This year’s IHSSBCA Kickoffs are using ACF formatted bonuses with bouncebacks, much like PACE NSC does. This is a change that will likely create some interesting comments from some parts of the state which are unfamiliar with the format.

Some of you might ask, “Well Matt, what’s the deal with these ACF bonuses exactly?”. Quite simply, it is what the majority of college competitions use. If you’ve ever played an NAQT round, then you’ve experienced mACF bonuses (the ‘m’ is for modified, since real ACF is not timed, and does not bounceback like Kickoffs will and NSC does). These bonuses consist of three parts worth ten points each, which do not normally rebound. A few notable tournaments here in Illinois use rebounds in their mACF bonuses, including UIUC Earlybird, the 2007 NT Varsity Tournament and now the IHSSBCA Kickoffs.

We believe that ACF format is a superior method for testing knowledge, and offers writers more creative ways to structure bonuses. Since each bonus is read one part at a time, writers can easily reference facts from one part in subsequent parts Take, for instance, this example:

Bonus: Literature (Literature)
Identify the following about a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1. Winning as a first-year candidate in 1938, she was selected without due consideration, and is considered a failure of a selection by the Swedish Academy.
Answer: Pearl S. Buck
2. Along with the Japanese occupation of China, this is the work that catapulted Buck into prominence, a novel featuring Wang Lung and O-Lan.
Answer: The Good Earth
3. Under the pseudonym John Sedges, The Good Earth was released together with two of Buck’s other works to form this trilogy.
Answer: The House of Earth Trilogy

This prevents confusing things like this from happening: “…the book-from-part-two was released together with two of the author-from-part-one’s other works…” mACF bonuses also make rounds go by much quicker. There is no longer a lengthy lull while teams are conferring, and the whole team is much more involved during the entirety of the bonus.

There are some coaches who are making a strong push to move Illinois’ format to this type of bonus. It was discussed this year at the IHSA Advisory Committee meeting, and it was decided that the Kickoffs would be used as a trial run for the format. It is going to be very interesting to see exactly what sort of reaction that the questions get from teams around the state. Most teams are very uncomfortable with change, and some have big tantrums when change happens.