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What is GC USBC WBA?
GCWBA stands for Greater Cincinnati Women’s Bowling Association and is the organized woman’s group governed by a national organization called United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and by a state organization Ohio Women’s Bowling Association. Previously the national organization for women was called WIBC Women’s International Bowling Congress.

What happened to WIBC? A couple of years ago WIBC and the men’s organization ABC merged into one organization called United State Bowling Congress USBC to simplify duplicate procedures. Their hope is to convince the state organizations and local organizations to do the same thing. Because of the merger, USBC is now part of our organizational name: Greater Cincinnati United States Bowling Congress Women’s Bowling Association. To simplify the length we use the initials: GC USBC WBA.

Is there a GC USBC WBA office? Yes, it is located upstairs in Colerain Bowl. The address is 9189 Colerain Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45251.

Is someone there during the day and what are the hours? Yes, Sandy Purcell is our Association Manager and works Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm. You can also call 513-936-9422 anytime and if Sandy is unavailable or you have questions after hours, you can leave a message.

What is the email address?

What is Certification? Certification is the term used by USBC to obtain membership with paid dues into America’s largest participatory sport.

What are the dues? Membership dues for GC USBC WBA certification is currently $20 per year. $10 is for USBC national dues, $1 is for Ohio USBC WBA and $9 remains with your GC USBC WBA local association. These dues must be paid the first time you bowl.

I already paid dues in Hamilton and/or Middletown and I will be subbing in a league in CincinnatiDo I still pay dues? Yes, but only the local dues of $9.

I have a men's certification card. Do I still have to pay women's dues? Yes, but only the State/Local dues of $10.

Who else is involved with GC USBC WBA? The GC USBC WBA has a Board of Directors elected by the membership and consists of a president, 2 vice presidents, sgt-at-arms and eleven directors who volunteer their time; and an association manager.

What is the membership? Every lady who pays dues into the GC USBC WBA is part of the membership. Membership entitles you to vote for, and/or to be a part of the board of directors; to attend open membership meetings; to bowl in tournaments and to receive local and national awards.

What GC USBC WBA tournaments are available? Senior Tournament, for members 50 and above. City Tournament, for all members - held yearly (excluding year that our association hosts the State Tournament). Mail-O-Graphic Charity Tournament, for all certified men and women members - held during league play in February. Queen’s Match Play, for all members - held in conjunction with the City Tournament.

How do I find PayPal?  Go to

Why is there no average on my USBC cardMany of the averages on the cards were in error and new postal regulations made the mailing of the card more expensive.


  • Each league shall elect a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer each season and may elect a sergeant-at-arms. The league’s board of directors shall elect the officers unless the league rules vest this authority in the general league membership. The elections shall be conducted at a meeting held before the distribution of league awards, unless the league’s board of directors decides that they are to be held prior to the start of the league schedule. All league officers must be members of USBC. Only the offices of secretary and treasurer may be combined.
  • Two members of an immediate family cannot serve as president, treasurer or secretary-treasurer; or vice president and treasurer or secretary-treasurer of the same league or cosign for withdrawals from a league account.
  • Either league members or non-league members may hold league office. When the league requires an officer to be a league member, the board of directors shall decide whether the officer will be allowed to complete the term of office if no longer a league member. Failure to perform any of the officer duties is cause for removal from office and/or suspension of membership.  A vacancy in any office shall be filled by the board of directors.

Duties of the President

    Preside at all league meetings and enforces all rules and regulations of the league.
  • The president must arrange to have an account set up in a recognized banking institution in the name of the league with the signatures of at least two officers required for all withdrawals.
  • The president must appoint a prize committee and an auditing committee, as well as any other committees needed during the season.
  • The president must arrange to have the prize committee submit one or more prize lists for consideration by the fifth week.
  • The president must personally verify the league’s bank balance monthly. NOTE: “Verify” means the president must not only determine the amount on deposit, but also do the arithmetic necessary to determine how much should be on deposit. If the account is found to be short, the president must report the shortage immediately to USBC Headquarters for possible action under the bonding insurance policy. Audit Committee responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Receipts: Verify the amount and date of deposits.
  • Disbursements: Review canceled checks and supporting documents to determine that expenditures are proper. All checks must bear the signatures of two authorized cosigners. Checks should not be made out to cash. The checkbook should be reviewed to verify entries made and to reconcile the appropriate bank statements. The president must review the financial statement prepared by the treasurer to insure it is a fair representation of the league’s finances.

Duties of the Vice President

  • In the absence of the president, the vice president shall perform the duties of the president.

Duties of the Secretary

  • Have every participant complete a membership card application and collect appropriate membership dues. Forward the annual membership dues with completed league application and membership card applications to the local association manager(s) within 30 days after the league begins to bowl. Membership card applications and applicable fees for additional members shall also be forwarded to the local association manager(s) within 30 days of receipt.
  • Keep minutes of all league meetings, handle all league correspondence and notify the members or team captains of all league meetings.
  • Have a current standing sheet available for the members to see at each league session. The standing sheet shall contain the average, number of games and total pins for each member, and any scores eligible for special prizes the league issues.
  • Be responsible for a record of the scores bowled by all team members and substitutes, and report scores that are eligible for USBC, state and local association awards.
  • Submit a completed award application within 20 days. Notify the local association manager or authorized representative within 48 hours of scores that are eligible for USBC honor score recognition.
  • Give each member of the board a copy of the league rules and prize list and see that the league schedule is either posted in the bowling center or given to each team captain. Give a copy of the final standing sheet to the league treasurer so the awards can be distributed.
  • Turn over to the newly-elected officer all league records, such as minutes of meetings, copies of rules and prize lists, league property, etc.
  • Furnish a list of individual averages to the local association manager(s), when requested. The list must show the full names and ID numbers of all bowlers who competed in the league, the number of games bowled, total pinfall and average for each bowler.
  • On request of the local association or USBC, provide a list of names and addresses of the league officers; and the names of captains and members in the league.
  • Notify league members of all local association meetings and any proposed changes in local association dues.
  • NOTE: In leagues using a computer and/or average service, the elected secretary remains responsible for all the duties specified in Rule 102e.

