USAR Official Rules & Regulations

B - Officiating

B.1 Tournament Management

A designated Tournament Director shall identify the various officials and manage every USAR sanctioned tournament.

B.2 Tournament Rules Committee

The Tournament Director should appoint a Tournament Rules Committee to resolve any disputes that the referee, tournament desk, or Tournament Director cannot resolve. The committee, composed of an odd number of persons, may include state or national officials, or other qualified individuals in attendance that are prepared to meet on short notice. The Tournament Director should not be a member of this committee.

B.3 Referee Appointment and Removal

The principal official for every match shall be the referee who has been designated by the Tournament Director, or a designated representative, and who has been agreed upon by all participants in the match. The referee's authority regarding a match begins once the players are called to the court. The referee may be removed from a match upon the agreement of all participants (teams in doubles) or at the discretion of the Tournament Director or the designated representative. In the event that a referee's removal is requested by one player or team and not agreed to by the other, the Tournament Director or the designated representative may accept or reject the request. It is suggested that the match be observed before determining what, if any, action is to be taken. In addition, two line judges and a scorekeeper may
also be designated to assist the referee with officiating the match.

B.4 Rules Briefing

Before all tournaments, all officials and players shall be briefed on rules as well as local court hinders, regulations, and modifications the Tournament Director wishes to impose. The briefing should be reduced to writing. The current USAR rules will apply and be made available. Any modifications the Tournament Director wishes to impose must be stated on the entry form and be available to all players at registration.

B.5 Referees

(a) Pre-Match Duties. Before each match begins, it shall be the duty of the referee to:

1. Check on adequacy of preparation of court with respect to cleanliness, lighting, and temperature.

2. Check on availability and suitability of materials to include balls, towels, scorecards, pencils, and timepiece necessary for the match.

3. Check the readiness and qualifications of the line judges and scorekeeper. Review appeal procedures and instruct them of their duties, rules, and local regulations.

4. Go onto the court to make introductions; brief the players on court hinders (both designated and undesignated); identify any out-of-play areas [see rule 2.1(a)]; discuss local regulations and rule modifications for this tournament; and explain often-misinterpreted rules.

5. Inspect players' equipment; identify the line judges; verify selection of a primary and alternate ball.

6. Toss coin and offer the winner the choice of serving or receiving.

(b) Decisions. During the match, the referee shall make all decisions with regard to the rules. Where line judges are used, the referee shall announce all final judgments. If both players in singles and three out of four in a doubles match disagree with a call made by the referee, the referee is overruled, with the exception of technical fouls and forfeitures.

(c) Protests. Any decision not involving the judgment of the referee will, on protest, be accorded due process as set forth in the constitution of the USAR. For the purposes of rendering a prompt decision regarding protests filed during the course of an ongoing tournament, the stages of due process will be:

1. first to the tournament desk,

2. then to the Tournament Director,

3. and finally, to the tournament rules committee.

In those instances when time permits, the protest may be elevated to the state association or, when appropriate, to the National level as called for in the USAR constitution.

(d) Forfeitures. A match may be forfeited by the referee when:

1. Any player refuses to abide by the referee's decision or engages in unsportsmanlike conduct.

2. Any player or team who fails to report to play 10 minutes after the match has been scheduled to play. (The Tournament Director may permit a longer delay if circumstances warrant such a decision.)

3. A game will be forfeited by the referee for using an illegal racquet as specified in Rule 2.4.

(e) Defaults. A player or team may be forfeited by the Tournament Director or official for failure to comply with the tournament or host facility's rules while on the premises between matches, or for abuse of hospitality, locker room, or other rules and procedures.

(f) Spectators. The referee shall have jurisdiction over the spectators, as well as the players, while the match is in progress.

(g) Other Rulings. The referee may rule on all matters not specifically covered in the USAR Official Rules. However, the referee's ruling is subject to protest as described in B.5 (c).

B.6 Line Judges

(a) When Utilized. Two line judges should be used for semifinal and final matches, when requested by a player or team, or when the referee or Tournament Director so desires. However, the use of line judges is subject to availability and the discretion of the Tournament Director.

(b) Replacing Line Judges. If any player objects to a person serving as a line judge, before the match begins, all reasonable effort shall be made to find a replacement acceptable to the officials and players. If a player objects after the match begins, any replacement shall be at the discretion of the referee and/or Tournament Director.

(c) Position of Line Judges. The players and referee shall designate the court location of the line judges. The Tournament Director shall settle any dispute.

(d) Duties and Responsibilities. Line judges are designated to help decide appeals. In the event of an appeal, and after a very brief explanation of the appeal by the referee, the line judges must indicate their opinion of the referee's call.

