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NEUSAPL Local Bylaws and Rules

All rule references are to the official rules of the BCA Pool League (BCAPL) and the USA Pool League (USAPL). Unless clearly contradicted in the rules of the USAPL or by its local bylaws, the official rules of the BCAPL will govern play. Post a comment below if you have questions about the rules.

General Rules

Each player begins with a ball in hand behind the head string on either side of the long string. Players shoot approximately the same time. Each player's ball must strike the foot cushion and return towards the head rail. The player whose ball lands closest to the head rail wins the lag. The winner of the lag can choose to break or can require their opponent to break. A player will lose the lag if their ball: Hits a side cushion; is pocketed or jumps off the table; crosses the long string.
You must rack for yourself when breaking. The balls should be racked as tightly as possible. Your opponent may inspect the rack and require a re-rack if not satisfied. All formats are alternating break. Players alternate the break regardless of who wins the previous rack.
All shots are call Pocket shots
Except for the break, the shooter must call the intended object ball and intended pocket before the shot is made. This is a "Gentleman's Call Pocket" game. The shooter is not required to call obvious shots, even if shooting the 8-ball, 9-ball or 10-ball. If the called object ball falls into the called pocket, it is a legal shot even if the object ball unintentionally contacts another ball or a cushion prior to going into the pocket. As a general rule, bank shots and combination shots should be called as they may not be obvious to one's opponent. If an object ball goes into an unintended pocket, the ball stays in the pocket and the shooter's turn is ended. Although the game of 9-ball is a "Slop" game, We require that the 9-ball be called in order to win a game. Otherwise, 9-ball will be played according to the Rules of the USAPL and the BCAPL.
Legal shot
For a shot to be legal, the cue ball must first strike a legal ball (as determined by the game being played) and, after contact:
  1. A ball must be pocketed, or
  2. Any object ball or the cue ball must strike a cushion.
  1. Players in the MASTER DIVISIONS will have one time out per match.
  2. Player Time Outs: Following the National Rule, Each Player, regardless of skill level is allowed 3 time outs for his or her match. No more than one time out per rack is permitted. 
  3. Team Limit:  Each Team has a limit of 10 time outs for a 5 format Match.  This means that if a team gives 3 time outs to the first 3 players in a Five match format then the last two players competing will only have 1 time out remaining for both.  
Time outs should not exceed 90 seconds. A time out may be called by the shooter or anyone on the shooter's team roster and it must be acknowledged by the shooter's opponent. Once a time out is called, the shooter will name the member of his/her team to act as coach and only that coach may confer with the shooter. No other player may offer advice to the shooter or to the coach. The coach may point to and touch the table but may not mark the table or the rail in any way and must not touch the cue ball or an object ball. The coach must leave the table area before the shot is made.
A safety must be called by the shooter prior to making the shot. If a safety is called in 8-ball and a legal object ball falls into a pocket during the safety, the object ball stays in the pocket and the shooter's turn is ended. If a safety is called in 10-ball and an object ball falls into a pocket then the shooter's opponent has the option of returning the shot to the shooter or taking the shot him or herself. Calling a safety in 9-ball (except when shooting the 9 ball) has no effect on the validity of the shot. It affects only the determination of the shot as a "missed shot".
Jump shots and Masses
Jump shots and jump cues are permitted unless otherwise prohibited by the "house rules" of the host establishment. All jump shots must be legal by striking down on the cue ball. "Scooping" the cue ball is illegal and will result in a foul.
Split hits
A split hit occurs when the cue ball strikes both a legal and an illegal object ball at the same time. If the referee (or the shooter in the absence of a referee) can not tell which ball is struck first, it is a legal hit.
Unsportsmanlike conduct
The USA Pool League (USAPL) has been designed to provide every player the utmost fun and excitement from their pool league experience. By using the proven "Fairplay" handicap system, the league provides an even playing field for all players. Weekly competition between players of diverse skill levels is fun and fair as they compete for cash, prizes, and a chance to play in post-season events culminating in an exciting National Championship Tournament. Inappropriate and unsportsmanlike behavior will not be tolerated. This behavior includes, but is not limited to actions that are embarrassing, disruptive, or detrimental to other players, spectators, officials, referees or the sport in general. Players may be penalized for such behavior with or without warning. Penalties may include a warning, loss of game, loss of match, suspension from league play or disqualification from future league play.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

