NTRP Grievances in Playoffs... What's Even the Point?

This weekend my team fell just short of qualifying for nationals at our sectional playoff. The team that beat us 2-1 in our last match had a player on first doubles that was an absolute ringer. The player in question self-rated as a 3.5 and was already DQ'd up to 4.0 during the year (I'm assuming by the computer because he only played one 3.5 match and the rest at 4.0). Even still, this player was clearly not a 4.0. The player in question holds a 26-0 record, only losing three sets across those matches. He was the only player in the sectional championships with an unblemished record. Many of the matches were uncompetitive, however 2/3 of them were mixed, so they would have not generated any strikes.

After doing research, it became clear to me that the player had not been truthful in the self-rating process. Not only did he play college tennis (albeit at a foreign university, but one that seems to be of high caliber) but he was a nationally ranked player in his home country in lists that include all of the country's elite players (including ATP pros). His peak rankings appeared to be around 1000 in singles and 400 in doubles. The player in question is still in his 20s.

I drafted what I thought was a rock-solid grievance, only to send it to the tournament director, who informed me that if the grievance goes through, the results from the playoff will still stand even though the player in question would be DQ'd up to the next level. This leads me to my question... well what the heck is the point?! Sure enough, I looked at section rules, and it states that players found "guilty" of an NTRP grievance after a playoff would be moved up to the next level, but results from the playoff would stand. Doesn't this just reward cheaters for getting away with it? I asked if I had filed the grievance before the match if it would have made a difference and was told no. Apparently I would have needed to file before the tournament. So basically, do your research on potential cheaters beforehand or you're screwed.

Is this rule consistent across all sections? Has it always been this way? Has anyone seen any exceptions to this rule made? It seems utterly ridiculous to me. During the local season, the results would be reversed. Yet in playoffs, when the stakes are highest, they aren't? Seems backwards.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
Is this rule consistent across all sections?
I believe so, definitely is how it is in my section Middle West
Has it always been this way?
Yes, as long as I can remember
Has anyone seen any exceptions to this rule made?
No
It seems utterly ridiculous to me. During the local season, the results would be reversed. Yet in playoffs, when the stakes are highest, they aren't? Seems backwards.
Yes it is, I guess USTA really wants the local captains to police this, but sometimes the local captains dont care since they arent focused on advancing. Anyways, yes this has been frustrating for many moons and will probably continue to be for many more.
 

red rook

Semi-Pro
This weekend my team fell just short of qualifying for nationals at our sectional playoff. The team that beat us 2-1 in our last match had a player on first doubles that was an absolute ringer. The player in question self-rated as a 3.5 and was already DQ'd up to 4.0 during the year (I'm assuming by the computer because he only played one 3.5 match and the rest at 4.0). Even still, this player was clearly not a 4.0. The player in question holds a 26-0 record, only losing three sets across those matches. He was the only player in the sectional championships with an unblemished record. Many of the matches were uncompetitive, however 2/3 of them were mixed, so they would have not generated any strikes.

After doing research, it became clear to me that the player had not been truthful in the self-rating process. Not only did he play college tennis (albeit at a foreign university, but one that seems to be of high caliber) but he was a nationally ranked player in his home country in lists that include all of the country's elite players (including ATP pros). His peak rankings appeared to be around 1000 in singles and 400 in doubles. The player in question is still in his 20s.

I drafted what I thought was a rock-solid grievance, only to send it to the tournament director, who informed me that if the grievance goes through, the results from the playoff will still stand even though the player in question would be DQ'd up to the next level. This leads me to my question... well what the heck is the point?! Sure enough, I looked at section rules, and it states that players found "guilty" of an NTRP grievance after a playoff would be moved up to the next level, but results from the playoff would stand. Doesn't this just reward cheaters for getting away with it? I asked if I had filed the grievance before the match if it would have made a difference and was told no. Apparently I would have needed to file before the tournament. So basically, do your research on potential cheaters beforehand or you're screwed.

