easiest way(s) to fix the sandbagging issue at regional/state/national levels

Matt H.

Professional
1. allow a team to only have 1 self-rated player on their roster for the tournament. Let the team captain decide who gets the nod for the playoffs.



2. increase the match requirement for self-rated players. Currently i believe you just have to play 2 matches to be able to participate in playoffs. Up it to 3 or 4 for self-rated players.


i believe that eliminates a majority of the cheating.
 

OrangePower

Legend
1. allow a team to only have 1 self-rated player on their roster for the tournament. Let the team captain decide who gets the nod for the playoffs.



2. increase the match requirement for self-rated players. Currently i believe you just have to play 2 matches to be able to participate in playoffs. Up it to 3 or 4 for self-rated players.


i believe that eliminates a majority of the cheating.
Even easier than the changes you suggest: Don't allow self-rated players to play in playoffs.

The common argument against this is that it discourages new players from joining, because they know that they can't play in playoffs the first year. But: only 17% of all players get to participate in playoffs anyway (statistic for NorCal 4.5 adult men's - your results may vary). So that is a false argument. And we're only talking about this first year (after that the player will have a computer rating).

I think this rule will discourage the sandbaggers who are brought onto a team with the sole purpose of helping that team win in playoffs. Most self-rated players are not sandbaggers and are just looking to play and improve like the rest of us, and they would understand the need for such a rule.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
^ I like this idea very much. It should also apply to people with a [edit: appealed] rating.
 
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catfish

Professional
1. allow a team to only have 1 self-rated player on their roster for the tournament. Let the team captain decide who gets the nod for the playoffs.



2. increase the match requirement for self-rated players. Currently i believe you just have to play 2 matches to be able to participate in playoffs. Up it to 3 or 4 for self-rated players.


i believe that eliminates a majority of the cheating.
Your idea may help eliminate cheating in established leagues. But think about new leagues that start in areas that don't have any USTA leagues. New leagues will have huge numbers of self-rated players. Also, beginning levels in established leagues (2.5 for women, 2.5 and/or 3.0 for men) tend to have teams with large numbers of self-rated players. So lets say a new team of 2.5 women has 8 self-rated players. If they win the league, they won't be able to advance to championships? That won't go over well.
 

Darkhors

Rookie
1. allow a team to only have 1 self-rated player on their roster for the tournament. Let the team captain decide who gets the nod for the playoffs.



2. increase the match requirement for self-rated players. Currently i believe you just have to play 2 matches to be able to participate in playoffs. Up it to 3 or 4 for self-rated players.


i believe that eliminates a majority of the cheating.
Now that the USTA has put more "eyes" on the Self rated player, this problem should resolve itself and here's why... Let's say that the S player only plays the 2 required matches during the regular season, once they get to the playoffs, if this player is truly a sandbagger they will need him/her to play in each of the matches going through districts, states and regionals. Usually by the time the team gets to states (sometimes regionals) the S player will already have been DQ'd due to dynamic ratings taking full effect.

I was a self rated player my first year on a 4.0 team and we went to playoffs so I don't think it's fair to say that you can't go if you're a self rated first year player.

On a side note, I played 8 out of the 10 regular season matches as well as 3 during districts, states and regionals and never got DQ'd (I also had a winning record).

I did get bumped up to 4.5 the next year as a B and now am there again with a C rating.

DH
 

Maui19

Hall of Fame
Why not combine the restriction on self-rated players with a more frequent rating update for self-raters? IOW, Why wait a year. Why not update self-rateds every 3 mos or 6 mos and continue to do so until they "catch up" with the regular NTRA rating cycle. Once a self-rated player is bumped up, they can no longer play in leagues at their lower rating, effective immediately.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Even easier than the changes you suggest: Don't allow self-rated players to play in playoffs.

The common argument against this is that it discourages new players from joining, because they know that they can't play in playoffs the first year. But: only 17% of all players get to participate in playoffs anyway (statistic for NorCal 4.5 adult men's - your results may vary). So that is a false argument. And we're only talking about this first year (after that the player will have a computer rating).

I think this rule will discourage the sandbaggers who are brought onto a team with the sole purpose of helping that team win in playoffs. Most self-rated players are not sandbaggers and are just looking to play and improve like the rest of us, and they would understand the need for such a rule.
It would be interesting to compare that 17% number to the percentage of new self-rated players that make it to playoffs. My guess would be the the self-rated % is significantly higher.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
Even easier than the changes you suggest: Don't allow self-rated players to play in playoffs.

The common argument against this is that it discourages new players from joining, because they know that they can't play in playoffs the first year. But: only 17% of all players get to participate in playoffs anyway (statistic for NorCal 4.5 adult men's - your results may vary). So that is a false argument. And we're only talking about this first year (after that the player will have a computer rating).

I think this rule will discourage the sandbaggers who are brought onto a team with the sole purpose of helping that team win in playoffs. Most self-rated players are not sandbaggers and are just looking to play and improve like the rest of us, and they would understand the need for such a rule.
By your own logic that 17% is somehow small and not all players go to the playoffs anyhow....

Results in that you cant assume that all self rated players are there to make the playoffs either.

The whole argument for banning self rated players is based on two very BIG assumptions:

1) Most if not all Self rated players are evil and they all only underrate to make it to a trip to the playoffs.

2) If they cant play in the playoffs they will rate at the proper level.

