Bye (sports)

# Bye (sports)

Discussion

Encyclopedia
A bye, in sports and other competitive activities, most commonly refers to the practice of allowing a player
Player (game)
A player of a game is a participant therein. The term 'player' is used with this same meaning both in game theory and in ordinary recreational games....

or team
Team
A team comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose. Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team...

to advance to the next round of a playoff
Playoff
The playoffs, postseason, or finals of a sports league are a game or series of games played after the regular season by the top competitors, usually but not always with a single-elimination system, to determine the league champion or a similar accolade.In the U.S...

tournament
Tournament
A tournament is a competition involving a relatively large number of competitors, all participating in a sport or game. More specifically, the term may be used in either of two overlapping senses:...

without playing. This is generally the result of having a number of entrants in the competition
Competition
Competition is a contest between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For...

that is not a power of two
Power of two
In mathematics, a power of two means a number of the form 2n where n is an integer, i.e. the result of exponentiation with as base the number two and as exponent the integer n....

(i.e., not 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.); any such tournament must eventually arrive, through elimination, at an odd number
Even and odd numbers
In mathematics, the parity of an object states whether it is even or odd.This concept begins with integers. An even number is an integer that is "evenly divisible" by 2, i.e., divisible by 2 without remainder; an odd number is an integer that is not evenly divisible by 2...

of participants at some point, thus necessitating the bye. In large tournaments, sometimes the best-ranked players or teams get a bye in the first round(s), to reward them with less risk of elimination, as well as on the basis (particularly in seeded tournaments) that they would be most likely to eliminate the worst seeds anyway. Byes can be applied equally to single-person competitions and team sports, and well as to single-game eliminations and best-of series eliminations.

In round-robin tournament
Round-robin tournament
A round-robin tournament is a competition "in which each contestant meets all other contestants in turn".-Terminology:...

competitions where there are an odd number of competitors each round, usually just one would get a bye. Thus during no round would all teams be able to play. However, by the completion of the tournament each team would have played the same number of games as well as having sat out for the same number of rounds during the tournament. In a Swiss-system tournament with an odd number of players, one will get a bye each round, but not all players will get a bye.

There are multiple ways or reasons to get byes such as random chance, the opponent is unable to participate, the team gets it due to positive or negative past history, the team is handicapped etc..

### Gridiron football and Major League Baseball

• In a typical use of the term, the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

rewards two division winners from each of the two conferences which possess the best regular season record with a bye in the playoffs. This is necessitated by the current 12-team playoff structure. Eight is the next lowest power of 2, so four teams must be eliminated in the first week to get down to eight teams. Beginning in 2012 or 2013, Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

will join the NFL in having byes, which will be awarded to all division winners. There will be 10 playoff teams in all of MLB (6 division winners + 4 wildcards or 3 division winners per league+ 2 wildcards per league), so 2 teams will be eliminated to get the number down to 8 while the byes are in use. National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

and the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

each allow 16 teams in their postseasons, and sinc 16 is a power of two, no teams receive byes. The CFL
The Canadian Football League or CFL is a professional sports league located in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football, a form of gridiron football closely related to American football....

also grants a bye to its two division winners, directly to the division finals as four other teams compete in a semi-final week.
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

and American
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

professional football leagues, the term "bye week" refers to any week during the regular season in which a team does not play a game. Each NFL team will have one "bye week" during a normal season; this is placed on the schedule between Week 4 and Week 10. The NFL has used the bye week since 1990 so as to extend the regular season schedule to 17 weeks. In 1993 each NFL team had 2 bye weeks. Traditionally, the Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League or CFL is a professional sports league located in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football, a form of gridiron football closely related to American football....

and Arena Football have scheduled byes only in seasons when they have had an odd number of teams in their leagues. However, the CFL introduced a scheduled bye week for its eight teams for the 2007 season
2007 CFL season
The 2007 CFL season was the 54th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it was the 50th season of the league, and many special events were held to commemorate the event. Regular-season play began on June 28, 2007 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario and concluded on...

.

### Australian football codes

In leagues such as Australia's National Rugby League
National Rugby League
The National Rugby League is the top league of professional rugby league football clubs in Australasia. The NRL's main competition, called the Telstra Premiership , is contested by sixteen teams, fifteen of which are based in Australia with one based in New Zealand...

(NRL) where competition points are used to determine standings, the bye also garners points (in the NRL's case, two, equivalent to a win). During the 2002-2006 seasons inclusive when 15 teams were in the competition, the bye was required each round due to the uneven number of teams competing. A standard round would consist of seven matches leaving one team out; that team would have to serve its bye (two per season) in that round. During the representative time of the season (such as the State of Origin
Rugby League State of Origin
State of Origin is an annual best of three series of rugby league football matches contested by the Maroons and the Blues, who represent the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales respectively...

), three teams would receive byes, mainly to those clubs that have the most players involved in the representative match (such as the Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane Broncos
The Brisbane Broncos are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the city of Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland. Founded in 1988, the Broncos play in Australasia's elite competition, the National Rugby League premiership. They have won six premierships and two...

and Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm
The Melbourne Storm are an Australian professional rugby league club based in the city of Melbourne. They are the first fully professional rugby league team based in the Australian rules football-dominated state of Victoria....

), in the round preceding the representative fixture.

From the 2007 season onwards, there were sixteen teams competing in the NRL, meaning only one bye would be allocated to each team, also mainly around the representative part of the season. This became an issue after many high-profile players became injured as a result of player burn-out close to the finals. This was rectified in the following season, where the two-bye system and 26-round format returned (the 2007 season featured only 25 rounds). The two byes would be allocated to teams that, again, have the most players involved in a representative fixture. Two competition points are automatically attained from the bye, but the only team not to receive any competition points from a bye were the Melbourne Storm
Melbourne Storm
The Melbourne Storm are an Australian professional rugby league club based in the city of Melbourne. They are the first fully professional rugby league team based in the Australian rules football-dominated state of Victoria....

who were banned from receiving competition points from Round 7 of the 2010 season onwards due to their salary cap breach
Melbourne Storm salary cap breach
The Melbourne Storm salary cap breach was a major breach of the National Rugby League's strictly enforced salary cap by the Melbourne Storm club over a period of five years...

.

The Australian Football League
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is both the governing body and the major professional competition in the sport of Australian rules football...

also had byes during periods in which the competition consisted of an odd number of teams (such as prior to the admission of the Fremantle Dockers
Fremantle Football Club
The Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed The Dockers, is an Australian rules football team which plays in the Australian Football League . The club is based in the port city of Fremantle at the mouth of the Swan River in Western Australia...

in 1995, and the 2011 admission of the Gold Coast Suns). In an unusual application of the bye, the AFL finals system
AFL finals system
The current AFL finals system was devised by the Australian Football League in 2000 as its end-of-season championship playoff tournament. It is a revision of the McIntyre Final Eight System, used by the AFL from 1994 to 1999, designed to address several perceived issues with that system...

employs byes even though the finals consist of eight teams (a power of two). The first round of the finals is not a strict elimination round and uses two byes to reward the top four qualifiers for their performance (the byes are earned in matches between those teams). After the second round, four teams remain and the system returns to standard single-elimination.

For the 2011 season, the bye would be required in each round, due to the uneven number of teams competing, but with the addition of the Greater Western Sydney Football Club in 2012 the bye will no longer be required each round. Each club would receive two byes during the season, at random rounds throughout the season. In 2011, the bye has proven to be a sticking point for many clubs; as of Round 17, 2011, only seven teams ( (twice), , , (twice) and , and ) have won the week after serving a bye.