Making Defaults More Fair

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Our league matches cost $17 per player per match. If a team defaults a court, they owe the other team $34 if it's doubles and $17 if it's singles. Captains are encouraged to notify the opposing captains in advance if there will be a default so that players don't waste time driving across town.

    A few days ago, my 3.5 ladies team had a match against an undefeated opponent. The match was 9 pm on a weeknight. I had 8 players there ready to go.

    I exchanged line-ups with the opposing captain and my players took the court. Opposing captain said nothing about any of her players being late. I was supposed to play Doubles Court Three. I get out there, and there is only one opponent. I asked her if her partner was coming. She said she didn't know.

    We warm up and keep one eye on the clock. After a few minutes, I asked the opponent if she wanted to call the missing player, but she didn't. The opposing captain was on the next court warming up. She also declined my invitation to call the tardy player. Sure enough, no one ever came and we won by default.

    What's the problem? The problem is that I suspect this captain knew full well she only had seven players but didn't want to tell us that in advance for strategic reasons. I suspect this because captains who genuinely believe a player is late will be on the phone frantically trying to reach them, not shrugging off inquiries as to her whereabouts.

    What really burns me up is that my partner and I drove 1.5 hours round trip to play this match. Worse, we were shorthanded so my partner had to play this match on her 25th wedding anniversary, when she would obviously have preferred to spend it doing something else. I also had a singles player who hates weeknight matches because she is a nurse who has to get up at 5 in the morning, so getting home at 11:30 is a real hardship.

    I think our league needs to do something about these late, strategic defaults, but I'm not sure what. Maybe the league should double the penalty whenever a default occurs and there has been no notice at least one hour beforehand of the default. Maybe if it cost a captain $68, she would think twice about inconveniencing players in hopes of obtaining a strategic advantage.

    BTW, we won 3-2. Karma, maybe?
     
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  2. Austinthecity

    Austinthecity Rookie

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    This sounds like a pretty local problem. Try emailing your coordinator and maybe they can do something.

    We play on a local high school's courts, so no court fees here. In fact, I can't remember the last time I paid a court fee down in Georgia.
     
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  3. harleywilson

    harleywilson Rookie

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    I would think $34 would be enough. It would be for me, but, then again I'm mostly Scottish heritage. That sucks. Does you league suspend teams who have more than a certain number of defaults? Like you I don't see an obvious answer. I guess the other team was hoping you'd load your line 3 dubs and knew you wouldn't if you knew that they were going to default.
     
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  4. harleywilson

    harleywilson Rookie

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    We play out of neighborhoods so we don't have court fees either. There are teams that play out of public parks in the city of Atlanta. I'm guessing they pay fees
     
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  5. PinkTennisNinja

    PinkTennisNinja Rookie

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    What does the $17/person go to? We don't have to pay anything to play a match. The courts are public. And we are more or less "required" to inform the other team if your going to default AT LEAST 24 hours before and definitley before you exchange lineups.
     
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  6. luvn10is

    luvn10is New User

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    Hi, Cindy. I've been a member on the site for quite a while but for all intents and purposes I'm still new so forgive me for asking if this is a USTA match you're talking about. Not that it matters but I honestly don't see the strategic value in not telling you she was short a player. Rude, perhaps, but where does it give the other team an edge to withhold this info? The cards had been exchanged and people were on the court including the missing player's partner. It's not like they were waiting for you to put your people on the court so they could pull an okey-doke (and I once had another captain have all her players wait in their cars until all of my team showed up so she could see who I had before she did her lineup). From what you said you were the away team, right? It’s likely there were extenuating circumstances where the player wasn't sure whether she was going to make it in time and being that the courts are probably fairly close to where the player was coming from the captain sent everyone out hoping she'd show.

    It’s either something like that or the captain hates you and was just mucking with you. :)
     
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  7. luvn10is

    luvn10is New User

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    I wish I was so lucky. My teammates and I live in different parts of the city so we play USTA/ALTA out of one of the Atlanta tennis centers because it's neutral. Our team fees per match are $85. That averages out to about $20 per player per season.
     