Not all self rated players are cheaters. Maybe most cheaters happen to be self rated players these days but hopefully you can see the difference in the logic.
 

OrangePower

Legend
Only 17% of all players get to participate in playoffs anyway (statistic for NorCal 4.5 adult men's - your results may vary
It would be interesting to compare that 17% number to the percentage of new self-rated players that make it to playoffs. My guess would be the the self-rated % is significantly higher.
I did a quick unscientific eyeballing of Norcal 4.5 data and the number of self-raters playing in playoffs is surprisingly low.

My guess would be that self-rating sandbaggers are more common at 3.5 and 4.0 - or are at least more successful at reaching playoffs at those levels :)
 

OrangePower

Legend
By your own logic that 17% is somehow small and not all players go to the playoffs anyhow....

Results in that you cant assume that all self rated players are there to make the playoffs either.
I don't assume that all self rated players are there to make the playoffs. In fact I think I specifically mentioned in my post that most self raters are just regular folks looking to play tennis, have fun, and improve, just like the rest of us.

The whole argument for banning self rated players is based on two very BIG assumptions:

1) Most if not all Self rated players are evil and they all only underrate to make it to a trip to the playoffs.
Not at all. Most self raters are above board as we both agree. Asking them to sit out their first year of playoffs (assuming their team makes it to playoffs) is just not a huge sacrifice. Most people play for the enjoyment of the regular season, not for the off-chance of making the playoffs.

2) If they cant play in the playoffs they will rate at the proper level.
If they can't play in playoffs, it removes the incentive to rate at an improper level. Obviously, there will still be some (but far less) self rated players that rate too low. But it will because of misjudgment of their skill level, rather than out of a desire to game the system.

And then, the impact to the rest of the league of the improper rating is mitigated, since they cannot participate in playoffs.

Not all self rated players are cheaters. Maybe most cheaters happen to be self rated players these days but hopefully you can see the difference in the logic.
Of course. I agree with the above. But none of what you are saying is inconsistent with my suggestion.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
Not at all. Most self raters are above board as we both agree. Asking them to sit out their first year of playoffs (assuming their team makes it to playoffs) is just not a huge sacrifice. Most people play for the enjoyment of the regular season, not for the off-chance of making the playoffs.
You can preference your comments with whatever random thoughts you want, but the action of banning all self rated players does suggest that they all cheat. (why else do you punish a specific large group of people just for the sins of a few??)

I agree with you totally that most players play for the regular season not the playoffs.

But it is a league, if things were fair (ultimately if your goal of all of this came to light), several teams have a shot at going to the playoffs. It's not fair to punish all self rated players by not allowing them to go just to keep out the few that tend to cheat. It's also not fair to those teams who may have trouble fielding a full team for the playoffs.

And the playoffs are not all that important. You dont win any prize money and you have to pay your own way everywhere. But some people still cheat.

They would probably still cheat even if there was no playoffs. I am in a Renegade league where if you win first everyone gets a hat, and there are still people that play too low, with captains who want to win by recruiting out of level. Some people are just "in it to win it"....
 

Ennismt

Rookie
Some sections, like mine, only have the playoffs and don't have a regular season. So, not allowing playing in the playoffs is counter to encouraging participation.

While most self-raters are not cheaters, the ones that are have a big impact on the outcome of the playoff. My point is that looking at the percentages of self-raters is not reflective of their impact.

My suggestion is that self-raters play matches that mean something to a team (league regular season matches) and/or themselves (tournaments) in enough quantity that it would allow proper rating before the playoffs. We had a guy win quality 4.5 USTA tournaments then play 4.0 USTA league. Everyone had evidence this was wrong.
 

Darkhors

Rookie
Why not combine the restriction on self-rated players with a more frequent rating update for self-raters? IOW, Why wait a year. Why not update self-rateds every 3 mos or 6 mos and continue to do so until they "catch up" with the regular NTRA rating cycle. Once a self-rated player is bumped up, they can no longer play in leagues at their lower rating, effective immediately.
This is already in place. The "rating" that you have for the year is just a starting point. Your Dynamic rating is what ultimately is calculated on a match by match comparison. This is why the self raters are getting DQ'd throughout the reg. season. Once that happens, the team loses any matches that the DQ'd player won in as well as having them now have to find a higher rated team to play on for the rest of the season (if it happens during reg. season and not playoffs).

The self rated players are under more scrutiny then ever before. This will help straighten it out. There were plenty of S rated players this past season that got DQ'd before the halfway point of the season and were forced to play up, so it's not like the system isn't working. It will however take a little time to get everything into a "normal" range.

You'll never completely stop sandbagging, there are just people out there that don't care that they're cheating to win. This however, is a good start to help reduce it.

DH
 

hannibal

New User
Self rating is not the only problem

Around here the occasional self rated player is a problem, but the biggest problem is the computer rated players sandbagging. They get together and form a killer team that nobody here can compete with. They then shave scores and when the league is in hand, they can throw some matches. Some of this may not be blatant cheating but serves the same purpose. For example, a doubles player can play singles and not throw the match but the ratings come down all the same. When players know they can easily win, they sometimes let up and don't win as big as they should. This also lowers their rating. Many of the players also play in other leagues or in other cities where the goal is not to win but to play for fun (sandbag). This is why we have teams that have won state and made a run at sectionals and can still manage to keep their core together. Yes they occasionally lose a player or two for a season until they sandbag and come back down.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
Some sections, like mine, only have the playoffs and don't have a regular season. So, not allowing playing in the playoffs is counter to encouraging participation.

