Highlights and Rules Changes from 2010 USBC Annual Meeting by James Goulding III

Highlights and Rules Changes from 2010 USBC Annual Meeting

by James Goulding III

Hello fellow bowlers!  Here I am again blogging just after midnight EST in Maine, and I have many topics running through my head.  One of which was the annual USBC meeting which was just held on May 1, 2010 in Reno, NV.  There are numerous changes that come up for review as it applies to league, tournament, and format rules every season, and most of the time bowlers are only informed of those changes when a violation of a newly adapted rule takes place.  Well, to try to avoid such a situation for the upcoming 2010 – 2011 bowling season, I am going to list the approved rules changes as well as some of the other highlights of the annual meeting, and give a synopsis of my personal view on how some of (if any) of the rules changes may actually affect bowlers out there.

Program Changes

  •  USBC will offer a new credit card partnership with Nationwide that gives card users free USBC national membership and other bowling-related benefits.
  • USBC will put the U.S. Women’s Open on hiatus for 2011.
  • U.S. Bowler magazine will be an electronic-only publication, while U.S. Youth Bowler will continue to be mailed to homes.
  • The 2011 USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships will be broadcast exclusively on BOWL.com.

James’ opinion on the program changes:

Two of the changes I am fine with, which is the new credit card partnership and the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships being broadcast on bowl.com.  But, I do not agree with suspending the U.S. Women’s Open or eliminating the mailing of U.S. Bowler magazine.  I think that there are some great female bowlers out there who have shown that they deserve every benefit the men receive as far as tournament availability goes.  The fact that women like Kelly Kulick can compete with (and beat) the men proves that point.  The USBC will say that women are allowed to bowl in the regular U.S. Open, but, I believe that women having their own U.S. Open was something special, and I do not agree with suspending it at all.  Also, I enjoy the U.S. Bowler magazine.  There are some really good articles, coaching tips, and bowling ball advertisements in the magazine.  I may still check it out online, but I am much more inclined to pick it up and read it if it comes in my mail rather than having to hunt it down on bowl.com, which is not exactly the user-friendliest site out there (in case you haven’t noticed).

League Rules Changes

  • Amendment No. LR2 (Approved)
    Rule 102c. Duties of the President, Item 3
    Requires bank statements to be sent to the president.
  • Amendment No. LR3 (Approved)
    Rule 102f. Duties of the Treasurer, Item 7
    Changes the time frame for retaining treasurer records from 120 days to one year from completion of the season.
  • Amendment No. LR5 (Approved)
    Rule 106a. Series – How Bowled
    Allows for each game or frame to be bowled on a different pair of lanes.
  • Amendment No. LR6 (Approved)
    Rule 111c.
    Gives leagues more flexibility for requesting pre/post bowling.

James opinion on league rules changes:

I am actually fine with all four rules changes for leagues next season.  I think that the LR5 Amendment which allows for each game or frame to be bowled on a different pair of lanes is an interesting change.  This could allow for some really neat alternate format leagues that may swap pairs of lanes each game, making it more like some tournament bowling that I have done, like the USBC Masters, for instance.  It is also good to have treasurer records kept for up to one year, just in case a discrepancy arises and those figures need to be retrieved.  I will be curious to see the exact wording of the pre/post bowling rules change in the new rule book, as it is pretty vague right now.  I am not sure what they mean by “more flexibility” for requesting pre/post bowling.

Tournament Rules Changes

  • Amendment No. TR2 (Approved)
    Rule 319a. Conditions that Apply
    Treats all averages, including summer averages the same.
  • Amendment No. TR6 (Approved)
    Rule 320a. Two Lanes Required
    Allows for each tournament game or frame to be bowled on a different pair of lanes.
  • Amendment No. TR7 (Approved)
    Rule 329. Protests and Appeals
    Changes the time frame for protesting rule infractions to 72 hours and the time frame for appealing tournament management’s decision to 10 days.

James’ opinion on the tournament rules changes:

Now that I am a tournament manager, I have a problem with the wording of Amendment No. TR7, which “changes the time frame for protesting rule infractions to 72 hours and the time frame for appealing tournament management’s decision to 10 days”.  Now, the old rule stated that you had to appeal before tournament prizes are paid out, which is normally 30 days, and now will be 10 days, which I think is fine.  But, for example, the tournament I run is the Maine Invitational Scratch Tournament, and it is a one day tournament where prizes are paid out the same day.  So, that 10 day appeal rule for tournament manager’s decisions doesn’t make sense since we pay out the same day.  The old rule said protests have to be filed by the completion of such a tournament, but there is no mention of that language in the rule amendment.  I am going to reserve final judgement of this until the amendments have been applied fully to the new rule book, but, just try to be aware of this possible change it you either a) have a tournament appeal to make, or b) are a tournament manager taking the appeal from a bowler.

USBC National Bylaws Changes

  • Amendment No. B1 (Approved)
    Article VI, Meetings
    Section A. Annual Meeting, Item 2
    Provides for electronic balloting as the final system used for voting, unless the president determines the circumstances require a different method.

James’ opinion on the national bylaws rules change:

I really don’t have much of an opinion on this one, except that electronic balloting may take some human error out of the equation for voting, which is probably a good thing overall.