Duties of the Treasurer

  • Establish a bank account in the name of the league with the signatures of at least two officers needed for withdrawals.
  • Treasurers arrange to have all league funds deposited within one week of receipt.
  • Treasurers are responsible for a complete accounting of all receipts and disbursements. On the request of the president or board, furnish a current financial statement to each team captain.
  • Treasurers distribute all prizes within 21 days after the end of the league schedule unless the board has set another time for distributing prizes, or USBC has authorized holding up payment pending settlement of a claim or protest affecting prize distribution.
  • When the prizes are distributed, give each team captain and/or member a detailed financial statement, showing all income received on behalf of the league and an accounting of all money disbursed. The financial statement must also show the prizes distributed and list to whom they were awarded.
  • Treasurers turn over all financial records to the newly-elected officer upon election.
  • All financial records, whether in possession of the former officer or newly-elected officer, shall be retained for at least 120 days following completion of the league schedule. NOTE: In leagues using in-house banking services, the elected treasurer remains responsible for all the duties specified in Rule 102f.
  • The treasurer must be eligible under the bonding requirements.

Duties of the Sergeant-at-Arms

  • The sergeant-at-arms shall perform such duties as may be required by the president or the board of directors.

Board of Directors

  • The board of directors shall consist of the officers and team captains. In youth leagues that do have a board of directors, the adult supervisor and/or official also are members of the board. All other adults are advisors.
  • The board shall govern the league with the following provisions:
  • A captain may name another team member to act as the team representative at board of director’s meetings.
  • Each member of the board is entitled to one vote whether an officer of the league, a team representative or both.
  • A majority of the members of the board constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business, unless otherwise stated in the league rules.
  • The board of directors shall be responsible for making decisions on all matters arising in the league and shall decide all protests involving USBC or league rules. The decision of the league’s board is final unless an appeal is made.
  • NOTE: When a team and/or individual is found to be ineligible under league or USBC rules, the game shall be forfeited unless there is a decision to declare the game null and void.

Captain’s Authority

  • A team captain is a member of the league authorized to organize and enter a team in league play and is the team representative.
  • The captain shall determine the members of the roster and be responsible for the eligibility of the team and its members under the rules of the league and USBC. Collect USBC, state and local association dues, where applicable, from each member of the team and remit such fees to the league secretary.
  • The captain is responsible for the conduct and attendance of the team in league play. It is within the captain’s authority to permanently remove any player from the team. If requested, good and sufficient reason for the removal must be furnished to the board.
  • Captains enter the lineup in the computer and/or on the recap sheet before the start of each scheduled series and sign the scorebooks and have the scores verified by the opposing captain.
  • The captain is responsible for the collection of league fees from each member of the team for remittance to the league treasurer.
  • The captain must pay each member of the team within 15 days after receiving prize money in accordance with verbal or written agreements. The league’s board shall decide a dispute over prize money distribution.




If an individual is absent the first night of bowling, is an absentee or vacancy score used?  An absentee score is used unless otherwise provided by league rules or past precedent established in the league That score will be 120 unless otherwise provided by league rule.

If two members are absent and only one substitute is obtained, which absentee score is used?  The absentee score of the player with the most games is used for the other player. If two absentee scores are needed after the substitute is in place, the absentee score of the absentee with the next highest number of games is used and when two absent members have the same number of games, the lower absentee score is used.

My team had a substitute bowler show up on league night to replace one of our absentee bowlers. The substitute bowled the first game and then had to leave. Is the absentee score for the remaining two games based on the regular team member’s average or the substitute’s average?  An absentee score is to be used when a member is absent and a substitute is not obtained. Since the substitute only completed the first game of the series, the absentee score for the remaining games must be based on the average of the absent regular team member.

If a member resigns from the league and the spot is not filled within two weeks (fees were paid, but there is no substitute), what score should be used... absentee or vacancy?  The absentee score should be used.


The league rule requires three games be bowled to establish an average. A member bowls a 120 for game one and a 150 for game two and cannot bowl game three. What score is used for the missed game? How are average and handicap figured? In a handicap league, if a bowler does not have an entering average or until they meet the requirement(s) defined by league rule, handicap is based on the average of all games bowled. In the example given, the score for game three would be calculated by adding games 1 and 2 together (120 + 150 = 270 actual pinfall), then dividing by total games bowled (270 ÷ 2 = 135 average). This will give you the bowler’s average which is used for handicapping purposes. To determine the absentee score for game three, the bowler would use the established average less ten pins (135 - 10 = 125 absentee score) unless league rules state otherwise.

The playing strength of the league is four; our team has six players on the roster. One of the four players scheduled to bowl could not make it. The entering average of the absent player with the most games puts the team over the league cap. What should the captain do? It is the team captain’s responsibility to ensure the eligibility of the team. Therefore, the captain must change players to meet the cap. If it is not possible to meet the cap, a postponement should be requested.


If the team captain is also an officer, can they vote as a captain and as an officer? No. Each member of the board is entitled to one vote, whether a league officer, team representative or both. A captain may designate another team member to act as the team representative at board meetings.