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  8. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    According to USTA rules, you are supposed to default matches from the bottom up. If a team's line 2 doubles has to default, their line 3 doubles is supposed to move up and play the other team's line 2. But if they don't admit the default until the other two lines have begun playing, they avoid moving their lowest line up.
     
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  9. luvn10is

    luvn10is New User

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    Unless I misread Cindysphinx post the other team did forfeit from the bottom up. I don't see strategy. Either they were gaming Cindyshpinx or it was just bad luck on their part. Judging the outcome they really needed that point.
     
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  10. luvn10is

    luvn10is New User

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    I meant default not forfeit.
     
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  11. rleidle

    rleidle New User

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    The value is that if Cindy's team defaulted and called ahead the other captain would say nothing and would win that court instead of defaulting it herself.
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The strategic value in not advising of a default is that it deprives me of the opportunity to change my line-up. Simple as that.

    Had I known of the default, in this case I would have not used the two players for whom the match was a hardship. But if I had a super-strong player on Court Three, I could have moved that player to Court One or Two and increased our chances of winning that court.

    Nope, I'm not buying the idea that they were hoping she would show. That would have been all the more reason to engage in frantic phone calls, not less.

    And the $34 default fee goes to my team, to compensate the players who paid to play but won by default instead.
     
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  13. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    Well, I don't think you're owed advance notice so that you can try to get an even greater advantage by changing your lineup. That's not what the rule is for.

    Unless I trust the other captain, I'm not going to give advance notice anyway. How do I know the other captain isn't also short a person? I don't, and I'm a sucker if I give that away.
     
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  14. bodieq

    bodieq Rookie

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    Actually, I think the other captain's "strategy" was quite brilliant, although not very honorable.

    Yea, it's tough for the other players who had hardships. But that was a sacrifice they were originally willing to make. Would they have felt it was more "worth it" if they got to play the match and ended up losing? (Your team won 3-2. That's your reward).

    Yea, it sucks having to drive a long distance and not get to play. But stuff like that happens. I've played in tournaments in which I drove 3 hours (one-way) just to play one-round. My opponent was a no-show. Another time, my opponent got injured in the warm-up. So I drove 3 hours back home. Yea, it sucks, but stuff like that happens. I didn't complain about it, I just advanced to the next round. (Once again, your team won 3-2. That's your reward).
     
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  15. bodieq

    bodieq Rookie

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    EXACTLY. Well stated.
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    :shrug:

    Then we can have a rule that a default without 2 hours notice is a $50 fine per court defaulted. You can then "buy" the right to inconvenience others, if it is that important to you to gain an advantage in a meaningless recreational league.

    As for whether my players should be upset . . . we sign up to play tennis, not sit in traffic and then turn around and go home.
     
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  17. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    They weren't inconvenienced - they were disappointed. They signed up to play, and committed to being at that match. I don't know how you can claim that they were inconvenienced by the traffic and court fees in the course of fulfilling their obligation to your team, unless they feel all their matches are an inconvenience for those reasons. It is not less convenient to win by default. Technically, if anything, it's a more efficient use of their time. But it is disappointing.
     
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  18. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I think it's funny that you say the other captain is trying to gain an advantage, when I think what you wanted to do is much less sportsmanlike. And tactics like yours are one reason that in our local leagues, you have to show up to accept a forfeit or default.
     
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  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    What exactly did I want to do that offends you so very much?

    I already had my line-up. The changes I would have made were to give the two inconvenienced players the night off (even though this would have had me playing singles when I am not good at singles).

    Since the rule states that Court Three must be defaulted, I would never have my stronger players playing that court. No captain will gain any advantage against me by keeping a default a secret. The only result will they will waste the time of some innocent players.

    You know, at Districts there is a penalty for a late exchange of line-ups. $50, payable in cash on the spot. We can't have folks seeking a strategic advantage with their line-ups, so we have a penalty. It seems like we need the same penalty before Districts to keep some honest.
     
