Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl
What is it? How does it work?
The following questions are answered in this summary:
What is the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl?
The Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl is an academic knowledge competition between Illinois high school scholastic bowl teams. This is an annual tournament sponsored by the Masons of Illinois and is coordinated through the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Illinois. The goal is to provide positive recognition for academic excellence. Back to Top of the Page
What is high school “Scholastic Bowl”?
Two teams compete against each other by verbally answering questions within a specific time limit. Questions are on subjects typically taught in Illinois high schools. Subject material for the questions will be approximately 20% mathematics, 20% science, 20% social studies, 20% language arts and literature, 10% fine arts, and 10% miscellaneous. A competition match consists of 16 “toss-up” questions and 16 three-part “teamwork” questions. Back to Top of the Page
What is a “toss-up” question?
A toss-up question is a question that is verbally asked with both teams having the opportunity to answer the question. The team players may not communicate with one another during the reading of the question or prior to giving an answer. A team has only one opportunity to give the correct answer to a toss-up question. When a team player wants to answer the question, he/she activates the lockout system and waits to be recognized by the Moderator before answering. If the first answer given by one team is incorrect, then the other team has an opportunity to give the correct answer. Points are awarded for correct answers. Eight (8) toss-up questions are asked during the first quarter of the match, and eight (8) toss-up questions are asked during the third quarter of the match. Back to Top of the Page
What is a “teamwork” question?
All teamwork questions consist of three (3) parts. Team players may confer among themselves after all parts of the teamwork question are read. Points are awarded to the team based upon the number of parts correctly answered. Teamwork questions are rebounding which means the other team is given an opportunity to answer those parts of the teamwork question that are incorrectly answered or not attempted by the team originally awarded the teamwork questions. The team with the lowest score at the end of the first quarter is afforded the first opportunity to answer the first teamwork question in the second quarter. The team with the lowest score at the end of the third quarter is afforded the first opportunity to answer the first teamwork question in the fourth quarter. After the first teamwork question in those respective quarters, the first opportunity for each teamwork question (each with 3 parts) alternate between the two teams for the remainder of the quarter. Eight (8) teamwork questions are asked during the second quarter of the match, and eight (8) teamwork questions are asked during the fourth quarter of the match. Back to Top of the Page
What are the rules?
The "Tournament Rules for the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl" is the governing document for the rules for this tournament. These rules are reviewed eah year and revised as necessary. The current set of "Tournament Rules" are emailed to the Scholastic Bowl Coach for each high school that registers for this tournament. Back to Top of the Page
What time limits are involved?
The time limit for answering a toss-up question is 10 seconds, with the time starting as soon as the moderator completes reading the question. If the question involves computation (for example, math calculations or chemistry calculations) then the time limit is 30 seconds.
The time limit for answering all parts of a teamwork question is 30 seconds, with the time starting as soon as the moderator completes reading the last part of the teamwork question. Back to Top of the Page
How are points awarded?
The team giving the correct answer to a toss-up question is awarded 15 points.
The team giving the correct answers to teamwork questions is awarded points based upon the number of parts correctly answered. If all parts of the teamwork question are answered correctly, the team answering all parts correctly receives 30 points. Teams are awarded 10 points for each part of the teamwork question correctly answered.
The team with the highest number of points at the end of the match (16 toss-up questions and 16 teamwork questions) is declared the winner. Back to Top of the Page
How is a team member recognized for answering questions?
A ten-position electronic “lock-out” system is used during the match. Each team member has an electronic push-button control. When the team member desires to answer the question, he/she depresses the button on the wand, creating an audible sound and energizing a lighted display so that the moderator is able to determine which team member desires to answer the question. When the button on one electronic control is depressed, all other button controls are electronically “locked-out” from being responsive. Once the question is answered, the lock-out system is reset, making it ready for all team members to once again use. Back to Top of the Page
Who judges the competition?
Each competition match has one “moderator” who verbally reads the questions and is the chief official for making all decisions relative to the rules of the competition. Each competition match also has one “scorekeeper” who maintains the official tabulation of the points awarded and assists the moderator in officiating the competition. Each competition match also has one “timekeeper” who controls the timing of the questions/answers, timing of the 2 official break-times, and timing of time-outs. The moderator may request assistance from the timekeeper in matters regarding officiating. Back to Top of the Page
When is the tournament?
The Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl sectional tournaments are usually held throughout the state of Illinois on the third Saturday in February of each year. The winners of the sectional tournaments automatically advance to the state tournament.
The Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl state tournament is usually held in the Springfield area on the first Saturday in March of each year. Back to Top of the Page
Who is eligible to participate?
All IHSA-member high schools, both public and private, with organized scholastic bowl teams may enter. Back to Top of the Page
What does it cost to enter a team?
