Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ultimate
  • Q: How many people are on a team?

    A:

    Teams have only seven players on the field at one time, but may have as many people on their roster as they choose.  Roster limits may apply for USA Ultimate Series events.

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  • Q: How long does a game usually last?

    A:

    A typical game is played to 15 points and usually lasts about one and a half hours.

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  • Q: What equipment do you need in order to play?

    A:

    Ultimate is one of the least expensive sports to play, as all that’s required for a game is field space and a disc. Most players opt to wear cleats as well, and cones or lined boundaries are helpful for marking the boundaries of the playing field and end zones.

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  • Q: Are all discs the same?

    A:

    No. Ultimate is played with a 175 gram disc, which is heavier and sturdier than the recreational discs most people are familiar with. The weight, diameter, shape of the rim, and plastic all factor in to how the disc handles. USA Ultimate has developed very rigorous disc standards to ensure that players have access to the highest quality discs possible. The Discraft Ultra-Star 175 gram disc is currently the official disc of the USA Ultimate Championship Series.

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  • Q: When was the Frisbee™ created?

    A:

    The patent for the Frisbee™ was issued on September 30, 1958.

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  • Q: What’s the difference between an observer and a referee?

    A:

    Observers are non-players whose role is to carefully watch the action of the game and to perform any or all of the following duties: track time limits, resolve player disputes, censure or eject players for sportsmanship infractions, and render opinions on things such as line calls and off-side calls. The difference between an observer and a referee is that in general observers only make rulings on infractions called by players, and only after the players have failed to resolve the issue themselves.

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  • Q: How can I start playing?

    A:

    Most cities have Ultimate leagues and pickup games that are open to new players.  A relatively comprehensive listing is maintaing on our Where To Play page.  USA Ultimate has also developed an instructional kit (available through our Merchandise Program) that includes discs, cones, skills and drills manual, and other items that can help you start an ultimate program in your community.

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  • Q: Where can I find more info to improve my playing skills?

    A:

    The USA Ultimate website includes links to various skills and drills that can help improve your game. The Ultimate Handbook is also a great resource for beginning and experienced players alike.

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  • Q: Will Ultimate ever become an Olympic sport?

    A:

    USA Ultimate and WFDF (The World Flying Disc Federation) have been working to achieve the best presentation of Ultimate and other disc sports on the worldwide sport scene for some time. A major milestone in this effort occurred in 2001 when Ultimate was included in the World Games for the first time as a full medal sport.  The best possible scenario for disc sports is to continue our emphasis in each home town, each state and national community to build the sport at the grass roots level. We must work steadily to make our games better and stronger for our players which will make us increasingly attractive to various global sports organizations.  USA Ultimate was officially recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2014, and WFDF received full recognition as the International Federation of flying disc sports by the International Olympic Committee in 2015.

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Rules
  • Q: What’s the difference between a check, a self-check and a “ground touch”? And when are each of these required?

    A:

    A: A “check” is what’s used to restart play whenever play has stopped (i.e., after a call; II.R.3), and both offense and defense must acknowledge readiness. Usually, the thrower presents the disc to the marker to “tap it in”, but in some situations, when there is no offensive player in possession of the disc or no marker close enough to the thrower after a stoppage of play, an offensive or defensive "self-check" is used instead (VIII.D.4 and 5).
    This form of check still requires acknowledgment by both teams before the disc can be put into play. Although an offensive self-check is physically carried out by touching the disc to the ground, it is NOT the same as a “ground touch”.

    A “ground touch” is used by a thrower to put the disc in play when the disc is “live” (II.R.2). This basically means that whenever the thrower is walking the disc to the spot where he or she is going to put the disc into play (for example, walking an OB disc back to the sideline, walking a disc to the front endzone line, or walking a pull to the brick mark), he or she must touch the disc to the ground before making a throw (XIII.B, IX.H, and VIII.B.10). (The reason for this is in order to signify the pivot spot to the marker so
    that the marker knows where to set their mark- this is especially helpful to the marker on an unlined field!) If the thrower fails to touch the disc to the ground before the throw, it is a travel. A “ground touch” is not a check though, and the thrower does not need to wait for defensive acknowledgment before throwing the disc (although it seems to be common practice for the thrower to offer the disc to the marker for a “check” in many live disc
    situations, such as when putting a pull into play at the brick mark, even though this is not actually required).

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  • Q: Where do players reposition after a call?

    A:

    A: Where players reposition after a call depends on where the disc goes after the call has been resolved (XVI.C.4), but the underlying rationale is to try to put players in the position they would have been if the infraction hadn’t occurred. There are 3 possible scenarios: a) the disc was never thrown, b) the disc was thrown and stays where it is, or c) the disc was thrown but now goes back to the thrower.

    a) If the disc was never thrown, then the players simply go back to where they were when the call was made.
    b) If the disc was thrown after the call, but it’s determined that the disc stays where it is (whether it’s caught or turned over), then players should go to where they were when that pass was completed (or turned over).
    c) If the disc was thrown, but it’s determined that the disc goes back to the thrower, then the players go back to where they were either when the call was made, or when the disc was thrown, whichever was earlier.

    This last one is the situation that usually requires the most readjustment, and is the one that many people tend to get wrong. For example, if a long huck goes up to a receiver and a defender sprinting down the field, they both go up for the disc, the receiver calls a foul and the defender contests, the disc is sent back to the thrower. Now the receiver and defender (and maybe a few other players) are standing all the way downfield, but the disc has gone back to the thrower. In this situation, everyone should go back to where they
    were when the throw went up, since this was earlier than the time of the call. This usually means that the receiver and defender go back to somewhere much closer to where the receiver first initiated his or her cut.

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  • Q: When a foul or violation is called but a subsequent pass is completed, how do you decide whether the disc goes back to the thrower? Does it depend on whether the call was before or after the throw, or whether the infraction affected the play?

    A:

    For the situation where a call is made but the thrower doesn’t hear it and throws a completed pass, the first question to ask is whether the call was made by the offense or the defense.

    If the call was made by the defense – for example a pick, or a foul where the offense pushed off when initiating their cut – then the next question to ask is whether the violation affected the play (XVI.C.3). If it did, then the throw goes back to the thrower (unless it’s an uncontested offensive receiving foul, i.e. the offensive receiver fouls their defender while the disc is in the air, in which case it’s a turnover!). If it didn’t (say the pick or foul was away from the play), then the disc stays with the receiver (XVI.C.2.b).

    If the call was made by the offense – for example a receiver is fouled while they’re trying to initiate their cut – then the next question is whether the call was made before or after the throwing motion began. If the call was made while the thrower was in the act of throwing or while the disc was in the air, the disc stays. If the call was before the start of the throwing motion, the disc goes back. The reason for this rule is so that the offense doesn’t get a “free throw”- that is, a situation where they would get to keep the disc if the
    pass is completed, but get to send it back if the pass was not completed. This rule applies whether the receiver who called the foul catches the disc, or whether the call is made by another offensive player who’s not involved in the play.

    So to summarize: If a call is made and the thrower throws a completion, if the defense made the call, the disc goes back if the infraction (foul or violation) affected the play (or is a turnover in the case of an uncontested offensive receiving foul), and if the offense made the call, the disc goes back if the call was before the throwing motion began. Otherwise the completion stands.

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  • Q: If I’m on defense and get picked, and my player catches the disc, does it always go back to the thrower?

    A:

    The fact that you got picked and your player caught the disc does not mean that the disc automatically goes back to the thrower (this is a common misconception). The disc should only go back to the thrower if you believe that the pick affected the play (XVI.C.3), that is, if you believe the pick affected your ability to prevent your opponent from catching the disc. In most situations, a picked defender has a pretty good argument that without the pick, he would have been able to contest the pass, so the disc should go back. However, if you as a defender are trailing your opponent by a fair amount (say, 2.9 meters) because you’ve been poaching off of them, or because you are much slower than them, and you know that with or without the pick you wouldn’t have been able to change the outcome of the pass, then the disc should stay with the receiver. It is still perfectly legitimate to call the pick (as long as you were within 3 meters of your opponent when you got picked), because your ability to catch up to them and set up a mark were affected, but the disc should only go back to the thrower if you believe that the pick actually affected your ability to prevent your opponent from catching the disc.

    So to summarize, you should always ask yourself the question: Did the person you are covering get open because of the pick, or was he or she already open before the pick occurred? If it’s the latter, then the disc does not go back to the thrower.

