flyball, NAFA, Rules

How Can Both Teams Score Zero in 3/5 Format? #Flyball

Standing ringside, I was spectating at a recent NAFA tournament. I don’t usually pay attention to the “count”. The wins and losses are indicated by the Head Judge when something “unusual” came up. There was a conference at the table between the Head Judge and the captain of each of the racing teams.

At the conclusion of the conference, both teams shook hands and left. I inquired as to the reason for the conference. I was surprised to learn that both sides would be scored a “zero” for this race of only 4 heats.

How does that happen?

It begins with NAFA’s clarification that ALL races will be limited to 5 heats. It is possible to race fewer than 5 heats but, nobody will run more than 5 heats.

In the event that a clear winner cannot be determined after racing 5 heats, the “winner” will be determined by the previously published tie-breaker.

Wait a minute! Didn’t I state that BOTH teams scored a zero? How does that happen with a tie-breaker? …after running only 4 heats?

The answer lies in another rule concerning “meaningless” heats. Heats that cannot change the outcome of scoring will not be run for the sake of earning points for dogs.

So, how does a 3/5 formatted race become “meaningless” after running just 4 heats?

The answer is how to score a team that runs a heat “breakout” time.

The scoring for this race broke down like this:

  • Heat 1, Team A win, Team B loss
  • Heat 2, Team A NF,  Team B NF
  • Heat 3, Team A “forfeit”, Team B win
  • Heat 4, Team A “forfeit”, Team B “breakout”

At this point, the race ends because its just not mathematically possible for either team to score three wins with only one heat remaining in this race. Team A was forced to forfeit their heats following Heat 2 because of an injured dog. Team B lost the opportunity for an easy win by breaking out in Heat 4. Recent NAFA clarifications allow the dogs to earn title points in a breakout heat. A breakout will be scored as a “loss” when determining placements in the division for this tournament.

It just looked so strange to see a “double zero” with no seven behind it! (I just had to say that!) Would seven be a good name for a flyball dog? You be the judge!

Good Luck & Good Racing!



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3 thoughts on “How Can Both Teams Score Zero in 3/5 Format? #Flyball

  1. I’m confused. At that point they’re tied 1:1 for wins, so a 5th heat would determine a winner. I don’t see that it would’ve been a pointless run (except that team A was scratched).

    I’ve never had it said that 3 heats had to be “won” in this format to declare a winner. If the teams NF or breakout I’ve always seen it go all 5 heats and tournament points are awarded accordingly. In this case, the B team would’ve probably won 2-1, after 5 heats.

    Posted by Veronica | 05/24/2012, 11:50 am
  2. Sorry to confuse you. This was the exact ruling as explained by the presiding Head Judge (who just happened to be a Supervising Judge) His statement was that the format required a team to have three wins to score the race as a win and count towards the total to determine division placements. Since after the fourth Heat, neither team could win three heats, the HJ declared the race unwinnable and declined to start the 5th heat.

    Personally, I ddn’t see where this ruling hurt either team. It didn’t help them, either, since this race scored a zero for both teams.

    I believe that the tie-breaker rule was instituted to determine the winner when both teams are tied. In 3/5 format, that would mean at least one heat ended in a tie at the finish line. In this case, although there was no clear winner, both teams were deemed to have “lost” the race and unable to win enough heats to be declared a winner.

    Sure would welcome input from other Head Judges as to how they would rule in this case.


    Posted by flyballtoday | 05/25/2012, 12:19 am
    • As the tournament director for this tournament, I want to clarify a couple of things. NAFA has had a recent rule change regarding the number of heats per race. In the past ties during racing could be run out meaning in a best 3 of 5 format, it may take 6 heats for a team to earn 3 wins if ties are run out. At the August 27-28, 2011 Board meeting the following change took place:

      • Max number of heats per race
      Dana moved that the following text be added to Corporate Policies & Procedures, Section 6.3 (b)(v):
      A race may not consist of more than five heats. Tournament Directors will publish the tie breaker for races
      (for example- fastest time in the race). This includes the elimination rounds.
      This would be effective October 1, 2011. Dave seconded. No one was opposed. The motion passed

      Now the Tournament Director must determine how ties during racing will be handled. In order to get the point, one team has to have 3 wins. We did award 1/2 point for a race that ended with each team earning 2 points and one heat ending in a tie.

      I don’t know the reason for the rule change, it was inferred that teams were intentionally not finishing so there would be more heats to determine a winner. Thus NAFA made 5 the maximum number of heats per race.

      As far as the decision about meaningless heats, the ED and the Judge made the decision not to run the last heat in that particular race. There was no way for either team to get 3 wins since one team was forfeiting and the other had only 1 win after 4 heats thus the “meaningless racing” rule comes into play.

      Another scenario – In the event a team is racing against a team that has forfeited or if they are in a Bye race with a best 3 of 5 format, the team has 5 chances to get 3 wins or complete heats. So the team may choose not to rerun when they flag to get a better time. But if they do not complete 3 heats, they would not get the point.

      Canine Express

      Posted by Maureen McKernan | 05/27/2012, 11:05 am

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