When games bowled are protested, what decisions may the board make? The board should first determine if the protest was filed within the time limits prescribed in Rule 119. If the protest is timely, the board can declare game(s): Forfeited: If a rule was violated. Null and void and rebowled: If a rule was violated, but was not complied with due to misinformation or mitigating circumstances. If games are declared null and void, the board should make another decision as to whether the games should be rebowled. Stand as bowled: If it is found there is no cause for action.

The board decides to null and void the games of two teams involved in a protest. What happens to the original games bowled? Both team and individual records are eliminated. This includes wins and losses, averages, prize consideration, etc. In other words, a null and void game no longer exists. The series scores are deleted from the bowler’s average records as of the date of the decision. For example, if an individual bowled a 498 series December 3 and the board ruled the match null and void January 7, the 498 series is subtracted from the total pins in the average record and total number of games as of January 7. A new average is computed. The same holds true for all other bowlers with games declared null and void. If a USBC award is earned and the scores declared null and void by the league board, the null and voided scores may be recognized for USBC awards and the league secretary should file an award application. When the match is rescheduled, the current average is used for handicapping purposes and lineup changes may be made.

May a captain change the lineup from game to game?  Yes. Unless it is a match point league or there is a league rule to the contrary, a captain may change the lineup from one game to the next. Rule 106b, Item 1, states that once a game has started, no changes to the order can be made after the start of a game. The rule does not place a restriction on making changes during a series. A captain may change the order of the players, replace a substitute with a regular member or make any other lineup change from one game to the next.


Altering the surface of a bowling ball by the use of abrasives while bowling in USBC competition is prohibited. The use of approved cleaning agents such as isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and polishing machines is permissible. All bowling balls so altered must be removed from the competition. (Go to Chapter 7, Section 2, for additional information.) NOTE: If it is shown the bowler had prior knowledge his/her actions were in violation of Rule 18, the game(s) in which the violation occurred is (are) subject to forfeiture. In addition, the bowler is subject to dismissal from the league and suspension of membership. Competition is defined as the remainder of the current game and remaining game(s) in the series being bowled.

A tournament consists of doubles and singles events. The singles event is bowled first immediately followed by the doubles. Can I sand my bowling ball between events?
No, Rule 18 does not allow the outer surface of any bowling ball to be altered with an abrasive after the start of competition. This includes balls that have not yet been introduced into play. The start of competition is defined as the point the first ball is thrown by any participant for score. Since the tournament is conducting singles and doubles concurrently, you cannot alter the surface of the bowling all (including sanding) between events.


In league or tournament play, a dead ball shall be called and the player or players required to rebowl on the correct lane when:
    a. One player bowls on the wrong lane.
    b. One player from each team on the pair of lanes bowls on the wrong lane.
If more than one player on the same team bowls on the wrong lane in turn, all deliveries stand as bowled. Upon discovery, bowlers shall complete subsequent frames on the correct lanes.

The third bowler notice the first two bowlers on each team bowled on the wrong lane. Does the game continue on the incorrect lanes until the game is finished?  No, in 2006 the rule was changed. As stated above, if more than one player on the same team bowls on the wrong lane in turn, all deliveries stand as bowled. Since the third bowler noticed the error, she is to bowl on the correct lane.


Following is the procedure to be used for prebowling or postponements:
1. When teams are bowling in direct opposition, the captains of the teams involved shall agree to a date for bowling the prebowl/postponed match. If within one week from the date originally scheduled, the captains agree on a date, the league secretary shall set a date and notify both team captains of the date and time. This notification should be given at least three days prior to the date.
2. The league secretary or designated representative shall notify the bowling center of the change in schedule and arrange to have a pair of lanes available.
3. Games must be bowled under the same regulations and rules governing league play.
4. Handicap is figured as of the date/time the games are bowled. All games bowled prior to the prebowled or postponed match shall be included in determining handicap
5. Prebowled or postponed games shall be included in the average record as of the date bowled.
6. Games can be made up on any certified pair of lanes.
7. Scores qualify for league awards, unless otherwise provided by league rule.
8. Unopposed pre or post bowled scores will be eligible for USBC Awards except High Score Awards.

If a team is granted a prebowl or postponement and the opposing team is not notified, are the games forfeited?  When bowling unopposed, the opposing team does not have to be notified (or agree to a date) prior to the time of bowling, unless otherwise provided by league rule. If the league rules are silent regarding team bowling unopposed, the games stand as bowled. As a courtesy, the opposing team should be notified.

What average and handicap is used for a prebowl and/or postponement? The averages and handicaps as of the date the games are bowled must be used in both postponed and prebowled games. All games bowled prior to the postponed or prebowled games are used to determine average and handicap.

When teams prebowl or post bowl unopposed, can the opposing team see the scores bowled by the team bowling first?  There is no USBC rule to prevent the opposing team from seeing the scores. When a league allows teams to bowl unopposed, rules can be adopted to govern this situation.

What USBC awards can not be earned when pre- or postbowling unopposed? 300 Game, 11 in a Row plaque for 299, 298; 900 & 800 Series; Baker 300 Game

If the unopposed pre- or postbowling session is completed on the same date as the league’s regular session but only at a different time, will those games be eligible for USBC High Score awards? No. Since the games are bowled outside of the regularly scheduled league session (both date and time), the Rule 111e, Item 8, would apply and those games would not be eligible for USBC High Score awards.

If our league has an uneven number of teams, will the team opposing the non-existent team be eligible to earn USBC High Score awards?  Yes, provided the games are bowled during the regularly scheduled time, there will be no effect on USBC High Score award eligibility. However, if the team should bowl the match at a time other than the regularly scheduled time, this would be considered an unopposed pre- or postbowl. Rule 111e, Item 8, would then apply and those games would not be eligible for specific USBC High Score awards.

