North American Scrabble Players Association
The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) is an organization founded in 2009 to administer competitive Scrabble tournaments and clubs in North America. It officially took over these activities from the National Scrabble Association (NSA) on July 1, 2009.
Mission statement and motto
NASPA's mission statement is:
- “We are a community of tournament, club and avid home players of the SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game. We foster an atmosphere for people of all skill levels to play their favorite game, improve their abilities and above all, meet people who share a similar love of the game.”
Its motto is:
- "Making words, building friendships"
NASPA has organized an annual National Scrabble Championship (NSC) since 2009, most recently held in Reno, Nevada in July 2019. In 2015 the championship was officially renamed the North American Scrabble Championship (NASC).
Its committees and officers do a number of things, including:
- Edit the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary
- Edit the Official Tournament and Club Word List.
- Edit the official Scrabble tournament rules.
- Maintain the official rating system.
- Sanction hundreds of tournaments each year
- Act as the disciplinary body for players and directors.
- Maintain a roster of officially sanctioned clubs, and certify club and tournament directors.
- Determine policy that affects club and tournament play, and hears appeals to the decisions of other committees.
- The Canadian Committee oversees matters that pertain solely to Canadian NASPA members, such as organizing the Canadian National Scrabble Championship tournament.
The National Scrabble Association (NSA) began promoting school, recreational and adult tournament Scrabble in the late 1970s with financial support from Hasbro. In 2008 Hasbro decided to stop supporting adult tournament Scrabble and clubs by the end of 2009.
A meeting arranged by the NSA and Hasbro executives was held at Hasbro headquarters in suburban Springfield, Massachusetts in December 2008. It was attended by prominent Scrabble players, club and tournament directors, and others from across the continent, including John Chew, Chris Cree, Joe Edley, Ira Freehof, Matt Hopkins, Robert Kahn, Katya Lezin, Seth Lipkin, Mad Palazzo, Steve Pellinen, Mary Rhoades, John Robertson, Sherrie Saint John, Debbie Stegman, Alan Stern, and David Weiss.
The attendees were offered the opportunity to form a new organization to preserve competitive adult Scrabble in North America, and encouraged to do so with Hasbro's blessing but without any funding. The NSA would continue to exist, but would largely focus on its school Scrabble program and promoting recreational play. (It ceased operations on July 1, 2013.)
Most of the 16 attendees accepted Hasbro's challenge and formed the nucleus of the steering committee. An email vote by the steering committee's members determined the new organization's name: The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA). NASPA was registered in Texas as a not-for-profit corporation and headquartered in Dallas. Chris Cree of Dallas and John Chew of Toronto emerged as co-presidents. Hasbro gave NASPA until the end of 2009 to establish control of the competitive tournament scene, but it was ready for the transition six months early. Accordingly, the first NASPA tournament games were played on July 1, 2009, in three different cities.
NASPA adopted a stricter Code of Conduct, with the goal of improving players' and officials' deportment at Scrabble events. Punishments for misbehavior and cheating at tournaments and clubs have been much swifter and harsher than in the past.
NASPA receives no operational funding from Hasbro, relying on membership fees, as well as "participation fees" collected by tournament directors, calculated at a fixed rate based on the number of tournament games played.
As of July 1, 2009, NASPA became the only group in North America permitted to use the registered Scrabble name and trademark in adult club and tournament play. Other organizations such as the Word Game Players' Organization have existed since 2010 and run tournaments, but are careful not to infringe.
NASPA membership types
NASPA membership is mandatory for anyone who wishes to compete in sanctioned NASPA tournament play. There are several categories of membership:
- One-year regular adult
- One-year youth (under 18)
- Six-month trial
As of June 2013, NASPA had more than 2,500 dues-paid members.
- 2009 - Dayton, Ohio
- 2010 - Addison, Texas
- 2011 - Addison, Texas
- 2012 - Orlando, Florida
- 2013 - Las Vegas, Nevada
- 2014 - Buffalo, New York.
- 2015 - Reno, Nevada.
- 2016 - Fort Wayne, Indiana
- 2017 - New Orleans, Louisiana
- 2018 - Buffalo, New York
- 2019 - Reno, Nevada
The 2020 NASC, scheduled for Baltimore, Maryland, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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