Rule Submission TitleGuidance for line calls.
USAP Board Voting StatusNot voted upon
USAP Rules Committee Voting StatusFail
IFP Voting StatusAverage: 1.3 Detail:1,0,0,0,8,0,0
Existing Rule #6.D.7
Proposed Rule Change

6.D.7. Players shall not call a ball “out” unless they can
clearly see that there is a space between the line and the ball as
it hits the ground.

Original Rule Text

6.D.7. Players shall not call a ball “out” unless they can
clearly see a space between the line and the ball as
it hits the ground.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change
Here is what I don't like about 6D7
Attached are pictures I took recreating a situation we had.  Picture 1 is about where the player saw the ball from, and he called it out.  A reader of the rules commented that the ball should not have been called out by the player.  the player's partner did not see the shot land, he had missed it, and so made no call.
On reviewing  6D7, which not a single other club member knew of except one bookworm,  the consensus was that only applied on close shots when the viewable angle was from the other direction, so that a space could in fact be viewed on a ball that was not touching the line.  And that this rule did not apply when the angle was as per this case, picture 1.  The rules do not say that though.
Asking 2 other organizations that have players that compete competitivley, their response was, incredulously, that the ball could not be called out here, since a player can not see a space, and thus the player has "NO WAY" of knowing whether the ball is in our out.
Really???  I thought I'd test that theory out.  So at our next club meeting I set the ball up as per the photo.  All 12 recreational players present said the ball was clearly NOT touching the line.  All 12 were in fact correct, as per picture number 2, taken with the ball in the same spot, but from a different angle.  In fact, I had a tape measure with me, and the ball was between 2 3/8 and 2 1/2 inches off the line.  sorry, didn't take a picture of that.
So much for players having "NO WAY" of knowing whether the ball was in or out.  Bob, the diameter of the ball is about 3 inches, so the ball was off the line by nearly a full ball diameter, so one can easily tell in this case that the ball was not touching the line.  At least, all of us recreational players could tell.
Of note, tennis has the added difficulty that the ball compresses, depending on speed and ball pressure, so the changeable footprint must be considered.  Yet no such rule needs to be imposed on tennis players.
So maybe I should ask you, Bob, may the player call this "OUT".  I'm not talking a close shot here, where sharp eyes and careful observation is required, and always call in, if unsure.  I talking a slow enough ball, and far enough away from the line (2 3/8 to 2 1/2 inches) like shown in pictures 1 and 2.
If the rule is to stand as written, then Rule 6D7 should include 2 pictures very similar to these, so that players can understand that the rule includes the viewing angle where it is obvious the ball is not contacting the line.  And an explanation that despite this, the player is not permitted to call the ball out
If that would prove to be too controversial for the committee, perhaps 3 simple words would suffice, I have put them in capital letters below in the rule
Players shall not call a ball "out" unless they can clearly see THAT THERE IS a space between the line and the ball as it hits the ground
This way, a ball that is obviously not touching the line, can be called OUT by the player.
I write this because without a rule modification, the rules require players to keep playing when they know ball did not touch the line.  Clearly, we would all like to avoid that!!!  Again, I'm not refering to a situation close to the line, or a fast moving ball difficult to view.  I'm referring to a situation just like in the 2 pictures.
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Rule Book Year2022
Rule Change ID34
Date CreatedMay 30, 2021
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