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  20. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I don't think the reason why you want to change your lineup is important. You wanted prior information about the other team's lineup so that you could change yours. You could just as easily have wanted to know so that you could dismiss your two weakest players.

    The other captain can't know what you're thinking. and she certainly can't assume that your lineup is in order of skill, because there is no such requirement. (I think the rule is something like "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a lineup in order of playing strength.")

    And you don't know that the other captain was being dishonest - you're assuming it. Perhaps she knew that one of her players could possibly be late, depending on circumstances. If X happened, she would be there on time, but if Y happened she wouldn't. There's nothing she needs to tell you, and no reason to call her player. She'll either get there or she won't.

    Did they not exchange their lineup on time? From your post, I was under the impression that they did. Again, I don't think the other team gained any advantage. They failed to give you an additional advantage beyond an easy win at that line.
     
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  21. 82300sd

    82300sd New User

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    I think the problem is that your matches start at 9pm on a weeknight. The captain has no obligation to let you know in advance that they are defaulting a line. I agree with cghipp.

    The extraneous stuff about driving 1.5 hours, anniversary, nurse that gets up early...sorry they were inconvenienced, but it doesn't buy any sympathy
     
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  22. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Why $17 per player per match? For renting the court? We paid around $30 for snack and drink for 14 matches.
     
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  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    We play matches indoors. $17 is what court time costs around here.
     
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  24. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I see. Where are you Cindy? You don't play outdoors in summer time?
     
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  25. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    We (DC metro) play indoors year round. The weather here is too unpredictable for outdoor league play.

    The other problem is the league is run by the county, and the county has two problems with trying to schedule things outdoors. First, there is no reservation system for the outdoor public courts, so you'd never be able to find 5 courts available for a league match. Second, there are only two county facilities and the rest are private clubs, so you have a capacity problem.

    There are some outdoor leagues in other DC metro areas (DC, Northern Virginia), but the scheduling for rain make-ups is quite a nightmare. It is one of the reasons I can't make myself captain in those areas -- you spend a huge amount of time trying to wrestle with the weather. Then you finally get a reschedule and it rains again. It took my poor DC captain almost a month to get five matches rescheduled from late May.

    So yeah, it costs $17 to play here. Then again, you know exactly when your match will begin and end, and the facilities are quite nice. Some even have A/C. No sun, no wind, no sunscreen, no rain delays, no puddles. Just play.
     
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  26. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

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    I'm nearby DC (closer to annap/baltimore) and I have to drop between $30 and $55 for an indoor court :-/ $17 is nothing to complain about.


    I like the idea of losing money for not showing up. That's fair. If you default the match, but notify the other team in advance, do you still get "fined?"

    Your situation sucks, only thing I disagree with you is about the captain calling her players. Her players are adults and are responsible for their own actions. There's no need for her to stress out over other players. I think the penalty is fine. Maybe you should contact the player yourself and talk to her if you're so angry about it.

    As far your conspiracy theory that this default was intentional, I don't see how a captain that wanted to win would intentionally default a match in an effort to win, that doesn't make sense. How would going into a match down 0-1 help her win, unless she was very confident that her team could win 3 of the remaining 4 matches.
     
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  27. ssgator80

    ssgator80 Rookie

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    Cindy - I'm with you on this. I dont play leagues - for reasons very similar to this - but if I'm traveling, I want to play tennis. I would be extremely pissed off, if I traveled a distance to find out that the other team doesnt have enough players. To think that they knew in advanced, is very dis-respectful. We all have very busy lives - common courtesy demands a call as soon as they know and I dont care about who is going to win the match. I think you are correct in thinking they knew or had an idea the player wasnt showing - or they would have been on the phone.
     
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  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    It's $17/player for 2 hours. A doubles court is $34, a singles court is $17. It includes balls. It's something of a blended rate -- the county facilities are only $14/hour in the summer, so collecting $68 for a doubles match is a little high. Whatever. I think the rate is fair, particular considering what other recreation like golf costs these days.

