January 5, 2022

A new academic competition for West Virginia high school students will bring teams together from across the state for regional matchups. West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair, State Board of Education President Miller Hall, State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch and West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education Sarah Armstrong Tucker announced the new Academic Showdown during a press conference at the State Capitol today.

The West Virginia Academic Showdown is a head-to-head competition between West Virginia high school teams, and a partnership among the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History. Championed by Senator Craig Blair, the program begins January 15, 2022, at Marshall University as the first of five regional matches.

“It is always important to celebrate the achievements of our scholars in similar fashion as we celebrate the student athlete,” Senator Blair said. “These youngsters have committed themselves to academic excellence and are eager to engage in the intellectual sparring that the Showdown offers. We are excited to give the teams a platform to compete at this level.”

Competition questions cover literature, math, history, science, geography, fine arts, religion/mythology, social science, philosophy, current events, pop culture and general knowledge. Schools may create teams of four students from Grades 9 – 12 with an optional fifth team member who serves as an alternate. Twenty-nine (29) teams from 19 schools are participating as part of the inaugural year.

“Our schools have once again shown the resilience and dedication of our students who have responded enthusiastically to this opportunity,” said Superintendent Burch. “They have worked tirelessly over the past semester to prepare for the regionals, and we know this will be an exceptional inaugural season. Many schools that were unable to organize teams this season are planning to participate next year.”

Universities will host the regionals to bring the state’s top scholars and family members to campus allowing them to explore college offerings and student life more closely.

“We’re so thrilled that higher education had the opportunity to be part of this unprecedented new program, and I know that each of our inaugural host universities plan to roll-out exceptional regional events for the teams,” said Chancellor Tucker. “I can’t imagine a better way to showcase our colleges and universities to academic stand-outs from across the state. This is a shining example of how K-12 and higher education continue to work together to support students in reaching their fullest potential.”

The Academic Showdown schedule is as follows:

Date Event Location
Jan. 15 Region 1 Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts
Jan. 22 Region 5 Shepherd University, Frank Arts Center
Jan. 29 Region 4 West Virginia University, Mountainlair Ballrooms
Feb. 12 Region 3 Concord University, Alexander Fine Arts Building, Main Auditorium
Feb. 19 Region 2 West Virginia State University, Fannin S. Belcher Theatre, Davis Fine Arts Center
March 25 Championship West Virginia Culture Center


The West Virginia Academic Showdown utilizes official National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) questions for all regional and championship matches. Because the competitions will be held in succession, questions may be repeated at multiple sites, therefore, recordings will not be permitted during the events. For more information, click here.

Competition rules are posted on the WVDE website, and details regarding each regional will be shared via media advisories prior to the local events. To view the full press conference, visit our YouTube channel.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or Christy.Day@k12.wv.us, or Jessica Tice, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, at Jessica.Tice@wvhepc.edu or 304-558-0699.

Follow the WVDE on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

Follow the Higher Education Policy Commission on Facebook and Twitter.