While most self-raters are not cheaters, the ones that are have a big impact on the outcome of the playoff. My point is that looking at the percentages of self-raters is not reflective of their impact.

My suggestion is that self-raters play matches that mean something to a team (league regular season matches) and/or themselves (tournaments) in enough quantity that it would allow proper rating before the playoffs. We had a guy win quality 4.5 USTA tournaments then play 4.0 USTA league. Everyone had evidence this was wrong.
Yes but the playoffs are not ALL that important compared to areas that have a regular season. So it's debatable that they are impacting the game anymore then in the regular season except that the league improperly puts too much weight on the playoffs for the year end ratings.

You are not quite on TV yet or anything, and you cant even say you're the best in your own little neck of the woods. The playoffs are just a fun goal to have as a team and for the league to show off. Whether you are in them or not just means you happen to be near the top of some small segment of players.

You could very well be a BETTER player and end up in the middle of the road in the next highest division and NEVER make the playoffs, but you're still a better player and a better team.

The fact that players bend over backwards to do this just to make the playoffs (which again, you do not win prize money and you have to pay your own way everywhere), isnt really much more understandable then the weirdos who do it to win a hat or a pen or whatever else they might gain
in some other league or tournament.

And tournaments have been going on for years and ever since you'd have NTRP tournaments you've had losers who play down if they can just for the thrill of winning some weekend tournament and getting a plastic trophy...
 

kylebarendrick

Professional
I don't support banning self rated players from the playoffs. I can understand the logic, but it seems like too draconian a response (especially at 2.5-3.0).

I do support the following:
1) Require that self rated players play (and defaults don't count) at least 4 matches in the regular season to be eligible for the playoffs.
2) Run dynamic ratings for the self rated players at the end of the regular season and immediately promote (bump) those that have dynamic ratings more than 0.10 into the next level. This wouldn't be a DQ (no matches would be forfeited), but it would be using the 4 matches they played as data that they self-rated too low and prevent the offenders from competing in the playoffs.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
I don't support banning self rated players from the playoffs. I can understand the logic, but it seems like too draconian a response (especially at 2.5-3.0).

I do support the following:
1) Require that self rated players play (and defaults don't count) at least 4 matches in the regular season to be eligible for the playoffs.
2) Run dynamic ratings for the self rated players at the end of the regular season and immediately promote (bump) those that have dynamic ratings more than 0.10 into the next level. This wouldn't be a DQ (no matches would be forfeited), but it would be using the 4 matches they played as data that they self-rated too low and prevent the offenders from competing in the playoffs.
1) You are still singling out one specific group of people. If 4 matches is somehow the magic number that means they've played enough, then it should be 4 matches for everyone.

2) That sounds like the best idea yet. However computer rated players can not even get DQ'ed so that is not really fair either. When you look at it, it's not all that unreasonable that by the time players get to the playoffs they are well into the next rating. Especially when you have level on top of level on top of level on top of level involved in the playoffs.... (area, districts, sectionals and nationals, and more for some areas)

Eventually you get to the top and the people that are there are NOT at the level they are playing at. (whether they are self rated or not) That doesn't mean they are cheating but in a system where you only get a new rating every year but you may be working on your game the whole time that's going to happen...

I think they've been doing a lot better job at directing their attention at self rated players and they can do a LOT more to do a better job. They need to focus on the people that are cheating, not put in more policy's that affect everyone else.

Like for example one loophole that I see is the age limit was dropped so some kid that I know that had just graduated from high school, rated himself 3.5, even though nobody caught on that he was given an offer to play for a college. (which by rule meant he would of had to self rate at 4.5)

I found out he even beat another player that had been DQ'ed from the 4.0 league. (he beat him outside of the league or during HS, Im not sure)

His captain stuck him at #3 Doubles for most of the year except for the week they played us (we were both gunning for first) when he beat my guy at #1 Singles. Because he was at #3 Doubles and dragged most matches out to 3 sets, he is still 3.5 in these year end ratings.

He will likely play for his college in the spring, and if he trys to play 3.5 and I complain about it, Im sure the league will say it's too bad because he now has a computer rating.

See, they need to have the guts to go after things like that, versus taking drastic measures on everyone else that is not cheating.
 

OrangePower

Legend
You can preference your comments with whatever random thoughts you want, but the action of banning all self rated players does suggest that they all cheat. (why else do you punish a specific large group of people just for the sins of a few??)
Ah, now you are bringing up a more philosophical question - the morality of punishing an entire group of people for the sins of a few.

What I will say is that this is a pretty common and accepted thing in our society. In general, we weigh the burden placed on the group against the benefits gained by society at large, and it is a subjective decision.

A few examples:

- We have a minimum age for buying alchohol. We do this because we think that some younger people are not mature enough in their judgement to use these products responsibly. But some young people as just as mature as you and me. But yet we discriminate against them as a group.

- We have gun control laws. We realize that a relatively small segment of the population would abuse the use of guns if they were easily available, although most people would be responsible. Yet we (as a society, I am not making any personal observations about gun control!) think this is a worthwhile tradeoff.

