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The position of a person or team in a tournament who draws no opponent in a particular round so advances to the next round unopposed; also the phantom opponent of such a person or team.

In league style tournaments, this is potentially confusing since there are no rounds in the sense of people advancing from one round to the next, but rather the team/person who has the bye simply doesn't play for that week/day/whatever. They don't get points, but as each team/person has a bye, it's works out the same in the end. Also the phrase "somone plays the bye next week" sounds strange to me. Perhaps it's only used in some sports or some forms of English. 'Team X has the bye next week' is the more normal phrase t me 16:29, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Where does this term come from? I've seen it more frequently spelled as "buy", which I trust could very well be wrong, but in any case, what relevance does this sports application have to the normal meaning of "bye", that is, "farewell", "goodbye"? LordAmeth 16:48, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
It isn't from bye = "goodbye", but rather a form of by. Ƿidsiþ 16:56, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

The History:

The earliest uses of "bye" (also spelled "by") were apparently in cricket, where it still means, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "A run scored for a ball which passes the batsman, and which the wicket-keeper and long-stop fail to stop." Which means that a run is scored for a play which did not actually take place and the player "advances" without actually playing. This leads us to the more general sense of "bye" used in other sports, "The position of a player in a tournament who advances to the next round without playing, usually because there is an odd number of players."