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Breaking down how PBA could profit from letting non-members like me bowl even after cashing twice in a year

JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2021 11:00 am
Breaking down how PBA could profit from letting non-members like me bowl even after cashing twice in a year

Back on May 29, I made this post on Facebook that reiterated an idea I have campaigned for since the 1990s when I was a PBA member bowling 20-plus Regionals a year:
“The PBA has never been able to see the forest for the trees when it comes to non-member entries. I have been on both sides and am back on the non-member side thanks to USBC's absurd rules for the Open Championships ... and will stay a non-member until after Shades turns 60 in 2025.
I plan to bowl the Hammond and Wyoming PBA50Tour stops and because I can only cash twice in a year, there are PBA and PBA50 Regionals between now and then that would get my entry but won't because of that rule. How is that good for PBA? Or the host center? Or the other competitors? Starved for entries and keeping rules on the book that prevent entries from happening.
Let non-members keep bowling for the higher entry fees and charge a 10% non-member ‘tax’ when they cash = for example, $50 is kept by PBA when a non-member cashes for $500. Non-members who cash several times end up paying way more in extra entry fees and ‘taxes’ than full member dues are. EVERYONE wins under that system.
PBA has refused to see this for 25 years through three ownerships.
Just mind boggling.
(NOTE: USBC rules for the Open Championships are the ONLY reason I dropped my card — if they hadn't broke up our team and forced this so we can bowl together again, I would have remained a PBA member to the grave.)”

The post generated a long thread of comments, including by Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Chris Barnes.

Some agreed with my plan and some disagreed, but not many seemed to grasp the economic benefit to the PBA from my plan. Of if they did, they didn’t care as much about that as other issues.

Here's how it breaks down:

Full PBA membership dues are $300.

As a non-member, I bowled the PBA50 Tour tournaments in Hammond, Indiana and Wyoming, Michigan, with an entry fee of $525 each compared to the member fee of $475. That’s $100 extra I paid.

I cashed for $1,220 in Hammond and $1,000 in Wyoming, for a total of $2,220. With my 10% “tax” I would have paid $222 extra.

So just in those two tournaments, I would have paid $322, which is $22 more than PBA dues for a full member.

But with two cashes, I no longer can bowl PBA tournaments in 2021.

Because of that rule, I skipped at least two Regionals before Hammond that I would have bowled, and there are more I would bowl, including two in my hometown of Madison Sept. 25-26, which I detailed in this story.

With the standard Regional entry fees of $245 for members and $310 for non-members, it would be $65 more to PBA every time I bowled. And then there would be 10% of any prize money I might win.

It’s very conceivable a non-member could end up paying two, three or more times full member dues.

Plus, host centers would benefit from more entries. I bowled way too many Regionals with 30-some and 40-some entries in my career not to see this.

And non-members gain none of the benefits of membership: the low practice rates at participating centers, the reduced cost on bowling balls, PBA 300 rings and champion banner eligibility, the chance to go to the National Regional Players Invitational, etc.

The only thing they get is the chance to bowl in tournaments.

If the chance of a non-member cashing is the issue for some members, my answer would be to bowl better — that is how I always felt back in my heyday whenever a non-member finished ahead of me.

Take the extra entry fee, take the “tax,” give no member benefits, and let non-members bowl.

Clearly, it would not be smart financially for a non-member to remain a non-member and pay far more than member dues. But if someone like me is dumb enough to do that instead of joining, PBA should welcome that.

What it amounts to is my loyalty to my 11thFrame.com group is greater than my love for a few hundred dollars extra in my pocket. Anyone who doesn’t understand that probably hasn’t experienced anything like what our group did for decades at the Open Championships.

Money gets spent, but Eagles and all those experiences are forever.

And yes, the real issue is the absurd USBC rules. Sadly, I don't see those getting more logical while Chad Murphy is executive director.