General Tournament Rules

Article author
GenE Cory
  • Updated

1. Definitions

1.1 Participants   

1.1.1 Players

Anyone currently enrolled and participating in a National Junior College Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE) tournament. 

1.1.2 Team Captains

Players who assume the responsibility of serving as their team’s point of contact. Team Captains are responsible for queuing their team for matches and reporting match scores. 

1.2 Matches

1.2.1 Official Match

An official match is any match taking place during any NJCAAE tournament or event.

1.2.2 Unofficial Matches

Any match that takes place outside of any NJCAAE tournament or event. These matches include, but are not limited to, Scrimmage (Scrim) matches.

1.3 Tournament Stages

Tournament stages are the designated rounds in which differing rules such as match length, new player/team registration, and match scheduling take place.

1.3.1 Regular Season

The regular season stage of a tournament, which may also be referred to as the “Group" stage, is the main stage of a tournament. New players/teams will not be permitted to enter during this stage (teams may still be changed to add new players during this stage). During this stage, players/teams compete for the highest placements to move on to the postseason.

1.3.2 Playoffs

The playoff stage of the tournament is a single elimination tournament among the highest placed teams/players from the regular season. The size of the playoff pool varies depending on the game being played. Playoff tiers include the pre-quarterfinals, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals/3rd place match. 

1.3.3 Finals

The Finals stage of a tournament is the final match in the previous single-elimination bracket that consists of two teams. 

1.4 Match Format

1.4.1 Best of X

In a “Best of” match, teams/players play a series of games until a winner is decided. The match winner will be the first team/player to reach the required amount of game wins. NJCAAE “Best of” Matches may be comprised of the following settings. 

  • Best of 1
  • Best of 3
  • Best of 5
  • Best of 7
  • Best of 9
  • Best of 11
  • Best of 13

For the specific match format for your game, please consult the specific NJCAAE rules page for your game. 

1.4.2 Home/Away

A home/away series will always consist of two games, in which there is a possibility for players/teams to tie the series with no winner.  

1.5 Time Zone

The official time zone of the NJCAAE is the Central Time Zone, designated (UTC -6), or 6 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. All NJCAAE broadcasts, announcements, and web pages regarding NJCAAE competitions and scheduling will always display time in the Central Time Zone unless otherwise stated.

1.6 Region

Regions may refer to the list of regions supported by the NJCAAE for participation or regional breakups based on time zone for competition. For some NJCAAE tournaments, players/teams may be split into regions based on time zones or other criteria.

1.7 Disciplines

The games that are currently offered by the NJCAAE are:

  • Counter Strike Global Offensive by Valve Corporation for PC
  • Hearthstone by Activision Blizzard for PC, and Mobile
  • Fortnite by Epic Games for PC, Playstation 4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch
  • Rainbow Six Siege for PC
  • Rocket League by Psyoinix for PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch
  • NBA 2K21 by 2K Games for Playstation 4
  • FIFA 21 by Electronic Arts for Playstation 4
  • Valorant by Riot Games for PC
  • Overwatch by Activision Blizzard for PC
  • Call of Duty - Modern Warfare: Gunfight by Activision Blizzard for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4
  • Call of Duty - Warzone by Activision Blizzard for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4
  • Call of Duty - Black Ops: Cold War by Activision Blizzard for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4

Please note that all titles and platforms on this list may not be available as competitions at all times at the discretion of NJCAAE administration.


2. General Tournament Rules

2.1. Liability

All participants are expected to know and uphold the rules while associated with the NJCAAE. Participants will not receive refunds or compensation for inability to play as a result of incurring a penalty due to violation of NJCAAE rules and regulations. Participation in official tournaments constitutes acceptance of these rules. 

2.2 Administration List

  • Andrew Quan - League Commissioner
  • Devin Nielsen - Tournament Coordinator
  • Mariusz Lis - Head of Customer Support
  • Cory Heysham - Customer Support Lead
  • Jacob Taylor - Customer Support Agent
  • Jeremy Broomhall - Customer Support Agent

2.3 Rule Changes

The NJCAAE or its designee reserves the right to add, remove, or otherwise amend all rule sets without prior notice. However, NJCAAE or its designee will use its best efforts to provide reasonable notice prior to any significant rule changes.

2.4. Confidentiality

The content of emails, support tickets, or any other correspondence with NJCAAE or its designee is deemed strictly confidential information. The publication of such material is prohibited without express written consent from the NJCAAE or its designee.

