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OFFICIATING

POLICY STATEMENT

USTA Policy Statement on Chair Umpire Assignment,
Selection, Certification and Training

I. DIVERSITY: A USTA PRIORITY

Just as any good investor knows that you have to diversify your portfolio if you want to maximize its value, so the USTA knows that by making tennis open and accessible to all people of varied backgrounds, the value of the sport, the overall crowd appeal and the potential for high returns will increase.  The USTA has made multicultural participation a Primary Strategic Priority and is committed to growing the game through outreach and inclusion, as defined by our USTA Board of Directors Approved Diversity Statement: 

We, the United States Tennis Association, recognize diversity as essential to achieving our mission:  to promote and develop the growth of tennis.  For us, diversity refers to differences of culture, ethnicity, race, age, gender, beliefs, religion, social and economic status, sexual orientation, family status, physical ability, appearance, and ideas. 

We are committed to achieving greater diversity throughout the sport and fostering a tennis environment that is more inclusive. 

Pursuant to its overall diversity policy, the USTA hereby promulgates this statement on diversity in umpire assignment, selection, certification and training.  Please address any questions concerning this statement or the requirements for assignment, selection, certification and training contained in this statement, by email to the USTA Officiating Department, at officiating@usta.com.


II. ASSIGNMENT & SELECTION OF CHAIR UMPIRES FOR TOURNAMENTS

A. The USTA does not permit discrimination on the basis of gender, race, or any other prohibited basis in the selection and assignment of chair umpires to tournaments and matches.

B. All qualified Chair Umpires will be afforded equal opportunities to chair men’s and women’s matches regardless of their gender.  The USTA Officials Department, where it has the authority to do so, will seek to assign qualified female chair umpires to men’s tournaments and matches in numbers approximating their representation in the qualified pool of applicants available for such tournaments and matches.  The USTA Officials Department will urge USTA Pro Circuit tournament Referees/Supervisors and the Chief Umpires assigned to such tournaments to do the same, and will take affirmative steps to include these assignment goals in future contracts with entities holding USTA Pro Circuit tournaments.  When asked to recommend Chair Umpires for ATP tournaments, the USTA Officials Department will seek to recommend qualified female Chair Umpires in numbers approximating their representation in the pool of umpires qualified and available to work as a Chair Umpire for such tournaments.

C. All qualified Chair Umpires will be afforded equal opportunities to chair tournaments and specific matches regardless of their race.  The USTA Officials Department, where it has the authority to do so, will seek to assign qualified minority chair umpires to matches, including late round matches, in numbers approximating their demographic representation in the qualified pool of applicants available for such matches.  The USTA will urge USTA Pro Circuit tournament Referees/Supervisors and the Chief Umpires assigned to such tournaments to do the same, and will take affirmative steps to include these assignment goals in future contracts with entities holding USTA Pro Circuit tournaments.  When asked to recommend Chair Umpires for ATP and WTA tournaments, the USTA Officials Department will seek to recommend qualified minority Chair Umpires in numbers approximating their demographic representation in the pool of umpires qualified and available to work as a Chair Umpire for such tournaments.

D. The Application Process for Chairing Events

1. The process for applying for Chair Umpire assignments at USTA Pro Circuit tournaments, is as follows:

(a) Tournament Schedules.  The schedule of events for each year’s USTA Pro Circuit is posted at www.usta.com.  The following are the three ways to access an updated listing of all dates and locations of USTA Pro Circuit events.

  • You may click on the “Pro Tennis” icon, and follow the link to the “Full Schedule” for a listing of the dates and locations of USTA Pro Circuit events.
  • You may also click on the “Get Involved” icon, click on the “Officials” icon, click on “Professional Tennis News and Information” and follow the “2007 USTA Pro Circuit Chair Umpire Availability (CULA) or “2007 USTA Pro Circuit Chief Umpire List” link.

(b) Deadlines and Application Process.  The USTA Officials Department in conjunction with the USTA Pro Circuit Tournament Supervisors and USTA Pro Circuit Tournament Chief Umpires select the Chair Umpires to work each USTA Pro Circuit tournament.  If you (i) qualify to work as a Chair Umpire for USTA Pro Circuit tournaments (see the prerequisites stated below), (ii) are available and willing to work at a specified USTA Pro Circuit tournament, and (iii) wish the USTA Officials Department to consider you for a Chair Umpire assignment at that tournament, you must submit your availability to the USTA Officials Department no later than 60 days prior to that tournament’s commencement.  You may update your availability as often as you like. 

  • Availability should be submitted at www.tennisumps.com/cula.  The site requires an approved login account. To get started, see the Users Guide located at the website for instructions for requesting an account and using the system.

