Rule Submission TitleChange Penalization Process - Technical Foul/Verbal Warnings
Existing Rule #13G-13M
Proposed Rule Change

13G. Verbal Warnings and Technical Fouls.

13.G.1. Verbal Warning. The referee is empowered to issue a verbal warning for behavior or conduct that is a detrimental to the sportsmanship and fair play to the game of pickleball. Examples, not all inclusive, are listed in 13.G.1.a -13.G.1.j. The issuance of a verbal warning does not preclude said referee to issue a technical foul immediately if the behavior presented is judged by the referee to be obvious and defiant to the expected behavior of the pickleball player.

13.G.1.a. Usage of offensive, abusive, vitriolic language or visual display by a player. (i.e. ethnic, religious, racial, sexist, homophobic slurs) Regardless of to whom or what it is directed. Visual display including equipment, clothing and tattoos worn or utilized by the player.

13.G.1.b. Use of audibly loud intentional profanity. Visible actions interpreted as profanity.

13.G.1.c. Arguing aggressively with the officiating team, other players or spectators in a way that disrupts the flow of play.

13.G.1.d. Continually challenging the referee’s interpretation of a rule such that the flow of play is disrupted.

13.G.1.e. Taking time between rallies in a way that unnecessarily disrupts the flow of play.

13.G.1.f. Repeatedly appealing line calls and questionable “out” calls such that the flow of play is  continually disrupted.

13.G.1.g. Except during time-outs and in-between games, receiving coaching from anyone other than a partner.

13.G.1.h. Losing control of a paddle in frustration with disregard of the results. (i.e. throwing the paddle, banging paddle against an object)

13.G.1.i. Ball abuse. Purposely breaking the ball. Purposely striking or throwing the ball in a manner that ball has to be retrieved from areas outside the normal play between rallies.

13.G.1.j. One verbal warning administered per individual/team per match. A second verbal warning of any type against the same individual/team will resort in a technical foul.

1G.2. Technical Fouls. The referee is empowered to call technical fouls at any time during the match. Examples, not all inclusive, are listed in 13.G.2.a – 13.G.2.j. When a technical foul is issued, one point shall be added to the player’s opponent’s score. The addition of this one point is irregardless of where the score is in a match and the final results. An issuance of a second technical foul on the same team receiving the first technical foul is an automatic match forfeit. Actions or behavior that shall result in a technical foul:

13.G.2.a. Usage of offensive, abusive, vitriolic language or visual display by a player. (i.e. ethnic, religious, racial, sexist, homophobic slurs) Regardless of to whom or what it is directed. Visual display including equipment, clothing and tattoos worn or utilized by the player.

13.G.1.b. Use of audibly loud intentional profanity. Visible actions interpreted as profanity.

13.G.2.c. Making a threat or challenges of any nature toward or against any person.

13.G.2.d. Challenging the referee’s interpretation of a rule and losing the challenge.

13.G.2.e. Continually taking unnecessary time between rallies disrupting the flow of play.

13G.2.f. Continually appealing line and “out” calls disrupting the flow of play.

13.G.2.g. Except during time-outs and in-between games, receiving coaching from anyone other than a partner.

13.G.2.h. Actions that are considered extreme unsportsmanlike behavior.

13.G.2.i. Aggressively or recklessly throwing a paddle in frustration or anger, with negligent disregard of the consequences.

13.G.2.j. Deliberately breaking, throwing or hitting a ball that is not in play with negligent disregard of the consequences.

 

13.G.3. Effect of Technical Fouls and Verbal Warnings. The assessment of a technical foul or verbal warning by the referee shall be accompanied by a brief explanation of the offense and the penalty issued if a technical foul.

13.G.3.a. If a referee issues a technical foul, one point shall be added to the player’s opponent’s score. The addition of this one point is irregardless of where the score is in a match and the final results.  An issuance of a second technical foul on the same team receiving the first technical foul is an automatic match forfeit

13.G.3.b. After assessing a verbal warning or a technical foul, the referee will call a 15-second warning for the players to become ready. At the end of 15 seconds, the referee will announce the score to begin the 10-second count even if the server and receiver are not on the court or not ready to play. (See Rule 4.E.)

13.G.3.c. A called technical foul players will be responsible for correct positioning once the match resumes by the referee calling of the new score

13.G.3.d. Verbal warnings and technical fouls may be assessed any time during a match while the players are on the court.

13.G.3.e. If player/team is called for a technical foul after the match has been completed but before leaving the court venue: that player/team will be evaluated by the tournament director for continued play in the tournament.

13.H. Game Forfeit.

