Sunday, July 13, 2014

When is a USTA NTRP computer (C) rating not really a C rating?

A lot of people that play USTA are aware of the general rules regarding self-rated (S) players being subject to three strike disqualifications.  This is where a new player goes through the self-rating process to get assigned to an NTRP level but, whether innocently or deliberately, they self-rate too low and end up being promoted up a level mid-year and results to date are usually reversed as well.  This process is in place to try to catch players that self-rate too low as it is unfair to the established players at that level.

What not so many may be aware of is that there is also a process where a grievance can be filed against a player asserting that they self-rated incorrectly and should be playing at a higher level.  Specifically, USTA documents state:
Any league captain, coordinator or member of a championship committee has the right to file a NTRP Grievance against a player and/or captain. The grievance will claim that the player and/or captain committed or condoned obtaining a Self Rate or possesses a rating which is at a lower NTRP level but has demonstrated the ability to compete at a higher NTRP level.
They also mention:
  1. The Grievance must be against a player of the following rating types: This list includes S, M, T, Dynamic Early Start League and Medical type ratings. A player with a valid NTRP Computer (C) rating, a Benchmark (B) rating, or a granted Automatic Appeal of a Computer (C) rating is not subject to a NTRP grievance.
  2. The complaint must state that the player has self-rated or possesses a rating which is too low and may also include information that a team captain or other person conspired to obtain that incorrect rating.
    I have bolded and underlined the important part for the purposes of the following discussion.

    I was recently made aware of an interesting NTRP rating grievance where a C rated player had a grievance filed against them and it was upheld!  This would seem to be in direct conflict with the grievance protocol documented above.

    The situation is a high schooler new to the game self-rates as a 3.0 a few years ago but only plays in leagues that don't count towards his rating so he doesn't get a C rating.  His game improves and he ends up appealing up and/or self-rating again at 3.5 in a following year and does play Adult and gets a 3.5C rating at the end of last year.

    What he fails to disclose or use when self-rating again however is that he did end up playing in high school nor does he mention that he walked on at a small Division II school and played there with meager success.

    He plays this year with his 3.5C and does very well winning all of his matches, but some in match tie-breaks and only one that would really be considered a lopsided win.  Nevertheless, someone files a grievance against him citing his playing history in high school and college that would arguably require he self-rate at 5.0.  The committee agrees and he gets DQ'd up to 5.0!

    So apparently, at least in this section/district, a C rated player can have a grievance filed against them.

    Should the player have self-rated at a higher level when they redid it after walking on at a division II college?  Yes, and there are provisions for doing so at the right level and then appealing down.  But is he playing at a 5.0 level?  Almost certainly not, my ratings have him as a likely bump up to 4.0 at year-end, but nothing egregious seems to going on here.

    I understand the grievance is being fought, so perhaps this isn't over yet, and if I hear more I will share it.  But beware C rated players, you may not be as golden as you thought.