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  • Q: I was playing defense when a huck went up to the receiver I was guarding. We chased it down, and both went up for it. I got to the disc first, and hit it OB, but then my hand came down on my receiver’s arms, and he called ‘foul!’ While it’s true that my arms hit his arms, the contact occurred after I had hit the disc away, so I wasn’t sure whether to contest the foul call or not… is contact always

    A:

    In order to understand what the proper outcome of this situation should be, several different issues must be examined. There are two common misconceptions: one is that all contact is a foul, and the other is that all uncontested fouls should result in the team that called the foul retaining possession of the disc. Neither of these are in fact the case! There are two sections of the rules that are relevant in this situation: the definition of a
    foul, and the continuation rule, which governs where the disc should go after a call. Note that the definition of a foul doesn’t say anything about who gets the disc after a foul occurs! So let’s look at each of these in turn. (The following assumes that the play was not a “dangerous play”- which we’ll deal with at the end.)

    When is contact a foul? A foul is defined as any contact that affects continued play (you get to this definition if you combine II.E and II.H, which defines “incidental contact”). What is “continued play”? Continued play is simply the ability of the contacted player to continue playing the game- for example, cutting or clearing if they’re on offense, playing defense or getting the mark on in they’re on defense, etc. So if I’m on offense, and I step on my defender’s foot before I start my cut, such that my defender cannot continue to play defense on me, that’s a foul. Or if my defender tripped me while I was clearing out of the lane, and I was no longer able to clear out rapidly, that too is a foul. Now, in both of these situations, everyone knows intuitively that just because a foul occurred it doesn’t mean that possession should switch over to the fouled player.

    So when does the foul affect who gets possession of the disc? Let’s limit our discussion to fouls called by the offense. In order for the fouled player’s team to obtain or retain possession of the disc, the foul has to have “affected the play”. Although this sounds similar, this phrase has a very different meaning than the phrase “affected continued play” which is used to determine whether something is a foul in the first place. Whether an infraction (such as a foul) affected the play determines what happens to the disc, per the continuation rule (XVI.C.2.b). So what does affected the play mean? “Affected the play” means that the outcomeof the specific play (that is, which team has the disc when play stops) may have been meaningfully different absent the infraction (XVI.C.3). For example, if a receiver is fouled and thereby prevented from getting open for a pass, the play was affected; however, if the receiver would not have received a pass even without
    the foul, the play was not affected. Note also that receiving fouls carry an extra provision that not only does the infracted team retain possession, but the infracted player him or herself (i.e. the receiver) gets to keep the disc (assuming the foul is uncontested; XVI.H.3.b.2).

    So this finally brings us back to the question posed above. There are two sub-questions that we must answer: Was the contact a foul? And if so, did the foul affect the play? Since the contact occurred after the defender hit the disc OB, the outcome of the specific play was probably not affected by the contact (whether or not the defender had hit the receiver’s arms, the receiver probably wouldn’t have been able to catch the disc inbounds after the defender had hit it OB). In some situations, a receiver may feel that even though the defender hit the disc first, subsequent contact affected the receiver’s ability to make a second play on a disc. In this case, the contact can be considered to have affected the play (since the play is now considered to include the second attempt at the disc). Whether the contact affected the play is determined solely by the contacted player. So in the situation
    described above, where no second attempt was possible, the contact did not affect the play, and therefore the receiver’s team should not retain possession of the disc.

    Ok, so the receiver shouldn’t gain possession of the disc, but was the contact still a foul? Well, that depends on whether the contact affected continued play. In some situations, even if the contact didn’t affect the play, it may have affectedcontinued play, or the ability of the contacted player to continue playing. For example, if the contact caused the receiver to fall down, and then the defender-turned-offensive player took off downfield and the receiver-turned-defensive player couldn’t get up in time to chase after him on
    defense, the contact affected continued play, and the former receiver could call a foul to stop play and make their opponent come back. In the case described above, the contact seems to have been limited to the receiver’s arms, and therefore is unlikely to have affected that player’s ability to continue playing, and therefore the contact was probably not a foul.

    Finally, a word on dangerous plays: if a player shows reckless disregard for the safety of others, or makes a dangerous play (XVI.H.4) and thereby causes significant impact with another player, the dangerous play is considered to have affected the play if the receiver would have had a play on the disc if the dangerous play had not occurred. For example, if a catchable disc is deflected away by a defender who then dangerously crashes into the
    receiver, the receiver gets the disc even though the defender deflected the disc before the contact occurred.

    So, bottom line: unless it’s a dangerous play, contact is only a foul if it affects continued play, and furthermore, the disc should only go to the fouled player’s team if the foul affected the specific play.

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  • Q: I was going up for a disc when my defender plowed into me. I called 'foul', but my defender said he was going for the disc so it was 'incidental contact'. What's the right outcome in that situation?

    A:

    "Incidental contact" does not mean "accidental contact," it means contact that does not affect continued play (II.H). It is assumed that any contact between players is accidental and a result of the defender going for the disc. Just because someone is going for the disc doesn’t mean that in the process they did not contact you, affecting your ability to continue play.

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  • Q: A “hospital pass” went up, a group of players gathered under the hanging disc, and several players went up for the disc at once. One player called “foul.” The defense contested because it was a hospital pass, so therefore the contact was incidental. What’s the correct call here?

    A:

    The quality of the throw has no bearing on whether a foul can or can’t be called. The only thing that matters is whether contact that affected the receiver’s ability to catch the disc was initiated by a member of the opposing team (XVI.H.3.b.1 and II.E.). If a defender initiates contact with the receiver, thereby affecting the receiver’s ability to catch the disc, it’s a foul, no matter how bad the throw. However, in order to call a foul in this situation, the receiver must be able to attribute the contact to a member of the

     

    opposing team (since it’s only a foul if it was initiated by a member of the opposing team, and an infraction may only be called by a player on the infracted team who recognizes that it has occurred; XVI.A). If the player calling the foul doesn’t know whether the contact was initiated by a member of their own team, or the opposite team, they cannot call the foul.

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  • Q: What does "affected the play" mean anyway?

    A:

    Understanding this phrase is important for correct application of the continuation rule. Here's the part of the continuation rule that's relevant:

    XVI.C. Continuation rule
    3. An infraction affected the play if an infracted player determines that the outcome of the specific play (from the time of the infraction until play stops) may have been meaningfully different absent the infraction. (For example, if a receiver is fouled and thereby prevented from getting open for a pass, the play was affected; however, if the receiver would not have received a pass even without the foul, the play was not affected.)

    A few things to note about this rule:
    -if the team that committed the infraction gains or retains possession (e.g.- a defensive infraction followed by a turnover, or an offensive infraction followed by a completed pass), it doesn't matter whether the infraction occurred before or after the throw.
    -the infracted player gets to determine whether the infraction affected the play. 
    -the specific play is described as beginning at the time of the infraction and ending when play stops, and is not limited to a particular pass or event.

    To explain this a bit more clearly, let's illustrate this with some examples.

    We'll start with an easy one: A receiver starts his cut but is fouled by his defender. The thrower either doesn't realize there has been a foul and throws the disc anyway, or has already thrown the disc. The receiver feels that he would have had a play on the disc if he hadn't been fouled. Therefore he determines that the infraction affected the play, and the disc returns to the thrower.... unless the specific rule says otherwise, which in this case it
    does (according to XVI.H.3.b.2 Receiving Fouls, if the foul is uncontested the disc goes to the receiver at the spot of the infraction; if contested, it goes back to the thrower).

    Ok, now let's say that the same receiver was fouled, but this time the thrower, seeing that that receiver was not open (but not realizing that a foul had been called), decides to throw to a different receiver, perhaps the dump. The dump can't get open, and the thrower ends up throwing the disc right to the dump's defender. In this case, there's a reasonable argument to be made that if the first receiver hadn't been fouled, he may have been a
    better option for the thrower, and the pass may have been completed to him. Therefore, the fouled receiver may still determine that the foul affected the play, and the disc will return to the thrower.

    At this point you may be thinking, well, every time there's a defensive foul before an incomplete throw, the offense can claim that the foul affected the play, and the disc will go back to the thrower. And in fact, this is mostly true. (Note that the 10th edition did not clearly address what should happen when there's a defensive violation preceding an incomplete throw, and therefore a special clarification was given at club and college nationals for the past several years, in which it was decided that this scenario would be played such that the disc would always go back to the thrower.)

    However, the 11th edition is a bit more nuanced in that it allows for the infracted player to determine that the infraction didn't affect the play, if that is the case.

    For example, imagine our same receiver being fouled, but now let's say that receiver is on the other side of the field from the thrower, perhaps out of range for that thrower's throws. Meanwhile, the thrower sees another receiver open up the line for an easy pass, and throws it to that open receiver, but the throw gets picked up by the wind and goes out of bounds. In this case, the fouled receiver recognizes that the fact that he was fouled had no impact on the fact that the disc was turned over, and determines that the infraction did
    not affect the play, and the turnover stands.

