I picked 11 credits in a competition year because that's the minimum number needed to ensure that a player has taken three classes at a particular institution, and three seems like a good minimum number. Also, many institutions offer 5-credit intro language courses, and two intro language courses in a year doesn't seem sufficient to confer eligibility.The following eligibility rules apply to all non-open college quizbowl events. A competition year is defined as the period between September 1 and the following May 31.
To gain eligibility at a postsecondary institution for a particular competition year, an undergraduate or community college player must complete three classes for credit at that institution in that year. A graduate or professional school player must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at that institution in that year.
Players have a maximum of:
3 competition years of community college eligibility
6 competition years of undergraduate eligibility (years of community college eligibility plus undergraduate eligibility may not exceed 7)
3 competition years of eligibility in a particular degree-granting master's program or equivalent
7 competition years of eligibility in a particular degree-granting PhD or professional school program
A competition year is exhausted only if a player plays a non-open college quizbowl tournament while representing a postsecondary institution (i.e. not under the banner of a high school) in that competition year.
I picked maximum years of eligibility that felt generous and understanding that paths through higher education aren't always linear, but that give definitive cutoffs. I also lumped in all "professional schools" under the 7-year cutoff, even though many professional schools are shorter in length, because there's very little opportunity to stretch a degree like a J.D. for more time than the program typically takes. In other words, the cutoff for most professional schools is going to be the length of the program itself, and because most professional school students are there with the stated intention of graduating and becoming professionals, I see no reason to lay out the difference between med school and law school in terms of maximum years.
I'm interested to hear criticism either in the broad sense (i.e. this whole thing is a bad idea) or in the narrow sense (i.e. this is a decent idea, but the numbers could use some tweaking). Thanks in advance for your consideration and discussion. It would be great if we could adopt a relatively simple community standard that would apply to all tournaments, ACF and NAQT included.