In Case You Didn’t know, Sandbagging Is Bad For The Sport

In Case You Didn’t Know, Sandbagging Is Bad For Bowling.

And USBC isn’t taking it lightly either.

Ever since the USBC announced its new division changes for the Open Championships, the questions about sandbagging have been asked time-and-time again. Well, the USBC has answered them — emphatically.

If you missed their post, this is what they shared on Facebook:

“Attention bowlers:

Tournament management at the USBC Open Championships has charged a participant with violation of USBC Rules

17a-3 Unfair Tactics and 17b-1 Improper Conduct and with violation of 2019 USBC Open Championships rule 9b – Unsportsmanlike Behavior for the bowler’s action during Monday’s competition at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas.

USBC tournament management was informed of the bowler’s improper actions on Tuesday. After a review, it was determined the bowler’s scores in singles competition were not in line with the bowler’s average or his earlier performances in the competition and determined the bowler knowingly was attempting to lower his tournament average to gain an unfair advantage for future classified competitions.

The bowler has been notified of the violations, and that his singles scores will be removed from his Open Championships record and average calculation. #USBCOpen tournament management also has forwarded the matter to the USBC Rules Department requesting suspension of the bowler’s USBC membership.

The bowler has the right to appeal the decision and any suspension.

Sandbagging to lower one’s average is unacceptable at every level, and USBC appreciates the efforts of the bowlers and tournament officials who make sure their bowlers follow proper rules and etiquette at all times.”

Basically, what happened was a bowler — a bowler that USBC has yet to name — bowled so poorly that they investigated his scores and the situation and deemed that his results in singles was far, far below his tournament average and his previous event’s scores (team and doubles).

They decided that what the bowler did was, in fact, sandbagging and disqualified his singles score and decided that it would not go against his tournament average. 

The bowler in question is a classified competitor. So lowering or “managing his average” to ensure that it doesn’t get too high is to their benefit if their goal is to stay in a lower division to capitalize on brackets and lesser competition. 

The tournament committee determined that the bowler committed foul play and has requested that the bowler’s membership be suspended. While this may seem harsh to some, it is — in my opinion — mandatory. Sandbagging is cheating. Straight forward. And when it can be proven, it should be punished severely. 

We have to maintain the integrity of the tournament and the sport in any and all ways. And if we, as a sport, want to be taken seriously, we must take these accusations seriously. The bowler obviously has the right to appeal, but if the USBC and OC tournament staff have come to this decision, it would seem that they have done their due diligence and are certain of their ruling. 

18 thoughts on “In Case You Didn’t know, Sandbagging Is Bad For The Sport

    • D.T. Jones says:

      You are talking about national tournament. Hell, it’s even worse at state, and local level. These “175-185” avg. people that miraculously pull a 730 scratch out their butts during Handicap Singles and nothing done about them. Well, I quit donating to them. Just not going to bowl as often.

  1. Dan Wyatt says:

    A bowler that only bowls in league doesn’t have a chance at the Nationals. If you look at the standings 7 out of the top ten are pros or were pros . The National s is another stop on the pro tour .
    It’s amazing that there are a select group of “talented “ bowlers that shoot the high scores without knowing what pattern is put out . It is what it is . When ABC was running the show at least it was a fair shot . my opinion ,and only my opinion , is that USBC is not being fair with the league bowler. Most of the $25 for annual dues goes for the training center and support the team USA Pro’s .

  2. Jay says:

    Iapplaud their actions, this happened in a league Ibowl in 2 years ago, I filmed it, turned it into the league President and usbc, the bowler was suspended from our league and the house for a period of 1 year,he threw balls in the gutter in the 10th frame when he had beaten his opponent in a head to head game, enough is enough.

  3. Joyce ingram says:

    I have bowled in many national tourneys have bowled ok but with the oil patterns they put down the average bowler doesn’t have a very good shot of winning their best shot is useing their tourney avg.

    • lewis barney sr says:

      You are right the pros come in and take all the Prize money because they already know what oil patterns is out there and we don’t

  4. Will says:

    Sometimes you have good games and sometimes have bad games depends on the oil pattern but again I’m only an average bowler not a pro but want to work my way up to the pros someday but so expensive the more you rank up and need more balls

    • Jason coles says:

      I was accused of sandbagging a tournament years ago.. I carried a 162 average and shot a 780 in singles and a 747 In doubles. However, I bowled on old wood Lanes in Lebanon TN and shot the scores on synthetic lanes… My average went way up on the better lanes… Sometimes before accusing people try to understand where the average was set.. I now carry a 192 to tournament s and don’t have a chance in hell of competing.. I no longer give my money away.

  5. John says:

    Unless it’s obvious, I think sometimes other factors are at play. I started league this year with a new ball and a new ACL (had surgery in the summer). The first 3 weeks of league I was struggling with a 154 avg but I kept practicing to figure out my new ball and approach and this week I rolled a 650 series against the #1 team and next thing you know I’ve got people complaining I was sandbagging and it’s a huge issue and both my team and their team are all pissed off. So it’s not as cut and dry as people think unless someone is throwing gutter balls to the left on 10 pins. I worry this stuff could become a witch-hunt.

  6. Charles Roberson says:

    I bowled in a tournament last summer and a guy won all events by throwing all 9 games in the 180”s and his average was in the 130s. I have no doubt he had sandbagged his way into the tournament. I’ve been tracking several bowlers in some leagues thinking that statistical profiling would lead to a way to proactively find sandbaggers. So far, I can classify people into on of three groups: honest bowlers, sandbaggers and grey area. I looked up one of the people that seemed to be a sandbagger on He had a 150 – 152 average for 3 straight winter leagues but a 170’s average for all the summer leagues in between. I found there are two types of sandbaggers: one does it to win his league the other to win summer tournaments. I believe some of them can be found proactively instead of the reactive method used today.

  7. Randy says:

    Ran into sandbaggers this past winter league . And you can’t complain to the owner cause she her self threw balls away in the 9th and 10th frame of games they had already won.

  8. Robert T Bressert says:

    I recently started bowling again after a 23 year layoff. When I last bowled you showed up each week and the shot was basically the same night in and night out. Now I show up, and am not sure what to expect. I hear all the time about the different oil patterns and that you need to learn the patterns. I was a 200 bowler, and am now struggling to go 180.

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