    One last comment on this:

    The phrase "affected the play," which refers to a specific play in the context of an infraction and the continuation rule (as described above), should not be confused with the phrase "affect continued play," which is part of the definition of incidental contact, and therefore of fouls (which are addressed elsewhere on this page).

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  • Q: If a defender is purposefully getting in the way of a cut or a cutter’s path to the disc, is this a blocking foul?

    A:

    There are two types of blocking fouls (XVI.H.C.3.1&2), contact resulting from: a) solely “playing the player”, or b) positioning oneself in an unavoidable position. The former type refers to the fact that, when the disc is in the air, non-incidental contact resulting from solely play your opponent, instead of also playing the disc, is illegal. For example, when the disc is in the air, contact resulting from face-guarding the receiver and trying to get in their way based solely on their trajectory is a blocking foul. However, if a
    defender is playing the disc (e.g. looking at and reacting to the trajectory of the disc in order to make the catch/D), they are allowed to move into unoccupied space for the purpose of preventing their opponent from taking that space (ie- “boxing out”), since they are not solely playing their opponent.

    The second type of blocking foul refers to contact resulting from taking up a position that is unavoidable by your opponent, when time, distance and line of sight are considered. “Unavoidable” means that your opponent can’t stop themselves from running into you; for example, jumping in the way of someone who is running full speed, or standing in the way of someone who is running forward while looking behind them for the disc.

    However, this does not mean that, as a defender, you cannot try to anticipate where the cutter wants to go, and get there first, forcing the cutter to have to slow down or stop to avoid you. (Just because someone has started to run along a particular unoccupied trajectory does not give them the right to that entire trajectory!) As long the cutter can avoid running into you, it is perfectly legal to get in their way and try to make them take a different route.

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  • Q: When is thrower/marker contact a foul on the marker, and when is it a foul on the thrower?

    A:

    First of all, contact between a thrower and a marker who is illegally positioned (for example, a marker who is not giving the thrower disc space) is generally a foul on the marker (XVI.H.3.a.3). This supercedes anything written below, which only applies to legally positioned markers.

    When the marker is set up in a legal marking position, contact between a thrower and a marker is treated differently depending on whether the contact is with the marker’s extended arms and legs (meaning, outstretched arms or raised legs), or with the rest of the marker’s body (or planted legs). Let’s look at each of these cases individually.

    When a thrower comes in contact with the marker’s extended arms or legs, it is considered a foul on the marker unless the marker’s extended arms or legs were completely stationary (something that occurs only very rarely; XVI.H.3.a.2).

    When a thrower comes in contact with the marker’s body (excluding extended arms and legs), the relevant issue is who initiated the contact, and the foul is on the person that initiated the contact (XVI.H.3.a.4). This rule clarifies that it is an offensive foul for the thrower to try to “draw the foul” by plowing into the marker’s body. If both players are vying for the same spot simultaneously, though, it’s considered a foul on the marker (XVI.H.3.a.3).

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  • Q: What happens when a thrower calls a marking violation, like “fast count”, “double team”, or “disc space”, more than once in the same stall count?

    A:

    Every time a marking violation, such as the ones mentioned, occurs and is called by the thrower, the marker must do two things- correct the marking violation before resuming the stall count, and drop the count by one (XIV.B.7). For example, if the marker said “four” and the thrower said “discspace”, the marker must first correct the illegal marking position, and having done that can resume the stall count with “three”. If the marker does not correct the marking violation, repeats the same violation or engages
    in a different marking violation, the thrower may continue to call the name of the specific marking violation, and each time, the marker must respond in the way just explained. However, once a thrower has called one marking violation in a given stall count, if the marker continues to be in violation of any marking rules (XIV.B.1-5), the thrower can stop play by calling “violation” (XIV.B.8). This not only stops play, but the stall goes
    back to zero (unless the violation is contested). This rule (new to the 11th edition) allows greater flexibility to the thrower, who can choose whether to stop play by calling “violation” or merely to stop/reduce the stall count by calling the name of the specific violation.

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  • Q: What’s this “new pick rule” I keep hearing about?

    A:

    The “new pick rule” is actually a change to the continuation rule, but it often comes up when a pick is called. Let’s take a common situation as an example: a downfield defender calls a pick, but the thrower doesn’t hear the call and subsequently throws the disc to the dump. According to the 10th edition, the disc would go back to the thrower because the call was made before the throw (although even under the 10th edition, play continued
    until the thrower acknowledge a call and the defense had incentive to continue to play to try to get a D). However, in the 11th edition, the timing of the call is no longer relevantthe only thing that matters is whether the infraction (in this case the pick) affected the play. So in this example, since the pick that occurred downfield didn’t affect the dump defender’s play on the disc, the disc stays with the dump. While this might seem a bit odd
    at first, imagine another situation in which a defender far away from the play gets picked, while a second later the thrower (not hearing the call) throws a big huck for a score. In this case it seems unfair that this score should be overturned because of an unrelated pick that happened far away, just because it happened a moment before the throw. In the 11th edition, the score would stand since the pick didn’t affect the play.

    Note that stopping because you hear a call doesn’t count as that call having
    “affected the play” (XVI.C.3 and XVI.K), so don’t stop playing defense until you see the thrower acknowledge the call! The thrower is required to stop play as soon as he or she hears the call- to not do so is a violation of rule XIX.F. However, if the thrower doesn’t hear the call and throws a pass (as in our example above), play stops only when the outcome of that pass (and that pass only) is determined (unless it’s a turnover, in which case play continues).

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  • Q: When someone catches the disc and there's a question as to whether they’re in or out, I often hear people yelling, “check feet!” and then other people telling the receiver “it's your call!” In the rules, I can't find anything about a “check feet” call, or about it being the receiver's decision about whether they’re in or out. Where is that?

    A:

    The reason you can’t find the “check feet” call in the rules is because… it’s not there! Although “check feet” is often heard on the Ultimate field, it should be considered merely as a suggestion, and does not stop play. A disagreement on the field about whether the receiver was in or out of bounds does stop play (according to XIX.D), however in order for there to be a disagreement, there need to be conflicting calls of “in” and “out” made by players on the field. Since “check feet” isn’t a call (in fact it’s not even a statement of opinion!), it should never affect ongoing play.

    In/out (of bounds, or of the endzone), as well as up/down calls should be made by the player with “best perspective.” Best perspective is defined as: “The most complete view available by a player that includes the relative positions of the disc, ground, players, and line markers involved in a play. On an unlined field, this may require sighting from one field marker to another.” So in reality, the player with best perspective is sometimes neither the receiver nor the defender, but perhaps another player more removed from the play that can see all the cones. Also note that “player” is defined as “Any of the up to fourteen persons participating in the game at any one time,” which means that it’s definitely not the call of people on the sideline. It is often unclear who actually had best perspective. If two players who both claim to have best perspective disagree over what the outcome of the play should be, this situation should be treated like any other contested situation, with the disc going back to the thrower and the count resuming at the
    count reached plus one, or 6 if over 5.

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  • Q: If the marker calls a travel but the disc is caught, and the new thrower (who didn’t hear the call) then throws the disc away, is this a turnover?

    A:

    No, the disc should go back to the thrower. By the continuation rule, play stopped when the offensive receiver caught the disc because the team committing the infraction retained possession of the disc (XVI.C.2.b.1). Once play stops, the disc is dead and therefore no longer subject to a turnover (II.R.3). The disc was subject to a turnover on that first pass, but not on the subsequent pass.

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  • Q: Is an uncontested foul in the end zone by a defensive player a score, or does the disc come out to the goal line?

    A:

    Basically, it depends on what kind of foul it is, that is, whether the foul occurred before or after the receiver got control of the disc.

    If the defender fouls the receiver while the disc is in the air (or before possession is gained), thereby preventing the receiver from being able to catch the disc, this is considered a "receiving foul" (XVI.H.3.b), and if it's uncontested, the receiver gets the disc at the spot of the infraction (XVI.H.3.b.2; which in this case, is in the endzone). However, it is not a goal: the defender checks the disc into play right there in the middle of the endzone (X.C), at which point the disc is now "live" (II.R.2), all players are free to move about, and the receiver has to walk the disc out to the goal line, touch it to the ground (XIII.B), and play the disc from there (X.B).

    If, on the other hand, the defender fouls the receiver after the receiver had already gained possession of the disc, thereby causing the receiver to lose possession of the disc, this is considered a "general" foul, and XI.A.2 applies. In this case, the result is that a goal is awarded. Note also that a "strip" (XVI.H.3.d) is considered a general foul, and therefore an uncontested strip in the endzone is also a goal.

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  • Q: I thought that when a marking violation is called, you’re supposed to drop your count by 2, but a lot of people seem to only drop it by 1… what’s the right way?

