Honda Campus All-Star Challenge
The program started in 1989 when Honda proposed a program to the College Bowl Company for Black colleges (HBCUs). To that end, College Bowl created a program in which all 4-year degree granting HBCUs are eligible to enroll teams, and all participating HBCUs receive grants. From 1990 to 1995, the competition format consisted of sectional matches that led up to televised National Championship games on BET (all of them hosted by Clint Holmes). The current basic format was adopted in 1996, which abandoned the sectional games and the televising of games in favor of an all-encompassing 64-team National Championship Tournament (NCT) held each year in March or April. Since the 2010 season, only 48 teams have qualified each year.
Gameplay takes place during two eight minute halves. Questions are split into toss-ups and bonus questions. The toss-up questions are always 10 points in value, while bonuses have varying point values of 20, 25, or 30 possible points. The toss-up questions do not permit conferring with other team members, with buzzers (using a lockout system) being used to designate who rings in to answer a question. The signaling player must be designated by the announcer- if the player answers without being recognized, their answer is counted as wrong regardless of whether their response was correct or incorrect.. The players may interrupt the moderator, but if an incorrect answer is given, the team is given a five point deduction, and the question is completed for the other team (who may chose to interrupt it without a penalty). If the moderator has finished the question and a team member incorrectly answers it, the team is not given a penalty. If the player is correct, then the team has an opportunity for a bonus question, on which players a team may confer.
A correct response to a toss up question gives the team an opportunity at a bonus question worth either 20, 25, or 30 points. Here, team members may confer, but responses are only accepted from the captain (or a designated player if the captain chooses so). If team members have conflicting answers, then the captain will speak on behalf of the team. The bonus question may be one "all or nothing" question worth the full amount of the bonus, or may be a series of questions that give the team a chance to receive a portion of the maximum points (i.e. a 30 point bonus made up of three 10 point questions). Other bonuses may require a team to name items from a list at 5 points apiece, or award points based on how many clues it takes the team to identify a famous person, place, or thing (a 30-20-10 bonus). Only the team who answered the tossup correctly gets to answer the bonus question; there are no opportunitites to "rebound".
At the end of two halves, the team with the higher score wins the game. If there is a tie, toss up questions are asked until there is a change in score (Either one team answers correctly for 10 points, or interrupts with an incorrect answer, losing 5 points and the game.)
Beginning with the 2011-12 season, the format was changed to reflect that of the Zain Africa Challenge, another quiz bowl competition run by Richard Reid Productions.
Three players compete on each team, and the game is played in four rounds. The first three rounds are called Face Off Rounds. The fourth round is called the Ultimate Challenge. In each of the Face Off rounds, there are two types of questions: toss-ups, worth 10 points each and bonuses, worth 20 points. In each of the three Face Off rounds, a different player represents the team answering Face Off questions. That player is the only one who can ring in and answer for his or her team.
Each round has four categories in play. The team who wins a coin toss decides the first category. After the entire question is read, the first player to signal gets to answer. If s/he answers correctly, the team gets a Bonus question. If s/he answers wrong, the player representing the other team gets a chance to correctly answer the Face Off. Bonus questions come from the same category as their respective Face Off questions, are played by the entire team, and are always worth a possible 20 points. The team who answered the last correct tossup gets to choose the next category. In each category there are four Face-Off questions- once the fourth face off question in a category is read, the category is out of play. At the beginning of Rounds 2 and 3, the Face Off representative changes, and the team who is behind selects the category for the opening Face Off question.
At the end of the three Face-Off rounds the teams play the Ultimate Challenge. The team that’s behind goes first. If there’s a tie, the team who wins a coin toss decided whether they play first or second. Both teams play the round uncontested. When it’s a team’s turn to play, the players confer and select one of four new categories. Once a category is selected it is no longer available. In the Ultimate Challenge, the team has 60 seconds to answer 10 questions. The questions are read rapid-fire one after the other. Team members can confer on answers, and any team member may call out an answer, but first answer heard by the moderator is the one that will be accepted. An incorrect answer is not penalized, but the moderator moves on to the next question, and as long as there is time remaining, teams can keep coming back to questions which they missed or on which they passed. Each question is worth 25 points, and the team in the lead at the end of the Ultimate Challenge wins. If there is a tie, the teams play Face Off questions until there is a change in score.
- A moderator, who reads questions
- A resetter, who opens and resets the lockout (buzzers) system as appropriate,
- A scorekeeper
- A timekeeper (1990-2002); new equipment made this position obsolete
- A division team leader, who assists the game officials and teams, enforces procedural rules, and is in charge of the game room
- Two teams, each of up to four players and an alternate, and each team having one player designated captain
- Coach for each team
Playing the game
As part of a qualification process, each college/university must host a campus tournament to determine which players will represent the school's team. Afterwards, another set of documentation is processed by the school's team and coach. If the school wishes to, it may attend or host a Pre-NCT tournament. These tournaments do not affect how the schools will qualify for the NCT. All registered Pre-NCTs are split up into two groups- participating schools are limited to attending only one Pre-NCT in each group.
The National Championship Tournament
After the pre-NCT tournaments are completed, the final contest of the season is the National Championship Tournament (NCT). Sixty-four schools attended the NCT through 2009- in 2010 the number was reduced to 48, and they are placed into eight divisions. The divisions are named after famous Blacks, with two of the eight divisions renamed each year. The preliminary round consists of divisional games, where each team plays all other teams in their division. The two teams from each division with the best win/loss record move onto the round of 16 playoffs. Teams are seeded based on overall performance, and the "sweet sixteen," "elite eight," quarterfinal, and semifinal matches are single elimination, with the final two teams playing a best two-of-three series of final matches. Clint Holmes, who hosted the BET broadcasts, moderated the semifinal and final matches through 2008. Starting in 2009, moderators from the Round Robin have been used during the on-stage games on the final game day.
The tournament begins with an opening banquet, and concludes with a closing banquet/awards ceremony. Both banquets include speakers and entertainers. Since 2004, the opening banquet has also introduced new members into the HCASC Hall of Fame.
- An episode of A Different World entitled "Goodwill Games" revolves around the premise of Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert competing in Hillman College's Campus All-Star Challenge tournament.
For their efforts, the representative schools are awarded grants
- The NCT Champion school is awarded $50,000
- Runner-Up earns $25,000
- Semi-Finalists earn $15,000
- Quarter-Finalists earn $9,500
- Playoff Qualifiers earn $6,000
- NCT qualifiers earn $3,000
- An additional $1,000 grant is awarded to the schools of All-Star players, so designated as being the top individual scorers in each of the 8 divisions.
- The recipient of the Sportsperson Award earns their school an additional $1,000 grant
National Championship Tournament History
Numbers in parentheses denote multiple championships