USAPA Sanctioning Requirements
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 Only (MMO). Standard Sanctioning requires all matches to be refereed. MMO is a one time waiver request with a modified referee requirement—requires only the following matches to be refereed:
- medal matches
- the match leading up to the bronze match
- all round robin matches
As a requirement of the MMO sanctioning option, tournament directors must provide an opportunity for referee training during or before the event. USAPA recommends a referee training class conducted by a certified referee prior to the event with an option of referee shadowing during the event.
Sanctioning Benefits to Tournament Directors
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 matches officiated by referees
- referee all matches – standard sanctioning
- referee all specified matches – MMO sanctioning
- Discounted fees when using pickleballtournaments.com
- 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
- all matches – standard sanctioning
- specified matches – MMO sanctioning
- Rating recommendations and/or reevaluation of rating for qualifying players
- Unrated players can receive a USAPA skill rating following the event
- Standardized and Approved IFP Rules and playing formats will be used
For a tournament to be granted either Standard or MMO sanctioning, the Tournament Director must follow the application process and abide by all sanctioning requirements.
Both options must meet all of the following requirements.
- Submit Application
- Submit Sanction Fee
- Submit TD checklist
- Verify current USAPA Membership for all players
- Use a USAPA approved tournament ball
- Follow all IFP rules
- Submit Results Report
The Tournament Director or sponsoring club must complete and submit a USAPA Tournament Sanctioning Application at least 60 days prior to the scheduled event. The USAPA Tournament Coordinator is responsible for approving or denying all sanctioning requests.
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 add the words “USAPA Sanctioned (Tier #)” 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.
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.
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’.
The tournament director must follow all IFP Official Tournament Rules.
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 Management Software
Tournament directors are highly encouraged to use a tournament software management system such as pickleballtournaments.com, which is approved for all tournaments. PickleballTournaments.com includes USAPA membership verification capability and reporting. If using other software, Tournament Directors are required to obtain and report all players USAPA Member numbers and membership expiration dates in addition to submitting tournament results.
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.
A player’s rating is not required to participate in a tournament but is helpful. The ratings for many USAPA members are already 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. Tournament Directors are encouraged to assign a rating to unrated players, based on observation of the player’s ability combined with the IFP Rating Descriptions.
The tournament director is encouraged to submit ratings for non rated USAPA members and players whose ratings should be changed after the tournament. For questions and/or recommendations email: email@example.com.
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.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
USAPA-sanctioned tournaments are insured by a General Liability Policy and Participant Accident Policy. The insurance is automatic if the tournament has been sanctioned. Only if required by the owner of the venue, the Tournament Director may request 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.
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:
- The event is not covered under any USAPA-issued certificate of insurance unless the certificate explicitly states that it is covered;
- Players participating in the non-sanctioned event are not covered by any USAPA insurance policy unless the certificate explicitly states that they are covered;
- USAPA player ratings will not be awarded; and
- 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.
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.
A Sanctioned Tournament must have a minimum of 40 or more entries to be eligible for continued sanctioning the following year. (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. No preference can be given to any player or group of players in any tournament. Restrictions on tournament entries will be judged on a case-by-case basis and can result in placement in a lower tier level.
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.