    A:

    It’s true that after a marking violation (e.g. “fast count”, “double team”, “disc space”) is called, the marker is supposed to drop their count by 2 seconds. But what this means in practice, is that the next number the marker should say should be 2 less than the number they were going to say. So if the marker has already said “5”, the next number they should say is “4” instead of “6”.

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  • Q: The marker says “nine…ten…stall!!” and takes off down field. Is that allowed?

    A:

    No, play stops as soon as a stall is called, and can only be restarted with a check (XIV.A.3). This is true regardless of whether the stalled thrower is still holding the disc in his hands or if he has thrown the disc (whether complete or incomplete; XIV.A.3.b), and regardless of whether the thrower contests the stall. So, after calling the stall, the marker should have waited to determine whether the thrower- now “the defense”- was ready before either taking the disc and having the former thrower check it in, or placing it on the ground and tapping it in.

    Another similar situation that is often played incorrectly is when a thrower calls a timeout when his team has none left. This is another case in which play stops and can only be restarted again with a check (VI.B.6). In general, an easy rule of thumb to use is that whenever there is a turnover due to something other than simply an incomplete pass, play stops and must be restarted with a check.

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  • Q: Where does the stall count come in after a contested stall?

    A:

    The stall count after a contested stall should come in at “stalling 8” (note that this is different from the previous edition of the rules). The reason for the change is that previously, there was a requirement for people to give a 1 second pause between the word “stalling” and the first number of their stall count, every time they re-initiated a count.

    Under this old rule, if it were applied correctly, a thrower would have 2 seconds to throw the disc after a contested stall (“stalling…9…10”). In the 11th edition, there is no longer a requirement to pause after the word “stalling”, so another second had to be re-introduced after a contested stall in order to preserve the 2 seconds the thrower is supposed to get
    (“stalling8…9…10”).

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USA Ultimate Membership
  • Q: Now that the UPA is USA Ultimate, what happened to my UPA membership?

    A:

    All UPA accounts automatically became USA Ultimate accounts during the 2010 transition.  Your USA Ultimate ID# is the same as your UPA ID# was, and all your account details were transferred over.

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  • Q: What is the trend in the number of people playing Ultimate?

    A:

    For information about trends related to the number of players in the U.S. and USA Ultimate membership, see the details towards the bottom of the Impact of Your Membership page.

    As the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States, we do not currently maintain growth records for other countries or for other disc sports.

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  • Q: How can I login to my account or create a new account?

    A:

    Go to https://play.usaultimate.org/members to login to an existing account or create a brand new account if you are a new member.  If you have an existing account, your username and password will be needed.  Once online, members may review and edit personal information, print off their membership status, sign a waiver to participate, renew a membership, sign up for a clinic, and much more.  A new account should not be created if you have ever had one in the past.  Contact membership@usaultimate.org to get login credentials for your existing account.

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  • Q: I know I have played with the UPA/USA Ultimate and been a member in the past but I can’t find my account information online. How can I get this information so that I can login?

    A:

    Visit our Forgot Login page to try and retrieve your information.  If you still can’t locate your account online, contact membership@usaultimate.org for assistance.

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  • Q: I am having trouble logging in to my account. What do I do?

    A:

    If you get locked out of the system or receive an error message email USA Ultimate membership division at membership@usaultimate.org and indicate the problem. We will re-activate your record and email you the information needed to access your record.

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  • Q: What if I don’t remember my password?

    A:

    Simply go to the Forgot Login page.  The system will e-mail you a link to reset your password that will expire after a few hours.

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  • Q: I requested a new password but have not received it.

    A:

    There could be a couple of reasons why this would happen.  The main reason this can happen is that your email filters out the password emails.  Make sure to check your bulk or junk folders to see if it was filtered here.  Remember that most email accounts are set to clear out your junk and bulk folders after a certain amount of time (generally 24 hours) so you may need to request another password if it has been more than a day since you last requested a password.

    Another reason you may not receive your password is if you originally created your online account with a different email address.  You must use the same email login that you used to create the account.  If you no longer have access to that email address then you will need to change your email address to an active one.

    Some email accounts may block emails of this nature.  In this situation it may not be possible to retrieve the email.  This happens sometimes with a work or school address.  In this case you may need to use an alternative email address.

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  • Q: How can I change the email address associated with my login?

    A:

    If you still have access to your old email address then you can login to your account and change it on your membership page.  If you no longer have access to your old email address, simply email membership@usaultimate.org with a request to change your email login.  Make sure to include your name, USA Ultimate ID # if you have it, your old email address and the new email address.  This can generally be changed within a day and you will be emailed when it has been updated.

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  • Q: How can I choose my own password?

    A:

    To choose your own password you will need to login to your account with the existing email and password, select the red View/Edit Your Information button towards the top of the main account screen and enter your new password twice in the appropriate fields.  Click the Next button through the various screens of information, and all changes will be saved after you click the Finish button on the final screen.

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  • Q: I have a tournament this weekend. How can I become a member before then?

    A:

    Individuals may join USA Ultimate online at http://play.usaultimate.org/members/ by logging in to an online account and choosing either "Renew Membership" or "Pay My Dues" to purchase a current annual membership at the appropriate player level.  You can choose to pay with a credit card or via PayPal.  In addition, you will need to sign an annual waiver of liability, which you can do online from your account by clicking the Waiver box unless it has not yet expired.  Members under the age of 18 must have a parent/guardian sign their waiver by typing their name and email address in the appropriate fields.   Physical completed waiver forms can be returned to our office at the address on the waiver or you may submit the waiver at the tournament to the TD.

    For more information on registering for a USA Ultimate Sanctioned Event (please note that this is different than a Championship Event, such as sectionals, states, conferences, etc), please visit  http://www.usaultimate.org/sanctioning/

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  • Q: How can I locate my ID#?

    A:

    Members may access their account information by logging in to their online account.  If you can not access your online account, you can call or email Member Services staff at membership@usaultimate.org 

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  • Q: Will creating a login register me with USA Ultimate?

    A:

    Once you have an account with USA Ultimate, you will be assigned a USA Ultimate ID# and be registered with USA Ultimate.  Registration is not contingent upon a membership payment. 

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  • Q: How long will my membership last?

    A:

    The annual dues period is the calendar year, January 1-December 31.  We encourage you to sign up at the beginning of that cycle.  However, all annual memberships will expire on December 31 regardless of when you sign up.  Lifetime memberships last for the life of the member.
     

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  • Q: Where do my dues go? What am I supporting when I join?

    A:

    Your membership supports the growth and development of ultimate at all levels through programs such as Coaching Development, Youth & Education, Observer Certification, Event Sanctioning and the various divisions' Championships.  Membership dues also support Team USA across all divisions, youth Learn To Play outreach, Girls' Ultimate Movement, relationships with local disc organizations through the Affiliate Program, various community outreach efforts, general sport development, and the professional headquarters staff to oversee all programs.

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  • Q: Will my USA Ultimate ID# remain the same year after year?

    A:

    Each account in our system is associated with an ID#.  That number will remain the same from year to year whether or not you renew your dues.

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  • Q: How can I update my mailing address or other account information?

    A:

    Members may update or modify their membership information online at http://play.usaultimate.org/members/ and then select the red "View/Edit Your Information" button towards the top of the main account screen.  Click the Next button to update the various pieces of information on the various screens, and all changes will be saved after you click the Finish button on the final screen.

    You may also email info@usaultimate.org and request to update your address.  Make sure to provide your old information in addition to the new information.

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  • Q: How can I get a replacement membership card?

    A:

    You may log in to your onlnie account at any time and print off a membership card by clicking the box that says "Print My Membership Card.'

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  • Q: How long does it take my online membership account to reflect my current status once I have paid?

    A:

    Our postal mail is processed each business day.  If you have mailed in your membership form and waiver, your account will be updated the day that we receive your payment.  If you have paid for your membership online, your account will immediately display your current membership status.  If it has been longer than this and you are concerned, please contact membership@usaultimate.org

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  • Q: Do I need to complete a waiver and how long is it good for?

    A:

    We require all members to complete a signed waiver once each calendar year.  Waivers for the new year typically become available along with membership renewals on/around December 1st.

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  • Q: Why hasn't my waiver status been updated in my account?

    A:

    Did your waiver arrive at our office?  General mail is processed each day it is received.  Materials received from events often comes in large quantities and are processed as quickly as possible.  If you have recently mailed your waiver, we may not have received it yet.  If you turned your waiver in to your coach, league or tournament organizer check to see if they have mailed it.

    Is your waiver valid?  If we received your waiver but it was dated with the incorrect year, not signed properly or had portions of the waiver crossed out then we are not able to accept it as a valid waiver.  You will need to send in a completed, valid waiver before your status can be updated.

