ACF Constitution

Last updated: December 16, 2019

Table of Contents

Article 1. Name of Organization

  1. The name of the organization shall be the Academic Competition Federation.

Article 2. Purpose and Tournaments

  1. The purpose for which the Academic Competition Federation exists is to provide regional and national tournaments for collegiate academic competition and oversee the continued development of the ACF format as defined in the official ACF rules, within the meaning of 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  2. ACF shall hold at least four events per year: Fall, Winter, Regionals, and Nationals. ACF may put on additional tournaments subject to the approval of ACF membership. (Amended 4/6/2020)
    1. For each tournament, ACF shall elect a head editor from its membership by a 2/3 vote of Full members. The head editor shall select one or more assistant editors, who need not be ACF members. The head editor’s choice of editing team need not be ratified by the membership. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010)
    2. A person who is not a member of ACF may be elected as head editor if there is an ACF member to serve as an oversight editor. The job of an editor in an “oversight” role (the “overseer”) is to give the other editors guidance/feedback on the content and difficulty of their questions. The head editor has final creative control over question content, and has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the set is completed on time and is to ACF’s standards regarding quality, length, and difficulty. (Added by amendment 4/20/2020)
    3. For each tournament, any deviations from the Official ACF Packet Submission Guidelines must be approved by the head editor of that tournament. The decision of the head editor may only affect financial and eligibility guidelines for that particular tournament. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010)
  3. No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes described in section 501(c)(3). No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Upon the dissolution of this organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. (Added by amendment 3/21/2019)

Article 3. Membership

  1. There shall be three types of members–Full, Provisional, and Emeritus–as delineated in sections 3.2-3.4.
  2. A Full member is defined as an individual who has satisfactorily worked on two or more ACF tournaments or projects in at least one of the following ways:
    1. Satisfactorily editing for an ACF tournament;
    2. Serving as an officer of ACF for a competition year; or
    3. Satisfactorily providing substantial aid or logistical assistance to an ACF tournament or project (such as serving as an editing advisor, logistical coordinator, Nationals tournament director or assistant director, or other similar capacity). Solely for the purposes of maintaining Full membership, satisfactorily editing an ACF tournament while being responsible for fewer than the equivalent of two tossups and two bonuses per packet falls within this provision. (Criteria amended 06/28/2016)
  3. A Provisional member is defined as an individual who has satisfactorily worked on only one ACF tournament or project in at least one of the following ways:
    1. Satisfactorily editing for an ACF tournament; or
    2. Satisfactorily providing substantial aid or logistical assistance to an ACF tournament or project (such as serving as an editing advisor; logistical coordinator; Fall, Winter, or Regionals tournament director; Nationals tournament director or assistant director; Nationals host liaison; or other similar capacity). (Criteria amended 05/02/2019)
  4. A member becomes Emeritus either by declaring themselves as such, or after three competition years have passed in which the member has not met the requirements of Article 3.2(A)-(C). (Text amended 6/28/2016)
    1. Each competition year, within three weeks after ACF Nationals, Full members who have not satisfactorily met the requirements of Article 3.2(A)-(C) in the past three competition years will be moved to Emeritus membership. If a member believes they have satisfied Article 3.2(C), they may make an affirmative declaration that they have satisfied that provision within three weeks after movement to Emeritus status. Any Full member who objects to such an affirmation may call a vote (within three weeks of the declaration of intent to remain a Full member) in which a simple majority of Full members decides whether Article 3.2(C) has been satisfied.
    2. Emeritus members can return to Full status if they complete one of the activities listed in Article 3.2(A)-(C), and announce their intention to regain Full membership. In the case of Article 3.2(C), any Full member who objects may (within three weeks of the declaration of intent to return to Full membership) call a vote in which a simple majority of Full members decides whether the requirement has been satisfied. If the activity is not completed satisfactorily, or progress is insufficient, any Full member may call a simple-majority vote of Full members to revoke Full membership status at a reasonable time.An Emeritus member is defined as an individual who was once a Full member but is no longer active. (Amended and reference sections fixed, 06/28/2016; amended 05/02/2019)
  5. All Provisional members must be approved by 2/3 of the Full members. Any candidate for Full membership must be approved by 2/3 of the Full members to become a Full member. Membership votes shall be held twice in a competition year; once before ACF Regionals, and once after ACF Nationals. (Amended 5/01/09; amended 06/28/16; amended 11/20/19)
  6. The Full members of ACF may vote to remove any member of ACF; such a vote requires a 75% majority to prevail. The member subject to the removal vote is not eligible to vote. (Added by amendment 4/30/09)
  7. Provisional ACF members who have not satisfactorily worked on an ACF project as defined in Article 3.2(A)-(C) in three consecutive competition years will revert to non-membership status in ACF. The three-year period does not include the year in which the Provisional member served in the capacity for which they were voted to provisional membership status. In the case of Article 3.2(C), analogous procedures to those listed in Article 3.4(B) apply. (Amended 5/8/2012; amended 06/28/2016)
    1. The three-year period for current Provisional members of ACF (as of the date of this amendment’s enactment) will begin at the start of the 2010–2011 cycle of ACF tournaments. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010)
  8. For the purposes of all Article 3 requirements, “satisfactorily” editing a tournament requires editing and/or writing a number of questions equal to at least two tossups and two bonuses per packet of an ACF tournament to the satisfaction of that tournament’s head editor. If a candidate edits and/or writes a smaller amount of questions, their work may still be considered “satisfactory” at the discretion of the the ACF membership, to be determined when a membership vote is taken. All votes prescribed in other sections of Article 3 are still required. (Added by amendment 10/19/2011; amended 12/16/2019)
  9. At any ACF meeting or at any time on the ACF forum, the President may call a vote on any member or potential member’s past work, either editorial or logistical, that was, for any reason, previously not voted “satisfactory,” and 2/3 of Full members may vote the work satisfactory for purposes of conferring Provisional or Full membership, or both. For the purposes of Article 3.4, the competition year of votes conducted under this section shall be the competition year in which the work was originally done.