Our league rules allow both individuals and teams to prebowl. Can the league secretary hold the prebowled scores and apply them to individual average records on the date the prebowled games are bowled for?  No. When individuals or teams are granted permission to prebowl for a specific league session, the scores at the time bowled become an immediate part of the bowler’s average record. Upon any successive competition in the league, the individual’s average must include all prior games bowled for purposes of determining handicap.

Will prebowled or postbowled scores count for league awards? The pre- or postbowled scores are eligible for all league awards, unless the league has adopted a rule otherwise. This includes scores pre- and postbowled unopposed.

Will individuals receive any USBC awards when pre- or postbowling unopposed?  Yes, average-based single game and series awards and those listed in USBC Rule 52a will be issued for accomplishments.

If two teams from the same league are scheduled against each other and pre- or postbowl the games together, do they qualify for USBC High Score awards?  Yes. Matches bowled in direct opposition qualify for USBC awards.

If two teams from the same league NOT scheduled against each other, pre- or postbowl the games together, do they qualify for USBC High Score awards?  No. While two teams from the same league are bowling together, they are not bowling in direct opposition because their scores are not being compared against each other to determine wins or losses. This is considered an unopposed situation; therefore, those games would not be eligible for specific USBC High Score awards.

If the league session is cancelled and rescheduled at a time different from our regularly scheduled time, do the scores bowled qualify for USBC High Score awards?  When the league session is rescheduled, it is treated as a regularly scheduled session. Games bowled will be eligible for all USBC High Score awards. If teams choose not to bowl at the rescheduled time, and bowl those games unopposed at a different time, those games would be affected by the rule change and would not be eligible for specific USBC High Score awards.


When a dead ball is called, the delivery does not count and the correct pins must be respotted. The player is allowed to rebowl that delivery.
A ball shall be declared dead if any of the following occur:
    a. After a delivery, attention is immediately called to the fact that one or more pins were missing from the setup.
    b. A human pinsetter interferes with any standing pin before the ball reaches the pins.
    c. A human pinsetter removes or interferes with any downed pin before it stops rolling.
    d. A player bowls on the wrong lane or out of turn, or one player from each team on the pair of lanes bowls on the wrong lane.
    e. A player has physical contact with another person or moving object as the ball is being delivered and before delivery is completed. In such case, the player has the option to accept the resulting pinfall or have a dead ball called.
    f. Any pin is moved or knocked down as a player delivers the ball but before the ball reaches the pins.
    g. A delivered ball comes in contact with a foreign obstacle.

If an individual bowls out of turn does the delivery count? No, according to Rule 8, Item d, a dead ball would be declared and the correct bowler is then required to continue play.

A player made the first delivery when the pinsetting machine was set on the second cycle. Seven pins were knocked down and the remaining pins were swept away as the machine reverted to cycle one. Should a dead ball have been declared and the pins reset? Since the bowler made a legal delivery and the pins were properly set, there would be no basis for declaring the first delivery a dead ball. The three pins left standing would be reset for a second delivery in accordance with Rule 6b.

On the second delivery, the sweep bar comes down and deflects the ball before it can make contact with the remaining pins. When this happens, what should we do? According to Rule 8, Item g, a dead ball is declared when a player’s ball comes in contact with any foreign obstacle. The sweep bar is considered a foreign obstacle, and the player is required to have the pin(s) remaining respotted and rebowl the second ball.


If a bowler uses his/her opposite hand to make a delivery during a game, what happens? If an individual does not have permission from the league’s board of directors, a league officer or the league board would then have the following options within the timelines as stated in Rule 119. ★ Declare the individual’s game forfeited: The bowler would receive zero for the game. (Note: Scores bowled by the other team members not in violation stand as bowled.) ★ Declare the team’s game forfeited: The team would receive zero for the game. (Note: The individual in violation would receive zero. However, scores bowled by the other team members counts toward their individual averages and league awards unless the league rules state otherwise.)

A bowler decides to throw at a spare by delivering their bowling ball between their legs. Would this be considered a change in delivery and a violation of Rule 118b? The bowler has changed or deviated from their normal delivery which is a violation of Rule 118b. This rule provides a penalty of forfeiture of the individual’s/team’s game in which this action occurred.

May a bowler switch his/her delivery after the start of the season due to injury? Yes. However, the bowler is required to obtain permission from the league’s board of directors. If the bowler were later able to return to their original hand delivery, permission would again have to be obtained from the board. No combination of scores bowled both right- and left-handed can be used in computing an average. Therefore, two separate averages would have to be maintained. A bowler who switches without permission forfeits those games.


When a team is bowling in a known forfeit situation, the following procedures shall apply:
1. The forfeiting team is not to receive any point(s).
2. Unless the league rules have stated another number, to earn the point(s):
    a. An individual must bowl at least his/her average less ten (10) pins.
    b. Teams must bowl at least the team average less ten (10) pins per player.
3. Points not won by the individual and/or team for failing to bowl the prescribed score should be recorded on the standing sheet as “unearned” points.
4. The following applies to players on the forfeiting team:
    a. Those who are present may bowl, but the scores shall not be included in the team’s total pins.
    b. Scores bowled in accordance with this procedure shall be counted toward averages and qualify for league prizes, unless the league rules state otherwise.
    c. Scores shall qualify for USBC awards.

What is a known forfeit? The team bowls knowing the opposing team is not eligible to receive any points due to an apparent rule violation. For example, an opposing team lacks a legal lineup or the opposing team is over the average cap. To promote a competitive atmosphere, the non-forfeiting team must earn the points.

What is an unknown forfeit? The team bowls unaware that a forfeit will be declared. For example, it was found out immediately after bowling the opposing team used an ineligible player. The forfeiture would have to be acted upon within the specified timelines of Rule 119. The forfeiting team does not receive any points and the non-forfeiting team is automatically credited with all of the points.