My personal feel is that it is a worthwhile trade-off to discriminate against all self-raters even though a relatively small percent of them are cheaters. I say this because the price they pay (not being able to participate in playoffs their first year) is smaller in my opinion than the overall benefit to the tennis-playing community. But we can agree to disagree on this subjective assessment.
 

dlk

Hall of Fame
Ah, now you are bringing up a more philosophical question - the morality of punishing an entire group of people for the sins of a few.

What I will say is that this is a pretty common and accepted thing in our society. In general, we weigh the burden placed on the group against the benefits gained by society at large, and it is a subjective decision.

A few examples:

- We have a minimum age for buying alchohol. We do this because we think that some younger people are not mature enough in their judgement to use these products responsibly. But some young people as just as mature as you and me. But yet we discriminate against them as a group.

- We have gun control laws. We realize that a relatively small segment of the population would abuse the use of guns if they were easily available, although most people would be responsible. Yet we (as a society, I am not making any personal observations about gun control!) think this is a worthwhile tradeoff.

My personal feel is that it is a worthwhile trade-off to discriminate against all self-raters even though a relatively small percent of them are cheaters. I say this because the price they pay (not being able to participate in playoffs their first year) is smaller in my opinion than the overall benefit to the tennis-playing community. But we can agree to disagree on this subjective assessment.
Got to give it to you. This is a good post. Examples won me over.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
Ah, now you are bringing up a more philosophical question - the morality of punishing an entire group of people for the sins of a few.

What I will say is that this is a pretty common and accepted thing in our society. In general, we weigh the burden placed on the group against the benefits gained by society at large, and it is a subjective decision.

A few examples:

- We have a minimum age for buying alchohol. We do this because we think that some younger people are not mature enough in their judgement to use these products responsibly. But some young people as just as mature as you and me. But yet we discriminate against them as a group.

- We have gun control laws. We realize that a relatively small segment of the population would abuse the use of guns if they were easily available, although most people would be responsible. Yet we (as a society, I am not making any personal observations about gun control!) think this is a worthwhile tradeoff.

My personal feel is that it is a worthwhile trade-off to discriminate against all self-raters even though a relatively small percent of them are cheaters. I say this because the price they pay (not being able to participate in playoffs their first year) is smaller in my opinion than the overall benefit to the tennis-playing community. But we can agree to disagree on this subjective assessment.
We do not live in a real democracy, "society" does not set those laws, the government does. We do elect the government that makes those laws but it is not the same thing.

It is not a worthwhile trade off because far more players and teams will ultimately be hurt once the system is made fair. If you take away something from even a few people out there that are playing within the rules that is not acceptable just to stop a few other people that are cheating.

They paid money just like everyone else to play tennis. Just because some other people are cheaters are not their concern. Go after the cheaters....

But that's "society" for you (or really just naive people in general). They are usually too weak to go after the actual people who are doing harm so they are willing to affect everyone else in some weak but easier attempt at preventing it.

Not every country has a drinking age and we seem to have the most problems with underage drinking. That tends to happen when you remove the responsibility from people.

And as far as gun control laws it's amazing that the same people that are for those, are usually weak on crime in the first place. Criminals can always find guns and it's debatable whether gun control laws have ever stopped anything.

Yet the biggest proponents of gun control laws are usually the same people that are soft on crime, and tend to appoint judges that give low sentences to actual criminals so they are back on the street within no time. Because it's somehow "mean" to lock people away forever, yet it's just fine to infringe on someone else's rights who may be perfectly responsible.

But even if you accept those examples (you dont seem strong enough to say you do), they both deal with topics that can result in DEATH.

People who cheat in League Tennis are not causing any DEATHS, and it's debatable whether that's really the cause for lowering the product for anyone else. (and it is at the end of the day a "product", we are paying to participate)
 
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OrangePower

Legend
^^^^^

I'm pointing out precedents for this type of behavior. Whether you or I agree with the public policy represented by these specific examples is not material.

I personally am not knowledgeable enough on the gun control issue to be able to make an educated assessment on it. You on the other hand seem quite opinionated on this topic. Since I don't know you, I will give you credit for being in the field of law or criminology, and assume you are basing what you say on documented evidence or intensive personal study of the issue. Because otherwise you'd be just spouting off rhetoric without really understanding what you're saying, and I'd like to believe that's not the case.
 

Darkhors

Rookie
Like for example one loophole that I see is the age limit was dropped so some kid that I know that had just graduated from high school, rated himself 3.5, even though nobody caught on that he was given an offer to play for a college. (which by rule meant he would of had to self rate at 4.5)

I found out he even beat another player that had been DQ'ed from the 4.0 league. (he beat him outside of the league or during HS, Im not sure)

His captain stuck him at #3 Doubles for most of the year except for the week they played us (we were both gunning for first) when he beat my guy at #1 Singles. Because he was at #3 Doubles and dragged most matches out to 3 sets, he is still 3.5 in these year end ratings.

He will likely play for his college in the spring, and if he trys to play 3.5 and I complain about it, Im sure the league will say it's too bad because he now has a computer rating.

See, they need to have the guts to go after things like that, versus taking drastic measures on everyone else that is not cheating.
If you do pursue this next year, the USTA will move him up if even if he has a computer rating if the following is true...

He still is at 3.5 and he was on the roster for a college team anytime from now until the summer.

As long as there is proper evidence, which is easy to get as far as proving that he played college tennis, they will easily make that decision to bump him up. Most likely, they will move him directly to 4.5 or 5.0 depending on what college he played for (i.e. Div I, Div II or Div III).

