SPELLING BEE OFFICIAL RULES

(April 2022)

SPELLING TEAMS
 

  • Each team will consist of three spellers with one designated as captain.  All team members must be at least 17 years of age by April 1, 2022. 

 

  • Each team may designate an alternate speller if a team member is unable to participate.  The alternate must join the team before the competition begins.  

 

  • Teams will have a team name, but individual spellers are identified as #1, #2, and #3. This numbering will determine the order in which spellers come to the microphone to spell, but teams choose this order.  

SPECIAL BEE OFFICIALS AND WORD LISTS
 

  • Spelling bee officials: a word pronouncer, three judges, a scribe and timekeeper.
     

  • Word Pronouncer - announces the spelling rules and begins the competition.  The word pronouncer reads the word from the spelling word list, provides the definition, uses it in a sentence and then pronounces the word one additional time.
     

  • Judges – the panel of judges make the final determination on the correct or incorrect spelling of a word and are the arbiters of any questions or disputes.
     

  • Scribe – records each letter of a word as it is spelled by a speller and consults with the judges as needed.  The scribe also keeps track of which spellers have spelled from each team.
     

  • Timekeeper – monitors the time each team takes to consult on spelling the word and the time each speller takes to begin spelling his/her word at the microphone.  The allotted time may change in later rounds.

 

  • Word List – The word list was compiled from a variety of sources, including other competitions.  Word spellings, pronunciation and definitions were obtained from Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster.com.  The word list is organized into rounds.

SPELLING BEE COMPETITION
 

  • A random drawing for the sequence of the spelling teams will be determined at the start of the competition and may change in later rounds when the number of teams is reduced due to team elimination.  A round is completed when all spellers on each team have taken a turn spelling at the microphone. This may increase in later rounds.  All spellers must take a regular rotation spelling at the microphone.  Spellers from each team will rotate spelling in the numerical order set by the team.

 

  • The pronouncer will pronounce the word, give the definition of the word, use the word in a sentence and pronounce the word once more.  Team members may ask for only one additional pronunciation of the word.

 

  • Team members have 20 seconds to collaborate on the spelling of the word orally or on paper before coming to the microphone.  The designated speller, based on the team speller rotation, must then step to the microphone, without paper or other aid.  Once at the microphone, the speller has an additional 30 seconds to complete the spelling of the word, including any restarts.  No coaching is permitted from team members when a speller is at the microphone.

  • At the microphone, the speller must pronounce the word, begin spelling, and then pronounce the word once more. (e.g. “Spell, S, P, E, L, L, spell.”).  It is important to remember to do all three steps when at the microphone.   Having started to spell a word, the designated speller may stop and start over only once before completing the word. The speller must retrace the spelling of the word from the beginning and may change letters and/or their sequence. Once the word spelling is completed, the spelling is final.  

 

  • Spellers must speak slowly, clearly, and distinctly.  It will not be necessary to indicate when spelling that a word begins with a capital letter.

 

RE-ENTRY BUY BACKS AND DISQUALIFICATION
 

  • Disqualification - When, according to the Judges’ consensus, in consultation with the Scribe, a speller misspells a word, the entire team is immediately eliminated from the competition. The pronouncer will spell the word correctly.  When questions occur, teams may check the dictionary, and ask for a decision from the judges. Teams also are disqualified if they take too long to spell the word, fail to follow proper procedures, or engage in inappropriate coaching.  The decision of the judges is final.

 

  • Teams are not allowed to continue in the spelling round once disqualified and will leave the stage immediately. 

 

  • Re-entry -A disqualified team may buy back into the competition once for $200.  Some sponsorship levels will receive a prepaid re-entry credit. Payment may be made by the team or another party on their behalf. The decision to re-enter must be made immediately at the time of disqualification before the word pronouncer moves onto the next team. This option can only be exercised once per team. Once the championship round begins between the final two teams, no re-entry is permitted.

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

 

  • Spelling will continue until the competition is reduced to two teams at the end of the third round.  After a brief break, the Championship Round begins with words chosen from the challenge list.  No re-entries are allowed during the final championship round. 

 

  • During this round, when one team misspells a word, the other team will be asked to spell the same word. If the second team spells the word correctly, plus the next word on the pronouncer's list, that team shall be declared the winner.

 

  • If both teams misspell the same word, both will continue in the contest. The team that first misspelled the word will be given a new word to spell. The competition will continue in this manner until a team successfully spells the misspelled word, plus a new word correctly. Spellers will continue to take turns at the microphone in their usual order. 

 

  • If a winner is not determined after each three rotations per team, in the Championship Round a tie will be declared. (Each team member will have an opportunity to spell three times.)