Is this rule consistent across all sections? Has it always been this way? Has anyone seen any exceptions to this rule made? It seems utterly ridiculous to me. During the local season, the results would be reversed. Yet in playoffs, when the stakes are highest, they aren't? Seems backwards.
Sounds like a good argument.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I drafted what I thought was a rock-solid grievance, only to send it to the tournament director, who informed me that if the grievance goes through, the results from the playoff will still stand even though the player in question would be DQ'd up to the next level. This leads me to my question... well what the heck is the point?! Sure enough, I looked at section rules, and it states that players found "guilty" of an NTRP grievance after a playoff would be moved up to the next level, but results from the playoff would stand. Doesn't this just reward cheaters for getting away with it? I asked if I had filed the grievance before the match if it would have made a difference and was told no. Apparently I would have needed to file before the tournament. So basically, do your research on potential cheaters beforehand or you're screwed.

Is this rule consistent across all sections? Has it always been this way? Has anyone seen any exceptions to this rule made? It seems utterly ridiculous to me. During the local season, the results would be reversed. Yet in playoffs, when the stakes are highest, they aren't? Seems backwards.
I think the point is more procedural than anything else. Once the winner is declared and the team starts booking hotels and flights for nationals, it's harder to make the switch and say someone else is going on short notice. Remember, it can take a couple weeks to issue a ruling on a grievance. If you want to have that person DQ'd for sectionals, you need to do your research beforehand and get the grievance file in enough time for a decision before the playoffs start. I mean, it's not like all of the information about the player wasn't available before sectionals and his record was 23-0 instead of 26-0.

This procedure is optional by section as to how to handle it, but I think most sections handle it this way for non-DNTRP DQ's. For DNTRP DQ's, some sections run strike reports in real time after every match and if someone is DQ'd at the playoffs, all of their matches there are overturned immediately. Other sections don't run it until after the playoffs are over and a team has been declared the winner, and only that player's eligibility for the next round is changed. It's impossible to do the self-rating grievances in real time because it requires a committee of people reviewing evidence submitted in a grievance and coming to a consensus about the answer.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
Doesn't this just reward cheaters for getting away with it?
Pretty much which is why you should go out there and play your hardest and not get to emotionally invested over the outcome. District, Sectionals, Nationals are almost impossible to win unless you cheat so just enjoy the ride and hold your head up high.
 
3.5/4 teams need to do their homework during the season--they should attend ALL their opponents' matches to verify that there are NO ATP tour players on potential playoff teams--if this is impractical due to work or family commitments then team members and clubs should start a GO FUND ME to hire professional sports scouts for this purpose--they could probably be hired at a deep discount during their off-seasons.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
3.5/4 teams need to do their homework during the season--they should attend ALL their opponents' matches to verify that there are NO ATP tour players on potential playoff teams--if this is impractical due to work or family commitments then team members and clubs should start a GO FUND ME to hire professional sports scouts for this purpose--they could probably be hired at a deep discount during their off-seasons.
Your comment here is hilarious. In part because I can see a captain or two taking it seriously and actually doing it!
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
This weekend my team fell just short of qualifying for nationals at our sectional playoff. The team that beat us 2-1 in our last match had a player on first doubles that was an absolute ringer. The player in question self-rated as a 3.5 and was already DQ'd up to 4.0 during the year (I'm assuming by the computer because he only played one 3.5 match and the rest at 4.0). Even still, this player was clearly not a 4.0. The player in question holds a 26-0 record, only losing three sets across those matches. He was the only player in the sectional championships with an unblemished record. Many of the matches were uncompetitive, however 2/3 of them were mixed, so they would have not generated any strikes.

After doing research, it became clear to me that the player had not been truthful in the self-rating process. Not only did he play college tennis (albeit at a foreign university, but one that seems to be of high caliber) but he was a nationally ranked player in his home country in lists that include all of the country's elite players (including ATP pros). His peak rankings appeared to be around 1000 in singles and 400 in doubles. The player in question is still in his 20s.

I drafted what I thought was a rock-solid grievance, only to send it to the tournament director, who informed me that if the grievance goes through, the results from the playoff will still stand even though the player in question would be DQ'd up to the next level. This leads me to my question... well what the heck is the point?! Sure enough, I looked at section rules, and it states that players found "guilty" of an NTRP grievance after a playoff would be moved up to the next level, but results from the playoff would stand. Doesn't this just reward cheaters for getting away with it? I asked if I had filed the grievance before the match if it would have made a difference and was told no. Apparently I would have needed to file before the tournament. So basically, do your research on potential cheaters beforehand or you're screwed.