DH
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
^^^^^

I'm pointing out precedents for this type of behavior. Whether you or I agree with the public policy represented by these specific examples is not material.

I personally am not knowledgeable enough on the gun control issue to be able to make an educated assessment on it. You on the other hand seem quite opinionated on this topic. Since I don't know you, I will give you credit for being in the field of law or criminology, and assume you are basing what you say on documented evidence or intensive personal study of the issue. Because otherwise you'd be just spouting off rhetoric without really understanding what you're saying, and I'd like to believe that's not the case.
Id hate to make this "more" personal, but look at what your doing:

You are pointing out "precedents" that you do not know anything about and may or may not even believe in to support your claim. Just because there is a law or ruling out there that disparages a large group of people to take care of a select few does not make it right in every instance.

Everyone else enjoys jumping off a bridge so it's perfectly fine for us to jump off of a building... It's all jumping fun, hooray!

You're just proving how little you've thought about this.

What is your goal? To make the league more fair? That's all of ours goals.

The result of that would ultimately mean that MORE teams would at least have a chance at going to the playoffs. So you can throw your 17% (which is NOT necessarily SMALL) out the window then, you are potentially affecting a lot more players on a lot more teams.

How would you like to be some honest self rated player who happens to be on some team that honestly just manages to win first place. Now he cant play in the playoffs. That's not fair, he paid his money just like everyone else....

Or how about the team that had to get 3 or 4 self rated players just to have a team. If you account for traveling to the playoffs and that everyone might not get off of work, you're going to need every single player that can make it... But what if you fall short just because of this silly rule?

We're not talking about anything that results in DEATH here, you're talking about people who paid their money just like everyone else and a good business will realize that they deserve the same experience as everyone else.

Go after the cheaters, not specific groups of people.....
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
If you do pursue this next year, the USTA will move him up if even if he has a computer rating if the following is true...

He still is at 3.5 and he was on the roster for a college team anytime from now until the summer.

As long as there is proper evidence, which is easy to get as far as proving that he played college tennis, they will easily make that decision to bump him up. Most likely, they will move him directly to 4.5 or 5.0 depending on what college he played for (i.e. Div I, Div II or Div III).

DH
Thanks, I'll keep an eye on that. collegetennisonline.com is great when you can find someone on it.

What is funny is I found out the 4.0 captain at his same club wanted him last year and the 3.5 captain "wouldnt allow" him to play 4.0 because they knew it would help him get bumped up. (not that it's too surprising but it's funny that people get that serious about it)
 

OrangePower

Legend
Id hate to make this "more" personal, but look at what your doing:
To misuse a famous quote, it's not personal, it's just business :)

You are pointing out "precedents" that you do not know anything about and may or may not even believe in to support your claim. Just because there is a law or ruling out there that disparages a large group of people to take care of a select few does not make it right in every instance.
I'm pointing out precendents for this type of 'discrimination'. I agree that it's not right in every instance. I am not qualified to determine if it's right or wrong in some cases (gun control, etc), but in the case of restricting self-rates from playoff participation, I think it is right.

Everyone else enjoys jumping off a bridge so it's perfectly fine for us to jump off of a building... It's all jumping fun, hooray!

You're just proving how little you've thought about this.
You lost me with the jumping off a bridge analogy...

What is your goal? To make the league more fair? That's all of ours goals.
Right. So we basically disagree on whether such a rule would on the whole make things more fair overall, or less fair overall. That's ok. I can accept that your opinion although well-intentioned is wrong and move on :)

The result of that would ultimately mean that MORE teams would at least have a chance at going to the playoffs. So you can throw your 17% (which is NOT necessarily SMALL) out the window then, you are potentially affecting a lot more players on a lot more teams.
No, your reasoning is not correct. The number of self-rates on playoff bound teams (as a % of all players) would actually go down with my rule in place, not up. This is because captains with playoff aspirations would have a de-incentive to add self-rates to their team.

How would you like to be some honest self rated player who happens to be on some team that honestly just manages to win first place. Now he cant play in the playoffs. That's not fair, he paid his money just like everyone else....
I agree that my proposed rule is an imposition on the honest self-rate who is on a playoff team. But it's a small, one-time sacrifice, compared to the (hopefully) many subsequent years that the player will have in future (with a computer rating) not having to worry about self-rate cheats.

Or how about the team that had to get 3 or 4 self rated players just to have a team. If you account for traveling to the playoffs and that everyone might not get off of work, you're going to need every single player that can make it... But what if you fall short just because of this silly rule?
We're not talking about anything that results in DEATH here, you're talking about people who paid their money just like everyone else and a good business will realize that they deserve the same experience as everyone else.

Go after the cheaters, not specific groups of people.....
I've yet to see a better proposed alternative that succeeds in specifically targeting the cheaters, while not affecting honest self-raters, while not having potential to result in the scenario you describe in bold.

If such a perfect solution exists, then I agree that it would be preferable to mine. My suggestion is not perfect but I believe provides a better overall tradeoff than what we currently have in place.

What was your actual suggestion again?
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
No, your reasoning is not correct. The number of self-rates on playoff bound teams (as a % of all players) would actually go down with my rule in place, not up. This is because captains with playoff aspirations would have a de-incentive to add self-rates to their team.
First of all, you are again assuming that any self rated player that a playoff bound captain finds is a cheating self rated player. That's not the only reason you get self rates. You can just as well get ones that are competitive, especially at the lower levels where there are a lot more newer players available out there.