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  • Q: I have had an injury and won’t be playing for the remainder of the year. What is your refund policy regarding membership payments?

    A:

    USA Ultimate membership is not refundable. The membership services will be effective to the end of the annual payment period.  Please review the membership information and form carefully.

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  • Q: How can I get a back issue of the magazine?

    A:

    As quantities last, past issues of the magazine can be ordered through our Merchandise Program.

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  • Q: How does USA Ultimate membership affect eligibility for the USA Ultimate College Series?

    A:

    Please check the current edition of the USA Ultimate College Eligibility Rules http://www.usaultimate.org/competition/college_division/eligibility/ to determine how participation in the USA Ultimate championship or USA Ultimate sanctioned events affects eligibility for the USA Ultimate College Season.

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  • Q: What does USA Ultimate offer to non-elite players?

    A:

    There are many ways for non-elite players to get involved with ultimate and USA Ultimate.  Many non-elite players participate in local sanctioned leagues, pick-up games, and tournaments.  With the continued growth of the youth division, the need for chaperones and coaches is increasing rapidly. Coaches are also needed at the college and club level.  Parents and supporters can join as Friends and Family members for the opportunity to learn more about the sport, support their friends and family who play, and to participate in non-competition programs or events.  All members, whether players or spectators, support the goals of the organization and the growth of the sport for future generations.

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  • Q: Are there any plans to change, update or modify USA Ultimate membership?

    A:

    We are constantly striving to improve our member services through the various levels and options that we offer.  View details about USA Ultimate's current strategic plan for general ideas on potential future changes and motivations.

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  • Q: Why does USA Ultimate increase its membership dues from time to time?

    A:
    There are a variety of factors that can cause dues to increase.  As the sport of ultimate continues to grow, there are several major initiatives that we are going to be investing in, including more youth development programs, the improvement of USA Ultimate event quality, the expansion of playing opportunities for college athletes in the fall, further development of a beach division, implementing state-based organizations to provide more focused service and support, and the continued enhancement and implementation of technology services to streamline operations for local association, leagues, clubs, teams, players, and all members.  Our membership and constituents have expressed a great deal of interest in supporting these initiatives. In order to accomplish these goals, additional revenue is required.
     

    From a business perspective, significant strategic decisions to grow and advance the sport at all levels over the past few years have resulted in budget deficits.  Unfortunately, that is simply not a long-term, sustainable course for any organization.  While we continue to analyze our budgets and operating plans very carefully, long-term deficit spending can put USA Ultimate at risk and suppress our ability to develop even more sources of revenue, making us too great a risk for third-party sponsors, donors and business partners.  Although past budget decisions have been strategic and have not put the organization at a short-term risk in any way, it is not feasible, responsible, or sustainable to continue operating in this manner and could put USA Ultimate out of compliance with the professional standards for operation of a national, non-profit organization.

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  • Q: Why isn’t a multi-year option available to Youth members?

    A:

    The Youth level of membership is already significantly discounted when compared to the other annual player levels of membership.  Also, in a great number of cases, a member doesn’t meet the age and pre-graduation requirements of a youth member for a long enough period of time, graduating to the college or adult membership levels once they either graduate from high school or hit the age of 19.

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  • Q: Are you still offering a lifetime membership?

    A:

    Yes, anyone can purchase a lifetime membership at any point in time (even upgrading their current membership before Dec. 1st).  The Lifetime level of membership includes all benefits available to all levels, including playing, coaching, observing and generally supporting the sport at all levels.  Details at http://www.usaultimate.org/memberships/

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  • Q: Why are College and Adult memberships the same price?

    A:

    By keeping the price of a college and adult membership consistent, it allows us to offer long-term, discounted membership options to college players (unlike the limitations we face with youth). For example, if you are a junior in college, you can still purchase a 5-year membership at a discounted rate, even though you would only be a college player for two more years.  

    The benefits of the College and Adult levels are identical, and the distinction simply helps us better understand the demographics and typical needs & interests of our membership (whether or not the member is likely to be currently enrolled in a college program).

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  • Q: If College and Adult memberships are the same price, why do you offer the two different options? Why don’t you just eliminate the college option?

    A:

    Being able to distinguish between the number of college and adult (club) players is very important.  The easiest way to do this is to offer two distinct membership options. Although the price is the same, it allows us to clearly define how many college athletes USA Ultimate has in its ranks, which is important when tracking demographics. 

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  • Q: In addition to multi-year discounted memerships, are there any other money-saving options I should be aware of?

    A:

    Yes, the Coach & Player combination is another way we are discounting our memberships for members who will be fulfilling both participation roles in the same calendar year.  Single- or multi-year options are also available at significantly discounted rates.  For example, if you are both a coach and adult player, the combined value of both memberships is $95.  However, by combining the two you can reduce your cost to $69.50/year for a one-year membership, $64.50/year for a three-year membership, or $55.60/year for a five-year membership.

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  • Q: How does the pricing structure compare to membership in other sports organizations?

    A:

    The cost of membership in USA Ultimate is either at, or in most cases, still well below the industry standard across all levels of membership.  It is our sincere hope to keep prices as low as possible while also growing and operating as efficiently as possible to serve our members and meet very high expectations. 

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USA Ultimate Event Sanctioning
  • Q: What events can be sanctioned by USA Ultimate?

    A:

    USA Ultimate sanctions Ultimate events such as tournaments and leagues.  USA Ultimate is devoted entirely to the sport of Ultimate and only endorses and affiliates with events that support the organization's definition of Ultimate, mission statement, and current edition of rules. USA Ultimate defines Ultimate as a:

    Player defined and controlled non-contact team sport played with a flying disc on a playing surface with end zones in which all actions are governed by the "Spirit of the Game"."

    For more information on "player controlled" see information regarding observers. Sanctioning an event with USA Ultimate is an application process subject to approval. USA Ultimate reserves the right to deny sanctioning to any event.

    Practices, pickup, clinics, etc can obtain insurance through the USA Ultimate Insurance Program.

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  • Q: Why do organizers sanction their events with USA Utlimate?

    A:

    Most organizers apply to sanction an event with USA Ultimate for a combination of reasons.  The primary reasons for sanctioning include a desire to host an event which is affiliated and supported by the national governing body, insurance coverage, access to additional resources and legitimacy.

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  • Q: If I sanction my event, will it be considered a USA Ultimate event?

    A:

    USA Ultimate sanctioned events are affiliated with the organization.  USA Ultimate supports the event and its organizers.  However, sanctioned events are not considered USA Ultimate events.  Only events which are organized and directed by USA Ultimate staff are considered USA Ultimate events.  Because event organizers for sanctioned events are in no way a direct volunteer or staff of USA Ultimate, these events do not take on the status of being a USA Ultimate event.

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  • Q: Can I use USA Ultimate's Federal Tax ID# to secure facilities or discounts for a sanctioned event?

    A:

    No, a sanctioned event is not considered a USA Ultimate event and, therefore, can not use our Federal Tax ID# for the purpose of securing facilities or discounts.

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  • Q: What does it mean to sanction my event with USA Ultimate?

    A:

    As an organizer of a sanctioned event you will receive insurance, additional resources and assistance with organizing and promoting your event.  In return, a sanctioned event organizer agrees to act as a representative of USA Ultimate, support the conditions outlined in the contract, meet the criteria for event conditions and safety, and comply by the sanctioning guidelines.  A sanctioned event is supported by USA Ultimate but is not considered a USA Ultimate event because it is not organized and run by USA Ultimate staff.

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  • Q: What are some benefits of sanctioning my event with USA Ultimate?

    A:

    Events that are sanctioned by USA Ultimate receive insurance coverage, legitimacy, backing from a national organization and discounts. You can find more information about the sanctioning program on the sanctioning program page

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  • Q: What are some reasons why USA Ultimate sanctions events?

    A:
    • To assist organizers in hosting ultimate tournaments and leagues throughout the country
    • To spread the enjoyment of ultimate by supporting and affiliating with events in the local community
    • To improve and ensure the quality of ultimate events by providing access to enhanced services, experience and expertise
    • To improve the communication between ultimate players and USA Ultimate

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  • Q: As the organizer of a sanctioned event, what will I be responsible for?

    A:

    You may be perceived as a representative of USA Ultimate when acting as the organizer of a sanctioned event, at least in the minds of some participants or spectators.  Organizers are responsible for upholding USA Ultimate sanctioning guidelines and policies regarding safety and for the terms and conditions outlined in the application/contract with USAU, which includes but is not limited to:

    • Providing rosters that include all participants on all participating teams
    • Collecting and sending in waivers from players that don't already have one on file for the current calendar year with USA Ultimate
    • Collecting and sending in event fees or membership dues for players that are not current player-level USA Ultimate members

     

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  • Q: How do I apply for sanctioning? What is the process?