Is this rule consistent across all sections? Has it always been this way? Has anyone seen any exceptions to this rule made? It seems utterly ridiculous to me. During the local season, the results would be reversed. Yet in playoffs, when the stakes are highest, they aren't? Seems backwards.
Yep. Waste of time. Which in turn, makes USTA a waste of time.

Any TD worth their salt would be upset to find out this occurred. Any sanctioning body would want the problem corrected. But they dont care. Their rules are written to deflect responsibility, not fix the problem.

On the flip side, for every legitimate complaint about sandbagging, there’s likely so many illigitimate sour grape scenarios that the USTA got worn out by it all and just threw their hands up.

At the end of the day tho, the sanctioning body is apathetic. So you have to decide whether it’s worth it for you to care. As someone in this thread said, cheating is part of the game. It is what it is. Which is why I read threads like these and decided a long time ago that I have zero interest in league play or national events. Too much BS seems to go on.
 

Johnr

Rookie
Pretty much which is why you should go out there and play your hardest and not get to emotionally invested over the outcome. District, Sectionals, Nationals are almost impossible to win unless you cheat so just enjoy the ride and hold your head up high.
Glad I don’t play USTA, people are so screwed up that they get joy out of playing at a level they don’t belong at and winning, pathetic.
 
Glad I don’t play USTA, people are so screwed up that they get joy out of playing at a level they don’t belong at and winning, pathetic.
Yup! USTA figured out how to make a ton of money by turning the CHEAP, egalitarian sport of tennis into another bureaucratic dues (taxes) paying slot machine. That builds100 court mega-facilities so its execs can vaca in FL when the snow falls in Manhattan--but NO grass courts!--winning at Wimbledon is WAY overrated--Fairfield is the new wimby. League play is the equivalent of "everyone gets a prize" competing for the best of the mediocre nationally. Junketing off to play nationals at glamour spots is like docs going to Maui for conferences.
 

Notirouswithag

Professional
There isnt a point to it. Regionals and Sectionals reward cheating

I had the same thing happen to me this summer when my ladies 2.5 team made it to Mid-Atlantic regionals. We got our butts handed to us on day 2 from 1 richmond team.

Out of 2 richmond teams there we got the ringer team. The whole team was self rated at 2.5 except for 1-2 people who were computer rated. Did alot of investigating after and filed a grievance with local USTA. Turns out 2 people played tri/combo/mixed at 4.0/9.0 levels and the highest rated player on the team who didn't even play was rated at a 2.97.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Yup! USTA figured out how to make a ton of money by turning the CHEAP, egalitarian sport of tennis into another bureaucratic dues (taxes) paying slot machine. That builds100 court mega-facilities so its execs can vaca in FL when the snow falls in Manhattan--but NO grass courts!--winning at Wimbledon is WAY overrated--Fairfield is the new wimby. League play is the equivalent of "everyone gets a prize" competing for the best of the mediocre nationally. Junketing off to play nationals at glamour spots is like docs going to Maui for conferences.
LOL .... junket for Nats at the super glamorous OKC, or the exurbian Suprise, AZ, both known to be beacons to the err, rich and famous?
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Glad I don’t play USTA, people are so screwed up that they get joy out of playing at a level they don’t belong at and winning, pathetic.
It's not just USTA or even tennis...

More than 15 years ago, I had stepped away from tennis and was playing golf almost exclusively. My wife is a really good golfer, and through her work at a golf course, I was able to get unlimited free time on the range, and often, free rounds. In addition, we had a couple acres for a back yard, so I built a green and sandtrap that was roughly 75 yards from my deck, where I could pitch balls from. After a year, I was able to get my handicap down to a 12... which I didn't think was too shabby for someone that had only been playing for a short time. Anyway, I decided it might be fun to play in a tournament, so I entered one that was flighted into groups based on your handicap (similar to being in an NTRP tournament for tennis). So, having a 12 handicap means that on an average 18 hole, par 72 course, I average shooting an 84. The best I ever shot was an 80, but I was very consistently in the mid-80s most places I played. Anyway, in round one of the tournament, I shot an 84 and felt really good about myself because after the handicap reduction, I was at even par. I thought that meant I'd be in contention. Nope... the leader in my flight shot a 70! Not a 70 score after his handicap reduction, but a 70! There is no way anyone with a 10-12 handicap suddenly shoots 2 under par, 12 to 14 shots better than their average, especially in a tournament. So I learned that day that golf is a cheaters/sandbaggers paradise also, no matter what their stodgy rules and snotty country club "sportsmanship" may look like on TV.

