Standard USAPA Sanctioning

Rev. 4/13/20

Standard USAPA Sanctioning

Sanctioning is the process through which the USAPA grants qualifying tournaments the Sanctioned designation. A Tournament Director who applies and receives sanctioning agrees to meet and abide by all the sanctioning requirements, therefore the TD and the players who participate in a sanctioned event are eligible to receive the benefits associated with sanctioning.

The USAPA offers 2 sanctioning options: Standard and Medal Match Plus (MMP). Both options require TDs to abide by all sanctioning requirements with this modification: standard sanctioning requires all matches to be refereed, and MMP sanctioning allows a modified referee requirement.

Sanctioning Benefits to Tournament Directors  sanction logo

By agreeing to abide by the sanctioning requirements, Tournament Directors receive the following benefits:

  • General event liability insurance (pdf)
  • Use of the sanctioned logo in all event media
  • Secondary accident insurance for USAPA members
  • Free listing and flyer attachment on the USAPA tournament calendar
  • IFP rules apply, approved playing formats and all matches officiated by referees
  • Discounted fees when using
  • Support from USAPA Tournament Sanctioning Staff
  • Increased participation. Players prefer events run in accordance with all USAPA rules
  • Public acknowledgement that your local organization supports the USAPA – governing body of pickleball


Sanctioning Benefits to Players

Players receive the following benefits at no additional cost:

  • Secondary Accident Insurance (USAPA Members)
  • All matches referee officiated
  • Tournament results are used to calculate USAPA Tournament Player Ratings (UTPR) with a 100% weight factor
  • Standardized and Approved IFP Rules and playing formats will be used
  • Accurate bracketing and seeding using the official USAPA ratings makes for a more competitive and fun tournament for all participants




For a tournament to be granted sanctioning, the Tournament Director must follow the application process and abide by all sanctioning requirements.

  • Submit Standard Application
  • Submit Sanction Fee
  • Submit TD checklist
  • Declare and use a USAPA approved tournament ball
  • Use software (automatic USAPA member verification and data linked for ratings)
  • Follow all USAPA/IFP rules
  • Submit Results Report



Sanction Application

The Tournament Director or sponsoring club must complete and submit a USAPA Tournament Standard Sanctioning Application at least 30 days prior to the registration opening date. The USAPA Tournament Coordinator is responsible for approving or denying all sanctioning requests.

Do NOT open tournament registration until the tournament status 

has been updated from ‘pending’ to ‘sanctioned’

Items required before tournament is updated from ‘pending’ to ‘sanctioned’

  • submit sanction fee
  • declare tournament ball
  • submit Tournament Director Checklist

USAPA Sanction Application – Standard


Payment of Sanction Fee

After the sanctioning request has been approved by the USAPA Tournament Coordinator and the Sanction Fee has been paid, the Tournament Director may advertise that they are sanctioned by the USAPA. If the sanction fee has not been received at least 10 days before the start of the tournament, sanctioning may be withdrawn. After receiving payment of the sanction fee the USAPA will advertise the tournament on the Schedule page of the USAPA website and will and display the sanctioning logo. The “USAPA Sanctioned Event” logo will be supplied via email to the tournament director and may be used in all tournament media.


Tournament Director Checklist

The Tournament Director must agree to complete and submit the Tournament Director Checklist.


Tournament Management Software

Tournament directors must use the tournament software management system because of ratings automation and the data links between USAPA and


USAPA Membership

Beginning January 1, 2016 a player in any/all USAPA sanctioned pickleball tournaments will be required to be a current member of the USAPA before playing any match in the tournament.


Approved Ball

Before a tournament is USAPA sanctioned, the tournament director must declare the make and model of the ball that will be used.  The ball must be listed on the IFP/USAPA list of Approved Balls. Until the approved ball is declared, the sanctioning status will remain as ‘USAPA pending’.


Tournament Rules

The tournament director must follow all IFP Official Tournament Rules.