If a team does not show up and a postponement was not requested, does the team present get all the points? In instances where the reason for absence is unknown, the team present must earn the points and should be advised that the absence may be due to an emergency. A league officer should call the captain to determine whether something unforeseen occurred. If an emergency exists, advise the absent team they have the right to request an emergency postponement within the time constraints of Rule 119. See Rule 111c for information on emergency postponements.

When a team loses a game by forfeit, how do you determine who wins the point for total pins? When a team forfeits a game, the team score for that game is zero. Add zero to the scores bowled in the other games in the series and compare that total to the opposing team’s series total.

A team meets the prescribed score (team average less ten pins per player) in a known forfeit situation. Do they split the point? No. When a team meets the prescribed score, the point(s) is (are) earned. There are no ties in this situation.

If a team has to forfeit because an ineligible player is used, what happens to the scores bowled? An ineligible player’s score becomes zero, and the game(s) is (are) not included in their average. The team’s score for the forfeited game(s) is (are) also zero. However, the scores bowled by the eligible players are counted toward their averages and any individual prizes.

In our league, we figure team and individual averages after bowling three games. On the first night, if a team is bowling in a forfeit situation, how would you determine whether the team “earned” points for the three games since averages are not established until the series completion? The team would have to wait until the end of the series to figure individual and team averages. After the team average is computed, deduct 10 pins per player to determine the score the team had to bowl, or exceed, to be credited with “earned” points. If the team does not earn points, they are listed on the standing sheet as “unearned.”


The foul line is of infinite length including walls, flooring, posts and ball returns. A foul is not committed when foreign objects such as pens, jewelry, coins, cigarettes, etc., drop from a bowler’s pocket or fall from a person’s body or clothing. (Footwear and clothing are considered part of the body.) A player should request permission to cross the foul line to retrieve any items that have fallen beyond the foul line.

What happens when there is a dispute over a foul call? According to Rule 10, a provisional ball should be thrown when there is a controversy. A provisional ball or frame shall be bowled when a protest involving a foul, cannot be resolved by the two team captains. When a dispute over a foul occurs, the player shall complete the frame and then bowl one provisional ball. The score sheet or printout and a record of both scores for the frame in which the provisional delivery is made, shall be kept. The protest must be referred to the league’s board of directors for a decision.

A player goes over the foul line while retaining possession of the ball. Is this considered a foul? No, a legal delivery must be executed for a foul to be committed. A legal delivery is made when the ball leaves the player’s possession and crosses the foul line into playing territory.

A member of a team crosses onto an adjacent approach when making a delivery. Is this considered a foul? A foul is not called when a bowler crosses onto an adjoining approach area. However, if the bowler steps over the foul line on that lane, it is considered a foul.

Is a foul called when the ball rolls over the foul line during delivery and the foul detector is activated? The bowling ball is not considered a part of the bowler’s body. If the bowler did not step on or go beyond the foul line, a foul is not recorded.

What happens if our foul lights are not available? If not available the opposing captains call fouls or designate someone to act as a foul judge. Under these circumstances, members of the league should be advised the captains are responsible for the calling of fouls or they are to designate someone to act as a foul judge.


What is USBC and How Do I Join? Membership in USBC is composed of adults and youth who have paid the appropriate USBC, state (if applicable) and local association dues. Membership in USBC may be obtained through a league, tournament, chartered association, Alliance-at-Large and via Upon completing a membership application card and paying the appropriate dues, an individual becomes a member of USBC plus one USBC local and one USBC state association.

A new member who joins a summer league after March 15 of the current season shall, at the time the individual files his/her application for membership, pay only those annual USBC, state and local dues that are then known to be, or to become, effective for the next season. Upon payment of such dues, the individual shall be granted membership in USBC and applicable state and local associations for the balance of the current season and the next season.

A bowler must pay dues in each local association in which he/she applies for membership and/or bowls, except as provided in Rule 100e, Traveling leagues, 100l, Mail-o-graphic leagues or if the associations have a reciprocal agreement to waive dues. When a bowler joins a local association, he/she shall join the applicable state association. Regardless of the number of state and local associations in which an individual holds membership, they shall pay current USBC national membership dues only one time.

Upon obtaining membership in USBC each member agrees to be bound by all final decisions of USBC concerning application or interpretation of USBC Bylaws, playing rules and other matters relating to the sport of bowling as governed by USBC.  Contact the Gr. Cincinnati USBC WBA office 513-936-9422.

What are the membership dues? Adult membership dues are $17. $10 is for USBC (national), $1.00 is for OHIO USBC WBA (state) and $6.00 is for GC USBC WBA (local).

When are these dues paid? Adult bowlers are required to pay membership due by the completion of the bowlers first series bowled. Members should keep their paid receipt until new membership card is received.

How long does the membership last? Membership card purchased for the winter season are from August 1 through July 31. If the membership card is purchased after March 15, membership will be for the summer league and continue through the winter season. For membership to be effective as of the date purchased in a league, the league secretary must forward the league membership dues, application cards and league application to the local association within 30 days. Otherwise, membership benefits are not effective until the date received at the local association office. Possession of a valid membership card entitles the bowler to participate in all USBC competition for which they are otherwise qualified.

Does USBC recognize WIBC and ABC Permanent Membership? Former ABC Lifetime and WIBC Permanent Membership will be recognized by USBC Headquarters. Membership dues will be credited by USBC to the appropriate state and local association(s) upon submission of the membership application. In addition, USBC will reimburse membership dues for one local association and one state association per season.