    As the rule stands right now, captains are "strongly encouraged" to notify opposing captains of defaults in advance. In all the matches I have played and captained, there have been only two cases where the captain clearly or probably knew of the default but didn't give advance notice. Already this season I have received advance notice of defaults twice, IIRC.

    So we are definitely talking about a minority of captains who lack consideration for the time of others.

    Our current rules state that the captains can agree to "waive" the penalty for a default. Normally, the defaulting team pays the costs of the other team ($34). The amount is transferred from the defaulting captain's deposit to the other captain's account.

    The trouble is there is no reason to waive the penalty and it makes no sense to do so. My doubles players paid $17 each to play tennis for two hours. If the opponent doesn't show, my players still paid. The penalty reimburses them. If I agree to waive the penalty, my players would be pretty cheesed off. And no way am I going to eat $34 of expense. So the waiver provision isn't practical, and the defaulting captains don't even raise the subject.

    The $50 penalty I am proposing would be something above the $34, and the captain could choose to waive it. In the case, I wouldn't waive it because I suspect something was rotten in Denmark.


    Here's another reason why I smell a rat.

    I was captaining a match once, and we knew in advance that one guy would be coming all the way across town after work. It was raining. We knew he would be cutting it close and might not make it. We didn't notify the other team in advance and default, because he was going to try to make it.

    Did we just exchange the line-up and say nothing? No, I told the opposing captain what the situation was and where my guy was (I called him on his cell, of course). This seemed to be the courteous thing to do. And of course I was hoping that my candor would perhaps encourage the opposing team to cut him a break if he came in a few minutes after the default time. (He did made it but incurred a tardiness penalty. He was so shaken that he and his partner lost the first set at love but won the match!).

    I don't think the default was intentional. I think the decision not to notify us in advance was intentional. I will keep this in mind when dealing with this captain in the future.
     
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  29. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    That's really the most important thing - to get a feel for who you're dealing with and act accordingly.

    After many years captaining in the same leagues, I know who I can call in advance and say, "Hey, I'm short a person - do you have enough, and if not, do you want to reschedule that last line?" With some I might say, "Go ahead and redo your order if you need to get someone qualified or if someone would rather leave." I rarely have to forfeit a line, but we don't typically have a huge number of matches in each league, and only one default counts as a match played. So if a team is habitually forfeiting lines, it can cause problems for the other teams when they're trying to get players qualified.

    In general, I think I am known as someone who is a very fair and honest opponent, and some people would say that I am too accommodating in some situations. I'm not usually in a hurry to take a default for tardiness, for example. In pretty much every situation, my players would rather settle things "on the field." On the other hand, some captains are just not trustworthy. If I admitted I was short a player, they would take a forfeit even if they were short two players. They would not reciprocate if I had a player running late, even if I had made allowances for them in a previous match. And for that they get no more than I am "legally" obligated to give them. (These captains are usually near the bottom of the league anyway, because good players don't want to put up with their BS any more than other captains do.)

    I should add that it's certainly easier to be more forthcoming when you have a very strong team, which I was lucky to have the last couple of spring seasons. I do laugh at some of the captains and players who won't even have a normal conversation, for fear they will give something away about their lineup - as if I care who they are playing. My lineup is what it is, either way.
     
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  30. markmdfw

    markmdfw Rookie

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    I agree there needs to be a penalty for defaults, cash and standings, I have arranged things and only got to play a number of times due to our large roster! I hate showing up and then not getting to compete due to my line being a default! I would like gas and paid since I plaid for a certain number of matches!

    I am not sure the USTA really cares what it costs a little 3.5 / 4.0 player though!

    Up to hearing you guys thoughts!

    Marcus
     
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  31. bodieq

    bodieq Rookie

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    I don't understand a word of what you're saying...
     
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  32. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    He's saying he doesn't appreciate having his time wasted, I think.
     
    #32
  33. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Very true. Our captain had to arrange five make-up matches over three different dates.
     
    #33
  34. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    You're area is fining teams $17 to $34. That's WAY more then most areas would do. (where you have no fine at all)

    Regardless of whatever drama you put out there, that's probably more then sufficient.....
     
