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Gaon213

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Reply with quote  #1 
I an the commissioner of a Men's league and have been hearing rumors flying around about a team that likes the "shave pins" in games that they have a big lead or deficit to keep their averages down. The league does have cash prizes, and this team has accumulated over $1200 in winnings throughout the season. In the second to last week of the season I have received complaints from 3 people that saw one specific bowler put his ball away and roll a house ball for the final 3 frames of the last game. I got the scores from the lanes and his last game is very suspicious. Starts with 5 strikes and 2 spares in the first 7 frames, then a gutter first ball in frames 8 and 10, with a 7 split then - in the 9th. This particular bowler is new to the league and currently has a 163 average with 8 games under 130 and 8 games over 200. This team is in first place going into the playoffs, but that is all of the real hard evidence I have against them. I did speak to their team captain after hearing some rumors, but of course he denied that they would ever do that. Has anyone faced a situation like this and if so, how was it handled? What kind of sanctions were imposed if any?

Thank you
Fordman

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Do these bowlers have USBC averages from past years?
bowl.com goes back to 1999 or 98. 
Check their averages the last 3 years.  See how they match up with current averages.
It is difficult to prove that they are cheating.  You can rerate their averages if you get some data.
You must give them a verbal warning first then call a board of directors meeting and confront them. 
Hopefully you are in a Certified league or you have little or no recourse.
Your profile tells us nothing no area or anything about what kind of league it is. 
Most leagues are invitational leagues and if they are cheating tell them not to bother coming back next year.  CONTACT YOUR LOCAL ASSN.  That is why you pay dues.

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Gaon213

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Thank you for your reply. The league is not certified, and the bowler in question has not been in a league in 15 years, so he claims (cannot find any past avg online). The other bowlers in the league that I've spoken to about this think that we should remove him (possibly the entire team) from the league for next season, but I'm not sure that I want to set a precedent of getting rid of bowlers or teams with little evidence of cheating. Then again, I don't want them to think they can get away with it without any recourse. As you can tell, I'm very much on the fence on how to handle this.
Fordman

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When looking for a bowlers avg. onbowl.com remember you only need the first 3 letters of the 1st name the last name must be exactly right.  Try all combinations like rob and bob or rich or dick.  You also have the option of state or zip code.
Remember maybe he gets lucky sometimes and isn't a cheat. 

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Pullmyfinger

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Reply with quote  #5 
Only problem is if they do like to "shave pins" it's probably not something they just started doing this season. They're probably seasoned vets. 
themrfreeze

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If it's not a sanctioned league and you don't have any league rules regarding the situation then you're out of luck in terms of "punishing" them for cheating.  Then again since it's not a sanctioned league there's nothing that says you can't simply throw the team out of the league on a whim.

SpinBowler300

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Reply with quote  #7 
Situations like this are the #1 reason I will not bowl in a non-certified USBC league. Even if the USBC isn't perfect, it can help in situations like this.

As for your problem? You're screwed. You have no leg to stand on. Let them finish the season and don't let them come back next year or next season. Consider certifying your league next time.

People say it's just a "fun" league. Sure, until something like this happens and ruins it for everyone. At least you would have the USBC rule book and rules department to fall back on if you certified.


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Fordman

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Reply with quote  #8 
Or as you said, you are the Commissioner deem all the points they won forfeited.  What can they do?
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Gaon213

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Reply with quote  #9 
Fordman, thanks for the reply.

I'm hesitant to just come down with an iron fist given most of my evidence against them is circumstantial. Plus the league is 64 guys who all live within a few towns of me with kids around the same age, I don't want to have bad blood with people I may run into socially.
themrfreeze

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Reply with quote  #10 
If you get a report that they're doing this again, go over and watch them.  If you see them intentionally sandbagging then as a league official go right up to them and tell them that they forfeit their points for the night due to sandbagging.  Maybe after you do it once they'll get the idea that they're not going to get away with it and will stop.  Or, they'll decide the league isn't worth it and leave.  Either way you win.

CObowler

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Reply with quote  #11 
Any action against a team or individual must be rule-based, no matter how obvious the sandbagging or pin-shaving.

A league cannot take away earned points just because someone bowls a few games well below their ability level or screws around in the final frames of what in basketball is "garbage time" -- when the game and series are already decided. 

Using previous year book averages for the first few weeks of the season may help, if the bowlers in question actually have book averages.  Unsanctioned (or as they now call it, "uncertified") leagues tend not to report scores from previous years anywhere, so everyone starts each league with a blank history.   

The best solution I have found against sandbagging is having a balanced competitive league with teams close together in overall average.  A high handicap percentage like 90% makes more games and series close enough that sandbaggers cannot always afford to waste enough frames to drop the average more than a few pins.  

One idea that may be too labor-intensive for most league secretaries:  use a separate rolling average for handicap only.  The way this works is the league drops each bowler's highest and lowest X number of games (perhaps 20%) and calculates a handicap-basis average on the other 60%.  For example, when a bowler has completed 30 games, drop the high 6 games and the low 6 games and figure the average on the other 18 games.  This will negate the obvious sandbagged games.  Likewise, this will not penalize the honest bowler who bowls a career series in the early weeks and now loses handicap pins with that higher-than-normal average.
themrfreeze

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CObowler
Any action against a team or individual must be rule-based, no matter how obvious the sandbagging or pin-shaving.

In a sanctioned league, agreed.  In an unsanctioned league, anything goes.  Unless the league has their own set of rules and/or bylaws, the league officers can do whatever they like.  
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