Averages – Who’s responsible? By Ed Cotter

Averages – Who’s responsible?  By Ed Cotter


As a bowler I know my average on a weekly basis.  That can be good and bad.  But that’s not the only reason why I’m writing this blog.  As a tournament manager the average issue seems to come up with every tournament.  Bowlers tell me they didn’t know their average was wrong because another person submitted it.  Good reason, but not a substantiated reason.  I’m going to explain who is responsible and then the tournament average verification process.


Per USBC Rule 319.a.3 and 4 – “

3.  Bowlers are responsible for verifying his/her own average, whether submitted by the bowler, the team captain or others. If the submitted average is lower than required and results in a lower classification or more handicap, the bowler’s score is disqualified. If the submitted average is higher than required, prize winnings will be based on the submitted average. In the case of a team of two or more bowlers, the averages will be combined to determine if the correct total is higher or lower than the submitted total.

4.  Average corrections can be made up to the end of the bowler’s first game of a series. Or, if an extension of time has been granted in writing by tournament management before the end of the first game of a series, the correction can be made within 48 hours after the end of the series.”


The tournaments I have managed have always reminded bowler’s before each shift to verify their average.  Since there aren’t extensions mentioned in the rules, that means bowlers have until the completion of their first game of the series to correct their average.


When tournament managers receive applications, the average on the application is the average that will be used for the tournament.  As you can see by the rule above, regardless of who submits the bowler’s information, it is still the bowler’s responsibility to verify the information.


The average verification process, to some, may be a mystery.  Well, let’s hope this sheds some light on the mystery.  Tournament managers should be using the following average verification process:


1.       Receive applications and enter the average as it is written on the application into the tournament software.  The tournament manager doesn’t have the authority to change an average as it is written on the application, even if they know it’s wrong.  Conversely, if no average is entered the tournament manager will enter the handicap based average.  The tournament use 90% of 230, which means the bowler(s) will enter with a 230 average.  Tournament managers have enough on their plate without including calling team captains or bowlers asking about averages.

2.       During competition, the tournament manager will change averages based on information presented from the bowlers and or team captains only.

3.       After competition is complete, all shifts have been bowled; the tournament manager will review the preliminary standings.  They will ensure teams and bowlers (singles and all events) are only cashing in each event once.

4.       Now the yearbooks come out.  Notice I didn’t refer to the yearbooks until now.  The tournament manager uses the association yearbook(s) to verify the tournament average that was submitted is correct for those bowlers that have preliminarily cashed.

a.      If the tournament average is higher than the yearbook average, the tournament average is used and no average change is accomplished

b.      If the tournament average is lower than the yearbook average, the tournament manager will accomplish a handicap disqualification letter for the team and or bowler.  The bowler will be removed from any handicap consideration.  This affects all the events the bowler has participated in.  It will disqualify a team and or doubles, even if the other bowler(s) are using a correct average.


This may seem harsh and uncaring.  The bottom line is the bowler is responsible for the information the tournament manager uses for the tournament.  Hopefully, everyone knowing the process will help to prevent any future average disqualifications.  As a tournament manager, I hate writing disqualification letters, it’s the worst letter I have to write.

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