Article 4. Officers and Duties

  1. The President shall serve as the presiding head of ACF. The duties of the President shall be to periodically hear reports from the Officers of ACF and to develop, in consultation with all Full and Provisional members of ACF, an agenda for each official ACF meeting. During each official ACF Meeting, it shall be the responsibility of the President to conduct and moderate discussion in an efficient manner. The President shall be responsible for conducting business on the ACF Forum, including but not limited to proposing official votes and determining deadlines for the passage of said votes. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010, text amended 05/02/2019)
  2. The Officers of the Organization shall consist of the President, the Communications Officer, the Webmaster, the Site Coordinator, the ACF Nationals Tournament Director, and the Treasurer. The Officers of ACF shall periodically report to the President, and the discharge of their duties shall be subject to the President’s supervision. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010; revised 5/8/2012; further revised 5/2/2019; further revised 4/20/2020)
  3. The terms of these officers shall begin at the conclusion of one year’s ACF Nationals and last until the end of the next year’s ACF Nationals, excepting the first year in which this amendment is adopted. Any Full member of ACF may nominate a candidate for each of these positions at any meeting. In order for a nominee to be confirmed, a majority of present Full ACF members must vote for the nominee’s confirmation at any meeting. A meeting that determines the slate of non-editorial officers for the following year must occur before the conclusion of an ACF Nationals of any given year. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010)
  4. The Communications Officer shall be in charge of maintaining an official e-mail address to which queries regarding ACF shall be directed, as well as responding to whatever queries it shall receive. The Communications Officer shall be responsible for enumerating whatever general ACF policies are not applicable to specific ACF Tournaments. The Communications Officer shall promote ACF Tournaments via social media. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010, revised 05/02/2019)
  5. The Webmaster shall be in charge of the ACF Website and maintain a current roster of members, including contact information. (Added by amendment 7/18/2010)
  6. The Head Editors of ACF Fall, Winter, Regionals, and Nationals shall be responsible for ensuring timely completion of their respective question sets, and should periodically update the Officers of ACF on their progress towards that goal. (Amended 05/15/2020)
  7. The Editor-in-Chief provides an additional layer of oversight to all ACF tournaments to ensure consistent quality. They also serve as an additional reviewer on each set as well as a resource for the head editor on questions of difficulty and content. (Added 05/15/2020)
  8. The Site Coordinator is responsible for soliciting bids for ACF Fall, Winter, Regionals, and Nationals, communicating with hosts about the proper packet-submission formats to use, and ensuring that hosts follow ACF’s Hosting Guidelines. (Added by amendment 05/02/2019)
  9. The Treasurer is responsible for the finances of ACF’s tournaments. The Treasurer shall centrally collect payments from teams and disburse payments to the editors and the host sites, making other payments as necessary. The Treasurer’s duties include collecting all payments and enforcing all relevant penalties. (Added by amendment 5/8/2012)