What is an Associate Membership? Associate membership is available to individuals who do not obtain membership through a USBC league subject to the following: The associate membership dues shall be: Adult – National dues ($10) plus the actual dues charged by the local and state association the bowler is joining. When associate membership is obtained after March 15, the individual shall become a member for the balance of the current season and the next season. When local and state dues are not known, adult associate dues will be $21 ($10 national, $10 local, $1 state)


We use automatic scoring machines, and one night a team’s scores were accidentally erased in the eighth frame of the first game. A printout was not available, so the league secretary allowed the team to reconstruct the scores. Was this procedure correct?  If the teams in question are able to agree, the scores could be reconstructed and, if necessary, the games continued from the point of interruption. If the official record is mutilated, lost, defaced, or the captains cannot agree on the scores, USBC holds games in question should be rebowled.

Does the board have to make a decision on a verbal protest?  No, however the president may call a meeting to address a verbal protest. USBC Rule 119 requires the board to act on all written protests filed within specific timelines.

Can a rule be changed after the start of the season. Yes, as long as The board of directors (league officers and team captains) vote unanimously to have it changed.

If a rule is adopted or changed after the league schedule starts, when does it become effective? When a league adopts new or changes existing rules, the rule revisions become effective immediately upon adoption and cannot be made retroactive.


If the league rules state no substitutes will be permitted the final two weeks of the schedule, can a substitute be used in the playoff? A playoff is not considered part of the last two weeks of the schedule. If substitutes are permitted during the regular season, they would be acceptable as eligible players unless a league rule specifically states that substitutes are not permitted in the playoff.

What average and handicap are used in a playoff? Unless otherwise provided by league rules, the players involved use their average and handicap as of the date the playoff is bowled. For example, if a league bowls a split season, and the playoff for the first half is not bowled until after three weeks into the second half, the average and handicap for the playoff includes all the games already bowled in the second half.

What happens if there is a three-way tie for first place or a trophy position? Total pins from the playoff will determine the winner unless otherwise provided in league rules. Four adjoining lanes would be used, starting lanes would be selected by draw, and teams would rotate after each game as follows:

If a tie still exists after a playoff series is completed, how is the tie broken? In the absence of a league rule stating otherwise, when a tie still exists at the end of the playoff, each team will bowl an additional frame. This frame is to be bowled by each team on the lane where it bowled the final frame of the last game and is scored like the tenth frame. If the tie is still unbroken, the teams involved alternate lanes for the additional tenth frame needed to break the tie. This frame stands alone to determine the winner and is not added to the previous playoff game total. In a handicap league, one-tenth of the handicap is added to the 10th frame score.

When there is a tie for the winner of the first half in a split season, when should the playoff be conducted? The playoff should be bowled as soon as possible. It is not necessary or recommended that teams wait until the end of the season to break a tie for first place in the first half.


If teams bowl against the wrong opponents during the position round or regular schedule, can the games be bowled over, or can the scores be compared with the proper opponents? USBC holds the games stand as bowled and are entered in the record for games won or lost as well as for individual averages. The league continues with the regular schedule after discovering the error. Comparing scores with the proper opponents changes the competitive circumstances under which the match was bowled.

The league bowls a position round the last week and after bowling, there is a tie for first place. Do the teams involved bowl another complete 10th frame to determine the champion? No. According to Rule 113a, a playoff would be bowled to determine the champion. In accordance with Rule 113b, Item 1(a), if the league does not have rules to govern the playoff, it would be conducted under the same rules that apply during the regular season. For instance, if the league bowls three games each session using the seven-point system (two points awarded for each game, plus one point for total pins), the playoff would consist of three games using the seven-point system. Another complete 10th frame is bowled only if a tie still exists at the end of the playoff.

How are lanes assigned for position matches? There are several possibilities, and a league can adopt the format its members prefer. The most common method is to schedule the first and second place teams on the first pair of lanes; the third and fourth place teams on the next pair, etc. Another possibility is to have one team captain for each match draw for a pair of lanes. The only basic requirement is teams be scheduled against opponents according to league standings. If the league does not have a rule on assigning lanes, the board makes the decision. (See Rule 103b.)

Can a substitute be used in a position round or a playoff? Yes, a substitute may be used provided the league has not adopted a rule stating otherwise.


What is considered sufficient cause for an emergency postponement? An emergency is defined as an unforeseen combination of circumstances, making it impossible for a team to field a legal lineup. The reasons for not being able to bowl would not have to be catastrophic — just beyond the control of the team members. Although each reason by itself might not be considered an emergency, the combination of circumstances happening at the same time is considered an emergency. For example, if a five-person team knew a player was to be out of town and thought they could field a legal lineup, but prior to bowling, another bowler fell ill and the next had to work late, the team could request an emergency postponement.

After a bad storm, all but two teams were able to field legal lineups. Are these two teams entitled to emergency postponements when all the other teams in the league were able to get to the lanes? Yes, weather conditions which prevent a team from fielding a legal lineup are classified as emergencies. Leagues must grant postponements for emergencies when a team fails to appear for its scheduled match due to reasons beyond its control. Adverse weather conditions are sufficient reason to grant a postponement without advance notice. Members must realize all bowlers do not face the same driving conditions or circumstances, so the ability of an individual to drive under adverse conditions cannot be used as a basis for declaring games forfeited.

What happens when a team cannot field a legal lineup or does not appear and no prebowl or postponement is requested? A forfeit is issued. However, the forfeiting team has up to 15 days to protest the forfeiture and request an emergency postponement according to Rule 119. If the scheduled games are within the final two weeks of the schedule, the team must protest and request an emergency postponement within 48 hours of the final date of that schedule.