The USA Pool League will not tolerate unsportsmanlike conduct. In addition to the rules regarding sportsmanship as specified in The Official Rules of CueSports International, specific attention and scrutiny will be given to the

following situations:

a. Failure to comply with league rules

b. Displays of anger or poor sportsmanship in general

c. Rating manipulation (sandbagging)

d. Illegal coaching to avoid taking a time-out

Penalties for Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct may range from a warning to permanent expulsion. Any pattern or history of unsportsmanlike conduct may affect this decision.

Some specific possible penalties include:

a. Warning: Any warning to an offending member or team should include a clear indication that further violations will lead to more severe penalties.

b. Rating assignment: If league management is convinced that a player is intentionally playing below their ability, they may assign that player a rating that will remove any unfair advantage.  In the event that a player's handicap is raised for displaying a pattern of intentionally playing below their skill level then the Captain of the team on which the player has engaged in this behavior will also have their handicap raised. The Captains are the first line of defense against "Sandbagging" and will be held responsible for the behavior of the players on their team, especially where there is a pattern of such behavior. 

c. Forfeiture of points: Points may be deducted for any game, set, or match. In the case of manipulating ratings, forfeiture of standing points earned in previous matches may be imposed.

d. Removal as captain or coach: A league member that is frequently involved in disputes may lose the privilege to act as a team captain or coach.

e. Disqualification from post-season tournaments: a team may be prohibited from participation in postseason play for that season. Forfeiture of any prize money for that season may be included.

f. Suspension: A member or team may be suspended from all league events for a period to be determined by management. The period of a suspension may be defined or may be open-ended.

g. Expulsion: A member or team that has shown themselves to be unfit to participate may be expelled from the league. Their membership will be revoked, they will not be allowed at any league event, and they will not receive any refund of league fees.

Right of Appeal

Players receiving notice of Suspension or Expulsion from the league may appeal the ruling of Suspension or Expulsion to the National Corporate office.  The  Appeal will first be submitted to the League operator who will forward the Appeal and any  associated Statements to the National office with a response from the league operator.

The penalty being appealed may be upheld or overruled, or a different penalty may be imposed (more or less severe). If a more severe penalty is imposed, it is not subject to further appeal. In addition, the National Office may define a future penalty to be imposed if the player or team commits a future offense. The decision is final.

Ball in hand fouls
If a player commits a foul, his/her opponent will begin their turn with ball in hand anywhere on the table. The following acts are ball in hand fouls:
  1. Failure to complete a legal hit.
  2. Violation of the rules on coaching.
  3. Scratching with the cue ball. This includes not only the situation where the cue ball falls into a pocket, but also when the player accidentally touches or moves the cue ball other than with the tip of the cue in a stroking motion or when the player touches an object ball with his/her hand and is also holding the cue ball.
  4. It is a foul if you cause any ball to be jumped off the table.
  5. It is a foul if you strike the cue ball more than once with the cue. This is known as a double hit and commonly occurs when the cue ball and target object ball are very close together or touching each other.
  6. It is a foul if the player shoots while any balls are still in motion from the previous shot. A spinning ball is a ball in motion.
  7. It is a foul if the shooter or his/her coach marks the table or rail in any way to aid in the execution of the shot. This includes placing chaulk on the rail to provide an aiming target for the shooter.
  8. It a foul if the shooter disturbs more than one object ball or a disturbed object ball touches any other ball. The opponent does not have the option to restore the balls to the previously undisturbed position.
Disturbed object ball
It is not a foul if the shooter accidentally touches or disturbs a single object ball with any part of the body, clothing or equipment (Unless the shooter is holding the cue ball, in a ball in hand situation, or the object ball touches another ball after being disturbed). The opponent has the option of leaving the disturbed object ball where it is or restoring it to its previous undisturbed position.
Calling a foul
A foul may only be called by a player playing in a game or a referee (BCAPL Rule 1-23). In Higher Level play (Playoffs and in Nationals) a violation of this rule is itself a foul. See BCAPL rule 1-41. However, during normal weekly league play, a foul called by someone other than a player playing in a game or a referee may result in a Sportsmanship Violation. Repeated intentional violations may result in sanctions including, but not limited to loss of a rack or a match.