Article 5. Quorum, Meetings, and Voting

  1. A quorum shall exist at any meeting of the membership where at least 50% of the Full members are in attendance.
  2. Meetings of the Academic Competition Federation will be called by the President as needed, and members are expected to attend if at all possible. They will be held in a chat room or some other convenient venue.
  3. Reasons for holding a meeting include: member approval, editor assignment, discussion of amendments to the constitution and/or the rules, and Carper voting.
  4. Full members are eligible to attend and vote at all meetings. Provisional members may not attend member approval meetings, may attend but not vote at editor assignment and amendment meetings, and may attend and vote at Carper meetings. Emeritus members may attend any meeting but may only vote at Carper meetings.
  5. A vote of “abstain” signifies that a member is present but chooses not to vote. Abstaining members contribute to the quorum, but their votes are not considered in the numerator or the denominator for the purpose of totaling votes.
  6. The only kind of meeting which must be held in a real-time venue (in person or via IRC) is a meeting to remove a member of ACF. “Meetings” for other purposes, including assigning editors, amending the constitution or rules, adding new members, or awarding the Carper Award may take the form of threads in the ACF forum on
  7. After a reasonable opportunity for all ACF members to participate in a discussion on the forums, a vote may be held on any issue or amendment, also via the forums. A reasonable opportunity will be defined as one week from the opening of a discussion. The President or another Officer of ACF may agree that an issue constitutes an “emergency,” in which case the one-week requirement does not apply. However, any issue so designated must be discussed at a real-time meeting, and the requirements for a successful vote (majority for ordinary issue, 2/3 for constitutional amendment) do not change. (Amended 05/02/2019)
  8. Changes to the gameplay rules and eligibility rules are not considered constitutional amendments, and thus may be ratified with a simple majority rather than a 2/3 vote of full members.
  9. The voting period for a vote of the Full Members, as called by the President, may last no longer than seven days, and must take place via electronic secret ballot through such means as the President sees fit (including, but not limited to, online forms, phpBB poll). If a member has not voted by the end of the designated voting period, that member will be treated as having abstained. (Added by amendment 8/27/2016)

Article 6. The Carper Award

  1. The Dr. N. Gordon Carper Lifetime Achievement Award will be given annually at ACF Nationals to members of the quizbowl community who exhibit dedication to and long-term support of academic competitions as exemplified by the career of Dr. Carper.
  2. Winners of the Carper Award needn’t be directly affiliated with ACF.
  3. Only members of ACF may nominate or vote for any candidate for the Carper Award. All Full, Emeritus, and Provisional members shall be entitled both to nominate and vote for the Carper Award.
  4. The Carper Award committee shall preside over the Carper Award voting and, within the strictures of the ACF Constitution, shall be empowered to devise reasonable procedures and rules for carrying out the function of selecting Carper Award winners. The Carper Award committee shall consist of each Carper Award winner who is a Full, Emeritus, or Provisional member of ACF.
  5. Carper Award voting among the membership shall consist of three stages. First, each member shall be invited to nominate up to two individuals for consideration. Second, each member shall be sent a ballot consisting of the three individuals receiving the highest number of nominations. In the event of ties in nominations, the ballot may be expanded to contain more than three nominees. Third, votes shall be tallied in accordance with reasonable procedures that shall be decided annually by the Carper Award committee and announced with the ballot. A winner shall be declared; in the event of a tie for first place, multiple winners may be declared.
  6. After the Carper Award voting among the membership has resulted in the selection of a winner or winners, the Carper Award committee shall have the option to select, using its own criteria and process, an additional Carper Award winner for that year.
  7. If ACF Nationals attracts more than 26 teams in a given year, then ACF shall provide up to $300 to each Carper Award winner as needed for travel expenses to collect the award. No funding shall be provided to a Carper Award winner who is playing at the tournament.

Article 7. Amendments

  1. Any and all amendments to the ACF rules or to this constitution shall be discussed in a meeting, which may be conducted on the ACF Forums on, at which all members have the opportunity to participate.
  2. Amendments are passed when 2/3 of the Full members vote in their favor. No other members shall be allowed to vote on any amendment.

Article 8. Corporate Governance

  1. All members of ACF shall be members of Academic Competition Federation, Inc., an Illinois non-profit corporation. The Full members of ACF hereby authorize the incorporation of ACF as Academic Competition Federation, Inc.
  2. ACF shall have no legal basis or liability independent of Academic Competition Federation, Inc. All meetings convened and business conducted by ACF shall be convened and conducted by Academic Competition Federation, Inc.
  3. The ACF Constitution is hereby incorporated into the bylaws of Academic Competition Federation, Inc. The role of the ACF Constitution shall be limited to the following: selecting and approving members of ACF and changing membership status of current members; electing ACF’s officers and editors and assigning editors to tournaments; discussing and voting on amendments to the ACF Constitution and Official ACF Rules; and voting on the Carper Award.
  4. Academic Competition Federation, Inc. shall be the sole financial instrument of ACF.
  5. Academic Competition Federation, Inc. shall be the sole entity responsible for all ACF tournaments. This role includes creating and editing tournaments; arranging for mirror sites of ACF Fall, Winter, and Regionals (or any other ACF tournament); and organizing and operating ACF Nationals (or any other ACF tournament).
  6. Any staffers at ACF-run tournaments or ACF editors who are not members of Academic Competition Federation, Inc. shall be recognized as temporary employees of Academic Competition Federation, Inc.
  7. Resignation or termination of membership from Academic Competition Federation, Inc. shall cease ACF membership entirely. (Article added by amendment 11/4/2012)

This constitution was originally written by Eric Kwartler and ratified by him and the other Full members of ACF at the time of its composition: Matthew Weiner, Jerry Vinokurov, Mike Sorice, and Seth Teitler. It has been amended several times since.