Monday, October 31, 2016

USTA League rule changes for 2017

Every year, the USTA publishes a new set of regulations and usually makes a few tweaks or changes to some of the rules.  Here is a summary of what is changing for 2017.

To start, and this is not new news, but to reiterate, Early Start Ratings are gone.  They were not published in 2016 for 2017 early start leagues and players simply played on early start teams based on their 2015 year-end NTRP level.  However, these players will not be eligible to play at Nationals at that level if they are bumped up at the end of 2016.  Each section gets to decide how long a bumped up player may continue at the lower level and some will let them play through Sectionals and others won't.

Something I've written about before are the rules regarding seniors for being (or not as the case may be) bumped up.  The prior rules said players 65 year of age or more simply wouldn't be bumped up.  This was a bit crazy, it was arguably discrimination to not allow a player to have their improvement be recognized and thankfully for 2017 this has changed.  Now players will be bumped up, but allowed to appeal down rather than simply not being bumped up.  Note if they do appeal, they will be subject to strikes and disqualification now.

Also regarding appeals, in the past, anyone that played in a championship (playoffs, i.e. Districts, States, Sectionals, Nationals) was not eligible to appeal their rating down.  The rule has now changed to say that only players that play at Nationals will be ineligible to appeal down.  Players that played in earlier stages of playoffs will be eligible to appeal down, but of course must meet the appeal criteria for it to be granted.

Note that I gleaned these changes from a draft of the 2017 regulations from earlier this year, so this is not the final regulations, but it is the currently linked document on TennisLink.