Also, my daughter is running her first year of high school cross country as a freshman this year. She was a sprinter in middle school, and previous to this, the longest race she had run was 200 meters. However, one of her best friends is on the team and she wanted hang out with her, so she's turned herself into a distance runner. Mid-season, they had this giant meet that had thousands of participants from over a 100 different schools. Since this is my daughter's first year, her coach entered her into a category for "novice" runners who were supposed to be doing this for the first time, and who did not have any established sub-27 minute 5ks in any other meet. My daughter ran a personal record, sub-25 minute 5k, so she was very happy with that. However, I was dismayed to see that at least 1/3 of the entrants in the novice race were varsity juniors and seniors as well. The top 50 placers (out of more than 300 runners) got medals, and the older girls dominated this, which means to me that they should have actually been in the regular varsity race. Early sandbagging, I guess (but I blame the coaches more for miscategorizing them).
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
It's not just USTA or even tennis...

More than 15 years ago, I had stepped away from tennis and was playing golf almost exclusively. My wife is a really good golfer, and through her work at a golf course, I was able to get unlimited free time on the range, and often, free rounds. In addition, we had a couple acres for a back yard, so I built a green and sandtrap that was roughly 75 yards from my deck, where I could pitch balls from. After a year, I was able to get my handicap down to a 12... which I didn't think was too shabby for someone that had only been playing for a short time. Anyway, I decided it might be fun to play in a tournament, so I entered one that was flighted into groups based on your handicap (similar to being in an NTRP tournament for tennis). So, having a 12 handicap means that on an average 18 hole, par 72 course, I average shooting an 84. The best I ever shot was an 80, but I was very consistently in the mid-80s most places I played. Anyway, in round one of the tournament, I shot an 84 and felt really good about myself because after the handicap reduction, I was at even par. I thought that meant I'd be in contention. Nope... the leader in my flight shot a 70! Not a 70 score after his handicap reduction, but a 70! There is no way anyone with a 10-12 handicap suddenly shoots 2 under par, 12 to 14 shots better than their average, especially in a tournament. So I learned that day that golf is a cheaters/sandbaggers paradise also, no matter what their stodgy rules and snotty country club "sportsmanship" may look like on TV.

Also, my daughter is running her first year of high school cross country as a freshman this year. She was a sprinter in middle school, and previous to this, the longest race she had run was 200 meters. However, one of her best friends is on the team and she wanted hang out with her, so she's turned herself into a distance runner. Mid-season, they had this giant meet that had thousands of participants from over a 100 different schools. Since this is my daughter's first year, her coach entered her into a category for "novice" runners who were supposed to be doing this for the first time, and who did not have any established sub-27 minute 5ks in any other meet. My daughter ran a personal record, sub-25 minute 5k, so she was very happy with that. However, I was dismayed to see that at least 1/3 of the entrants in the novice race were varsity juniors and seniors as well. The top 50 placers (out of more than 300 runners) got medals, and the older girls dominated this, which means to me that they should have actually been in the regular varsity race. Early sandbagging, I guess (but I blame the coaches more for miscategorizing them).
Correct. Not just a tennis thing.

In motocross, there are basically 3 different amateur divisions. A, B, and C (expert, intermediate, novice).

If you go to a top level motocross event, I guarantee that even the experienced eye has a hard time telling the 3 divisions apart. A look at the lap times shows that there isnt much difference in speed. They use electronic transponders so it's REALLY easy to see who belongs where.

Some argue that the existence of a "novice (beginner) national champion" is a asinine concept in itself. There is some merit to that argument. But when I think about how to grow a sport and get people addicted, I think about their first 2 years in it and the experience they could have by competing against like competition and traveling to a prestigious event. That is ruined when you have people with 10+ years of experience still competing at the novice level. Or in the tennis scenario, lifelong 3.5 players. There really should be a time limit in which people are allowed to compete. Nobody with many years of experience or proficiency in a sport belongs in the beginner ranks.