2.5 Match Broadcasting

All broadcasting rights of the NJCAAE are owned by NJCAAE. This includes, but is not limited to: IRC Bots, audio streams, video streams, match recordings, or television broadcasts, or any other NJCAAE event.

2.5.1. Award of Broadcast Rights

The NJCAAE has the right to award broadcasting rights to one or multiple matches to a third party or participants themselves. In these cases, broadcasts must be arranged with NJCAAE administration (or their designee) or broadcasters prior to the start of the match. The NJCAAE reserves the right to play, broadcast, and distribute all match recordings during a NJCAAE tournament.

2.5.2. No Right of Refusal

Players and participants cannot refuse to have their matches broadcasted by a NJCAAE authorized broadcast, nor can they choose what manner in which the match will be broadcasted.

2.6 Player Details and Eligibility

2.6.1 Enrollment

All players must be at least 13 years of age in order to enroll and participate in any NJCAAE tournament. 

2.6.2. Home Country

All players must reside in the United States of America.

2.7. Participant Accounts

2.7.1. Clean Accounts

The NJCAAE defines a clean account as an account that has not received any form of game ban in the past 365 days (not including competitive mode cooldown penalties), is clear of vulgar or inappropriate content, is at least 15 days old (exempt for the first 2 weeks of each event), and owns a valid account for a NJCAAE discipline that will be used for tournament participation. Players who have unclean accounts are prohibited from participating in all NJCAAE events, even on alternate accounts.

2.7.2. Game Connections

All players taking part in NJCAAE tournaments are required to have an active game account for the tournament they’re participating in, connected to their varsity esports account. All game connection information shown on a team’s roster must match with the accounts in game, players using different accounts or those not officially on the roster are prohibited from playing in matches. Names must include all identifying information, such as a player's full battle net tag (name#1234) or their nintnedo switch friend code. Only one account connection is allowed per game, if a player needs to add a different account or update their current game connection, they will need to do so at least 24 hours before their next match. Game connections may not be changed during the Playoffs portion of any event. Discord Connection

To ensure that all channels of communication are available. All players will be required to set their discord information as a game connection. Connected accounts should show both the name and numbers tied to the account. Example: Rhojin#0786

2.7.3. Participant Profiles

All player names or profiles are prohibited from including:

  • Gang Affiliation
  • Drugs (including alcohol and tobacco)
  • Sexual Material
  • Offensive Material
  • Politically Charged Symbols/Images
  • Slander of The NJCAAE, any partners of the NJCAAE, students, or its Staff

2.8. Teams

2.8.1. Team Names

No two teams participating in the same tournament may use the same team name. Team names cannot be changed after the season officially begins.

2.8.2. Player Counts

Teams are required to have the minimum player count (as stated in each game’s rule set) present on the team at all times once a season begins, or they may face automatic match forfeitures. This does not include players that are pending to be placed on the team. Teams may not have more than the maximum of double the minimum player count on the roster at any time, not including single player or partner (duo) games. 

2.8.3. Multi-Teaming

Players are prohibited from participating on more than one roster for the same game in a specific tournament, regardless if the game is offered on multiple consoles. 

2.8.4 Roster Changes

Roster changes may be made at any point during or in-between seasons except during live matches and once the playoffs have begun. There is a 24-hour grace period from when a player is added to a roster before they will be permitted to play in official matches. Roster changes are prohibited for single player and partnered (duo) game tournaments. 

2.9. Withdrawal

Teams may choose to withdraw from a tournament during the season and may rejoin at a later date if they choose to. Only the team owner may submit a request to withdraw a player or team from a tournament. 

2.10. Matches

2.10.1. Match Times

All matches are set to be played at a set time on a specific day each week, unless otherwise rescheduled. Teams must be ready to play no later than 15 minutes after the start time or be subject to a forfeit. A team is considered to not ready if all players are not in the game lobby ready to play. Playoffs and National Championship Matches

During the playoffs (including National Championship), special rescheduling rules are in place. Without prior approval of NJCAAE administration:

  • Playoff dates may not be rescheduled
  • Pre-quarterfinal and quarterfinal matches may have their times rescheduled, but not their dates
  • Semifinal and National Championship matches may not be rescheduled Forfeits

Teams who collect two or more forfeits in a season will be removed from tournament play.

2.10.2. Contacting Opponents

Teams may make us of match chat, discord or direct contact with the team's coach if they need to reach out to an opponent. A coach's contact information will be provided on each match page. 

2.10.3. Match Results

Matches must be reported by the winning team immediately following the completion of their game. Players/teams are encouraged to document proof of match results in the event that they are needed to verify the legitimacy of a match score report. Match reports must include the round score(s).