    A:

    In order to sanction your event, you must review the policies, procedures, and guidelines required to host a USA Ultimate sanctioned event, and then complete the sanctioning application process.  Sanctioning applications are subject to approval by USA Ultimate.  Event directors will be notified when their event has been approved for sanctioning.

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  • Q: I need insurance fast. How long will it take to get a certificate?

    A:

    We ask that you apply for sanctioning at least two weeks in advance.

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  • Q: What does the insurance cover?

    A:

    USA Ultimate provides general liability insurance coverage for all sanctioned events. 

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  • Q: How much does it cost?

    A:

    An application fee is typically involved (amount varies depending on the type of event).  There is also potential that a late fee will be required, if the application is submitted after the appropriate window of time prior to an event that is ideal for allowing staff to set things up and ensure a safe and smooth experience.

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  • Q: Does every player need to be a member?

    A:

    USA Ultimate membership in sanctioned events is required.  Players who are not annual members have the option of purchasing an event membership.  Event memberships qualify players to participate throughout the duration of the event.  Event memberships do not typically provide any other benefits or privileges besides participation in the event.  To see a list of membership benefits and prices, go to the Membership Page.

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  • Q: Can I sanction multiple events, league seasons, etc. under one policy?

    A:

    Event coverage is limited to 6 continuous months and does not cover extended gaps or lapses in play.  For events and leagues lasting more than 6 months, reapplication is typically required. 

    When teams or players much register anew for an event or there is any change to rosters, unusual gaps in scheduled play, or results are not aggregated in a continuous way, then the prior play is considered an officially "ended" event.  When/if play resumes, the organizer will need to reapply as a new, separate event in order to be covered and sanctioned.  Therefore, it is not typically possible to sanction multiple seasons of league or practice (e.g., spring, summer, fall, winter) under one single policy.

    While truly independent events need to be kept separate, all segments that are part of the same event or program may be treated as one "event".  For example, a clinic that leads players into a summer league that ends with a tournament within less than 6 months time from start to finish can all be sanctioned and insured as part of the same "event."

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Online Rostering
  • Q: I have players on my Team Personnel listed as "Incomplete" because they need to sign a waiver or need to pay dues. What should I do?

    A:

    Your players will need to follow up on their incomplete statuses by paying dues or signing waivers.  Your event roster will not be considered valid and complete until all personnel are rostered with required waivers signed and current valid memberships.

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  • Q: I have my players' USA Ultimate numbers. Why do I need to enter their names, too? Why can't the system just find the players based on their USA Ultimate numbers?

    A:

    We ask you enter the player's name and USA Ulitmate ID so that we're sure you know you're entering the correct player to your roster.

    We check each player's name against the USA Ultimate ID, and let you know if said player is Not Found. One reason the player could be Not Found is because the name doesn't match the USA Ultimate ID. This check is necessary, because people often do not recall their USA Ulitmate numbers correctly, or numbers in them are accidently transposed.

    Worse, in some cases, we don't have current contact emails for the players. As a result, we wouldn't be able to tell these players they've been put on an incorrect roster without the name check.

    So, we ask for this additional check and require a player's name and USA Ultimate ID before adding a player to a roster.

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  • Q: I have an international player coming who is not a USA Ultimate member. We plan to do a one-tournament event membership for him (like we did last year). How can I add him to my online roster without a number?

    A:

    If a player, even with an international address, has ever been on a USA Ultimate team roster, even with a one-time event membership, he/she has a USA Ultimate account ID number. Use this ID number. The player can login to the USA Ultimate online account system to retrieve the number (if a current email address was previously provided). If a current email address wasn't provided, the player can call USA Ultimate Member Services to retrieve it, or send an email to membership@usaultimate.org to retrieve it.

    If your player hasn't participated in any previous USAU event, and doesn't have a USA Ultimate membership, then he/she can still create a USA Ultimate account, receive a USA Ultimate number, and sign up at http://play.usaultimate.org/members/.

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  • Q: Are there other rostering resources available?

    A:

    Yes, check out the help docs posted on our online account system Help Documentation page.

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College Division
  • Q: How many players participate in the series? In the championships?

    A:

    In 2010, over 12,000 college students participated in the college series across over 700 teams.  The number of participants in the championships remains fairly consistent from year to year (due to the limit of 20 open and 20 women’s teams), however the overall number of participants in the series is expected to grow each year.

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  • Q: What is the open division? Why isn’t it called the men’s division?

    A:

    While open teams almost always consist of men only, women are allowed to compete in this division, thus making it “open” to both men and women.

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  • Q: When did the women’s division begin?

    A:

    1987

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  • Q: How are teams seeded?

    A:

    Seedings are determined by sectional and regional coordinators with the approval of the national college director and the championship director. They are based on input from the captains of participating teams, results of head-to-head match ups prior to the series, and other applicable information. No team that finishes ahead of another team at sectionals may be seeded behind that team at regionals, and no team that finishes ahead of another team at regionals may be seeded behind that team at the championships.

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College Eligibility
  • Q: What is the make-up of the Eligibility Committee and what exactly do they do?

    A:

    The Eligibility Committee is comprised of 5 UPA member volunteers, including 1 Eligibility Chair.  In addition to hearing Eligibility Cases, they rule on Consortium Applications and take part in discussion to continually refine the Eligibiltiy Rules and process.

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  • Q: What is the scope of their role in handling inquiries and ruling on cases?

    A:

    The Eligibility Committee does *not* grant exceptions to the Eligibilty Rules, but instead deals with cases not covered by or unclear in the Eligibility Rules.   Eligibility Exceptions are all outlined in the Eligibility Rules.

    Inquiries are fielded by the Eligibility Chairperson, with assistance by the National College Director and USA Ultimate HQ.  The Eligibility Chairperson determines which inquiries become assigned cases, and only the Eligibility Committee (including the Chair) votes on case rulings.

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  • Q: What is the timeline I can expect from an inquiry?

    A:

    The Eligibility Committee is officially active between September 15th and March 1st.  During that timeframe, your inquiry should be acknowledged within one week.  There may be some back and forth with the individual if the situation is unclear, but the aim is to give individuals their "yes", "no", or "case" determination within a week.  If your inquiry is elevated to be a case, then individuals should receive their case ruling within 3 weeks (2 for committee research/discussion, 1 for voting) of that determination.

    Between March 1st and the start of the College Series, cases will only be heard at the discretion of the Eligibility Chair.  After the College Series, inquiries should be acknowledged within two weeks, although no new cases will be assigned to the Eligibility Committee until September 15th.

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  • Q: What if I don't agree with one of the Eligibility Rules?

    A:

    Members are welcome to draft and submit a proposal to the USA Ultimate Board of Directors if they have specific changes in mind for future editions of the Eligibility Rules.

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  • Q: What are the major rule changes since the 2009 College Eligibiilty Rules?

    A:

    The major rule changes include clarification on the definition of participation (Section III.A), the addition of a US Military Exemption (Section III.D.1), and two non-degree seeking exceptions (Section II.D.1 and II.D.2).

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  • Q: I heard somewhere that you can now get 6 years of eligibility

    A:

    False.  

    This misconception likely has to do with the fact that a member can pay the College Membership Rate for a maximum of 6 years if they meet the criteria.  Paying the College Dues level of membership does not confer academic or participation eligibility onto that individual.

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  • Q: I heard that if you started a program at your school, you get an extra year of eligibility

    A:

    False.  

    Starting a new team at a school does not grant any extra eligibility.

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  • Q: I plan on playing this Spring with my college team. If I play in the club series this year (the fall before the spring), do I lose an additional year of college eligibility?

    A:

    There is no difference between a player who starts their clock in the Spring of 2011 and someone who starts their clock in the Fall of 2010.  The cutoff point within a year is June 1. 

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  • Q: I'm taking exactly X credits, is that enough to be considered half-time?

    A:

    Maybe.  

    It is left up to the registrar to define what that school deems as half-time, as school often have different methods (# classes/credits/units) for determining what is half/full time.

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  • Q: I recently finished my first undergraduate degree this fall, and I plan on pursuing an additional undergraduate degree starting this spring, but I only have time to be half-time. Am I eligible?

    A:

    No.  

    Unless you meet the Light Load requirements (Section II.D.3), individuals pursuing a 2nd undergraduate degree need to be enrolled fulltime.

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  • Q: I just graduated this past fall, but won't technically walk until the spring - am I eligible? If it matters, I'm actually still taking a few classes this spring.

    A:

    No.  