Who has the authority to call off bowling for the entire league because of bad weather? While there is no specific rule giving the authority to cancel bowling because of inclement weather, decisions made by league officers have been consistently upheld. The officers should be acting in the league’s best interest. To be assured they are making the correct decision to cancel bowling, the officers should conduct a telephone poll of board members. If a majority vote supporting the decision is obtained, it is in line with Rules 103b and 111d, Item 1, which authorize the board to decide on postponements.

Can a league allow an officer to grant postponements?  A committee consists of one or more individuals. Although we recommend a postponement committee of three, including the league secretary, it is acceptable for the president to appoint an officer to make the decision. All protests or challenges regarding postponements or prebowls are decided by the board. If a team cannot bowl at the regularly scheduled time, can they call the bowling center, bowl and turn the scores into the desk or league secretary? No. A team cannot pre- or postbowl without permission. Contacting the center does not fulfill the requirement to receive permission to pre- or postbowl. Only a committee or the board of directors can grant a prebowl or postponement.

Can a league adopt a rule allowing the opposing team captain to grant postponements? No. The opposing team captain has neither the authority nor the responsibility to make that decision. When a request for a postponement is made, it is up to the league’s board of directors or postponement committee to decide what is sufficient cause to grant the postponement. The requirement is to assure that a team’s right to request a postpone-ment is protected and to be certain a team is not required to forfeit points because the opposing team might not grant a postponement.

If a team is granted a prebowl or postponement and the opposing team is not notified, are the games forfeited? When bowling unopposed, the opposing team does not have to be notified (or agree to a date) prior to the time of bowling, unless otherwise provided by league rule. If the league rules are silent regarding team bowling unopposed, the games stand as bowled. As a courtesy, the opposing team should be notified.

What average and handicap is used for a prebowl and/or postponement? The averages and handicaps as of the date the games are bowled must be used in both postponed and prebowled games. All games bowled prior to the postponed or prebowled games are used to determine average and handicap.

When teams prebowl or post bowl unopposed, can the opposing team see the scores bowled by the team bowling first? There is no USBC rule to prevent the opposing team from seeing the scores. When a league allows teams to bowl unopposed, rules can be adopted to govern this situation.

Does a postponement have to be requested prior to the scheduled night?  According to Rule 111d, a team must request a postponement at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled match, except for emergencies. If an emergency exists, the request should be made as soon as possible.

How is the decision made to grant a prebowl or postponement? The committee and/or board should carefully consider the reasons for each postponement request and be consistent in their decision-making. Although reasons for requests do not have to be catastrophic or an emergency, it is the committee or board’s decision whether or not to grant the prebowl or postponement. When a committee consists of more than one person or the board makes the decision, a majority vote is required. The decision can be made at a meeting or via a telephone poll of all committee/board members.

How is a postponement for the entire league rescheduled?  To reschedule a postponed league session, the proprietor should be consulted and the decision is made with agreement of the league board under Rule 103b. The season could be extended with the missed session bowled the following week and each succeeding week advanced. If arrangements can be made with the proprietor, the postponed games could be bowled any time lanes are available. Most importantly, ensure that everyone concerned understands how the rescheduling will be done.


We had an individual/team prebowl because they had to work. Later they found out that they would not have to work on that date so they appeared at the lanes to bowl. Can the league secretary throw out their scores and allow them to bowl?  No. When an individual or team receives permission from the league and completes their prebowl, they have exhausted their eligibility for that league session. The league’s board of directors has the authority to declare the prebowled scores null and void only if a rule was violated or due to mitigating circumstances. However, the change in the individual’s work schedule does not fall into either of these categories, therefore, the scores would stand.

The league had a team prebowl for a specific league session. The team prebowled and then, due to severe weather, the league cancelled bowling on that date and resumed the following week. What happens to the prebowled scores?  The prebowled scores must be applied to the league session they were intended for. If the team prebowled and the league session was subsequently cancelled, the prebowled scores are then applied to the rescheduled league session. The team would not be permitted to rebowl that week as their scores have already been recorded and their eligibility exhausted. The league board has the authority to null and void scores only due to a rule violation or mitigating circumstances. However, these circumstances would not be sufficient cause for the board to take such action.


What is the Procedure for filing a Protest?  The league’s board of directors shall first decide on all protests as stated in Rule 103b. Protests are decided by the league official/supervisor in Youth leagues that do not have a board.

1. Written protests are filed with a league officer and shall be filed within 15 days of the series being bowled except:
        a) A protest resulting from competition in the final two weeks of a league schedule shall be filed within 72 hours of the final date of the league schedule or the end of a segment if the league bowls a split season.
        b) A protest involving league playoff games shall be filed within 72 hours.
2. Unless a protest is confirmed in writing, the series or decision stands.
3. The board’s decision shall stand, unless a timely written appeal is filed with the local association or USBC Headquarters. The local association’s decision can be appealed to USBC Headquarters.
NOTE: League protests received by local associations or USBC Headquarters that have not initially been decided by the league’s board of directors will be returned to the league for a decision.

Appeals shall be filed in writing within:
1. 15 days of notification during the regular schedule.
2. 72 hours when notification occurs:
        a) In the final two weeks of the league schedule.
        b) At the end of a segment if the league bowls a split season.
        c) After the league schedule has ended.
        d) As a result of playoff competition.

Prizes for positions involved cannot be distributed until the protest or appeal is resolved. NOTE: A copy of the appeal should be filed with a league officer.


A substitute is a bowler who replaces another who is scheduled to participate in a USBC league, or bowls for a team with an incomplete roster. NOTE: When a substitution is made during a game in a handicap league, each player receives 1/10 of his/her single game handicap for each frame bowled. For example, an original player with a single game handicap of 19 pins completes six frames and a substitute with a single game handicap of 22 pins completes the remaining four frames: Original player 1/10 of 19 = 1.9 pins x 6 frames = 11.4 or 11 pins. Substitute player 1/10 of 22 = 2.2 pins x 4 frames = 8.8 pins or 8 pins. The fraction is dropped from each individual’s handicap, not from each frame. In leagues using the team method of handicapping, the same procedure is used. Determine the team handicap with the original player and with the substitute in the lineup. Then apply the handicap based on the number of frames completed by each player.

