National Online Math League
The National Online Math League (NOML), formerly known as the Cody Bowl is a highly unique and challenging mathematics competition for high school and college students.
History of NOML
The National Online Math League / Cody Bowl has a tumultuous history that mirrors the often chaotic life of its founder. The league has gone through two name changes, two very different formats, and two cancellations.
The first two seasons
In its first season, NOML took the form of The Weekend Games, held at the Texas Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp for high school students in 2002. The first season consisted of three friendly matches between two teams, which were selected at random for each game. Two of the matches were conducted under a format similar to that used by the American Regions Math League: a Team test, a Power question, and several Relays. However, one match used an experimental format that included a round similar to the Guts Round held at the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament.
The Weekend Games returned to the Honors Summer Math Camp for 2003 with a more rigid format, and for the first time, the event was officially known as "Cody Bowl." Each weekend match was a miniature ARML competition between two teams. However, individual statistics were kept on a cumulative basis, and the top eight individuals were invited to compete in a final round of individual competition. In the Endurance Round, the field of eight was narrowed to three in an elimination contest in which a player was required to answer a series of individual questions in order to survive. The final three contestants advanced to The Last Stand, a competition that Patterson proudly claimed "had nothing to do with mathematics whatsoever." Preparation for The Last Stand took league officials over two weeks and a total of more than fifty dollars' worth of lumber and building accessories. The individual champion of the summer series was Jeff Nanney of Plano, Texas; the prize for first place was an all-expenses-paid dinner at the local Outback Steakhouse and the right to keep the Kitchenware Cup, the official Cody Bowl trophy, for one year.
The 2003 edition of Cody Bowl, and its newfound focus on individual competition, created a controversy within the camp, and it became clear to Patterson that the games would not be allowed at the camp in the future. Faced with a choice between changing the format of the contest substantially, or retiring it altogether, Patterson chose the option that would best allow him to stick it to "the man."