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  35. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps Cindy means the idea that if you let the other team know you are defaulting ahead of time, you are giving them ample time to rearrange their lineup to their best advantage.

    For example if you had your 2nd best player at #2 Singles and you found out #2 Singles was getting defaulted you could stick that player elsewhere in the lineup.

    If you wait until lineup's are exchange in most leagues you would not be allowed to make that switch.

    Although that doesn't explain why they couldn't of at least let her know by the lineup change. Perhaps they just don't like her for some reason....

    Teams should not default period as far as Im concerned. Any advantage you lose by letting the other captain know early is deserved. (and if you cant even get 8 people to show up and you're too lazy to get extra players to make up for that, then why care about that advantage anyway?)
     
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  36. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yup, I'm sure that was it!! :)
     
    #36
  37. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    Am I the only one there who imagines Cindy in a military hat shouting ATTEN-HUT, FORWARD MARCH... with all of Cindy's soldiers carrying their rackets like rifles and walking to the courts, walking in place at their respective courts until the last soldier has reached her court?

    Anyone missing a beat has to do 10 push ups and gets a dedicated thread here.
     
    #37
  38. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Nah. Picture instead 8 middle-aged women, all of them jockeying for position to get to the ladies room just before match time.
     
    #38
  39. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    I'm surprised the local league supports fines against the other teams. That seems harsh...who pays it? I would assume the captain gets stuck with it. I wouldn't want to captain under those conditions.

    The only time I think there should be a fine is at states/sectionals/nationals. I traveled to states one time (90 miles), stayed in a hotel ($100), ate in restaurants ($30) and showed up for the 11AM Sunday match (3rd of group round robin) to be given a default @ #2 singles. I was mad. I wish it would have cost the other team $100 to forfeit the line to offset my expenses.

    Even with that experience, I still don't think you need to notify in advance in local league matches. As cghipp stated, it gives the opposition an opportunity to play a stronger lineup. It may not be great sportsmanship to default, but it is an unfortunate part of league tennis.
     
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  40. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Once again someone acts as if the playoff is more important then local league match.

    There definately ought to be a fine because:

    a) The Home team had to PAY for a court that is being un-used. You seem concerned about who pays for any outstanding cost, but HOW do you justify that the home team is getting screwed here??? (if the visitors defaulted)

    b) The visiting team has to drive across town in some places, wasting time and effort and gas to go to a match that wont even be played. (why should they spend there $$$ when it's the other team that screwed up???)

    c) One captain and team was responsible and made sure 8 people showed up. The other captain and team did not....

    Forfeits should not be tolerated, they hurt quality of the league. Especially since the whole purpose of the league was supposed to be to get as many people involved in tennis as possible, not to just give a few teams a plastic pen....

    If someone was to ever bail on me on my team at the last minute (without a VERY good reason) and caused us to default, they will simply never play for me again.

    Maybe they paid their registration and that's "not fair", but that's just too bad, they obviously didnt have any regard for wasting 1 or 3 other person's time.

    (or wasting my time if they expect that Im going to spend all day at work calling around to make sure we get a substitution)
     
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  41. BustedString

    BustedString Rookie

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    I do think they should analyze the forfeits issue. Last year in our 4.0M league we had a team with 8 players TOTAL registered and our leagues are 8 players per match (3D/2S). This team ended up defaulting about 28.3% of available courts including several double defaults where their remaining players were so limited in availability that the opponents just gave up on rain reschedules. I realize that technically teams should only be required to have the minimum number per match but the reality is that 8 players for a 5-court league is not enough and I had guys driving 25-30 miles knowing this dude was going to forfeit and he waited until all of us showed up to figure out if it was going to be singles, doubles or what combination of both based upon strategic reasons. It was very frustrating! I'm so glad to be in a different flight from that team this year. I complained this year and now that team has 11 players rostered which is much better.

    http://tennislink.usta.com/leagues/...38908B2E11416EEA0928BF7E0D9C8392D1&CYear=2009
     
    #41

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