Rule Submission TitleThe Game
USAP Board Vote ReasonFailed
USAP Rules Committee Vote ReasonFailed. Not needed because the referee duties are clearly defined in 13.C.
Existing Rule #Section 1
Proposed Rule Change

Add (new) sub-section for The Referee  after "The Players" section and before the "Unique Features" section

The Referee

In officiated play, the Referee is the official charged with the responsibility and authority to conduct the match, directing all match and game procedures and enforcing the rules. The Referee is empowered to make decisions to address situations not expressly covered by the rulebook.  Referee authority spans from the time the official enters the court until the time the official leaves the court.

Original Rule Text


Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

"Section 1 - The Game" is an excellent brief overview, but does not mention anything about the referee, who plays a key role in officiated play.  The rulebook is of particular interest to those partaking in officiated play.  Hence, it seems logical to include a sub-section about the referee, just as there is a sub-section about the players.  This suggested rule addition to the very first section of the rulebook would clearly and prominently describe the role and authority of the referee in officiated play.

As is the case in other sports, referee authority should be in effect at all times that the referee is on the field of play, which in this case is the court.  This seems logical.  The referee is in charge before the game begins and conducts a player pre-game briefing.  Likewise, the referee should continue to be in charge after the game has ended, while still on the court and while players may still interact with each other as they gather their belongings post-game.  While the match may have ended, the referee should still be empowered to address any post-game situations.

It should be clear to all, in particular to the players, that the referee has the discretion to use personal judgement to address any situation not expressly covered by the rulebook.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Making the referee role and authority very clear to all players could help avoid situations where players challenge a referee directive, such as "no ref, I don't have to give you the ball; that's not a rule".   Players should never think that there is any type of loophole in the rulebook that they may use to not comply with referee directives.  Of course, all referee directives should be reasonable, per the rulebook and the spirit of the game.

Extending the referee authority after the match has ended, but while still on the court, could help avoid unruly behavior after a game.

Rule Book Year2023
Rule Change ID572
Date CreatedJune 30, 2022
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