and co-founder Jim Dendy were each resigning, and that ACF would go defunct.
In 1996, a new company called National Academic Quiz Tournaments (1996) was formed. NAQT was more organized than ACF in several respects, yet also included College Bowl-like features in their questions. University of Virginia student Andrew Yaphe thus organized the Academic Competition Federation to continue running the Regional and National tournaments along with John Sheahan and David Hamilton. The 1999 Nationals saw the first presentation of the Dr. N. Gordon Carper Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals "for meritorious services in sustaining and enriching collegiate academic competitions."
Following the rise to popularity of NAQT, the decline of College Bowl, and longstanding complaints about the difficulty of ACF, a decision was made in 2001 to focus on the accessibility of Academic Competition Federation tournaments. Despite those efforts, however, only sixteen teams attended ACF Nationals in 2001, and the future of the tournament seemed tenuous. Thus, a third, easier tournament, ACF Fall, was conceived by University of Kentucky player Kelly McKenzie, star player of the University of Kentucky team, and held in November 2001. This three-tournament lineup continues to the present day, with an "ACF Winter" tournament occurring in 2009 and 2010.
An ACF game consists, simply, of twenty ten-point tossups with thirty-point bonuses, a format now widely used by various collegiate and high school quiz bowl tournaments.
One of many ACF innovations designed to promote fairness in the game is their finals format. It involves awarding a tournament title outright to a team which is two or more games ahead in the standings of the second-place team at the end of the tournament proper; playing a one-game, winner-take-all final if two teams are tied; and playing an advantaged final of up to two games, in which the team that is ahead needs to win only one game but the trailing team needs to win two games, if the first-place team is exactly one game ahead of the second-place team.
ACF Nationals results
|Year||Host||Champion||Runner-up||UG champion||DII champion|
|1991||University of Tennessee||Tennessee A||Georgia Tech A||N/A||N/A|
|1993||University of Maryland||Chicago A||Maryland||N/A||N/A|
|1994||University of Maryland||Chicago A||Maryland A||N/A||N/A|
|1995||University of Tennessee||Harvard||Georgia Tech A||N/A||N/A|
|1996||University of Tennessee||Georgia Tech A||Maryland A||N/A||N/A|
|1997||University of Illinois||Virginia A||Chicago A||N/A||N/A|
|1998||University of Maryland||Virginia||Harvard A||N/A||N/A|
|1999||University of Chicago||Chicago A||Maryland||N/A||N/A|
|2000||University of Maryland||Chicago A||Illinois||N/A||N/A|
|2001||University of Michigan||Michigan A||Virginia||N/A||N/A|
|2002||George Washington University||Michigan A||Kentucky||N/A||N/A|
|2003||Georgia Institute of Technology||Berkeley||Michigan A||N/A||N/A|
|2004||University of Maryland||Chicago A||Berkeley||N/A||N/A|
|2005||Northwestern University||Michigan A||Chicago A||N/A||N/A|
|2006||University of Michigan||Texas A&M||Michigan||N/A||N/A|
|2007||Vanderbilt University||Chicago A||Brown||N/A||N/A|
|2008||Brandeis University||Chicago A||Brown||Minnesota||Minnesota|
|2009||Washington University in St. Louis||Chicago A||Brown||Minnesota A||Ike Jose*|
|2010||University of Maryland||Stanford||Minnesota||Minnesota||State College|
|2011||University of Pittsburgh||Yale||Minnesota||Michigan||State College|
|2012||University of Maryland||Yale A||Virginia A||Illinois||Haverford College|
|2013||Columbia University||Illinois A||Yale||Chicago B||Illinois B|
- *The DII champion was an individual student from Stow-Munroe Falls High School
Carper Award recipients
- 1999: Dr. N. Gordon Carper, coach at Berry College
- 2000: Dr. Carol Guthrie, former coach at the University of Tennessee
- 2001: Dr. Robert Meredith, coach at the Georgia Institute of Technology
- 2002: Not presented
- 2003: Eric Hillemann, coach at Carleton College.
- 2004: Don Windham, ACF co-founder and Gaius Stern, formerly of the University of California, Berkeley
- 2005: Charlie Steinhice, coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
- 2006: R. Robert Hentzel, president of National Academic Quiz Tournaments
- 2007: Andrew Yaphe, player at the University of Chicago
- 2008: Chris Sewell, developer of the SQBS statistics program
- 2009: Ezequiel Berdichevsky, ACF editor
- 2010: Subash Maddipoti, former player at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois
- 2011: Seth Teitler, former player at the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley
- 2012: Jeff Hoppes, former player at Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley
- 2013: Matt Weiner, tournament organizer and question set editor
- "<19970417041001.AAA04512@ladder01.news.aol.com> Announcement from Carol Guthrie". alt.college.college-bowl. 1997/04/17. Web link. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- NAQT Members Emeriti
- "College National Champions List". Retrieved 2012-11-23.