Poor sportsmanship is not tolerated in IBA or any of its associated pool leagues. There are many ways for a member to show poor sportsmanship. The following are a few examples. Some of these are subtle and some are very serious. All are forbidden.
Disregard for league rules: Any member who refuses to acknowledge official rules of the league can only suffer by doing it. Remember that all rules have a valid reason for being. It is your own responsibility to know these rules. You have the right to introduce your rule change ideas to be considered by your fellow IBA members.
Displays of anger: Players who make obvious displays of anger out of frustration are acting in an unacceptable manner. Even if that anger is not directed towards an opponent, it's unsportsmanlike behavior. Any member who damages equipment at a host location is responsible for making full restitution to that location before continuing play in the league.
Nit picking: Sometimes people are so obsessed with winning that they will clutch at any possibility, no matter how minor, to gain advantage. Please display an attitude that the match will be decided by the shots taken at the table and not by “nit picking” any rules.
Rating manipulation (Sandbagging): Any attempt to manipulate the rating of a player is cheating. If you believe an opponent is intentionally stretching games or playing fake safeties, please inform management. Do not allow an opposing team to pressure you into changing your score sheet. There is no requirement that score sheets match each other. Just play pool and let the ratings determine themselves. If you see any evidence of an opponent or their team trying to manipulate ratings, please inform the league office. Remember that anyone who does this is a cheat and that we rely on each other to provide fair play. Your league management takes this subject very seriously and is constantly working on methods to make the IBA handicapping system TruSpot the best possible. Also please recognize that it is not necessarily true that a player is a "sandbagger" just because they have a good set. Also give new players a chance to find their proper rating. It's not possible to claim 100% accuracy of a rating that is only based on a handful of scores.
Sharking: Sharking is an action or statement intended to cause the opponent to lose concentration and make a mistake. There are several techniques that have been used to this end and some are very subtle. It's not always possible to separate sharking from unintended behavior, but "sharks" often show themselves by repeating this behavior at critical times. Sharking is cheating!
Some traditional sharking techniques are:
- The shark will constantly comment on the opponent's shots. They may repeatedly accuse them of blind luck or comment on the difficulty of making the next shot or getting out. They may constantly remind the opponent of the importance of the match or shot.
- The shark may constantly hang over the table during the opponent's turn. Players must stay well away from the table when it is the opponent's turn. If the player or coach stands within 5 feet of the table or in the opponent’s line of sight while the opponent is at their turn at the table, the opponent can issue a warning to the player. (Refer to Required Warnings - Section 1.22) If the player or coach continues to approach the table while the opponent is in their turn, ball-in-hand will be awarded to the opponent.
- One of the oldest and surprisingly successful methods of sharking is to unscrew your two-piece cue when your opponent appears to be winning the match. DO NOT DO THIS! A player is assumed to have conceded the game when this is done.
Signals: Any form of a signal system is cheating. If you believe your opponent is using signals to avoid coaching restrictions, notify league management.
Slow play: Excessively slow play is another difficult area to control. Sometimes slow play is a sharking technique and sometimes it is just the natural pace of the shooter. In order to achieve a balance that is in the interests of the majority of league members, management will consider any pattern of slow play to be a violation of sportsmanship rules. If your natural tendency is to be highly deliberate in considering every shot, you will have to make a conscious effort to pick up your pace of play. At tournaments, a slow player may be placed on a stopwatch. If that occurs, any shot that takes 61 seconds for any reason will be ball-in-hand foul. There will be no warning after the first shot.
Verbal abuse: Verbal abuse can take many forms. Especially offensive are racial, sexual, or ethnic insults. Any member that uses any slurs of this type towards another member will be required to make full apology or their membership will be suspended. Any member who does this repeatedly is not welcome in IBA and will be expelled. No one is allowed to verbally abuse another IBA member. Other forms of verbal abuse are dealt with according to the severity and frequency of the abuse.
Threats: Threats of physical harm are considered extremely serious and may be treated the same as physical abuse. No one has the right to cause another member to fear for their safety. This type of behavior is not tolerated in IBA and any member displaying this type of behavior will be expelled!
Violent behavior: Any form of physical abuse of a league member is immediate grounds for expulsion. Any member who initiates violence towards another member is automatically expelled from the league.