LIST OF SUGGESTED PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR PREVIOUS YEARS

Rule Change Process

Rule Submission TitleIncorrect player or position
USAP Board VoteFailure Confirmed
USAP Rules Committee VoteFailed
USAP Rules Committee Vote ReasonThe change could have the effect of restricting one team's rights due to a signature from the other team. We do not want to compensate for that problem by requiring both teams to sign the scoresheet, which would impact every match in a tournament to solve a very infrequent occurrence. The current timing has not caused significant issues.
Existing Rule #4.B.10
Proposed Rule Change

4.B.10. Incorrect Player or Position. When an incorrect server or player position is discovered after a rally or game, or match has ended, the offending team can be faulted until the next serve occurs or prior to the scoresheet being returned to the tournament operation’s desk. However, at the end of a match-ending game, the offending team can be faulted until the winning team has initialed the scoresheet. A point scored during the rally by the offending team will not count. Any previous points scored by the incorrect server or with players in the incorrect positions will stand.After a match is completed, an incorrect player or position error may not be corrected after the scoresheet has been returned to tournament operations personnel.

Original Rule Text

4.B.10. Incorrect Player or Position. When an incorrect server or player position is discovered after a rally, game, or match has ended, the offending team can be faulted until the next serve occurs or prior to the scoresheet being returned to the tournament operation’s desk. A point scored during the rally by the offending team will not count. Any previous points scored by the incorrect server or with players in the incorrect positions will stand.
After a match is completed, an incorrect player or position error may not be corrected after the scoresheet has been returned to tournament operations personnel.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

The existing rule allows an inordinate amount of time for the discovery of an incorrect player or position. During a match, the most time the players and referee would have to identify such a fault would be two minutes, the time allowed between games. The current rule allows for much more time because it includes the time it takes for the scoresheet to be returned to the tournament desk. At some venues, this could be in excess of 4-5 minutes. Furthermore, should such a fault be discovered after several minutes, it means the referee, and possibly the tournament desk personnel, would have to track down all the players to return to the court to resume play. Thus the total elapsed time before play resumes could be much longer. This would be not only an inconvenience to players and referee but also a gross interruption of the flow of play, something that the Officiating Handbook stresses. (10.C. Continuous Play. Play should be continuous, although players are permitted to quickly take a drink or towel off in between rallies as long as, in the judgment of the referee, the flow of the game is not adversely impacted. The referee shall call the score when play should be resumed.)
A losing team does not need to be given an extended period of time to decide whether or not they think an opponent was either incorrectly positioned or was the incorrect server. They are most likely to be suspicious of this possibility almost immediately and can speak with the referee as the referee is completing the marking of the scoresheet. This is a reasonable amount of time to decide whether or not they want to make an appeal. Furthermore, it means the winning team is still present for the discussion and resolution of the issue.

Also, the last sentence of the current rule is redundant and can be deleted.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Team A scores the match-winning point and celebrates with one another and their fans while the referee is completing the appropriate scoresheet markings. They then go to the referee and initial the scoresheet. Meanwhile, Team B players converse with one another and decide that Team A's server for the final rally was the incorrect server. They appeal to the referee. Upon review of the scoresheet, the referee either:
agrees and orders the last point to be discounted, in which case play resumes with either a second server or side out, depending upon the circumstances when the fault occurred. OR
disagrees, declares the match ended, and acquires the initials of Team A.

Rule Book Year2024
Rule Change ID1035
Date CreatedApril 11, 2023
View Comments View Comments