Rule 400

  1. Except as provided in Item B, a youth may not bowl, substitute or pace in any bowling activity which offers any of the following as prizes:

  1. Cash or bonds.

  2. Merchandise exceeding $500 in value.

  1. Youth may bowl in singles competitions (including side competitions/brackets) offering such prizes, provided, prior to bowling:

  1. The competition agrees to award the youth’s prize in the form of a scholarship; or

  2. The youth signs the USBC Singles Competition Prize Waiver waiving his/her rights to any prize in violation of this rule.


In youth competition, youth members may participate in side competitions/brackets provided all entries are returned 100% in the form of scholarships only and awards comply with Item A above


Buying or selling of earned prizes is prohibited.


Any youth bowler deemed in violation of this rule is subject to disciplinary action including the potential loss of youth membership.



NOTE:  There are no limits on scholarship amounts or entry fees (must be paid directly to the tournament director/manager) and reimbursement of actual travel expenses into the next higher level of competition or any tournament or event. (Receipts must be provided upon request.)


The prizes authorized by a state high school athletic association or a collegiate athletic association recognized by USBC and USBC Collegiate are not subject to the limitations of this rule.




Commonly Asked Questions – Rule 400




My 20-year-old daughter is still a USBC Youth member, but wishes to join our Adult/Youth league with her younger brother. May she join the league as the adult, or would it affect her eligibility as a USBC Youth member?

The league rules and/or board determine if she can join as the adult. Since the league must follow USBC Rule 400, it would have no effect on her USBC Youth membership.



What awards can now be given in USBC Youth competition?

In addition to those previously published under Rule 400, bowling equipment, apparel, gift certificates and other merchandise prizes are now allowed. The total value of prizes a youth could receive in any one event cannot exceed $500. Scholarships do not fall under this limitation. (Gift certificates or gift cards cannot be redeemable for cash)




Can a youth bowl for cash or bonds?

No. Bowling for cash or bonds is still a violation of Rule 400.




Can a youth bowl in an adult doubles or team event where cash or bonds are offered if the USBC Prize Waiver is signed or the competition agrees to offer scholarships through SMART?

No. Rule 400 only allows youths to participate in adult singles competitions with cash or bond prizes and/or merchandise prizes valued in excess of $500 provided they submit the USBC Prize Waiver prior to participating in such a competition.



Can bowling centers award items such as free soft drinks, food and free games for bowling accomplishments?

Yes. However, the total value of the awards an individual can earn in any one event, with the exception of scholarships, cannot exceed $500.



Can a parent or legal guardian purchase a ring to commemorate a youth's 298, 299 or 300 game or 700, 800 or 900 series?

Yes. USBC policy only allows USBC Youth members their parents or legal guardians to purchase the commemorative high score rings. Bowling centers, USBC associations or other parties cannot purchase the rings as awards for their USBC Youth bowlers. This policy is a proactive approach to prevent offering awards that could jeopardize a USBC Youth member's amateur status and eligibility to compete in high school sports.




What is the maximum amount a youth bowler can earn in scholarships?

There is no limitation on the value of scholarships that can be awarded in youth competition.



What is the purpose of the USBC Prize Waiver?

The waiver serves three primary purposes. First, it ensures that the USBC Youth member is aware that the event is offering prizes which may be in violation of Rule 400. Second, it provides the USBC Youth member the opportunity to compete in singles competitions without jeopardizing his/her USBC Youth eligibility. And last, it replaces the Parental Consent Form in adult singles competitions.



Where can we find a copy of the USBC Prize Waiver?

The official USBC Prize Waiver can be found on our web site,

A downloadable copy of this waiver is being sent to all USBC state and local associations, certified bowling centers and certified league/tournament officials. If necessary, you can obtain a copy by contacting the Rules Team at (800) 514-2695, ext. 3155.




Can a league or tournament make up its own prize waiver?

No, only the official USBC Prize Waiver form can be used.



What competitions can a USBC Youth member compete in by signing the USBC Prize Waiver?

 The USBC Prize Waiver is acceptable only for use in adult singles competitions which offer cash or bonds and/or any merchandise prizes valued greater than $500. The USBC Prize Waiver is NOT ACCEPTABLE for use in team (2 or more players) competition including, for example, Adult/Youth team competitions.




Must the bowler complete this waiver before they start the competition or can the bowler wait until the prize list is finalized before signing the waiver?

Prior to competing the member must complete and sign the prize waiver designating their intent to decline any cash prizes they may qualify for.




When a bowler signs the USBC Prize Waiver and earns a prize they have waived claim to, what happens to these prizes?

Any waived prizes shall be returned to the prize fund for redistribution to the other eligible participants.




If I have questions or concerns regarding amateur status/rules in my state, how can I contact my state high school athletic association?

Locate the contact for your specific state on or by clicking here.



Some of the teams in my daughter’s league have sponsors who give them bowling shirts and help with other expenses. Is this acceptable?

Yes, however, USBC would prefer the entire league be sponsored so each team is treated the same. Sponsors can cover normal expenses, such as providing team shirts, travel expenses to tournaments, etc.