The Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) is the first and largest academic competition among students at Historically Black Colleges & Universities. HCASC has is a tournament-style academic quiz implemented by the College Bowl Company in 1989. Honda is the sponsor of the show, hence the title. For the duration of the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, everyone on campus is involved with the preparations, including faculty members, students, the alumni association and the administration. It occurs throughout the year and students compete in three levels, campus tournament, pre-NCT tournament and the national championship tournament (NCT).
The game is in quiz show format, involving an announcer (host) who reads the questions, and competing teams of players that compete in four rounds of question and answer. The material covered in the question can be from academic subjects, or from various niches, such as popular culture and sports. Many of the questions feature African American culture and history.
Recently, the game’s format has been modified to mimic the format in the game show Zain Africa Challenge. The first three rounds are known as face-off rounds, while the fourth round is called the Ultimate Challenge. In the three Face-Off rounds, the team of four selects one player to represent the team, and this player is the only one who can press the buzzer and answer the question.
The questions come from four categories, with each category containing four questions. A coin toss determines which team chooses the first category. The question is read and the first team that buzzes can answer it. Answering correctly will award the team a bonus question, while a wrong answer will award the opposing team the chance to answer the face-off question. From the second round onward, the team that’s behind in terms of score gets to choose the category to open the face-off round. If the team scores are tied, a coin toss will decide who gets to select the category.
The fourth round (Ultimate Challenge) comprises ten questions, asked in rapid fire succession for sixty seconds. Each team gets the chance to answer all ten questions, with the team that’s behind in scores going first. All ten questions are under the category chosen by the team at the start of the Ultimate Challenge.
Recruitment and Campus Events
From summer onward, schools are expected to actively recruit undergraduate students to try out for the campus tournament. Each student is assessed for extensive knowledge in academics, history and sports. By fall, the top players selected in the try outs are invited to participate in the campus tournament, usually held in October. A formal HCASC club is present in each campus and the members are usually the ones implementing drills and training for new recruits, as well as practice games and socials. All progress in terms of recruitment and readiness to participate in more advanced rounds are reported to the national organizers.
By January, team HCASC club coach selects the team and four players to compete in the national championship tournament. After the teams have been submitted, 32 of the 48 teams that will compete in the NCT are announced. Teams join pre-championship tournaments to test their skills and to meet the other HBCU teams competing in the NCT. This is the time to assess the competition and to find out how the team performs in various categories. The final 16 teams are selected based on their performance in the pre-NCT rounds. A team coach may opt to change the players but the change must be done before the NCT.
Morgan State University will be defending its title, so teams are encouraged to play, practice and prepare! The National Championship Tournament will again be held in Los Angeles and part of the event will be hosted at Honda headquarters. For more information visit www.hcasc.com.