Torry Henderson says that when he checked in at this year's Wisconsin State Bowling Association Championships — aka the State Tournament — he had recap sheets from three of the four leagues he bowled in but not the fourth.
In a phone interview Tuesday accepting my offer to tell his side of the story after I wrote this blog, he said the three sheets he had showed averages that were not 15 pins over his 199 entering average from last season, which was down from his usual due to a broken wrist. (He returned this season to Wisconsin from Texas, where he had gone for a job and bowled for about five years.)
"I told them to verify it and that I didn't have my Monday (league) sheet," Henderson said.
As it turned out, the fourth was 219, or more than 15 pins over, which required him to re-rate to 219.
He said he later got a verification form from the WSBA and mailed it back with his Monday league sheet showing the 219 average "but they said they never got it."
Ultimately, the WSBA disqualified Henderson, who with partner Scott Radke had taken over — and ended up — second in Division 1 doubles.
"They said it was intentional," Henderson said. "It wasn't. I don't cheat. I told them I was higher" in average.
He considered appealing but decided not to after talking with the United States Bowling Congress and considering that checks already had been sent out.
"They aren't going to budge on it," Henderson said of the WSBA.
Instead of disqualification, Henderson believes it would have been more fair for WSBA to re-rate him and change his scores, as was done with Jim Yannaras and Glenn Bachmann last year.
However, that situation was different in that all the cards were on the table, so to speak, before bowling with decisions left to be made later after further investigation.
Here's a look at last year's situation, with links in the story to other blogs that provide additional details.
Assuming Henderson is telling the truth, what got him was his forms not reaching the WSBA office. The WSBA investigated and learned of his 219 average (96 games) and disqualified him.
"I've been taking my recap sheets to all my tourneys," Henderson said. "I did that for City and got re-rated to like 216 — it was earlier in the year."
Update: Madison Bowling Association manager Bill Dennis pointed out that if Henderson had been re-rated at the City Tournament before bowling the State Tournament, by State Tournament rule he was required to report that re-write to the WSBA.
"It's unfortunate because it's going to cost me a pretty penny," he added. "But I'm not mad. I just wanted to clear my name. I love the game. Why would I cheat the game I love?"
Update: WSBA manager Phil La Porte followed up publication of this blog with an email clarifying a couple of points.
He said if Henderson had appealed and it been upheld, WSBA would have paid him the prize money and checks that have been sent out would have stood.
La Porte wanted to emphasize that tournament staff do everything at check-in that they can to avoid disqualification situations.
"The task of a Tournament Manager is to make decisions based on information given at entry and again at check in," La Porte said. "In this case the entry blank has the rules on it and the announcements say if your were 15 pins or higher at check in, you must report it. He was asked at check-in if he was 15 pins or higher in average just like you and everybody else. He did not report his change in average at check-in and to this date we have not received the information that we did send to him even though he said he sent it back to us. If we would have received it and the 219 did appear he would have still been DQ'd.
"In life mistakes happen and this time it was costly for him. We all learn from our mistakes.We did not single out one person but rules are rules and in this case it hurt with a DQ."