    If you've taken the credits required for graduation in the fall, then you are no longer considered degree seeking.  Even if you are still taking some classes, at that point you are considered to not be degree-seeking since all the course requirements for the degree have been met.

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  • Q: I'm taking classes at a local CC in the spring through a program which, upon completion will transfer the credits over to the local university I want to play on. Can I play with that university?

    A:

    No.  You need to be enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program at that University in order to play with them. 

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  • Q: I just graduated with my undergrad, and am taking pre-requisite classes for a graduate program at the same school that will be starting in that next fall. Although I am technically not degree seeking, am I academically eligible?

    A:

    Maybe, provided that you meet the criteria outlined in the rules (Sections II.D.1 and II.D.2).

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  • Q: "There is a player who has been practicing with us all fall that goes to the Community College nearby. Can he play with us in the spring?"

    A:

    Unlikely.  

    Merely being at a nearby school or being at a school without a team is not a criteria for being granted a consortium.  Although there used to be consortiums granted to encourage growth, that is no longer the case.

    The consortium program is reserved for situations in which the two schools are so intertwined athletically and academically such that treating them as separate schools wouldn't make sense.  The process/criteria for consortium applications is outlined here.

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  • Q: When was my start date?

    A:

    If you don't recall your initial participation date, email coll_elig_comm@usaultimate.org and we'll look it up in the database.  That being said, if you know that you played in an event that would count (sanctioned) and we don't have a record of it, you and your team could still be in trouble if it is later revealed that you actually had participated in that event.

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  • Q: "I took off my Sopohmore year and didn't play in any events due to {financial reasons, family emergency, injury, service program}. Can I get that year back?"

    A:

    No. 

    There is no way for you to get extra years of Eligibility for years that you did not participate in the College Series.  This is due to many factors that include philosophy, fairness, tracking and consistency.  

    The only exception to this in place is the Military Exemption, which is outlined in the Eligibility Rules (Section III.D.1). This exemption is not currently offered to military service for countries other than the US.

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  • Q: "My clock started because I was on a Sectionals roster, but I didn't actually play that year because I was {out of town, injured, etc}. Can I have that year back?"

    A:

    No.  Participation as it pertains to the college eligibility rules is defined as a player playing at an event or a player being included on an official roster for an event.

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Uniform Requirements
  • Q: Why does USA Ultimate have uniform requirements?

    A:

    USA Ultimate Championships have importance beyond just the competing teams. These events present an opportunity to promote the sport. Towards that end, non-players (including observers, photographers, journalists, fans, and stat-keepers) need to be able to identify and distinguish between teams and players. The tournament is also one of USA Ultimate's showcase events, and it is important that the sport be presented in its best light.

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  • Q: Do these requirements apply to Sectionals and Regionals?

    A:

    No. At this point, these requirements apply only to the Championship Tournament (a.k.a. Nationals). They will likely apply to the entire Series (Sectionals, Regionals, and USA Ultimate Championships) at some point in the future.

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  • Q: What if I want my number to be an ankh or a symbol representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter?

    A:

    Only Arabic numerals are allowed. Positive, whole numbers (zero is also OK).

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  • Q: Why can’t I have a three digit number?

    A:

    Three-digit numbers are often difficult to read. They often wrap around the sides of a player’s back or from different angles may be mistaken for two-digit numbers.

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  • Q: Why can’t I have the same number as a teammate?

    A:

    Because the whole point of having numbers is to be able to distinguish players from one another.

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  • Q: Why do we have to get numbers on both sides of our jerseys?

    A:

    It is important to be able to identify players from the front as well as the back. For example, many of the best Ultimate pictures are from the front, where you can't see jersey numbers.

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  • Q: If my black shorts have a stripe on the side and my teammates' don't, is that considered the same "color and design"?

    A:

    No. Often a different style of shorts can look just as non-uniform as different colors. One option is to order team shorts. The other is to make sure that the style stripes, piping, etc is the same for everyone even if the shorts are made by different companies. (For HS Easterns/Westerns and YCC, where these requirements are new, shorts only need to be the same color.)

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  • Q: You won't really disqualify and/or fine a player who shows up at the Championships without a number, will it?

    A:

    Yes. We are quite serious about enforcing these rules.

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  • Q: Can you provide some context for these requirements?

    A:

    One of the goals of USA Ultimate is to promote the sport. Our national-level events are primary opportunities to do just that. More spectators come out to watch these tournaments than most other ultimate events. There is more media coverage of these events. Film footage of these events is available for promotional purposes through direct sales or through use in instructional or promotional materials.

    Over the years, through much experience and input, it has become clear that these promotional opportunities are enhanced when players and teams are clearly identifiable. It is more difficult for experienced and novice spectators to watch games where teams are not clearly distinguishable, because they are wearing a wide variety of “similar” shirts and/or shorts. The same thing goes for anyone trying to distinguish players who aren’t wearing clearly numbered jerseys. This becomes a problem for observers, media, stat-keepers, fans, and even other players.

    Teams with the same color jerseys, but different color shorts, still look a lot like people playing pickup. Symbols such as infinity signs, ankhs, and the like are difficult to distinguish and transcribe. Three digit numbers often wrap around the sides of a player’s back and can’t be read, or are mistaken as various two digit numbers when viewed from different angles. And at the risk of insulting your intelligence, players who wear the same number are difficult to tell apart.

    So the question becomes, is it worth the trouble? That’s something the players will need to answer for themselves and then try to communicate to the people running the organization. But the current administration thinks it is. Consider these points. In the USA Ultimate magazine, on posters, and on the internet, do you want to see players in t-shirts and cutoff shorts jumping and diving around, or players in slick uniforms? Do you want to see statistics from the big games at championship tournaments to see who was tearing it up out there? In the College Division, we had these same strict uniform requirements years ago, and when CSTV came looking for a sport to put on TV, the College Championships was ready to handle the added requirements for television production, including player identification, stats, and general uniform quality. Using the quality footage from CSTV, we were able to create a state of the art instructional DVD, hundreds of thousands of which will be distributed to young players, PE teachers, and coaches over the next few years. The Club Championships may not be on TV yet, or ever, but videos are made almost every year and are marketed within and outside the ultimate community to promote the sport. Writers and photographers from local newspapers come out to cover events, and they want to know player names for their coverage. Player numbers make this easier.

    There is a definite positive impact from making these events something a step beyond the typical ultimate event, and uniform requirements are a small but important part of that step. Hopefully individual players will be able to see that it is worth a little extra trouble to first, read the guidelines and find out what is required, and then if necessary make a small personal concession by finding a jersey number between 0 and 99, that no one else on the team has, or maybe buying a new pair of shorts.

    We hope that all makes sense. If not, please contact us after the season. The USA Ultimate Board and Administration want to do what is best for the sport and the community, which, again, is why these rules exist in the first place.

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Club Division
  • Q: How many players participate in the series? In the championships?

    A:

    In 2009, over 13,000 club players participated in the club series with about 1,200 going on to the championships in Sarasota, FL. The number of participants in the championships remains fairly consistent from year to year (due to the limit of 16 open, 16 women’s, 16 mixed and 12 masters teams), however the overall number of participants in the series is expected to grow each year.

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  • Q: When did each of the divisions begin?

    A:

    The open division was established in 1979, women’s in 1981, masters in 1991, and mixed in 1998.

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  • Q: What is the open division? Why isn’t it called the men’s division?

    A:

    While open teams almost always consist of men only, women are allowed to compete in this division, thus making it “open” to both men and women.

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Youth Division
  • Q: Why Regional Championships instead of Nationals for high school teams?

    A:

    There are several reasons that USA Ultimate has made the decision to move to regional championships instead of a national championship.  First, a national championship for high school teams is very difficult for many teams to attend. As Ultimate makes its way into schools with fewer resources, we want our highest level of high school competition to be accessible to all schools.  Regional Championships reduce travel time and expenses for many teams.

    Also, due to site limitations, we typically have room for only 16 boys, 16 girls, and/or 16 mixed gender teams in a single tournament.  By replacing nationals with regional championships, we are able to add an additional 16 boys, 16 girls, and/or 16 mixed gender team opportunities spots in USA Ultimate championship tournaments.  By providing more opportunities to more teams and players, we hope to encourage and facilitate growth.

    Third, the selection process for nationals is a very difficult one.  Since timing and logistics do not support a qualifier system (see next question/answer set), we would have to rely upon an application process.  While it is difficult to choose the 16 most qualified teams from applications, that would be the best process available to us.  This process will only become more difficult as more teams apply.  Regional championships have this same process, however, these can place more emphasis on state tournaments and less on national level HS tournaments.  The eventual goal is actually the removal of regional tournaments and a complete focus on state tournaments for high school teams, once there is an adequate level of competition in all or most states.