2.10.4. Match Disputes

Match disputes must be submitted no later than two business days after the match has concluded. Sufficient and undoctored evidence, including, but not limited to, screenshots, match recordings, match replays/demos, or stream VODs must be submitted per the request of the NJCAAE official handling the match dispute before any decision regarding the dispute will be made. All match disputes should be submitted at the following link:

2.10.5. Playoff Seeding

For all tournaments, postseason matches will be seeded depending on the tournament size and number of players/teams actively participating in the regular stage, at the discretion of NJCAAE administration. Tie Breakers

Ties in regular season records will be determined by strength of a team's opponents during the regular season. Winning matches against stronger opponents gains more MMR than beating weaker opponents and the opposite is true losing to weaker opponents. Based off the strength of a team's opponents those with the higher MMR will be awarded a higher seed.


2.10.6. Multiple Game Series Grace Period

Teams may have up to a 10-minute break between each game in a multiple game series if they wish to do so. Substitutions

In between matches in a multiple game series, teams may substitute a player on their roster for a player currently in the match. Substitutions may only be made in team games; they are prohibited in solo and duo(partner) games. In games with a drafting period before a game, substitutions cannot be made after the draft has begun.

2.11. Communication

2.11.1. Team Communication

Communication is not required between teams before their scheduled game time, though it is suggested that both teams work with each other if a reschedule request is made. The contact information for each team's Coach will be provided on the match page. Match time communication will still be required for games that require map, character and deck bans in order to start.

2.11.2. Outside Communication

Players/teams may not have any communication with any outside sources, with exception of NJCAAE Administration or their designee while their match is in progress, including, but not limited to: coaches, teachers, and substitutes. Players/teams may only have communication with outside sources during the grace period between games in a series or unless otherwise outlined in game-specific rules.

2.12. Spectators

Spectators are allowed in game lobbies for the sole purpose of streaming their school team’s match to the School’s Twitch or Youtube channel. Spectators streaming the match cannot be another player on the same roster competing in the match. Spectators may not be in contact with the teams while the game is being played. All spectator streams must be from the player point of view, or a 3rd person chase cam. The use of the skybox camera, director camera, or the point of view of another team’s player is prohibited*. At the end of the match, the stream vod must be shared with the other team and sent to NJCAAE's ruling board.

*Skybox or Director Cam will be allowed for streamed Rocket League matches, as there is no risk to competitive integrity.

2.13. Peripherals

Any controllers used in official matches must be the proprietary manufactured controllers for the console in question (including accessibility controllers) and cannot be modified in any way, including, but not limited to: trigger mods, sensitive buttons, custom thumbsticks, and thumbstick tension mods. For fighting games, all standard fight sticks and controllers are permitted. Any hardware with macro functions or on-the-fly profile switching are strictly prohibited.

Controllers may be used for PC games provided that  they meet the requirements above, are an officially supported controller, and the game has native support for the controller in question, i.e. the player should not need to install additional software/drivers for the controller other than those from the manufacturer or included with the game.

The use of a Keyboard and Mouse on a console is strictly prohibited in official matches, regardless of whether or not the game has native support for it.

2.15. Cross-Platform Play

Players may only play on the platform(s) specified for a specific tournament. Doing otherwise may result in disqualification from that tournament.


3. Online Tournament Additional Rules

3.1. Equipment

The NJCAAE will not provide any equipment during an online tournament. The NJCAAE is not responsible for any internet or power issues affecting players/teams.

3.2 Online Connection

We recommend all participants play over an Ethernet connection to reduce the amount of lag they may experience in online matches. 


4. Rule Violations

4.1. Cheating

4.1.1. Programs

The use of the following programs is considered cheating:

  • Multihacks
  • Wallhack
  • Aimbot
  • Triggerbot
  • Colored Models
  • No-Recoil
  • No-Flash
  • Sound changes
  • Macros

The above are just a few examples; other programs may be deemed cheating if they are found to be giving a player or team an unfair advantage. Players who are found to be cheating will be immediately disqualified from all tournaments they currently compete in until their conclusion and beyond at the discretion of NJCAAE administration.