Results Reporting

Within one week of the end of a tournament, completed results must be reported to the Tournament Results Chair . USAPA member numbers and expiration dates must be included to ensure accurate identification.




Tournament Director Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Tournament Director to be certain that players are competing in the correct events based on age or rating. For a list of Approved Events Click here. Allowing ineligible players to compete in a bracket impacts the sanctioning. Questions about combining brackets can be addressed to: USAPA Tournament Coordinator. If any players join or renew USAPA membership at the tournament, please let us know. A player’s age in a sanctioned tournament will be determined by the player’s age on December 31. An exception will be made if a state senior games organization mandates a different date in their tournament.


Rating Skills

The ratings for many USAPA members are in the USAPA rating system and can be viewed on the USAPA Ratings page. This is most important for skill-level tournaments. Ratings are also important for seeding players within events. If a player is not rated they can self-rate.


USAPA Membership Forms

Arrange for a USAPA Ambassador to be available during the duration of the event to promote the sport, answer questions regarding membership for players who wish to join the USAPA or renew their memberships and field any other questions from players and/or spectators. New memberships and membership renewals along with their checks must be sent to: USAPA, PO Box 7354, Surprise, AZ 85374.


Designing Tournament Entry Forms

Be sure to include spaces for player member number, membership expiration date, name, address, email, skill level, age, phone#, emergency contact and any other pertinent information.




Insurance Request

USAPA-sanctioned tournaments are insured by a General Liability Policy and Participant Accident Policy. The general liability insurance provided with USAPA sanctioning is in effect when the Tournament Director requests a certificate for proof of insurance (Click here). The certificate should be requested at least 30 days before the start of the tournament. A certificate will only be issued upon request and after receipt of the sanction fee.


Non-Sanctioned Events

USAPA sanctioned tournaments that wish to offer non-sanctioned events, such as demonstrations, clinics, and co-occurring tournaments, should, if possible, offer these events on days either before or after the dates set for sanctioned tournament play.

If holding these events before or after the tournament play dates is not possible, all non-sanctioned events must be disclosed in the application process and approved by the USAPA before they can be publicized and held.

If the tournament director or organizer receives approval by the USAPA to conduct a non-sanctioned event with its sanctioned tournament, the director or organizer agrees and acknowledges that:

  1. The event is not covered under any USAPA-issued certificate of insurance unless the certificate explicitly states that it is covered;
  2. Players participating in the non-sanctioned event are not covered by any USAPA insurance policy unless the certificate explicitly states that they are covered;
  3. USAPA player ratings will not be awarded; and
  4. The tournament director or organizer will communicate the above four conditions to the event participants in the disclosure materials and application forms (electronic or otherwise) furnished to them.

At the discretion of the USAPA, tournament directors and organizers who attempt to circumvent the sanctioning process in any way or who offer contemporaneous unapproved events with a USAPA sanctioned tournament will not receive sanctioning approval or will have their sanctioning revoked.


Wheelchair Players

In accordance with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act, the USAPA will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities.  Rules for wheelchair players are in the IFP Rulebook or you can click here to view them.



Entries are defined as one doubles team or one singles player. The tournament shall be open to all players who meet the general requirements of any tournament, such as age or skill level. Entries may be limited by geographical locations such as city, county, regional, or state residency. Draw sizes in events may be limited because of court availability, but must take entrants in the order they are received.


USAPA Right of Refusal

USAPA reserves the right to refuse to sanction tournaments, list tournaments on the USAPA website/calendar, or accept advertising where a tournament director has:

  • Not complied with USAPA policies or rules
  • Disparaged the USAPA
  • Created deceptive or confusing forms, advertising or promotional materials wrongly implying or stating USAPA involvement in the tournament or making other factual misstatements that could mislead players on significant matters. This includes duplicating major USAPA tournament names, with terms such as “National”, “Regional”, etc. where USAPA deems the term is in direct conflict with an existing USAPA event.



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