So they started a D (beginner) class in some areas. And Ive heard of even a "first timers" class as well. The sandbagging is so bad that the race events just get diluted to the point that you're only racing a couple guys on the line because everything is spread so thin. The real beginners just stay home and dont even bother competing. Overall it hurts the sport a lot and racing is dying just like amateur tennis is.

What do all these sports have in common? Apathetic/Lazy sanctioning bodies that refuse to deal with the issue. And a steadily declining participation rate.


All that said, I cant think of anything dumber than golf's handicap system. I cannot imagine showing up to a basketball court and being given free points to level the playing field due to my own lack of talent. Just take the L.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
Pretty much which is why you should go out there and play your hardest and not get to emotionally invested over the outcome. District, Sectionals, Nationals are almost impossible to win unless you cheat so just enjoy the ride and hold your head up high.
I concur with this statement. Which is why, when my wife's 4.0 team went to Nationals a few years back, it was so satisfying to watch happen (even vicariously), because the team was composed of just a bunch of fun, solid, players who didn't really go into the season nationals in mind. Sectionals yes, but there were no s-rated players on their team...they certainly played to win every match as best they could, and put a good lineup out there each week, so they were rewarded with the trip to indian wells.

Once they got to nationals and i saw the rosters/history of the opponent teams...well let's just say it was a great, fun experience to just get there!

It's definitely catching lighting in a bottle for 'normal' teams/people to make it that far imo, based on what I've seen...
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
Yep. Waste of time. Which in turn, makes USTA a waste of time.
This comment swings the pendulum the complete opposite direction. I think the value of participating in USTA leagues is somewhere in the middle, and it depends on one's goals. If you want to get a decent match against (mostly) like-skilled opponents in your market, and all the scheduling/admin is taken care of, USTA leagues is a great means for accomplishing that.

If you want to rule the tennis world, and commit to a progression thru a Natl system, then of course USTA leagues can accommodate that desire as well. There is room for both types of participant in the league system. for example, I have a big-enough dance-card that i can send out a group text/email at 5 pm and be on the court with someone by 6-6:30...but that's a different thing than having a weekly time slot i'm committed to, and getting to play other people in my market that i never would have met (which is how i got to the big dance card).

so to blanketly state USTA is a waste of time is nonsense imo...it just depends on what the participant wants out of the experience. i'd guess 90+% of USTA participants don't really care about advancing, even out of their flight...which imo is fine, so that the ~10% of participants who commit their lives to the endeavor can have it...room for everyone!
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
This comment swings the pendulum the complete opposite direction. I think the value of participating in USTA leagues is somewhere in the middle, and it depends on one's goals. If you want to get a decent match against (mostly) like-skilled opponents in your market, and all the scheduling/admin is taken care of, USTA leagues is a great means for accomplishing that.

If you want to rule the tennis world, and commit to a progression thru a Natl system, then of course USTA leagues can accommodate that desire as well. There is room for both types of participant in the league system. for example, I have a big-enough dance-card that i can send out a group text/email at 5 pm and be on the court with someone by 6-6:30...but that's a different thing than having a weekly time slot i'm committed to, and getting to play other people in my market that i never would have met (which is how i got to the big dance card).

so to blanketly state USTA is a waste of time is nonsense imo...it just depends on what the participant wants out of the experience. i'd guess 90+% of USTA participants don't really care about advancing, even out of their flight...which imo is fine, so that the ~10% of participants who commit their lives to the endeavor can have it...room for everyone!
If the sanctioning body isnt going to do one of their CORE RESPONSIBILITIES, which is ensure fair play, then they are a waste of time.

We want fair rules right? Fair line calls, etc? So how about policing the ringers that dominate the USTA’s flagship events.

If they dont care, neither should we.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
If the sanctioning body isnt going to do one of their CORE RESPONSIBILITIES, which is ensure fair play, then they are a waste of time.

We want fair rules right? Fair line calls, etc? So how about policing the ringers that dominate the USTA’s flagship events.