4.1.2. Bugs/Glitches/Exploits

The exploitation of any bugs/glitches that give a player or team an unfair advantage and are unallowed by the game’s developer are prohibited from use in official matches. The following are some examples of prohibited exploits:

  • Pixel Walking in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • See Through Smokes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Coastline Roof Vault Glitch in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  • Outback Top of Red Tent Plant in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  • Champion/Hero Swap Glitches
  • Ability Timer Glitches
  • Illegal/Out-Of-Bounds Spots

The above list of bugs/glitches/exploits is not comprehensive. The use of any bug/glitch/exploit that is deemed illegal by NJCAAE administration will result in sanctions for the player/team that used the exploit.

4.1.3. Acts of Disruption

Players acting on and/or conspiring to cause any disruption to the match will also be treated as cheating. Acts of disruption include, but are not limited to:

  • DDoS Attacks
  • Disconnecting with the Intent of Reseting a Game
  • Mic Spam
  • Sabotaging Equipment
  • Intentionally Delaying the Start of a Game

4.1.4. Third Party Tools 

The use of any third party tools is prohibited in official tournaments. The list of third party tools includes, but is not limited to: 

  • VR Audio Programs
  • Graphic Drivers
  • Overlays 
  • Custom Skins
  • Custom Overlays
  • UI Modifications  

4.2. Doping

The use of performance enhancing drugs is prohibited.

4.2.1. Prohibited Substances

The List of Prohibited Substances and Methods created by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) applies to all NJCAAE events. The full list can be found at Any unprescribed use of these substances is considered doping.

4.2. Using Alcohol or Drugs

The use of alcohol or illegal drugs, including tobacco and cannabis, during an official match is prohibited and violators will be sanctioned.

4.3. Betting

No participants may be involved in any form of betting or gambling, associate with betters or gamblers, or provide anyone information that may assist betting or gambling, either directly or indirectly, for any NJCAAE matches or tournaments in general.

4.4. Match Fixing

Match fixing is defined as the act of arranging the outcome of a match prior to it being played or during its play. Examples of match fixing include, but are not limited to:

  • Intentionally Losing Matches
  • Offering/Accepting Any Form of Payment to Influence the Outcome of a Match
  • Negotiating or Deciding the Results of a Match Before, During, or After Completion

4.5. Unsportsmanlike Conduct

4.5.1. Insults

All insults occurring in connection with the NJCAAE will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Profane Insults
  • Slurs relating to Race, Ethnicity, Culture, Gender Identification, Game Presence, Religion, Political Affiliation, Military Service, Age, or Any Other Protected Category 
  • Behavioral Toxicity
  • Targeted Attacks
    • Sharing/Revealing Personal Information
    • Directed Abuse/Harassment Against a Specific Person
    • Doxxing

The NJCAAE aims to provide a respectable environment for Esports while facilitating competition. Therefore, friendly trash talk and banter is allowed.

4.5.2. Inappropriate Language

All participants in Generation Esports or Varsity Esports sanctioned events are prohibited from using inappropriate language in all text and voice channels, regardless of context. Inappropriate language includes, but is not limited to:

  • Excessive Profanity
  • Pseudo-Profanity (i.e. replacing letters in profane words or phrases)
  • Racial/Ethnic/Cultural Slurs
  • Sexual Innuendos
  • Drug/Alcohol References

4.5.3 Harassment

Harassment of players, teams, club administrators, and NJCAAE staff is prohibited, both in game and on official and unofficial channels/social media sites.

4.5.4 Public Accusations

Publicly accusing a player or team of violating the rules will not be tolerated. If you suspect another player, club, or team has committed a rule violation, please file a match dispute as soon as possible so NJCAAE staff can open an investigation.

4.5.5 Incorrect Match Results

Intentionally reporting incorrect match results will result in removal from NJCAAE Tournaments. 

4.5.6. Deception

Any attempt to mislead or deceive other participants or members of NJCAAE administration will be penalized.

4.5.7 Coercion

Any attempt to manipulate a match or outcome through threats or intimidation of other participants or members of NJCAAE administration will result in removal from NJCAAE Tournaments.

4.6. Knowledge of Rule Breaking

Disciplinary action will be taken against players who have knowledge of teammates or other participants violating the official tournament rules and do not report the violations to NJCAAE Administrators. 

This includes but is not limited to having knowledge of:

  • Hacking
  • Abusing Exploits
  • Using Prohibited Peripherals
  • Using Prohibited Scripts/Binds
  • Depiction/Coercion of another team or player
  • Match Fixing

If you have knowledge of a teammate or other player violating the rules please submit a report here. 

4.7. Tainted Accounts

During an official match, if a player’s account receives any form of game ban, the match will immediately conclude, and the player’s opponent will be awarded the win.

Was this article helpful?

2 out of 2 found this helpful

Have more questions? Submit a request