In addition, any USTA certified official may apply directly to the USTA Pro Circuit Chief Umpire for any USTA Pro Circuit tournament to work primarily as a Line Umpire, in which event, depending upon the needs of the tournament, the official may be assigned as a Chair Umpire to one or more matches.

  • A listing of USTA Pro Circuit Chief Umpires for each USTA Pro Circuit tournament may be found at www.usta.com
  • You may click on the “Get Involved” icon, click on the “Officials” icon, click on the header “Professional Tennis News and Information” and follow the “2007 USTA Pro Circuit Chief Umpire List” link.

(c) Requirements to Chair Umpire USTA Pro Circuit Events.  The Friend At Court (FAC) Tennis Rules and Regulations Handbook contains the regulations relating to certification as a USTA certified Chair Umpire, which is the minimum requirement to be considered to serve as a chair umpire at a USTA Pro Circuit event.  Section XV F. and G. of FAC details the general certification requirements, including testing for certification, school requirements and minimum number of events that must be officiated in order to obtain each USTA Chair Umpire certification level.

  • If you are a USTA certified official, you will receive a copy of the FAC by mail from the USTA Officials Department. 
  • You may also obtain a copy of the book from your Sectional Chair of Officials.
  • You may obtain a roster of Sectional Chairs of Officials by contacting the USTA Officials Department.
  • A roster of Sectional Chairs of Officials also may be found at www.usta.com.
  • You may click on the “Get Involved” icon, click on the “Officials” icon, click on the headers (USTA Officials Training and Education Information, USTA Officials Reference Materials and Information or USTA Officials Recruitment and Retention News and Information) and follow the “Sectional Chairperson Contact List” link.
  • Additionally, you may access the FAC online by visiting www.usta.com.  Click on the “Tournament and Leagues” icon, click on the “Officials” icon and then clink on the “2007 Friend at Court” link.

2. The process for applying for Chair Umpire positions at the US Open is as follows: 
  
(a) Deadlines and Application Process.  If you (i) qualify to work as Chair Umpire for US Open matches (see the prerequisites stated below), (ii) are available and willing to work at the US Open, and (iii) wish the US Open Selection Committee and US Open Tournament Referee to consider you for a Chair Umpire position at the US Open, you must submit an application to the USTA Officials Department.  The application states the deadline for filing your application.

  • All Chair Umpires who worked the previous year’s US Open will automatically receive an application to work the upcoming year’s event.  US Open applications will be automatically mailed to all officials who had a USTA level Chair Umpire certification or above which was issued by the USTA for the previous year (i.e. an official who holds a USTA Chair Umpire certification level or higher in 2006 will automatically receive an application for the 2007 US Open).
  • Additionally, you may obtain a US Open application by getting the recommendation of your Sectional Chair of Officials or a National Trainer/Evaluator.
  • You may obtain a roster of National Trainer/Evaluators from the USTA Officials Department. 
  • Additionally, a roster of USTA National Trainer/Evaluators may be found at www.usta.com.
  • You may click on the “Get Involved” icon, click on the “Officials” icon, click on the headers (USTA Officials Reference Materials and Information or USTA Officials Training and Education Information) and follow the “USTA National Trainer/Evaluator Contact List” link.

(b) Requirements to Chair Umpire at the US Open.  In order to be considered for a Chair Umpire position at the US Open (other than the US Open Junior Championships, US Open Champions Invitational and US Open Wheelchair Competition), you must have attended and graduated from, at a minimum, an ITF White Badge School.  See Section III.D. below for information concerning the process of applying to attend an ITF White Badge school.

E. The Selection Process and Criteria

1. In selecting Chair Umpires and assigning them to USTA Pro Circuit tournaments, the USTA Officials Department (USTA Director of Officials) in conjunction with USTA Pro Circuit Supervisors consider the following criteria: 

(a) A current USTA Chair Umpire certification is required to work as a Chair Umpire for USTA Pro Circuit tournaments.  Greater consideration will be given to those applicants with higher levels of certification.

(b) ITF Badge Level certification is heavily favored but not always required to work as a Chair Umpire for USTA Pro Circuit tournaments. 

(c) Experience.  The USTA Officials Department (USTA Director of Officials) in conjunction with USTA Pro Circuit Supervisors will consider the number of matches that an applicant has worked as a Chair Umpire, primarily considering the prior twelve month period and giving greater weight to prior experience at USTA Pro Circuit tournaments.

(d) Satisfactory or better performance ratings and/or evaluations from experienced ITF Certified Chair Umpires/Referees (a minimum of 3 on a scale of 1 to 5) and USTA National Trainer/Evaluators.

