More Changes to the Open Championships Rules and “Professional” Classification

That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m done.

These were my initial thoughts — and many, many others’ — after reading the new rule changes that will take effect at the 2019 Open Championships.

After cooling down a bit, weighting the pros (if you call them that) and cons, my initial thoughts remain true. I’m just over it.

The USBC continues to disappoint many members with USBC Open changes.

For those of you that don’t know what I’m referring to, it is in regards to their new “enhancements,” of which include their “professional” eligibility rules.

Essentially, they’ve decided that they can change the definition of what a “professional bowler” is.

Starting in 2019, in addition to current PBA members and national titlists, former Jr Team USA members, Team USA members, and current collegiate bowlers will be deemed “professional,” at least until they’re 60 . . .

Yes, you heard it right: youth bowlers that earned their way onto Jr Team USA as AMATEURS will now be viewed as professionals, per the USBC and the Open Championships.

And, yes, current collegiate bowlers — bowlers who COMPETE AS UNPAID AMATEURS — are, in the USBC and OC’s eyes, now considered professionals.

Essentially, a theoretical youth bowler that earned their way onto Jr Team USA as a fifteen year old that has NEVER bowled a professional event in their lives would now, under this new rule, be considered professional.

And, essentially, a bowler that has won a PBA regional title(s) as a non-member, would still be considered an amateur, despite having won a professional title.

In my opinion, the USBC has made many, many questionable decisions lately. I have given them the benefit of the doubt in most all cases. I’ve given the USBC many chances in my blogs. I’ve even given them kudos when they were right. But not this time. Not in this case.

I’ve lost my patience with them. I’ve lost respect for those in charge. I’ve lost hope that the current regime has any chance of building a “future for the sport.”

This may seem harsh. This may seem reactionary. This may even seem like an over exaggeration. But I would disagree. And I am. In this blog.

I feel that I’ve been pretty lax on many of the recent USBC changes. I feel that I’ve been pretty politically correct. I feel like I’ve given them a fair chance. And I now feel that they’ve gone too far. They’ve crossed the line.

This new rule isn’t only stupid, but, also, unfair and unjust.

This rule will tear current teams apart. It will break up teams that have competed together for decades. And it is telling people that, despite them keeping their true amateur status, they cannot bowl with their friends and teammates over a made up rule that has zero validity and/or reason.

Bowlers are mad. They’re angry. And they’re tired of it. In a sport that participation is already down, the USBC continues to find new ways to lower that number even more.

It is a shame that just one day after the PBA made a major announcement regarding Fox Sports that could potentially help professional bowling and take it back to its former heights, the USBC announces a rule change that does virtually the exact opposite for amateur bowling.

I know and understand that we as scratch bowlers are not the majority, but I am sick and tired of seeing this small population of the game punished for being good.

Our sport is one of the only sports in the world that doesn’t incentivize improvement. And it is becoming downright embarrassing.

And, believe me, it isn’t happenstance that this change is being made in 2019 and not 2018, where Nationals is in Syracuse. The decision to make this change in 2019, in Las Vegas, is tactical.

Attendance is always high in Las Vegas. It’s a no brainer. That’s where nationals was last year, when they made other drastic changes, and after the changes were made, they said “it worked.” There is absolutely ZERO doubt in my mind that this will happen again. And they won’t risk making changes of this magnitude at the 2018 tournament in a city that may not draw out bowlers that wouldn’t bowl the event otherwise. What they’re doing is going to result in skewed numbers and loaded results.

One thought on “More Changes to the Open Championships Rules and “Professional” Classification

  1. Art Scheunemann says:

    I’m not completely clear on this. I have a granddaughter bowling collegiately, meaning she will be considered a professional bowler until she is 60 years old? She would not be able to bowl the national tournament with a team she bowls league with in the years until then?

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