13.H.1. For match formats either 1 to 15 or 1 to 21, a game forfeit is equivalent to a match forfeit.

13.H.2. If the match is a two-out-of-three game format, a referee may impose a game forfeit when a player fails to report to play 10 minutes after the match has been called to play. The Tournament Director may permit a longer delay if circumstances warrant such a decision.

13.I. Match Forfeit.

13.I.1. The referee will impose a match forfeit when two technical fouls have been issued to the same team during the match.

13.I.2. A match forfeit will be imposed when a player fails to report to play 15 minutes after the match has been called to play. If the match is a 1 to 15 or 1 to 21 format game, the match forfeit occurs when the player fails to report to play 10 minutes after the match has been called to play. The Tournament Director may permit a longer delay if circumstances warrant such a decision.

13.I.3. The Tournament Director may impose a match forfeit for failure to comply with the tournament or host facility’s rules while on the premises, or for improper conduct on the premises between matches, or for abuse of hospitality, locker room, or other rules and procedures.

 

 

13.J. Rules Interpretations.

 If a player disagrees with a referee’s ruling or decision, that player may challenge the referee’s decision by asking for the Head Referee, Tournament Director, or the Tournament Director’s designee. If the referee’s ruling is determined to be correct, the player or team will be issued at technical foul. If the referee’s ruling is incorrect, the ruling will be reversed and, if applicable, the rally will be replayed.

 

13.K. Removal of Officials .

13.K.1. Removal of a Line Judge The referee may remove a line judge for any reasonable cause, based on either the referee's own observation or that of the players. If the referee decides to replace a line judge based on their own observation, the referee's decision is final. The players may also petition the referee to remove a line judge, providing all players agree. If the referee does not agree, the referee must consult with the Tournament Director for a final decision. If a line judge is removed, the Tournament Director will appoint a replacement.

13.K.2. Removal of a Referee. If all players agree, they may petition the Tournament Director for a referee removal. The Tournament Director retains the final discretionary authority on the removal of a Referee. If a Referee is removed, the Tournament Director will appoint a replacement.

 

 

13.L. Non-Officiated Play. Any player may request a referee or Tournament Director if:

13.L.1. The player reasonably believes that a rule is being consistently and deliberately violated by their opponent.

13.L.2. A situation arises where players are not able to quickly and easily resolve a dispute.

 

13.M. Tournament Director Responsibilities. The Tournament Director may eject or expel a player from the tournament play and venue for flagrant and particularly injurious behavior that, in the opinion of the Tournament Director, impacts the success of the tournament.

13.M.1. An ejection/expel can occur due to actions any time the player is at the tournament venue and may include, but is not limited to:

13.M.1.a. Using ethnic, religious, racial, sexist, or homophobic slurs.

13.M.1.b. Injury to a player, official, or spectator through an act of paddle or   ball abuse.

13.M.1.c. Spitting or coughing on a person.

13.M.1.d. Not exhibiting ‘best effort’. This includes but is not limited to, defaulting, forfeiting, or not giving best efforts in matches, whether for their own benefit or otherwise.

13.M.2. The ejection of a player will result in a specific time period the player will not be permitted to compete in the tournament. The expelling of a player will result in any form of participation by the player at the tournament venue during the timeframe of the tournament.

The outlining in the proposed rule change is not accurate. When I pasted the Word document into this form it did not appear completely correct. I have uploaded the Word document in the supporting documentation.

 

 

Original Rule Text

Rules 13G-13M Text in the current rulebook. When I paste the document the outlining does not process correctly.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

The recent rule changes and standing rules in my opinion has made the penalization part of scoring to intense and procedure oriented without any added benefit but adding more confusion. Some of these change scenarios have occurred because of very rare occurrences.

Before I lay out my proposal I will present an example: the recent rule change of deducting a point for a technical foul. The logic behind the change being the desire to not have the match end in a technical foul. How often is this really going to occur? The match can end on a service fault, kitchen/net fault, and yes a technical foul the way the rule is established now. [Score is 11/10 and the team with ten is issued a technical foul]. Then the complication of the offending team having no score when a technical foul is issued against them and you are having to add a point to the other non-technical foul team’s score.

A referee reconstructing a point scenario with the score being erased on the score sheet and then written over once the team becomes much more challenging. Do we really want to be erasing the score sheet? What are the probabilities of this occurring in refereed match? (U.S. Open over five thousand matches one technical warning issued for throwing a paddle.) Among the certified referees questioned at the U.S. Open over 12,000 matches of experience only five technical fouls issued and 74 technical warnings. That is a technical foul at the percentage of 0.00042% and a technical warning at 0.006% probability of a refereed pickleball match.