If they dont care, neither should we.
That is one way of looking at it I suppose. But if 90% of your matches are against people with justified fair ratings and 90% of your opponents give fair line calls (probably more like 95%) then you can either:

A. Enjoy the 90% of matches/opponents that give you solid competitive matches
B. Decide that the 10% is just too too awful and avoid the 90% as well as the 10%

I think option B is called throwing the baby out with the bath water ...... From many of your posts you are clearly an All or Nothing kind of person .... in reality there is a lot of in-between or really-darn-good.

If we insist on only living in the Perfect then we miss out on a whole bunch of good.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
I think you just made most of my point for me. I'm saying ~90% of the usta league participants *don't care* about advancing...if it happens it happens, and even then it's a novelty (90 is just a number I'm throwing out - i think we can all agree it's very high). so the point is, for the *vast majority* of players in the system, they get a weekly competitive match with an occasional blow-out one way or the other, but largely, they are matches within a break each set, and then they drink beer with their friends. they are receiving the value they anticipated.

the much smaller percentage of obsessors, sandbaggers, etc. will do what they do, and ironically, the system provides the means for them to obsess/sandbag etc...and yet the 90% still participate.

BTW -- I agree with you the sanctioning body is lax with some of these rules/or lack thereof...maybe we agree on the same thing - that more specifically, you and I don't care about progressing thru the system.

All i'm saying is that the vast majority of their participants are receiving their perceived value, and the obsessing/sandbagging doesn't even come into play, to to make a blanket statement that the system has no value is simply not supported...does that make sense?
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Back when I used to teach tennis, whenever I had a new client, I would always interview them to figure out what their primary motivation in tennis was. I believe for most people, the main reason they play falls into one of these buckets:

1. Social aspects. It's fun to be with my friends, hit the ball around, and meet new people. Beer after the match is just as important as the match.

2. Fitness reasons: I want to get in shape and tennis is much more fun than running or lifting weights.

3. Competitive outlet: Tennis is my sport, I'm good at it, and I want to beat people in tournaments or League. Having a ranking or winning a title is part of who I am.

Everyone has combinations of these things in their tennis goals, but one of them will be the driver behind what they decide to spend their resources on. For example, I'm guessing that @WhiteOut's wife's team was mostly playing league for the fun of being friends together on the court, and the competition thing was just gravy. Win or lose, they were there for a good time.

As others have said, the vast majority of people that play USTA League are having their social, fitness, and competition needs met. Most people play fair and have fun. However, for those people that are playing tennis for the competition mainly, this is where the cheating to win a Sectional or National title gets overboard, and those that want to compete with ethics get really pissed with those that blatently cross the lines. I'm one of those people. Playing league for me is like an extension of my high school and college team days - I captain or join teams that have the express goal of trying to win local league, Sectional, or National titles in the exact same way that my HS and college teams did. I get the same competitive thrill playing tournaments on my own, but I like pulling together good players, and USTA League is like our Davis or Laver Cup. That said, I don't see any glory in cheating to win or winning at a level that is beneath your skill or experience level, and I want the USTA to be more attentive and forceful about rooting out this type of unsportsmanlike behavior.
 
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R1FF

Semi-Pro
That is one way of looking at it I suppose. But if 90% of your matches are against people with justified fair ratings and 90% of your opponents give fair line calls (probably more like 95%) then you can either:

A. Enjoy the 90% of matches/opponents that give you solid competitive matches
B. Decide that the 10% is just too too awful and avoid the 90% as well as the 10%

I think option B is called throwing the baby out with the bath water ...... From many of your posts you are clearly an All or Nothing kind of person .... in reality there is a lot of in-between or really-darn-good.

If we insist on only living in the Perfect then we miss out on a whole bunch of good.
Fair points. But my counter is this, I dont miss out on the good. Because the USTA isnt the only place to get a competitive match.

Again, Im not asking a lot by asking they do their job at its most basic levels. Which they struggle to do. Everyone in this thread/forum describes the national events as if they’re a cheatfest. Either join in or get squashed. That sounds a lot worse than 90/10.
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
I think you just made most of my point for me. I'm saying ~90% of the usta league participants *don't care* about advancing...if it happens it happens, and even then it's a novelty (90 is just a number I'm throwing out - i think we can all agree it's very high). so the point is, for the *vast majority* of players in the system, they get a weekly competitive match with an occasional blow-out one way or the other, but largely, they are matches within a break each set, and then they drink beer with their friends. they are receiving the value they anticipated.

the much smaller percentage of obsessors, sandbaggers, etc. will do what they do, and ironically, the system provides the means for them to obsess/sandbag etc...and yet the 90% still participate.

