Handicap Advisory Committee

The American Poolplayers Association (APA) has asked every League Operator to form a Handicap Advisory Committee (HAC) for their area. The HAC’s purpose is to periodically review rosters and complaints concerning rulings on the accuracy of handicaps. You’re already aware that The Equalizer®  scoring and handicapping system incorporates safeguards to ensure the accuracy of our players’ skill levels. Unfortunately, no matter how ingenious these safeguards may be, there are always a few players who conspire to cheat the system. Instead of dwelling on this inevitable facet of human nature, we’ve instituted several methods designed to eliminate this problem. A good Handicap Advisory Committee is the final line of defense and has virtually eliminated sandbagging violations. The members of the Handicap Advisory Committee may be known to the membership or their identities may be kept anonymous. Your HAC members are your friends unless you are an offender.


The HAC consists of a few of the best players in your area. Every attempt will be made to ensure there are members from each division in your League. Additionally, HAC members should abstain from rulings concerning a player on that member’s team. The HAC can meet periodically or whenever a problem arises. Here are some examples of pertinent situations.

  • Whenever there are specific complaints about a member.
  • To periodically review players’ skill levels.
  • To review new members and make recommendations concerning the assigning of skill levels to “known” highly skilled players.
  • To review the skill levels of all players entering Higher Level Tournaments.
  • To rule on protests concerning handicaps and “sandbagging” violations.

Although the HAC will normally meet if there is business to conduct, it is possible for HAC members to individually review specific cases and submit their opinions to the League Operator for action.


The best method to date is the COMPARISON METHOD. The comparison method works as follows: A number of CONTROL PLAYERS are identified throughout the area. A control player is a player who is weak within his or her skill level. In other words, a number of players throughout the area are identified because the HAC is “surprised” the player has achieved the level they carry. The “weakest” sixes would be the control players for the skill level six category. There should be at least two control players identified for each skill level. Once the control players have been identified by the HAC (their identity can remain anonymous), the HAC is ready to conduct business. The HAC conducts an investigation in the following manner:

  • A player that attracts the attention of the HAC is then compared to the control players one skill level higher than his or her skill level.
  • HAC members are asked, “Who would be favored if player A (the player in question) and player B (the control player) were to play a serious match?”
  • HAC members are allowed to vote only if they have personal knowledge (not hearsay) of both players abilities. That’s why there should be more than one control player for each skill level.
  • It is possible for an HAC member to relate that Player A is consistently better than some other player in the League (let’s call him player X) and that player X plays better than the named control player.
  • It takes a majority of the HAC members voting to cause a player’s skill level to be raised.
  • The League Operator is the final authority, but the APA has asked League Operators to refrain from overruling the HAC’s decision.
  • A player can appeal the HAC’s decision. A few players have convinced the HAC that their decision was wrong and were allowed to return to their former skill level.

Click here to learn more about how your handicap is calculated.

Additional information can be downloaded here:

How Your Handicap Advisory Committee Works

Skill Level Evaluation Request