  • You may find National Trainer/Evaluator “Evaluation Requirements” for USTA Certified Officials at www.usta.com
  • Click on the “Get Involved” icon, click on the “Officials” icon, click on the header “USTA Officials Training and Education Information” and follow the “Evaluation Requirements for USTA Certified Officials” link. 

(e) Comply with the standards set forth in the USTA Officials’ Code of Conduct.  The Code of Conduct may be found in FAC. 

(f) Submit availability to chair a tournament in accordance with specific USTA Pro Circuit tournament cut-off dates which can be found at www.tennisumps.com/cula.

(g) Geography.  The Chair Umpire’s relative proximity to the USTA Pro Circuit event will be taken into account, with preference being accorded to those Chair Umpires within closer traveling distance.

2. In selecting Chair Umpires and assigning them to US Open matches (other than the US Open Junior Championships, US Open Championships Champions Invitational and US Open Wheelchair Competition), the US Open Selection Committee and US Open Tournament Referee consider the following criteria: 

(a) ITF Badge Level.  ITF certified White Badge Officials will not be considered to chair umpire a mens or womens singles, doubles or mixed match.  As rounds progress and fewer matches are played, preference is given to higher ITF badge level Chair Umpires.  As a general rule, applicants certified by the ITF as Bronze Badge Officials will be considered to chair umpire main draw matches through the third round of play.  Only ITF certified Silver Badge and Gold Badge Officials will be considered to chair umpire the round of 16 and later round matches. 

(b) Satisfactory or better performance ratings and/or evaluations from USTA National Trainer/Evaluators and experienced ITF Certified Chair Umpires/Referees who have supervised an applicant’s work or participated in the applicant’s training. 

(c) Experience.  The US Open Selection Committee and US Open Tournament Referee will consider the number of matches that an applicant has worked as a Chair Umpire, primarily considering the prior twelve month period and giving greater weight to prior experience at the US Open and USTA Pro Circuit events. 

(d) Comply with the standards set forth in the USTA Officials’ Code of Conduct.

(e) US Open application satisfactorily completed and submitted by specified deadline on the application.

(f) Nationality of the Chair Umpire.  Notwithstanding other qualifications, the US Open Chief Umpire and US Open Tournament Referee will not assign a Chair Umpire to a match if one (but not both) of the players in the match is of the same nationality as the Chair Umpire.

(g) Whether a player exists on the Chair Umpire’s “NO List”.  Notwithstanding other qualifications, the US Open Chief Umpire and US Open Tournament Referee will not assign a Chair Umpire to a match if the player is on the Chair Umpire’s “NO List.”

3. The USTA Officials Department maintains Chair Umpire records reflecting the names of the Chair Umpires assigned to all matches of the US Open and each USTA Pro Circuit tournament. 


III. CERTIFICATION AND TRAINING OF CHAIR UMPIRES

A. The USTA does not permit discrimination on the basis of gender, race, or any other prohibited basis in the certification of umpires and in the selection of USTA-certified umpires to be recommended to the ITF for Badge School admission. 

B. All qualified Chair Umpires will be afforded equal opportunities to obtain each USTA Chair Umpire certification level and to be recommended for admission into an ITF Badge School regardless of their gender or race.  The USTA Officials Department will seek to recommend for ITF Badge School admission qualified female and minority Chair Umpires who express written interest in attending ITF Badge Schools in numbers approximating their representation in the pool of qualified Chair Umpires who express written interest in attending such Schools. 

C. USTA Officials Department Chair Umpire Academy

1. The process for USTA-certified Chair Umpires to apply for the USTA Officials Department Chair Umpire Academy is as follows:

Step One.  Seek experience in working as a Chair Umpire at any level USTA sanctioned events and collegiate events.  Applicants must have worked as a Chair Umpire a minimum of one match. 

Step Two.  Obtain an application from the USTA Officials Web Page at www.usta.com or from your Sectional Chair of Officials.  Application must be submitted to USTA Officials Department 90 days prior to the commencement of the Academy.

  • You may click on the “Get Involved” icon, click on the “Officials” icon, click on the header “USTA Training and Education Information” and follow to the link that says “USTA Chair Umpire Academy” for the Chair Umpire Academy application as well as more information on the USTA Officials Department Chair Umpire Academy. 

Step Three.  The Sectional Chair of Officials or National Trainer/Evaluator from whom recommendations are obtained send their recommendations for candidates to attend the USTA Officials Department Chair Umpire Academy to the USTA Officials Department 75 days prior to the commencement of the Academy.  Candidates who are accepted are notified approximately 60 days prior to the commencement of the Academy.

