Bowling Forfeit Rules

Bowling Forfeit Rules

In the world of professional bowling, sometimes a team is unable or unwilling to play in a scheduled match or series. Generally, when this happens, the officials of the bowling league will declare the game forfeited, meaning that it is either not played or ended early, and the team that prompted the forfeit usually incurs some sort of negative consequence. Additionally, forfeits can be prompted by a wide array of different circumstances, each with their own specific rules, conditions, and other necessary facts.

Absent Teams

In the case that a bowling team does not show up for a scheduled match, if the reason for the absence is unknown to present officials and a postponement of the game was not requested, the present team is allowed to bowl with the knowledge that the opposing team may be absent due to an emergency. League officials will often call the captain of the absent team to check if they will be arriving late or if an emergency exists, and to inform them that they have the ability to request an emergency postponement for an unforeseen emergency circumstance. The exact time at which a team is considered late or absent is usually set on a league-by-league basis.

Late League Fee Payments

Many professional bowling leagues charge their members a membership or league fee in order to cover the various charges and costs that come with running the league. Naturally, these fees are very important, and it’s often very critical to have them paid on time, so many leagues adopt a rule that declares games forfeited if any participants are not up-to-date on their league fees. In official rulebooks, being late on a payment or league fee is often referred to as an “arrearage.” This rule usually does not apply to absent players, and not all leagues adopt such rules, instead becoming responsible for these losses themselves.

Refusal To Bowl

In most cases, professional bowling teams can always refuse to play a game, which will result in that game being forfeited. This happens most commonly when a team is faced with a lineup or roster of players present at the start of a game that is less than the required amount. In this situation, teams are able to refuse to play, in which case, they forfeit the game.

Procedure for Non-Forfeiters

When a team causes a game to be declared a forfeit, the other team that they were meant to play against is still able to bowl to earn points in order to promote a competitive atmosphere. Commonly, to be counted on the game’s score sheet, the non-forfeiting players must bowl at least their average minus 10 pins, and the team’s overall score for the game must be equal to the team’s average, minus 10 pins for each present player. Points that are earned, but that do not meet these target scores, are recorded on the game’s score sheet as “unearned points.”

Procedure for Forfeiters

The team who forfeited the bowling match must also abide by a specific set of league rules, mostly in order to ensure their scores and averages are properly counted and maintained. In most cases, present forfeiting players are still allowed to bowl, but the scores that they earn will not go toward the team’s overall pin count. Additionally, depending on league-specific regulations, the points that a player earns can go toward their averages and help them qualify for score-based league awards.

Known and Unknown Forfeits

Most professional bowling leagues have rules recognizing two different types of forfeit scenarios; known forfeits and unknown forfeits. Known forfeits occur at the beginning or before the beginning of a game, and are called due to an obvious and apparent rule violation. Forfeit procedure is activated immediately, and both teams bowl with the knowledge that the game will be forfeited due to some form of league misconduct.

On the other hand, an unknown forfeit occurs after a game has already concluded, such as if a violation or piece of misconduct is found or uncovered after the game’s end. For example, if a team bowled a game with an ineligible player on their lineup, but no officials or other individuals at the match were informed, and then the player’s ineligibility was found out afterwards, the game would be retroactively forfeited. In this scenario, the forfeiting team loses all of their points on official records, and the other team is automatically credited with all of the points that their players earned over the course of the match.