Rules suspended or modified for weekly league play

The USA Pool League is, above everything else, a recreational league. While there are plenty of opportunities to compete on the local, regional and national level, the primary purpose of the league is to create an atmosphere of fun and fellowship. In that spirit, there are some rules which, while perhaps appropriate for a regional or national tournament, will be modified or suspended during normal weekly league play.

The following rules will be so modified:

BCAPL rule 1.3
makes it a ball in hand foul for any player to use a cell phone, electronic devise or earpieces of any kind. The purpose of this rule is to avoid unauthorized communication, and presumably coaching, between the player and his or her teammates. This rule is suspended for weekly league play. However, use of a cell phone or electronic device by a player during a match which delays a match could be considered a sportsmanship violation.
BCAPL rule 1.8
makes it a ball in hand foul if the player or any of his or her teammate's practice while a match is in progress. This rule is suspended for weekly league play. Members of a team who are not involved in a match are encouraged to practice and enjoy the evening. Players who are involved in an active match may be committing a sportsmanship violation if their actions unreasonably delay the match.

Team Rosters:   Players may be added to a Team Roster up to the mid-point of the session plus one week.  For example a team playing in a 22 week session may add a player up to and including week 12.  A team playing in a 12 week session can add a player up to and including week 7.  After this point a team may only add players for survival of the team.

    All new players must  play a minimum of 6 times in the session to qualify in the playoffs.  New players, are also subject to a handicap review prior to playoffs.  Established players must play a minimum of 4 matches in the session on the team in order to be eligible for playoffs. All players must have played 8 times in one session during the league year (June 1st - May 31st) to qualify to play in Las Vegas at the USAPL Singles and Team Nationals. 

Weekly Dues and Score Sheets

Captains of each team are responsible to collect the weekly dues from the players and to send those dues to the League. Score sheets and dues should be forwarded to the league as soon as possible after the match is played. Team standings and individual handicaps cannot be updated unless the score sheets are received in a timely manner:

  1. Score sheets may be sent in by utilizing the USAPL Scoring App, US Mail, Fax or e-mail. Score sheets sent in by US Mail should be mailed no later than the day following the day the match was played.
  2. Weekly team dues must be received prior to the next weeks scheduled matches.
  3. Teams that send in both score sheets and dues within the stated time frame will receive 100 bonus points. Teams will not receive the 100 point bonus if their dues are received after the divisions next scheduled week of matches.
  4. Teams must be up to date on all weekly dues to qualify for playoffs, wild card selection or any higher level tournament.
  5. Teams will receive less than 100 points if their score sheets or dues are not received or not received in a timely fashion.  The legend is set forth below:
    A. Teams receive one (1) point if no score sheet or dues have been received. 
    B.  Teams receive two points (2) if the score sheet has been received but payment has not yet been received.  100 points will be awarded to the team if dues are received within a week of play. 
    C. Teams receive three points (3) if the score sheet is received but only partial dues were received.
    D. Teams receive four (4) points if the score sheet and dues are received but they are received in an untimely fashion
    E.  Teams receive five (5) points if only one score sheet is received, there is no name on the sheet and a cash payment is made.  Both teams will receive a 5 since we have no way of knowing which team paid. 
    F.  Teams receive six points (6) if payment and score sheets are received but there is an outstanding balance from a previous week. 