Also the nature of the league was already changing. In the past even in a lot of local areas the same teams won every year. That is because of the inherent unfair practices of certain teams.

It's not always like that anymore in more cases a team could win just by having a better season.

THIS MEANS THAT MORE TEAMS HAVE PLAYOFF ASPIRATIONS.

In addition to that because of the latest moveups last year a lot of players got moved out of 3.0 and 3.5. So the league needs to rebuild those divisions in some areas and they do that by finding new players.

What was your actual suggestion again?
The league has been focusing on self rated players more every year.

First of all you have to accept that a cheating self rated player is one that does not follow the player history requirements. We cant be talking about just any boogieman that someone wants to call a cheater just because they lost to them.

If the continue to address issues around that and fix loopholes (especially since they just opened up a can of worms by dropping the age limit) that goes a long way toward getting rid of the people that obviously do not belong.

They can also take a bigger role in identifying these people instead of expecting captains to file a fair play grievance. Ive run into cases where the league knows someone doesnt belong at a level yet they insist that I file a grievance if I want them out. They even claim that they will get removed then.

Well some captains wont do that, it makes them look bad. I dont particularly like doing it myself. If someone is breaking the rules the league should go after them, dont expect us to do their dirty work for them...

And even if I dont have an idea, that does not make your idea any better. The whole "WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!!!" philosophy is flawed. It just results in ineffective measures that sometimes do more harm then good.
 
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kylebarendrick

Professional
1) You are still singling out one specific group of people. If 4 matches is somehow the magic number that means they've played enough, then it should be 4 matches for everyone.
The reason I specified a larger number of matches for self-raters is because they don't have an existing match history and because you need at least 3 (or so I've heard) dynamics to generate a meaningful rating. I added a fourth as a buffer. I also wanted to force them to play enough matches (obviously at least 3) so that if there scores are generating strikes then they have an opportunity to strike out. This isn't relevant to computer rated players at this point since they aren't subject to 3 strikes disqualification (a decision I don't necessarily agree with BTW).

2) That sounds like the best idea yet. However computer rated players can not even get DQ'ed so that is not really fair either. When you look at it, it's not all that unreasonable that by the time players get to the playoffs they are well into the next rating. Especially when you have level on top of level on top of level on top of level involved in the playoffs.... (area, districts, sectionals and nationals, and more for some areas).
The difference is that the self-rated players don't have a match history. A computer rated player completed at least one season with enough matches to generate a valid rating at that level. If they generate a higher rating in the following year, it is reasonable to assume they improved (or had the breaks go their way) and it is their turn to be at the top of their level before being bumped. Since a self-rated player has no such history, I proposed this check (generating a rating at the end of the local league) as an assessment as to whether they self-rated accurately - since there isn't any other information to use. At that point I don't consider unreasonable to promote them immediately if their record indicates they should have been playing a higher level.
 
I agree with the Poster who claimed, dont allow self raters to be in playoffs in the first year. That in itself would clear up most of the problem. It really would make it for a better more fair league.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
The reason I specified a larger number of matches for self-raters is because they don't have an existing match history and because you need at least 3 (or so I've heard) dynamics to generate a meaningful rating. I added a fourth as a buffer. I also wanted to force them to play enough matches (obviously at least 3) so that if there scores are generating strikes then they have an opportunity to strike out. This isn't relevant to computer rated players at this point since they aren't subject to 3 strikes disqualification (a decision I don't necessarily agree with BTW).



The difference is that the self-rated players don't have a match history. A computer rated player completed at least one season with enough matches to generate a valid rating at that level. If they generate a higher rating in the following year, it is reasonable to assume they improved (or had the breaks go their way) and it is their turn to be at the top of their level before being bumped. Since a self-rated player has no such history, I proposed this check (generating a rating at the end of the local league) as an assessment as to whether they self-rated accurately - since there isn't any other information to use. At that point I don't consider unreasonable to promote them immediately if their record indicates they should have been playing a higher level.
Actually the fact that self rated players didnt have a match history made it easier for them to get DQ'ed. See my other post about how the averaging thing works.

You dont really EVER get a meaningful rating unless you play an obscene amount of matches if you want to get picky, and computer rated players carry in their year end rating which does as much harm as it does good. (in fact it makes it unfair because in most cases it drags their rating down versus the self rated player)

They need to get rid of the deal where you get to use a default as one of your two matches for EVERYONE in my opinion.

Although it would maybe be nice if they were a bit more flexible in case some area just has a really short season for some reason.

Either way I know people who use the minimum match deal to cheat with computer rated players just like they do with self rated players.

They only play a few matches a year (unless they go deep in the playoffs), so they rarely get moved, especially since they only march them out for one match in the regular season which is usually #3 Doubles against some weak team where they either drag out the score or outright lose if they can.

It's only when they get far enough in the playoffs that you see them at #1 Singles all the sudden.
 

marcl65

Semi-Pro
I agree with the Poster who claimed, dont allow self raters to be in playoffs in the first year. That in itself would clear up most of the problem. It really would make it for a better more fair league.
I could see barring teams with x% of self-rated players or limiting self-rated players to playing x number of times in the playoffs but excluding self-raters from playoffs completely? That goes against the grain of competitive league play, IMO. And even then, the serious sandbagger will just tank a match or two his/her first year then compete “for real” the next.
 