2. Decisions for selecting umpires certified by the USTA to attend the USTA Officials Department Chair Academy will be based on the following criteria:

(a) Performance rating or evaluations from National Trainer/Evaluator and experienced ITF Certified Chairs/Referees who have supervised the Chair Umpire’s work.

(b) Timely submission of application as well as recommendations received from the Chair Umpire’s Sectional Chair of Officials.

(c) Prior Chair Umpire experience at any level of play.

(d) Any level of Chair Umpire Certification issued by the USTA.

(e) Adherence to the USTA Officials’ Code of Conduct.

(f) Space availability.

D. ITF White Badge Schools

1. The process for USTA-certified Chair Umpires to apply for ITF White Badge Schools is as follows:

 Step One.  Obtain any level Chair Umpire certification issued by the USTA.

Step Two.  Gain experience through working as a Chair Umpire at the USTA Pro Circuit level.

Step Three.  Obtain applications for ITF Badge Schools.  Each year’s ITF school locations and schedules are posted at www.usta.com

You may click on the “Get Involved” icon, click on the “Officials” icon, click on the header “Professional Tennis News and Information”, follow to the link that says “ITF News and Information and you will find all updated ITF school information. 

Step Four.  Submit the completed ITF Badge School application to the USTA Officials Department no later than 90 days prior to the application deadline for the specific school that you wish to attend.  The ITF will only consider applications forwarded to it with the recommendation of the USTA.

2. Decisions by the USTA Officials Department on whether to recommend USTA-certified Chair Umpires to attend ITF White Badge Schools are based on the following:

(a) Performance rating or evaluation from National Trainer/Evaluators and experienced ITF Certified Chairs/Referees who have supervised the applicant’s work, if available.

(b) USTA Pro Circuit Chair Umpire experience.

(c) Recommendation from the Sectional Chair of Officials.

(d) Adherence to the USTA Officials’ Code of Conduct.

3. The USTA Officials Department maintains records reflecting the names of USTA-certified Chair Umpires recommended for admission into ITF White Badge Schools, as well as the names of USTA-certified Chair Umpires who attend the USTA Officials Department Chair Academy.  Upon request, the USTA Officials Department will provide any USTA-certified Chair Umpire with the records relating to his or her request for an ITF Badge School recommendation or for admission to a USTA Officials Department Chair Academy.

4. The USTA plays no role in determining whether an applicant will be accepted to an ITF Bronze Badge School.  The criteria for acceptance are determined solely by the ITF.  ITF certified White Badge Officials who are interested in attending ITF Bronze Badge Schools should submit their applications to the USTA Officials Department.  The USTA Officials Department will then forward the application to the ITF.  Applications may be obtained at www.tennisoffical.com.

E. Umpire Complaint Procedure

DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AND RESOLUTION PROCESS

A. UMPIRE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY

 The USTA does not permit discrimination on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, citizenship status, veteran status, sexual orientation, age, disability or any other prohibited basis in the selection and assignment of chair umpires to tournaments and matches, or in the certification of umpires and the selection of USTA-certified umpires to be recommended to the ITF for Badge School admission. 

B. UMPIRE COMPLAINT AND INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE

 1. Any umpire who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination in violation of the Umpire Equal Opportunity Policy may file a complaint in writing with the Umpire Diversity Officer of the USTA, either by mail 70 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, NY  10604, or via email at  diversity@usta.com.  Such complaint should include (a) the date, time and location of the acts or actions complained of, (b) the identities of the person or persons taking the disputed acts or actions and any witnesses to them, and (c) the basis on which the acts or actions are believed to be discrimination in violation of the Umpire Equal Opportunity Policy. 

 2. The USTA will promptly and thoroughly investigate each such complaint in an impartial manner and, to the fullest extent possible, shall maintain the confidentiality of all complaints and umpire complainants.  The umpire complainant shall be informed of the results of the investigation. 

 3. Where USTA determines that discrimination in violation of the Umpire Equal Opportunity Policy has occurred, it will immediately take appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination of the employment or contract of the responsible party where USTA has such authority. 

 4. The USTA will maintain the records of the Umpire Complaint and Investigation Procedure, including those reflecting the nature of the complaint, the investigation conducted, the results of the investigation , and any actions taken as a result of the investigation, in accordance with applicable legal standards. 

 5. No umpire shall be subjected to retaliation or other detriment in his/her relations with the USTA for filing, assisting with or supporting in any manner such a complaint of discrimination in violation of the Umpire Equal Opportunity Policy.  Should any such retaliation or detriment occur, the affected umpire may file an amended or a separate complaint with the Umpire Diversity Officer to be processed and resolved in the same manner as specified above.

 
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