Here are a few other interesting tidbits from the annual meeting:

  • Darlene Baker, Mahomet, Ill., was named USBC president at the Annual Meeting. She is the first female president in the history of the organization. Baker will begin her term Aug. 1. The remaining board officers will be announced following the June board meeting.
  • USBC once again generated significant financial support for charity. USBC Bowl For The Cure led to a more than $1.1 million donation to Susan G. Komen For The Cure at the 2010 meeting. Contributions to Bowlers to Veterans Link from USBC were nearly $826,000, an increase of more than $100,000 from the previous year.
  • Creation of a new independent corporation to oversee and manage SMART (Scholarship Management and Accounting Reports for Tenpins) funds. The corporation will have its own board of directors comprised of bowling industry leaders with financial backgrounds.



I have been highlighting approved rules changes, as well giving my personal opinion on each type of change, but there are many more rules changes that were rejected that I did not touch upon.  If you would like to check those out, as well as the official summary from the USBC about the annual meeting, please follow the link below:


The only rejected rule change I will talk about is the one that rejected going up on national and state dues for the USBC.  There was a proposal to go from $10 to $15 on a national level, as well as go from $1 to $2 at the state level, and both were rejected.  This is a change that I agree with, to an extent.  Since the USBC has significantly cut down on the type and number of awards given out, I do feel that freezing dues is in order at this time.  I think bowlers would have a hard time stomaching a dues increase when they are getting less recognition of accomplishments from the USBC.  But, I think it would be better if, overall,  the USBC researched how much of a dues increase it would take to get back some of the awards they have cut back on in recent years, and then went ahead with that proposal, instead of just freezing dues and cutting back on awards.  If that means going from $10 to $15 or so, I think most bowlers would be o.k. with that providing that they get the proper recognition again from the USBC in the form of national awards being expanded once again.  That is my take on it anyway.  I know many bowlers who are upset that such awards as the Big 4 and 7-10 split have been removed, as well as the 299 and 298 rings.  Those are just a few examples, but if the USBC actually listened to the bowlers on this subject, I think they would come to a different conclusion than just freezing dues for another calendar year.

In closing, I would like to say that I have tried to highlight some changes for bowlers to look at, and get familiar with, before the start of the 2010 – 2011 bowling season.  It is always nice to be up to date on the USBC rules manual, because you just never know when an obscure rule you never heard of before ends up changing the course of a night of bowling for you.  As always, the opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, and do not represent those of the MSUSBC or any of its members.  Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment on anything you read in the blog.  I will respond to your questions or comments ASAP, and enjoy the interaction with all of you bowlers out there who care enough to read and post on the blog.  Good luck and good bowling!

James Goulding III

Maine Invitational Scratch Tournament Manager




4 responses to “Highlights and Rules Changes from 2010 USBC Annual Meeting by James Goulding III

  1. Nice post. I agree with the tournament changes you mentioned. Increasing the time frame allowed for protest will impact prize fund payouts. I almost see the same day payouts becoming extinct. I agree that I don’t like postponing the women’s US Open.

    One I disagree with you on is the collegiate competition on bowl.com only. I pay enough for tv (satelite or cable) as it is, then have to pay for Xtra frame so I can watch collegiate competition, give me a break. My son and I were able to watch the collegiate this year and loved it on ESPN 2.

    I would be for a small fee increase if the awards were brought back to previous season standards and not once in a lifetime. USBC is considering, if not already implemented, a once in a lifetime process. If this is the case, then USBC should be able to bring back all awards without a fee increase. Bowlers would only receive one award for their lifetime versus each season. A fee increase to bring back awards and limit them to once in a lifetime will not go over well with me.

  2. William H Kichline Jr

    I am interested in you interpretation of rule 12. Some bowlers have a habit of putting their rosin bags on the ball returns and the scoring tables. Many time they fall on the floor in the vicinity of the approach. this rosin when contacted by your sliding sole causes on to stick when trying to slide during delivery of the ball. will rule 12 include this type of event?

  3. William H Kichline Jr

    I am interested in your interpretation of rule 12. Some bowlers have a habit of putting their rosin bags on the ball returns and the scoring tables. Many times they fall on the floor in the vicinity of the approach. This rosin when contacted by your sliding sole causes one to stick when trying to slide during delivery of the ball. will rule 12 include this type of event?

  4. Here is Rule 12 from the USBC manual, for anyone else wondering about William’s comment:
    “Rule 12. Approaches Must Not Be Defaced

    The application of any foreign substance on any part of the approach that detracts from the possibility of other players having normal conditions is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to talcum powder, pumice and resin on shoes, and/or soft rubber soles or heels that rub off on the approach.”

    William, I think it depends on one main factor as far as a rule violation in the instance you mention:

    Intent. If a bowler intentionally meant to deface the approach by stepping in the rosin on purpose, then it certainly violates the rule. But, if it was un-intentional and it was just an accident that it happened, then no violation occured. Even if it WAS done intentionally, it needs to be brought up to a league or tournament official, and the offending bowler has to be given the opportunity to stop using the substance before any suspension or other action is applied. Now, if that bowler refuses to stop using ANY substance that defaces the approach, like rosin, then they can be removed from play and their scores forced not to count. Either way, whether intentional or not, the substance needs to be removed and the approach cleaned so that it does not keep affecting every bowler on the pair of lanes.

    Personally, if there were enough rosin on the telescore or pit area where bowlers could step in it, I would approach the bowler(s) who had the rosin down there and tell them to move it before you get an official to force them to move it. Better to be proactive then retroactive about something like that. I hope that helps William. Thanks for the comment!

    James Goulding III
    M.I.S.T. Tournament Manager

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