BTW -- I agree with you the sanctioning body is lax with some of these rules/or lack thereof...maybe we agree on the same thing - that more specifically, you and I don't care about progressing thru the system.

All i'm saying is that the vast majority of their participants are receiving their perceived value, and the obsessing/sandbagging doesn't even come into play, to to make a blanket statement that the system has no value is simply not supported...does that make sense?
It would make more sense to me if the sport wasnt shrinking. Tournaments & leagues are losing numbers.

As someone relatively new to the sport, Im giving you a fresh set of eyes on some pretty glaring issues. It seems obvious why so many rec tennis olayers avoid sanctioned events. It’s not the most well run or inviting program. And as I illustrated in my ither post, this isnt a tennis only issue. Other sports have killed participation by arrogantly thinking that getting it right most of the time is good enough. The USTA is a multimillion dollar org. They can strive for better than apathy. That is, if they want the aport to grow.

I want it to grow. I’ve fallen in love with it. So I have standards. “Good enough” isnt good enough in my book.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
That is one way of looking at it I suppose. But if 90% of your matches are against people with justified fair ratings and 90% of your opponents give fair line calls (probably more like 95%) then you can either:

A. Enjoy the 90% of matches/opponents that give you solid competitive matches
B. Decide that the 10% is just too too awful and avoid the 90% as well as the 10%

I think option B is called throwing the baby out with the bath water ...... From many of your posts you are clearly an All or Nothing kind of person .... in reality there is a lot of in-between or really-darn-good.

If we insist on only living in the Perfect then we miss out on a whole bunch of good.
I agree, which is why i still play USTA.

That said, as uncommon as sand bagging and cheating are within USTA...the mere existence of such behavior isn’t what bothers me most. Rather, it’s what USTA does or is doing about it (which, from where I’m sitting, isn’t enough).
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Everyone in this thread/forum describes the national events as if they’re a cheatfest. Either join in or get squashed. That sounds a lot worse than 90/10.
Let me reframe the Nationals experience from my perspective. For an example, with the men's 3.5 Nationals this past weekend, there were 17 teams in the draw. The 2 teams that made the finals, Texas and MoValley, seem to have played loose with the ratings rules (with Texas to the largest degree). The captain of that Texas team in particular has been cheating for years and has won numerous Nationals titles at several levels as a result of skirting the rating rules. However, if you take those 2 teams out of the equation, that leaves 15 other teams that were competitive and had a good time. Did some of those other teams have some ringers? Maybe. But I bet a majority might have made it to Nationals through hard work and good luck.

I went to Nationals for the first time last year, and in 4.5+, I did not see sandbagging or cheating. My team made it there honestly, with no self rated players and no screwing around. Of course, we had to break up the 2019 team after Nationals by rule, and as luck has it, I'm going to Nationals again this year in 4.5+ with another group. Same deal. No self rated players, and the core of this team has been playing together in 4.5 for years. We just lucked into the right combos, added a few 4.5s that played elsewhere last year (like me), and ended up with a great 5.0 singles player on the roster that we didn't expect. Will we be one of the top teams at Nationals? I hope so, but we're going to have a great time no matter what happens!
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
Let me reframe the Nationals experience from my perspective. For an example, with the men's 3.5 Nationals this past weekend, there were 17 teams in the draw. The 2 teams that made the finals, Texas and MoValley, seem to have played loose with the ratings rules (with Texas to the largest degree). The captain of that Texas team in particular has been cheating for years and has won numerous Nationals titles at several levels as a result of skirting the rating rules. However, if you take those 2 teams out of the equation, that leaves 15 other teams that were competitive and had a good time. Did some of those other teams have some ringers? Maybe. But I bet a majority might have made it to Nationals through hard work and good luck.