HitItHarder

Semi-Pro
1)
Like for example one loophole that I see is the age limit was dropped so some kid that I know that had just graduated from high school, rated himself 3.5, even though nobody caught on that he was given an offer to play for a college. (which by rule meant he would of had to self rate at 4.5)

I found out he even beat another player that had been DQ'ed from the 4.0 league. (he beat him outside of the league or during HS, Im not sure)

His captain stuck him at #3 Doubles for most of the year except for the week they played us (we were both gunning for first) when he beat my guy at #1 Singles. Because he was at #3 Doubles and dragged most matches out to 3 sets, he is still 3.5 in these year end ratings.

He will likely play for his college in the spring, and if he trys to play 3.5 and I complain about it, Im sure the league will say it's too bad because he now has a computer rating.

See, they need to have the guts to go after things like that, versus taking drastic measures on everyone else that is not cheating.
If you do pursue this next year, the USTA will move him up if even if he has a computer rating if the following is true...

He still is at 3.5 and he was on the roster for a college team anytime from now until the summer.

As long as there is proper evidence, which is easy to get as far as proving that he played college tennis, they will easily make that decision to bump him up. Most likely, they will move him directly to 4.5 or 5.0 depending on what college he played for (i.e. Div I, Div II or Div III).

DH
Not to get off topic too far, but I actually don't know if this is correct. In our District there was a nineteen year old former High School Player (that played in the post season) that self rated as a 2.5 (based on NTRP guidelines he should have self-rated as a 3.5). The 2.5 league was pretty small and no one complained. As a result, he ended up as a Computer rated 3.0 the following year.

During his 3.0 year, he continued to dominate opponents and he also was on the roster of a local Division II school he attended (meaning 4.5 under the NTRP guidelines). Written documentation of the high school playoffs and of the college roster was submitted to the local and District offices by an opposing team in a grievance. The District office said that he was comptuter rated and therefore nothing would be done. His team won the 3.0 league, he was their No. 1 singles player and he played as a 3.0 at the District championships. He was eventually bumped to a 3.5 at the end of the year. He is still a computer rated 3.5 and plays that level now.

The District office said that since he was computer rated, there was nothing that could be done to challenge his level. So there does appear to be a loop-hole in the process if a player self-rates low, isn't called on it, and ends up with a computer rating.
 
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Darkhors

Rookie
Not to get off topic too far, but I actually don't know if this is correct. In our District there was a nineteen year old former High School Player (that played in the post season) that self rated as a 2.5 (based on NTRP guidelines he should have self-rated as a 3.5). The 2.5 league was pretty small and no one complained. As a result, he ended up as a Computer rated 3.0 the following year.

During his 3.0 year, he continued to dominate opponents and he also was on the roster of a local Division II school he attended (meaning 4.5 under the NTRP guidelines). Written documentation of the high school playoffs and of the college roster was submitted to the local and District offices by an opposing team in a grievance. The District office said that he was comptuter rated and therefore nothing would be done. His team won the 3.0 league, he was their No. 1 singles player and he played as a 3.0 at the District championships. He was eventually bumped to a 3.5 at the end of the year. He is still a computer rated 3.5 and plays that level now.

The District office said that since he was computer rated, there was nothing that could be done to challenge his level. So there does appear to be a loop-hole in the process if a player self-rates low, isn't called on it, and ends up with a computer rating.
I'm not a 100% certain on this, but I believe that now it does not matter if they have a C or B rating. If the documentation proves that they are in the wrong level, they will DQ them at the current level they're at and move them up.

That does suck though that you had to deal with that in the past.

DH
 

andfor

Legend
I'm not a 100% certain on this, but I believe that now it does not matter if they have a C or B rating. If the documentation proves that they are in the wrong level, they will DQ them at the current level they're at and move them up.

That does suck though that you had to deal with that in the past.

DH
True. Once a player is computer rated the sections response is going to be there is nothing that can be done about it. BUT, if it can be proved that a player lied or left of critical information in his self-rate evaluation a bump up will be considered. In order to get the section to pay attention, sadly more that one person has to complain about an individual.

My opinion having delt with this many, many times over this years is to either do something about it or just let it go. Complaining with out filing a grievance is just that. Filing a grievance will take some time of which I no longer have. At this point I've decided that cheating is going to occur in the system. Often its the best teams that MAY have a questionable player or two. In the end if someone deserves to be bumped before the year-end ratings or the computer gets a self-rated person mid season, its up to us to do something about it.

Although there are some good ideas here, this is not the best place to voice them if any change is hoped for. Writing the USTA section or state usually does not help with policy change. The USTA state and Sectional annual meetings are usually open to the public. This would be the best place to discuss it if anyone wants to have a chance at seeing some change.
 

mtommer

Hall of Fame
The common argument against this is that it discourages new players from joining, because they know that they can't play in playoffs the first year. But: only 17% of all players get to participate in playoffs anyway (statistic for NorCal 4.5 adult men's - your results may vary). So that is a false argument.
The statistic has nothing to do with it being a false argument. Perception alone can dictate choices whether that's rational or irrational. So, someone may very well choose not to play if they know they have no possibility of making it to the playoffs, regardless of whether they would or could make it or not, whether they've ever played or not. People often at least want to know it's possible if they're competitive. The only thing that would make the argument false is if there was a poll and a good majority said they wouldn't mind the rule of not being able to play in a playoff their first year.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
I'm not a 100% certain on this, but I believe that now it does not matter if they have a C or B rating. If the documentation proves that they are in the wrong level, they will DQ them at the current level they're at and move them up.