(e) Signals. Line judges should extend their arm and signal as follows:

(i) thumb up to show agreement with the referee's call,

(ii) thumb down to show disagreement, and

(iii) hand open with palm facing down to indicate "no opinion" or that the play in question wasn't seen.

(f) Manner of Response. Line judges should be careful not to signal until the referee announces the appeal and asks for a ruling. In responding to the referee's request, line judges should not look at each other, but indicate their opinions simultaneously in clear view of the players and referee. If at any time a line judge is unsure of which call is being appealed or what the referee's call was, the line judge should ask the referee to repeat the call and the appeal.

(g) Result of Response. The referee's call stands if at least one line judge agrees with the referee or if neither line judge has an opinion. If both line judges disagree with the referee, the referee must reverse the call. If one line judge disagrees with the referee and the other signals no opinion, the rally is replayed. Any replays, with the exception of appeals on the second serve itself, will result in resumption of play at first serve.

B.7 Appeals

(a) Appealable Calls and Non-Calls. In any match using line judges, a player may appeal any call or non-call by the referee, except for a technical foul or forfeiture.

(b) How to Appeal. A verbal appeal by a player must be made directly to the referee immediately after the rally has ended. A player, who believes there is an infraction to appeal, should bring it to the attention of the referee and line judges by raising the non-racquet hand at the time the perceived infraction occurs. The player is obligated to continue to play until the rally has ended or the referee stops play. The referee will recognize a player's appeal only if it is made before that
player leaves the court for any reason including timeouts and game-ending rallies or, if that player doesn't leave the court, before the next serve begins.

(c) Loss of Appeal. A player or team forfeits its right of appeal for that rally if the appeal is made directly to the line judges or, if the appeal is made after an excessive demonstration or complaint.

(d) Limit on Appeals. A player or team can make three appeals per game. However, if either line judge disagrees (thumb down) with the referee's call, that appeal will not count against the three-appeal limit. In addition, a potential gameending rally may be appealed without charge against the limit--even if the three-appeal limit has been reached.

B.8 Outcome of Appeals

Everything except technical fouls and forfeitures can be appealed. The following outcomes cover several of the most common types of appeal, but not all possible appeals could be addressed. Therefore, referee's discretion and common sense should govern the outcomes of those appeals that are not covered herein:

(a) Skip Ball. If the referee makes a call of "skip ball," and the call is reversed, the referee then must decide if the shot in question could have been returned had play continued. If, in the opinion of the referee, the shot could have been returned, the rally shall be replayed. However, if the shot was not retrievable, the side that hit the shot in question is declared the winner of the rally. If the referee makes no call on a shot (thereby indicating that the shot did not skip), an appeal may be made that the shot skipped. If the "no call" is reversed, the side that hit the shot in question loses the rally.

(b) Fault Serve. If the referee makes a call of fault serve and the call is reversed, the serve is replayed – unless the referee considered the serve to have been irretrievable, in which case a point is awarded to the server. If an appeal is made because the referee makes no call on a serve (thereby indicating that the serve was good) and the "no call" is reversed, the result will be a fault serve.

(c) Out Serve. If the referee calls an "out serve", and the call is reversed, the serve will be replayed, unless the serve was obviously a fault too, in which case the call becomes fault serve. However, if the call is reversed and the serve was considered an ace, a point will be awarded. Also, if the referee makes no call on a serve- thereby indicating that the serve was good--but the "no call" is reversed, it results in an immediate loss of serve.

(d) Double Bounce Pickup. If the referee makes a call of two bounces, and the call is reversed, the rally is replayed, except if the player against whom the call was made hit a shot that could not have been retrieved, then that player wins the rally. (Before awarding a rally in this situation, the referee must be certain that the shot would not have been retrieved even if play had not been halted.) If an appeal is made because the referee makes no call thereby indicating that the get
was not two bounces, and the "no call" is reversed, the player who made the two-bounce pickup is declared the loser of the rally.

(e) Receiving Line Violation (Encroachment). If the referee makes a call of encroachment, but the call is overturned, the serve shall be replayed unless the return was deemed irretrievable in which case a side out (or possibly a handout in doubles) should be called. When an appeal is made because the referee made no call, and the appeal is successful, the server is awarded a point.

(f) Court Hinder. If the referee makes a call of court hinder during a rally or return of serve, the rally is replayed. If the referee makes no call and a player feels that a court hinder occurred, that player may appeal. If the appeal is successful, the rally will be replayed. If a court hinder occurs on a second serve, play resumes at second serve.

B.9 Rule Interpretations

If a player feels the referee has interpreted the rules incorrectly, the player may require the referee or Tournament Director to cite the applicable rule in the rulebook. Having discovered a misapplication or misinterpretation, the official must correct the error by replaying the rally, awarding the point, calling “Side out”, or taking other corrective measures.