Sandbagging in League Play

What happens when a “sandbagger” (higher rated player than the league specifications) gets caught? It happened while the Naples 4.0 / age 55+ team was playing in the Florida sectionals in Daytona last month.

Here’s the story:

• The Naples Strand team, captained by George Morton, won their flight 4-0 and then beat Marion County (Ocala) 3-0 in the semis on Sunday morning.
• The other semi was won by Broward over South Miami Dade (SMD) 2-1. Naples played Broward and lost 2-1.
• When the scores were input, a Broward player was dynamically disqualified (by the computer program) due to his scores and victories
• That resulted in a reversal of the scores, which gave Naples a 2-1 win and were declared the winners.
• The Naples team of Jack Moter and John Owler were the beneficiaries of that change.
• The next day after all had returned home, Captain Morton received a call and was told the semi scores had been input wrong in the Broward/SMD match ( wrong player shown as a participant-the same guy who was DQed against Naples).
• Turns out, he should have been DQed in the semis and therefore Naples would have played SMD, not Broward in the final.
• Obviously SMD players are upset, not getting their chance to win; Broward is upset because they actually won ( but with an illegal player).
• The Section asked Naples to play SMD in the fall after everyone is back in Florida, which they have declined to voluntarily do.

As George Morton reported, “Waiting for a decision. I told them to get SMD a wild card for nationals. We’ll see.”

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2 thoughts on “Sandbagging in League Play

  1. This is a great story. I am glad to see that players who try to “work the system” are being held accountable, but the outcome was unfortunate. I know the USTA does it’s best to avoid this type of situation, but I hope lessons were learned from this!

    Christine – it is complicated… and not yet fully resolved. george

  2. While I applaud the USTAs efforts to prevent ‘sandbagging’, I don’t think sectionals is the venue in which it should be enforced. These players played for at least a season, and have a record which should reflect their (inappropriate) level, as well as, presumably, a district play off. It seems to me that these DQs or corrections of level should be made prior to the sectionals, when they cause an unfair disruption to all of the players/teams involved. It doesn’t seem to be the appropriate time or place for the ‘correction'(DQ), it should be done prior to sectionals.

    Pam – Great point and i agree! george

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