That does suck though that you had to deal with that in the past.

DH
Unless they change it in 2011, you cant file a fair play grievance unless someone is self rated.

The league in some areas doesnt like to get involved and enforce the rules and they'd rather captains stick their necks out and do it.

Thus if you are computer rated you are not going to get DQ'ed....
 

OrangePower

Legend
The statistic has nothing to do with it being a false argument. Perception alone can dictate choices whether that's rational or irrational. So, someone may very well choose not to play if they know they have no possibility of making it to the playoffs, regardless of whether they would or could make it or not, whether they've ever played or not. People often at least want to know it's possible if they're competitive. The only thing that would make the argument false is if there was a poll and a good majority said they wouldn't mind the rule of not being able to play in a playoff their first year.
That's true. It would be interesting to know how potential first-time participants would vote, if given the chance:

Option A: Give up the potential of playing in playoffs the first year, but have the assurance in all subsequent years of not facing self-rated sandbaggers in playoffs.

Option B: Have the option of playing in playoffs the first year, although probability-wise the chances of making playoffs at all is low. Subsequently, be at a disadvantage in future years' playoffs by having to deal with self-rated sandbaggers.

I myself would choose A as a new player, but maybe I'm in the minority.
 

Bama Bear

New User
Even easier than the changes you suggest: Don't allow self-rated players to play in playoffs.

The common argument against this is that it discourages new players from joining, because they know that they can't play in playoffs the first year. But: only 17% of all players get to participate in playoffs anyway (statistic for NorCal 4.5 adult men's - your results may vary). So that is a false argument. And we're only talking about this first year (after that the player will have a computer rating).

I think this rule will discourage the sandbaggers who are brought onto a team with the sole purpose of helping that team win in playoffs. Most self-rated players are not sandbaggers and are just looking to play and improve like the rest of us, and they would understand the need for such a rule.
I agree 100%. No self-rates allowed until they generate a rating. This was discussed with usta adult league coordinator @ Nationals.
 
1. Poor/Avg self-rated players will not play a lot 'cause he won't win a lot. And he certainly won't play in the playoffs.

2. Self-rated players who play a lot and win a lot are obviously cheating.

Wake up people, it's that simple. This is not about giving self-rated players an opportunity to play.
 

andfor

Legend
I agree with the Poster who claimed, dont allow self raters to be in playoffs in the first year. That in itself would clear up most of the problem. It really would make it for a better more fair league.
How is sandbagging matches then handled for the self-raters throwing matches in their first year in local play to secure their current rating for the next year?

Folks are going to try to game the system. As it stands their are far, far more players playing fair then the few bad apples who cheat.

Face it. Every division is going to have a winner. Each state, regional and national winner is going to be closer to going over the line and in these case over the line, then those they beat and leave in their wake. Sure some will have questionable and under-rated players. In the end, I don't believe in a handicaped system perfection will ever be achieved.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
Option B: Have the option of playing in playoffs the first year, although probability-wise the chances of making playoffs at all is low. Subsequently, be at a disadvantage in future years' playoffs by having to deal with self-rated sandbaggers.

I myself would choose A as a new player, but maybe I'm in the minority.
Yes and this is a great example of how "society" can do something that sounds good, but will not necessarily have the intended result.

(you assume here that option A somehow magically results in not meeting sandbaggers.....)

Just making the playoffs is a big deal for some teams.

If you were really worried about all these sandbaggers IN THE PLAYOFFS, then you must be on one of those teams that just simply wins every single year. Thus you are biased to a certain group of people and not the whole.

(that is not necessarily going to happen anymore)
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
1. Poor/Avg self-rated players will not play a lot 'cause he won't win a lot. And he certainly won't play in the playoffs.

2. Self-rated players who play a lot and win a lot are obviously cheating.

Wake up people, it's that simple. This is not about giving self-rated players an opportunity to play.
That's a silly paranoid generalization. (unless you were just being sarcastic)

Just because anyone wins a lot doesn't necessarily mean they are cheating, so it wouldn't be any different for a self rated player.
 

OrangePower

Legend
If you were really worried about all these sandbaggers IN THE PLAYOFFS, then you must be on one of those teams that just simply wins every single year. Thus you are biased to a certain group of people and not the whole.
I'm not 'worried' about it one way or another, but I do have a sense of fair play and I don't like to see cheaters get their way.

As far as my personal playing history goes, I've been on both ends of the spectrum. When I started playing again 5 years ago, I self-rated as a 4.0, although I had some 3.5 friends that tried hard to recruit me. But my goal was improvement, rather than doing well at a lower level. I struggled my first year (team did not make playoffs), did better the second (and team made local playoffs but no further), and helped my team make a very deep playoff run the third year. That year we had one self-rated player that was a borderline but not clearcut sandbagger. He and I were on the same level and although I was still 4.0 there was no doubt I was going to be bumped that year. Anyway, the last 2 years I've played at 4.5 and have been on mediocre teams.

My point is that I've seen it all, and my motivation is just to make things as fair as possible, even though there will always be loopholes.

So far you seem to be critical of every suggestion others have made. Correct me if I'm wrong: your position seems to be that the current system is fine, but that what is missing is proper enforcement of the self-rating guidelines/rules.
 
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