I went to Nationals for the first time last year, and in 4.5+, I did not see sandbagging or cheating. My team made it there honestly, with no self rated players and no screwing around. Of course, we had to break up the 2019 team after Nationals by rule, and as luck has it, I'm going to Nationals again this year in 4.5+ with another group. Same deal. No self rated players, and the core of this team has been playing together in 4.5 for years. We just lucked into the right combos, added a few 4.5s that played elsewhere last year (like me), and ended up with a great 5.0 singles player on the roster that we didn't expect. Will we be one of the top teams at Nationals? I hope so, but we're going to have a great time no matter what happens!
congrats! this is precisely the experience I have not personally enjoyed, but got to travel with my wife's team and saw it first-hand. and imo this is precisely the experience/process almost all the teams are striving for and experiencing. I also agree the governing powers need to suss out the nonsense in a more proactive way. regardless, the the usta league experience is much more positive than negative imo, and, as in most organizations, the wretched few cause unnecessary headaches for everyone else...
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I concur with @Jack the Hack - my first Nationals experience was last fall in Mobile, Al for 9.0 mixed. I saw very few questionable players the whole weekend. My team was comprised of all computer rated players. We went 2-2 in round robin, but we were competitive with every team we played. 1 of the teams we lost to in RR, (Mo Valley) won the whole thing. We also had to play SoCal in RR, who @schmke had favored to win the tournament in his prediction. But we managed to squeak out a win against them, perhaps with the help of some unseasonably cold weather in morning.

By and large, the road to get there and the Nationals tournament itself was a lot of fun. I would do it again, if I got another opportunity.
 
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R1FF

Semi-Pro
Let me reframe the Nationals experience from my perspective. For an example, with the men's 3.5 Nationals this past weekend, there were 17 teams in the draw. The 2 teams that made the finals, Texas and MoValley, seem to have played loose with the ratings rules (with Texas to the largest degree). The captain of that Texas team in particular has been cheating for years and has won numerous Nationals titles at several levels as a result of skirting the rating rules. However, if you take those 2 teams out of the equation, that leaves 15 other teams that were competitive and had a good time. Did some of those other teams have some ringers? Maybe. But I bet a majority might have made it to Nationals through hard work and good luck.

I went to Nationals for the first time last year, and in 4.5+, I did not see sandbagging or cheating. My team made it there honestly, with no self rated players and no screwing around. Of course, we had to break up the 2019 team after Nationals by rule, and as luck has it, I'm going to Nationals again this year in 4.5+ with another group. Same deal. No self rated players, and the core of this team has been playing together in 4.5 for years. We just lucked into the right combos, added a few 4.5s that played elsewhere last year (like me), and ended up with a great 5.0 singles player on the roster that we didn't expect. Will we be one of the top teams at Nationals? I hope so, but we're going to have a great time no matter what happens!
I’d expect a lot less cheating at 4.5+

3.0 & 3.5 levels are where it is at it’s worst. And where it has the greatest effect on the sport’s growth.

What the OP described in this thread is unacceptable and has a very negative effect on a sport. 90/10 (or the 3.5 example you gave) might seem good enough to you, but it doesn’t take much to poison the well.

I’ll say it again, this is a basic function of a sanctioning body. Ensure fair play. If 2 teams make it to the finals via obvious cheating (and a history of it) then that is epic failure by a sanctioning body.
 
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Chalkdust

New User
I believe for most people, the main reason they play falls into one of these buckets:
1. Social aspects. It's fun to be with my friends, hit the ball around, and meet new people. Beer after the match is just as important as the match.
2. Fitness reasons: I want to get in shape and tennis is much more fun than running or lifting weights.
3. Competitive outlet: Tennis is my sport, I'm good at it, and I want to beat people in tournaments or League. Having a ranking or winning a title is part of who I am.
Spot on. Of course it's some combination of the three for most people, but different people will prioritize the reasons differently.

But, I think (3) is actually (3a) and (3b):
3a. Competitive outlet on the court, i.e. trying to beat the opponent in front of you.
3b. The meta-competition of advancing through the playoffs of USTA league tennis.

Most people are at least somewhat motivated by (3a). Which is good - it makes us want to improve our tennis game.
A much smaller percentage are motivated by (3b). Which is good - let's just say that success here requires much more than a good game.

I've enjoyed USTA league as a good way to get organized competitive matches. I could care less about team strategy, playoffs, etc - I'm happy to have my captain just tell me where to show up and when each week, and then focus on playing a good match.
 
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