SUGGESTED USA PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR 2025

Rule change submissions will close on May 15th, 2024, at 11:59 PM. Comments on the existing rule change submissions will remain open until May 31st, 2024, at 11:59 PM.

Rule Submission TitleRound-robin tie-breaker criteria
Existing Rule #12.C.4.
Proposed Rule Change

Change the order of round-robin tie-breaker criteria from the current 12.C.4.a, 12.C.4.b., 12.C.4.c., 12.C.4.d., 12.C.4.e. as follows:

12.C.4.a. Players/Teams that have withdrawn from the bracket are not eligible to be considered when going to a tie-breaker. Any player/team that has withdrawn from the bracket shall only have their record of matches won considered. (e.g., Team A has 3 wins, Team B has 3 wins and Team C has 3 wins. However, Team C withdrew from their last match. Because Team C has withdrawn from a match in their bracket, only their 3 wins will be considered in their finishing placement and they will not be considered for any additional tiebreaker. Team A beat Team B in their heads-up match, therefore Team A is awarded first place, Team B is awarded second place and Team C is awarded third place.)

12.C.4.b. First tie-breaker: head-to-head matches won among the tied teams.

12.C.4.c.Secondd. Third tie-breaker: point differential against only the tied teams. head-to-head point differential.

12.C.4.d.Third tie-breaker: point differential against next-highest player/team (e.g., if the players/teams are tied for first, use point differentials against the second-place team, if the players/teams are tied for second, use point differentials against the first-place team, if the players/teams are tied for third, use point differentials against the second-place team.)e. Fourth tie-breaker: point differential against next-highest player/team (e.g., if the players/teams are tied for second, use point differentials against the first-place team.)

12.C.4.e. Fourthc. Second tie-breaker: point differential of all games played. (e.g., Team A won Match 1 11-8, 11-4, so they would have a point differential of +10. Team A then wins the second match 11-9, 2-11, 11-6. For this round, they would have a point differential of -2. This would give them a total for the day of +8.)

Original Rule Text

12.C.4. Round Robin. All players/teams play each other. Games may use any of the approved tournament scoring options. (See Rule 12.B.) The winner is determined based on number of matches won. If two or more teams are tied, ties shall be broken in accordance with 12.C.4.a. through 12.C.4.e. Once a tie has been broken, any subsequent ties in the bracket shall be broken by going back to 12.C.4.a. and continuing through each successive tie-breaker until a winner is determined.

12.C.4.a. Players/Teams that have withdrawn from the bracket are not eligible to be considered when going to a tie-breaker. Any player/team that has withdrawn from the bracket shall only have their record of matches won considered. (e.g., Team A has 3 wins, Team B has 3 wins and Team C has 3 wins. However, Team C withdrew from their last match. Because Team C has withdrawn from a match in their bracket, only their 3 wins will be considered in their finishing placement and they will not be considered for any additional tiebreaker. Team A beat Team B in their heads-up match, therefore Team A is awarded first place, Team B is awarded second place and Team C is awarded third place.)

12.C.4.b. First tie-breaker: head-to-head matches won among the tied teams.

12.C.4.c. Second tie-breaker: point differential of all games played. (e.g., Team A won Match 1 11-8, 11-4, so they would have a point differential of +10. Team A then wins the second match 11-9, 2-11, 11-6. For this round, they would have a point differential of -2. This would give them a total for the day of +8.)

12.C.4.d. Third tie-breaker: head-to-head point differential.

12.C.4.e. Fourth tie-breaker: point differential against next-highest player/team (e.g., if the players/teams are tied for second, use point differentials against the first-place team.)

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

This change for breaking ties keeps the importance of overall wins, and then more consistently maintains the next level of priority: how each team did amongst the teams they are tied with, both in wins AND point differential.

The current second round-robin tie-breaker provision (point differential of all games played) has demonstrated some serious flaws over the past couple of years, especially:

1) when there are teams that withdraw from a bracket after having played some matches in their bracket, but not all of them; thereby depriving their opponents the opportunity to earn points against them to count towards the tie-breaker point differentials. When a team withdraws, the remaining team is credited with a win, but zero point differential.

2) when there are teams that forfeit matches in the bracket due to “no show” or (not arriving to their match on time) and have played some matches in their bracket, but not all of them; thereby “giving” their opponents the maximum number of points against them and the opponents receive points that were “unearned through skill during competitive play” but count positively towards tie-breaker point differentials. In a forfeit due to “no show,” the remaining team is credited with a win AND the maximum point differential. For example in a game of 15, the winner is credited a win AND the maximum positive point differential of 15. In a 2 out of 3 games to 11 match, the winner is credited with a win AND the maximum positive point differential of 22.

In both scenarios, no match was played but the impact on the remaining team’s point differential is drastically different.

Because both of these 2 types of non-skill based occurrences happen on a regular basis, point differential of all games played should be moved down the list of tie-breaker priority to create more “fairness” in determining bracket winners based on the skill displayed during competitive play.”

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

This change is especially impactful when a team withdraws or forfeits partway through a round-robin bracket.

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1761
Date CreatedMay 12, 2024
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