High schools entering the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl pay NO ENTRY FEE. Our tournament is financially supported by the Masons of Illinois. Back to Top of the Page
How many teams compete in the tournament?
Each sectional tournament site consists of a maximum of 12 teams. Our tournament is a round-robin format. Each team competes against all teams at the specific sectional tournament site unless “pool play” is required due to the number of teams registered. Pool play means that the teams will be divided into two pools with each pool being round-robin play. The winner of Pool "A" will compete against the runner-up of Pool "B", and the winner of Pool "B" will compete against the runner-up of Pool "A", with the winner of both of these matches competing against each other for the championship, and the runners-up of both of these matches competing against each other for 3rd Place. At sites that use a straight round-robin (no pool play), the team with the best win-loss record is the champion; the team with the second best win-loss record is the 2nd Place finisher, etc. If two teams tie with identical win-loss records, then the team that won the head-to-head match will be declared the team with the better record. The number of sectional tournament sites is based upon the total number of teams in each class registering to participate in our tournament.
The state tournament is conducted at one location in the Springfield area with the winner of each sectional tournament site automatically advancing to the state tournament. The state tournament is also a 2-Class round-robin format. With this format, only sectional champions will advance to our state tournament. Back to Top of the Page
Are awards given for the “winners”?
Monetary scholastic awards are presented to each school finishing in the top four positions at each Class “A” and Class “AA” sectional tournament location and at the state tournament. Starting in 2010, the Sectional Champion received $400, the second-place team received $300, the third-place team received $200, and the fourth-place team received $100. At the state tournament, $1,500 was awarded to each State Champion, $1,000 was awarded to each second-place team, $700 was awarded to each third-place team, and $400 was awarded to each fourth-place team. Each team advancing to the state tournament, but not finishing in the final four of each class was awarded $100 each. These amounts could be adjusted in future years of the tournament. The Masons of Illinois ask only that the scholastic awards money be used by the schools for scholarships or academic purposes (i.e., purchase of practice questions, computer hardware or software, lockout systems, or scholastic bowl team shirts) within the school system.
The Class “A” State Champion and the Class “AA State Champion, each, will be given a State Championship trophy to keep. Back to Top of the Page
Who develops the questions?
The Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl Committee, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, is responsible for obtaining the questions. The chairman of this committee usually purchases the questions from a reliable company that prepares questions for high school scholastic bowl teams. Security of the questions is maintained by the chairman of the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl Committee. For the sectional tournaments, identical questions are used at all of the tournament locations. For both the sectional tournaments and state tournament, identical questions are used for both Class “A” and Class “AA”. Back to Top of the Page
When do teams enter?
Entry usually commences in early September and concludes on January 8th. Late entries (after January 8th) will be accepted up to February 1st based upon space availability at the sectional tournament sites. The earlier that teams enter, the easier it is to organize and schedule the sectional tournament locations; therefore, coaches are encouraged to enter the team early. There is no penalty to the school if a team must be withdrawn from participation due to scheduling conflicts, weather conditions, personal emergencies of team members or coaches, etc. Back to Top of the Page
How are the individual Masonic Lodges involved?
All Masonic Lodges in the state of Illinois are asked to sponsor a high school scholastic bowl team in our tournament. The cost of sponsoring a team is $150, payable to the Grand Lodge of Illinois. A Lodge may sponsor one school, or more than one school, or share the sponsorship of a school with another Lodge. Some Lodges may not desire to sponsor a specific school, but may wish to make a general donation to this Grand Lodge program.
Masonic Lodges desiring to sponsor a high school should personally contact the Scholastic Bowl Coach at the school to determine the school’s desire to compete in our tournament. The Lodge may NOT enter the school in our tournament, as the Scholastic Bowl Coach must submit her/his own entry information to the Tournament Director. Lodges are encouraged to make plans for some of their members to be present at the tournament site on the day of the competition to support their school’s team. Back to Top of the Page
Does a high school need a Masonic sponsor in order to participate?
The simple answer is NO. If a high school desires to participate in the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl, the high school Scholastic Bowl Coach should submit her/his entry information to the Tournament Director. The Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl Committee attempts to obtain Masonic Lodge sponsors for the schools entered in the tournament. Even if a school ends up with no Masonic Lodge sponsor, the school will still compete in our tournament, and the school still pays no entry fee. Back to Top of the Page
How may additional information be obtained?
Contact Dale F. Thayer, Chairman, Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl Committee, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chairman of the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl Committee is also the Tournament Director for the Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl tournament. The Illinois Masonic Academic Bowl website at www.masonicbowl.org shows tournament dates, committee members, schools entered, tournament locations and teams attending each location, sectional tournament results, state qualifiers, state tournament results, Masonic Lodges sponsoring high schools, and tournament dates for the following year. Back to Top of the Page