 

My goal is to simplify the penalty phase of pickleball for the referee with the desired change of behavior of the offending players. When determining if either a technical warning or technical foul is going to be administered many of the violations are listed with subjective interpretations. [i.e. aggressively, recklessly, extremely objectionable, challenging, extreme unsportsmanlike, deliberately, inadvertently].

To start, my proposal is to eliminate technical warnings completely. Give the referee the ability to give a verbal warning or issue a technical foul on the listed rules without having to keep track and mark any warnings. The warnings can be eliminated and still get the desired results of change in behavior by discipline.  I do not want a referee purposely erasing any scoring on the score sheet for the issuance of a technical foul.

 

Let us start with the verbal warning. Different referees handle the issuance of a verbal warning differently. I believe this should be standardized. If the referee determines that he/she desires to issue a verbal warning the following should be the procedure by referee.

  • Referee calls time out and summons all the players to the net simultaneously
  • Referee addresses all the players simultaneously with the referee’s explanation of the warning in a non-accusatory manner directed at the one team/player concerning the unsportsmanlike conduct developing.
  • Referee enforces that any future unsportsmanlike conduct necessitating a warning will result in a technical foul.
  • Referee will inform players this verbal warning does not exclude the referee from immediately issuing a technical foul for any unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Referee sends the players back to their respective sides without in depth discussion or debate.
  • Referee notes on the back of the score sheet. [V.W. game #-score-current server last name (first initial if necessary)-brief note with warning discussed (i.e. language)]

 

A suggestive list of verbal warnings, but not all inclusive, is provided in my revision for the rule book. This list would be similar to 13.G.1.a-j. One verbal warning administered, per team/player per match. If another warning is necessary to the same team/player a technical foul will be assessed.

 

A technical foul issued by a referee would be administered in the same manner as the verbal warning explanation. Additionally the penalty of the opposing team receiving one point will be highlighted and a second technical foul issued to the same player/team will result in a match forfeit.

 

Paperwork for the ref before restarting would entail adding onto the score point box of the opposing team in additional point marked with a “TD”. Referee notes on back of the score sheet [T.F. game #-score-offending person(s)- brief note of foul]. No erasing of point and resultant markings. Restart of game would be with new correct score and players being responsible for positions on court.

 

A suggestive list of technical fouls, but not all inclusive would be provided in my revision for the rule book. The list would be similar to 13.G.2a - j. A technical foul issued results in an additional point added to the opposing team’s score regardless of the consequence. A second technical foul called results in the immediate forfeit of the match by that player/team.

If player/team is called for a technical foul after the match has been completed but before leaving the court venue: that player/team will be evaluated by the tournament director for continued play in the tournament.

 

This is a brief summary of changes I made to the following rules:

 

Rule 13.G Verbal Warnings, Technical Warnings and Technical Fouls is substantially rewritten eliminating warnings. Reading the rule language will reveal the process and intention.

 

Rule 13.H Game Forfeit the wording is clarified and outlined appropriately.

 

Rule 13.I Match Forfeit the wording is clarified and outlined appropriately.

 

Rule 13.J Rule Interpretations change from warning to technical foul. The result of this is a team incorrectly challenging a referee’s ruling will be penalized a point. No discussion about time out’s or warnings.

 

Rule 13.K Removal of a Line Judge relabeled “Removal of Officials”. Outlined K1 Removal of a Line Judge, K2 Removal of a Referee. No change in language.

 

Rule 13.L Non-Officiated Play included without any changes for transition.

 

Rule 13.M Tournament Director Responsibilities outlined appropriately with intact wording. Eliminated noted at bottom and included and defined eject and expel.

Even if it is judged that technical warnings will remain and the difficult process and language on subtracting a point or adding a point for a technical foul remains: the clarification of the language and appropriate outlining should be considered for change.

The outlining in the proposed rule change is not accurate. When I pasted the Word document into this form it did not appear completely correct. I have uploaded the Word document in the supporting documentation.

 

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Anytime the referee institutes a technical foul or verbal warning.

The tournament director, head referee has to render a judgment for a ruling during play or an action by a player.

Definitions of what constitutes the calling of a verbal warning or technical foul.

The process of issuing a technical foul point.

Score sheet markings procedure for the referee regarding a technical foul and verbal warning.

The elimination of technical warnings.

The elimination of a penalty for calling a medical timeout.

The penalization of questioning rule interpretations. No timeouts or technical warnings discussed.

Upload Any Supporting Documentation210707-Verbal-Warning-Technical-Foul-Change.doc
Rule Book Year2023
Rule Change ID224
Date CreatedJuly 7, 2021
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