Sunday Bowling League General Rules and Guidelines

PDF Version of SBL Rules (updated PDF coming soon)

1. United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Standards

All rules not covered here will default to the USBC rule book.

2. Sanctioning

Sunday Bowling League (SBL) is sanctioned as a mixed league by USBC. All registered bowlers are required to be sanctioned by the USBC. Bowlers who are sanctioned outside of the local bowling jurisdiction must pay an Associate Member fee.

3. Entering Average

Preferably, each bowler should have a valid average from a USBC league, in order of preference, from the previous winter season, the previous summer season, or the winter season of two years ago. If there is more than one established average (based on at least 21 games bowled) from the preferred time period, the highest average shall be used. If a bowler has an average from Melody Lanes in the most recent season of preference, that highest average shall be used, regardless of the average at any other bowling house. If the bowler bowled in SBL in the previous season, his or her final average will be the entering average if based on 21 or more games. Any bowler admitted who does not have a verified average shall establish an average the first night of competitive bowling, which shall be applied retroactively to that night's bowling. From that point on, the average shall be recalculated after each subsequent night of bowling.

4. Handicap

SBL is a handicap league; the individual handicap shall be 100% of the difference between an individual's average and 220 (all fractions dropped). Negative handicaps may be used.

5. Duration and Schedule

SBL will bowl on Sunday nights at AMF 34th Avenue in Queens, NY for approximately 29 weeks from the Sunday after Labor Day through the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend, excluding specific holidays.

6. Dues and Entry Fees

The entry fee for regular and alternate bowlers is $25. This is a non-refundable fee. There is no entry fee for a substitute bowler. The weekly dues are $25 per bowler. A bowler more than two weeks in arrears will not be allowed to bowl until arrears are less than or equal to two weeks. Entry fees and the dues for the final three (3) weeks of bowling must be paid by the sixth week of the season. USBC sanction fees must be paid by the second week. Checks may be made payable to "Sunday Bowling", or dues may be paid ahead of the night’s bowling using PayPal™ by emailing the payment to Those using PayPal™ must bring to bowling a printed receipt of the transaction. If a check is returned, the bowler is responsible for the amount of the check and all bank charges; that individual's check writing privileges shall subsequently be revoked. All team envelopes should be delivered by the team captain or a designee to the league treasurer by the end of the first game. No team that is more than one week in arrears will be allowed to bowl. It should be noted that unless the Executive Committee is given proper notice of at least 2 weeks when a bowler leaves the league, the three-week deposit will not be refunded.

7. Board of Directors

The captains and the league officers comprise the league's Board of Directors. Because a league officer may be a team captain, a team may appoint another member as a voting representative on the board of directors. Any league rule may be decided by majority vote of the board of directors before the bowling season begins. Changes to existing league rules during the season can be made only with unanimous consent of the board of directors. A quorum of half of the board of directors is required for all votes. The treasurer and secretary shall each receive a $10 discount from their weekly dues.

8. Legal Lineup

Each team will consist of three (3) or four (4) bowlers (to be determined by the end of the first week of the season). One (1) bowler from the lineup is required for a legal lineup. The number of substitutes on a team cannot exceed the number of team members bowling. Each team is allowed a roster of six (6) bowlers. Before any bowlers are added to the roster, the secretary must be notified; this may be done on the same day that the new bowler bowls as a team member. No alternates may bowl in the last three weeks of the season unless they have an established average in SBL based on 15 or more games.

9. Points

Two (2) points will be awarded for each team handicap game win, and one (1) point each for total team handicap series (the sum of all three [3] games). Ties will split the points for either game and/or total series.

10. Substitutes

SBL allows substitute bowlers. Substitute bowlers are non-roster bowlers and are not eligible for any prize fund or individual awards. Substitutes will pay $15 to defray the cost of the lineage (bowling fees), and the bowler who is not present is responsible for paying the remaining $10 upon his/her return unless the team chooses to make up the money in some other way. In the event a substitute is not available, an absentee bowler must make up his/her weekly dues in total the following week. All substitutes must be USBC sanctioned. No substitutes shall bowl during the last three weeks of the season.

