‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Talks Joining ‘National College Championship’

by Leanne Stahulak

Starting next week, 36 college students from around the country will compete in the first annual “Jeopardy! National College Championship.”

One of the competitors spoke with local news outlet KATC about his experience on the “Jeopardy!” primetime show. Lafayette, Louisiana, native Stephen Privat is a political science major at LSU. He’s also a huge fan of the long-running game show.

“I’ve been watching ‘Jeopardy!’ ever since I was a kid. It is my favorite television show, and it has always been a dream of mine to be able to compete on it,” Privat told KATC. So, how exactly did he make it onto the first-ever College Championship?

“There were several different auditions (on Zoom because of COVID), where I had to take several 50 question tests and play mock games against a few other potential contestants,” Privat explained. “I must have done pretty well on those because a few months later I got a call saying I made it on.”

The LSU student couldn’t reveal any major spoilers about his performance on the show or the questions he faced. But he did say he was proud to represent his school on a national stage.

“This experience was so surreal and such a dream come true,” Privat said. “I’m a Louisiana native, and I always pictured myself attending LSU for college. I felt so proud to be representing not only myself but also LSU as I accomplished this dream.”

How Does the ‘Jeopardy! National College Championship’ Work?

Mayim Bialik will return to host the “Jeopardy! National College Championship” next week. She’s already hosted a few regular-season games this past week, taking over for Ken Jennings. But soon, the regular season will be put on hold for the first-annual college tournament.

Stephen Privat, along with 35 other college students, will compete for a grand prize of $250,000. According to a recent article on the “Jeopardy!” website, each contestant will take home a significant amount of cash. Second place earns $100,00, while third earns $50,000. From there, fourth place receives $35,000, while the eight eliminated semi-finalists receive $20,000. The 24 eliminated quarterfinalists earn $10,000 each.

This is a huge difference from regular season play, where second and third place winners receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. Then again, this is also one of the bigger “Jeopardy!” tournaments.

The tournament starts on Tuesday, Feb. 8, and ends Tuesday, Feb. 22. During that time, the quarterfinals take place until Wednesday, Feb. 16. Since this is a primetime show, episodes will air from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST, with two quarterfinal games taking place in each hour time slot. One winner from each of the 12 quarterfinal games will advance to the semifinals.

Four semifinal games will take place over Feb. 17-18. So there will be four total winners, but only the three winners with the highest semifinal monetary total will advance to the final round.

And the “Jeopardy! National College Championship” final will lair on Feb. 22. Make sure you tune in!