Quiz bowls aren't really known for attracting cheaters — the 2006 British hit Starter for 10 excluded — but, as recent history suggests, if there's a way to cheat, a Harvard student will find it. According to a "security update" posted earlier this week by the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC (which holds and judges quiz bowl tournaments), a star member of Harvard's quiz bowl team, Andy Watkins, will be stripped of four quiz bowl championship titles after the company caught him illicitly accessing official quiz questions before the tournaments were held.
The company discovered the breach while reviewing a batch of server logs, which showed that Watkins and three other students — who, because they were so good at the quiz bowl competitions, was hired to draft quiz materials — used their employee login credentials to view official quiz questions in advance of championship bowls:
NAQT has uncovered evidence that four of its writers frequently accessed pages on NAQT's administrative website that contained clearly marked, substantive information about questions on which they were intending to—and subsequently did—compete.
Though the number of people involved is much smaller than the huge "Introduction to Congress" cheating ring from last fall, it appears they knowingly obtained, on several occasions, confidential information that could be used to win multiple competitive titles. That seems a bit more egregious than copying down a classmate's answer on a final exam — even if there are no real prizes at stake in quiz bowl matches.