8-Ball Rules

The rack
The rack should be placed so that the apex ball rests on the foot spot. The 8-ball must be placed in the middle of the triangle and the remaining balls should be placed randomly except that that the ball at each rear corner of the rack must be from a different group (stripes or solids) from the ball located at the opposite corner.
Break requirements
The incoming breaker/shooter must place the cue ball behind the head string. There is no requirement to call a ball on the break or to strike any particular ball first. For a legal break to occur an object ball must be pocketed or at least four object balls must contact a cushion.
  1. If the shooter fails to pocket a ball or to drive four balls to a cushion then the opponent may: Rerack and take the break for him or herself or require the original shooter to rerack and rebreak.
  2. If the original shooter, on the break, hits four balls to a cushion or pockets a ball but scratches or commits a another foul, then the opponent receives a ball in hand and any pocketed balls remain pocketed.
  3. In all cases on the break, balls jumped off the table, other than the 8-ball, are not returned to the table except in the event of a re-rack.
8-ball on the break
Pocketing the 8-ball on the break does not win the game. Conversely pocketing the 8-ball on the break and scratching is not a loss of game. If the shooter, on the break, pockets the 8-ball, he/she has the option of either spotting the 8-ball and continuing with the their turn or re-racking the balls and breaking again. If the shooter pockets the 8-ball on the break and commits a foul then the opponent has the option of either having the 8-ball spotted and taking a ball in hand or re-racking and taking the break.
Table open after break
The table is always open after the break even if the shooter pockets one or more balls. Groups are established when the shooter pockets a ball of one category on a shot after the break.
Loss of game
It is a loss of game when:
  • The 8-ball is illegally pocketed, i.e.- the shooter calls a safety but sinks the 8-ball, the 8-ball is pocketed before all the balls in the players category, the shooter pockets the 8-ball on a shot that is not obvious and did not call the shot.
  • The 8-ball is jumped off the table, except on the break.
  • The 8-ball is pocketed and the shooter disturbs the cue ball, disturbs a ball in motion, disturbs more than one object ball or the disturbed object ball strikes another ball.
  • The shooter scratches on the 8-ball only if the 8-ball is pocketed as well as the cue ball. If the shooter scratches on the 8-ball but the 8-ball is not pocketed the inning ends and the opponent comes to the table with a ball in hand.

9-Ball Rules

The rack
The 1-ball must be placed at the apex of the triangle and on the foot spot. The 9-ball must be placed in the center of the rack. All other balls are placed at random.
Break requirements
The shooter must place the cue ball behind the head string. The cue ball must contact the 1-ball first. After striking the 1-ball an object ball must be pocketed or at least four balls must strike a cushion. If the shooter fails to hit the 1-ball first or does not pocket a ball or does not cause at least 4-balls to strike a cushion, then the balls must be re racked. The opponent has the option of taking the break or having the shooter break again. 
Jumped balls
Balls that are caused to be jumped off the table are not returned to the table, except for the 9-ball. If the 9-ball is jumped off the table it is returned and spotted.
9-ball on the break
Legally pocketing the 9-ball on the break does not win the rack. The 9-ball is spotted. The shooter will continue his/her turn even if the 9-ball is the only ball pocketed. If the 9-ball is pocketed on the break and a foul is committed, then the 9-ball is spotted and the opponent comes to the table with a ball in hand.
Push out
If no foul occurs on the break then the player taking the first shot after the break has the option to "Push". On a push out:
  1. The shooter must first announce to the opponent that a push out is being shot and the opponent must acknowledge the announcement.
  2. The cue ball does not have to strike the lowest numbered object ball first or any object ball at all. The cue ball also is not required to hit a cushion or to cause any ball to strike a cushion.
  3. All other rules and fouls apply.
  4. After a push shot is taken, the opponent has the option of accepting the table position and shooting or requiring the original shooter to shoot again with the table in its current position.
Three foul rule
A rack may be won if the player's opponent commits three consecutive fouls and the opponent is advised, prior to making the third foul, that he/she has just committed two consecutive fouls. If the shooter commits three consecutive fouls, after receiving a warning prior to the third foul, then the rack ends and the game points are awarded to the opponent. Please remember that a scratch or a foul on the break counts as "one" foul for purposes of the three foul rule.