11. Postponements

Postponements are strongly discouraged. If a team is unable to present a legal lineup for reasons beyond its control, it may request a postponement from the executive committee within 48 hours of the scheduled games. Participation in a USBC-sanctioned tournament is considered an acceptable reason for postponement. If the committee grants the postponement, the team can do one of the following: (1) bowl against the other scheduled team at an agreed-upon time, (2) pre-bowl the games at an agreed-upon time, or (3) post-bowl the games at an agreed-upon time. In cases (2) and (3), the other scheduled team shall bowl on the scheduled night and its scores compared with those of the postponing team as soon as possible. A league officer or lane official must be present for all games bowled at special times. The pre-bowled or post-bowled games must be bowled within 3 weeks of the originally scheduled games, or before if the postponement is for the last week of the schedule.

12. Forfeits

When bowling against a forfeit, a team must bowl no less than 40 pins below the team average to win the team game points. Ties count as a win (i.e., bowling exactly 40 pins under team average). To win the point for team series, a team must bowl no less than 120 pins of the team series average. A team is allowed two forfeits during the season. If a team forfeits more than two times, the board of directors shall meet to determine appropriate action. This may include expulsion from the league.

13. Absentee Bowlers

Absentee bowlers receive their average less ten (10) pins and their full handicap for each game bowled. Absentee scores must be indicated on the recap sheet. These scores do not count towards a bowler's average.

14. Vacancy Score

The vacancy score for a team that lacks a full lineup will be 140 with handicap based on 140. If an absentee score is used in the first few weeks but the bowler never participates, those scores will be retroactively changed to the vacancy score and handicap.

15. Tardy Bowlers

Tardy bowlers may bowl provided they are ready to bowl (bowling shoes on and ball in hand) before the fourth frame has begun; otherwise, they will be considered absent for that/those game(s) and begin at the start of the next game. Tardy bowlers are not permitted to practice if they start bowling during a game in progress. However, a bowler who arrives in time to start the following game may bowl one ball on each lane prior to the start of that game.

16. Eligibility for Individual Awards

Registered bowlers must bowl 2/3 of all league games to be eligible for individual awards.

17. Position Nights

On any scheduled position night, positions are established by (in the following order): percentage points won, total points won, total handicap pin fall, and total scratch pin fall. The final two (2) nights of the season shall be a position night. If, and only if, the position outcome for BOTH the first and last place teams is predetermined before the start of either or both of the final two position nights of the season, these two teams shall be positioned against each other and the 2nd place team will play the 3rd place team and so on.

18. Verification of Recap Sheets

Recap sheets must be signed by the team captain (or representative if the captain is not present), and the top two copies given to the league secretary upon completion of the match. Please verify all scores. If there is a discrepancy between the scores downloaded by the computer and the scores on the recap sheet, the scores on the recap sheet will be used unless a mathematical error is evident.

19. Executive Committee

The executive committee shall be composed of the officers.

20. Prize Fund Committee

The prize fund committee shall be chaired by the Treasurer and composed of volunteers. A proposed prize fund shall be submitted to the Board of Directors for a vote by the sixth week of the season.

21. Duties of the Team Captain

The Team Captain is responsible for: (1) collecting league dues and forwarding them to the league treasurer, (2) collecting USBC membership fees and forwarding them to the league secretary, (3) ensuring the team and its members are eligible to compete under USBC and league rules, (4) the team’s conduct and attendance, and (5) communicating with team members regarding league business.

22. Election of Officers

Each full member of a team is entitled to one (1) vote in the election of next season’s officers. The election shall occur during the months of April or May, near the end of the current season, with duties assumed by the new officers after the completion of the current season.