In my league, there are five members on each team, we would like to carry six members so we can rotate each week. We were told that another bowler would be considered a substitute. Can we add another member who bowls only for us and is a full-fledged member?  The league decides the team playing strength, but each team is allowed to determine if there will be additional members, unless league rules limit the roster. If your league did not adopt a rule limiting each team to five members, additional member(s) could be added to the team roster.

May a substitute bowl one game with one team and bowl the remaining two games with another team?  If a league did not adopt a rule to allow a substitute to bowl with more than one team in a match, a substitute cannot compete on more than one team in the same scheduled match. For example, a substitute could not bowl with a team at the regularly scheduled time and then again with another team that may have been granted permission to postpone that match.

Our team has six members on its roster, but only five members bowl each week. Can the additional member on our roster bowl with another team on league night?   Yes, additional roster members may bowl with other teams as substitutes when they are not scheduled to bowl with their team, unless league rules state otherwise or the league has a past precedent of not allowing these substitutions. If there is a question on the past precedent of the league, the league’s board of directors must meet and make a decision by majority vote.

May a league adopt a rule stating no new members be allowed for the last few weeks of the season, the position round or for the playoff?  Yes, however, according to Rule 107c, Item 9, a team must be allowed to add players when its roster is less than the playing strength of the league. For example, if the playing strength is five, teams must be allowed to have at least five members. A rule limiting additions or replacements to a team after a certain date may not be enforced if the team does not have the full playing strength on the roster. After the playing strength is reached, the league rule should be enforced, and a team is not allowed to add members to the team.


When a league has an uneven number of teams, the team scheduled against the nonexistent team cannot be credited with the points by forfeit. The Earn the Points system is used unless the league’s board of directors, by majority vote, decides to use the Bye or Draw System. The following procedures apply for each system:
    1. Earn the Points:
        a. An individual must bowl at least his/her average less ten (10) pins and/or teams must bowl at least the team average less ten (10) pins per player, unless the league’s board states another number. 
        b. Points not won by the team for failing to bowl the prescribed score should be recorded on the standing sheet as “unearned” points.
    2. Draw System:
        a. Teams bowling the vacant team will draw a team or be scheduled against another team from the league to earn points.
        b. The scores bowled will be used as if bowling in direct competition with the drawn/scheduled team. 
    3. Bye System:
        a. Team scheduled against the vacant team does not bowl.
        b. Position standings shall be determined on a percentage basis.
In all cases, the games bowled by the team that withdrew or was dismissed must stand.

What do we do if our league starts the season with an uneven number of teams and a team is added during the season? USBC recommends the board meet and choose one of the following options:
    Option 1: The league allows the new team to make up the games unopposed and match the scores with teams that previously bowled what was considered a nonexistent team.
    Option 2: The entering team is not allowed to make up games and the position standings are figured using a percentage basis.

What do we do if our league starts the season with an even number of teams and a team is added during the season?  If the league adds a new team during the season giving it an uneven amount of teams, the league board has the following options:
    Option 1: The entering team is not allowed to make up missed games and the position standings are figured on a percentage basis.
    Option 2: The league allows the new team to bowl against their averages in making up any missed games.
    Option 3: The league utilizes the draw system whereby the team bowling unopposed draws another team in the league and their scores are compared with that team to earn points.
No matter which option the league chooses, the league’s schedule must be changed to reflect the new number of teams now bowling in the league.


What happens when members withdraw from a league during a season?  If a team or individual must withdraw, the following prodecure is to be followed:
    a.  Two weeks notice must be given along with sufficient cause for resigning. 
            --  A team shall give notice to the league secretary. 
            --  A member resigning from a team shall give notice to the captain and the league secretary. 
    b. The resigning member(s) must pay league fees for two weeks if the bowler is not replaced within that period.
If proper notice and sufficient cause is not given, all franchise, prize and any other money for which the team or individual may have been eligible will be forfeited, unless the league’s board determines otherwise. In addition, the member(s) shall be subject to suspension of USBC membership.

Can the league adopt a rule requiring a league member’s resignation to be in writing? No, Rule 114a does not require written resignation, so a league requirement would not be enforced by USBC. If the captain was aware a bowler did not plan to return and the secretary was notified, then the notification requirement under Rule 114a would be fulfilled, even though the league rule has not been complied with. When a resignation is challenged, the question to be answered is whether those involved were aware the individual had actually resigned.

If management has banned a league member from the center, do they qualify for prize money through the league? When a league member has been banned from the center, it is considered a forced action. The member removed qualifies for a portion of the team prize money prorated on the number of weeks the individual contributed to the prize fund.

When a league member has been banned from the center, is the member required to provide a two-week notice? No. A member banned from the center is considered a forced action. Therefore, the individual is no required to provide a two-week notice as stated in Rule 114a.

If a team member resigns or is replaced during the season, are they entitled to share the team’s prize money? Regardless of how long bowlers compete with a team, they qualify for a prorated share of the team’s prize money provided they resigned in accordance with Rule 114a or were replaced by the team captain. The team captain is to pay each member of the team within 15 days after receiving prize money in accordance with any verbal or written agreements. USBC holds that prize distribution among team members is a team matter. When a member has bowled part of the season and is unable to be a member at the end of the schedule, it is common practice for teams to prorate prize money between the member who resigned and the replacement based on the number of games each bowled and paid for during the season.