10-Ball Rules

10-Ball rules are exactly the same as 9-ball except for the following:

The 10-ball rack appears in a triangle shape, using balls numbered 1-10. It is racked like an 8-ball rack without the last row of five balls. The One-ball is placed at the apex of the triangle on the foot spot. The 10-ball is placed in the middle and the 2-ball and the 3-ball are placed in the corners at the base of the triangle. The 2-ball and the 3-ball may be placed in either of the corners.
10-ball is a call pocket game
Please refer to the General Rule Summary at the beginning of this document for the definition of "Call Pocket". Any ball not legally pocketed is a "Dead Ball" and no point is awarded to the shooter.
Illegally pocketed ball
In the event that a ball is pocketed illegally then the shooter's opponent has the option of taking the shot or retuning it to the original shooter. In the event that a ball is pocketed illegally and there is also a foul committed by the shooter then the opponent must take the shot (with a ball in hand) and does not have the option of returning the shot to the original shooter.
If the shooter calls a safety and then pockets a ball, the Illegally pocketed ball rule above applies.

Division Playoffs

To qualify for end of the session playoffs, a player must meet the following criteria:

A player should have an established skill level
A player must have played a minimum six (6) times in the USA Pool League in the game being played in the playoffs. For instance, a player must have played at least 6 times in 8-ball if it is a 8-ball playoff. The purpose of this rule is simply to attempt to have players play with a skill level that at least approaches an accurate rating. In effect this rule applies to new players in the New England USA Pool League.  Once a player is established in the league the minimum four (4) match rule below applies. 
FARGO ADJUSTMENT: Players with less than a 200 robustness level are subject to adjustment prior to any "Go to Vegas" tournament or Division Playoff.  
Minimum team play
A player must have played at least four (4) times on a team to be allowed to play on that team during the playoff tournament. Because a player may "Sub" on more than one team during the session, this rule is meant to assure that a player is really "Part" of the playoff team. 

Vegas National Tournament Requirements

"Go to Vegas" tournaments
A team may qualify to compete in the New England USAPL "Go to Vegas" tournament in either the Summer, Fall or Spring Sessions. However, the qualifying team will Play in the "Go to Vegas" Tournament using its Spring Roster.


1.  Players on teams that qualified for the Go to Vegas Tournament either in the Summer or the fall session will play using the highest handicap attained by that player during the league year, determined either at the end of the session in which the team qualified or at the end of the spring session. 

2.  Teams that Qualify for the "Go to Vegas" Tournament in either the Summer or Fall Session are expected to finish in the top 1/3rd of the Spring Session. Teams must finish in the top half of the division in the spring session in order to remain eligible to compete in the spring "Go to Vegas" Tournament.

In the event that a team that qualified for the "Go to Vegas" tournament in the Summer or Fall Division fails to finish in the top half of the division in the Spring session then:

A. The team May be disqualified from competing in the "Go to Vegas" tournament as well as winning the trip to Vegas to compete in the National Championships. And/or

B.  The Handicaps of some or all of the players on the team may be raised at the discretion of the league operator.

3.  In any event, the handicaps of players that have played less than 15 matches total in the USAPL are subject to adjustment prior to the start of the "Go to Vegas" tournament. 

Spring Roster
There must be at least three "Original" members of the qualifying team on the spring roster to qualify to play in the Vegas tournament.
Vegas Winning Team
If a team us unable to field enough players from its spring roster then it may supplement its Vegas tournament from players from its Fall or Summer session roster from the same league year. 
USAPL National Play Requirements
In order to compete in the USAPL National Vegas Competition, a player must have played either eight (8) matches, in the appropriate game format, in the same division and in the same session.  At least three players on the team must be "original" members of that team. Those three players must qualify in the same session and the same team to be considered original team members. The National tournament is held in July and the league year runs from June 1st to May 31st of each year.