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  • Q: Why doesn’t USA Ultimate have qualifiers for Regional championships?

    A:

    The option of qualifiers for either High School Nationals or Regionals has been discussed quite thoroughly and been found to be logistically impossible.  In order for teams to make travel plans to attend a championship tournament, the qualifying tournament would have to be held 4-6 weeks prior to the championship.  Since most teams would not qualify for the championship, the qualifying tournament would be the event that most teams plan upon being the relative peak to their season.  That left two options.

    1. The championship event could occur in mid-late May and require the qualifiers to be held in early-mid April.  Since there are many regions of the country that do not get on to outdoor fields until the end of March or the beginning of April, holding the qualifiers only a couple of weeks into their season seemed unreasonable, unfair and not very much fun for the players.  For most teams in those regions, it would effectively reduce their ultimate season to just four weeks or less.

    2. Host the championship in mid June and require the qualifiers to be held in early-mid May.  This would present difficulties for many teams, especially boarding schools, whose students return home for the summer, and any teams with varsity status, whose schools do not permit them to compete after a specific date once a school year has ended.  In addition, most schools would be faced with the problem of players and parents needing to make conflicting summer plans.  Due to all of these issues, it was determined that moving the championship date back to permit qualifiers would hurt many more teams than it would benefit.

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  • Q: Why are the State Championships tied to Regional Championships?

    A:

    The key to growing High School ultimate is increasing the number of events played at the local level.  USA Ultimate is a national organization with limited resources without the ability to pay for staff to travel around the country to host state championships.  What we can do is host regional level championship events and create incentives and a support structure for teams and supporters to organize events locally.  State championships are a big step towards increasing legitimacy at the high school level.  Even if only two or three teams attend, it allows one team to call itself the state champion, gives all the teams a goal for the next year, and sets a precedent for the event for future years.

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  • Q: Why does it matter whether a team attended last year’s State Championships?

    A:
    It is still very possible, in many places, for a team that did not exist in an organized fashion one year to become a very strong, competitive team by the following year.  USA Ultimate recognizes this and has a mission to encourage growth in the sport.  We believe this will be best achieved by rewarding teams that have shown consistent organization over multiple years.
     
    We hope to encourage the team that just became organized this year to attend the state tournament this year so that next year they can put in an application for the regional championship tournament and hopefully have a great time competing at both levels in back-to-back years.

     

     


     

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  • Q: Why do the State Championships have to be USA Ultimate sanctioned?

    A:

    To begin with, sanctioning is a great benefit not only to USA Ultimate, but also to the players and the tournament organizers.  Tournament organizers receive event insurance through USA Ultimate as well as access to the forms that every youth participating in an event should fill out.  Players receive the benefits of USA Ultimate membership including the USA Ultimate magazine, access to other USA Ultimate sanctioned events, and other benefits.

    USA Ultimate is an organization dedicated to spreading Ultimate and the Spirit of the Game.  In addition, USA Ultimate has chosen to focus on growing the Youth/ High School division in the coming years.  Our income is primarily from player dues. Being a youth member of USA Ultimate is a way to support the work that USA Ultimate has done and continues to do.

    Lastly, while there may be little direct connection between the state tournaments and the regional level tournaments, these events are part of the USA Ultimate Championship structure and comparable to our fall club series' sectional events.  As part of the USA Ultimate Championship structure the events must be USA Ultimate sanctioned.

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  • Q: Why the league requirement for YCC? Why not have qualification for the YCC be just like the adult USA Ultimate club fall series: sectionals/regionals/nationals?

    A:

    This option was actually considered thoroughly.  A league structure emphasizes participation.  Leagues are ideally made up of teams where the player talent is evenly distributed to help balance strength and competitive experience.  Instead of paying for a weekend of uneven competition at a sectional tournament, a league offers USA Ultimate members a full league season of fair and relatively balanced competition at a local venue along with the opportunity to compete for your league or city nationally.  This focus on participation and development is not inherent to a system without a league requirement, such as the adult club division structure.

    A qualification structure like sectionals/regionals/nationals emphasizes winning.  In order for a team to play at the next level, they must win.  Players that want to go to nationals will put together a team of all of the best players from the area.  These "all-star" teams will dominate the second and third tier teams at their qualifying events.  Absent a league structure, the experience of the plaeyrs and teams who are dominated might not be conducive to continuing to play the sport and develop skillsets and experience levels.  In addition, some adult sections are large and require a great deal of travel, just for sectionals. Teams, especially those made up of new or beginning players, absetna  local league strcuture might be easily discouraged from participating in a USA Ultimate Youth club series because they will be required to pay the membership fee for one weekend of uneven competition that may require distant travel.

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  • Q: Why are the Youth Club Championships in August?

    A:
    The timing of YCC has been discussed extensively and was narrowed down to August or October.  Youths’ lives are often very neatly divided into four seasons: three school sport seasons (Fall, Winter, Spring) and the summer off from school. The event should be held at the end of one of these seasons, so as not to require multiple seasons of participation for players.  Since the Spring is already largely used for our High School Championships and the winter was impractical logistically for a typically outdoor sport, August (the end of the summer) and October (the end of the Fall) were the remaining best choices. 


    The advantages to an August event are:

    • - Youth more likely able to travel during the summer when school not in session
    • - Event duration could be extended in future to 4 or 5 days
    • - Adult club players that play in the fall would be more likely able to coach
    • - More choices for venues with weather warmer across the country
    • - Doesn’t conflict with any Fall sports season or those states where ultimate is a fall sport


    The advantages to an October event are:

     

    • - Doesn’t conflict with Worlds every other year
    • - Youth may have other summer plans that would conflict

     

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  • Q: Why three YCC divisions (Open, Girls, Mixed) instead of two (Open and Girls) or one (Mixed)?

    A:

    This was another issue that was thoroughly discussed.  The argument made in favor of only a mixed was that if boys weren’t encouraged to recruit girls in order to participate then girls Ultimate would become stagnant.  The argument made in favor of all three was that there were some youth who prefer to play on single-gender teams while there are others who prefer to play on mixed teams and that USA Ultimate should offer all three divisions.  

    Ultimately, it was determined that we are capable of offering all three.  We felt that we should begin by offering all three.  In the future if we find that the divisions hamper growth the YAC will reevaluate which divisions
    USA Ultimate should offer at the YCC. 

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  • Q: How do leagues determine their teams?

    A:

    That is up to the leagues themselves.  Each league can determine its own selection process to select a team that is most representative of the league. Leagues can have each team choose one or more players to play on the league team, can hold try-out camps, or select teams using some other variation.  We suggest that in addition to skill and athleticism leagues take into account spirit, fair play, leadership, and attendance when selecting the teams.  In the future USA Ultimate may institute guidelines for selecting league teams that includes a minimum attendance policy or other rules.

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Observers
  • Q: What are Observers?

    A:

    Observers are game officials that help facilitate one or more aspects of Ultimate competition. For the vast majority of Ultimate play, players are the only officials, taking on responsibility for all aspects of the game. In some settings, Observers are used to help manage aspects of the game that players are less able to manage, from keeping score or tracking time limits to helping quickly resolve player disputes and dealing with conduct issues. An important distinction between the role of Observers in Ultimate and officials in many other sports is that the primary responsibility for making almost all calls during a game remains with the players. This hybrid approach to officiating, where players officiate with the assistance of Observers, delivers the best of both self-officiated and third-party officiated competition, where player responsibility, integrity, and fair play can be showcased in a fast-paced, exciting environment.
     

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  • Q: What do Observers do?

    A:

    The role of Observers in Ultimate has evolved a great deal since they were first used in the 1980's. It has gone from a passive role to a much more active one in many ways. Initially, a small group of Observers with varying levels of experience worked a small number of games in USA Ultimate championships, usually as a response or deterrent to player misconduct. Now, a growing number of Observers have gone through a formalized training process and take part in multiple USA Ultimate and non-USA Ultimate events throughout the year, helping to not only handle conduct issues, but to speed up the game and make it more enjoyable for players and spectators.

    Along the way, it has become clear to players, coaches, and organizers that Observers, or game officials in some capacity, can serve to improve the game in many ways other than arbitrating on disputed calls and handling conduct issues. Whether by keeping time, keeping score, serving as an adult "supervisor" at youth games, acting as an official source for reporting information to/from a game, or by helping inform players about how the game is expected to be played, there are many roles that players can’t or don’t take on that an official can, while still leaving the game, and its most important aspects itself largely in the players’ hands.
     

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  • Q: What are the goals of the observer system?

    A:

    The goal of the observer system is to help players uphold the Spirit of the Game and to keep the game moving along.

    Please Note: The observers are not present to ensure that you play by the rules. You need to know the rules yourself. You need to know the correct resolution for calling violations or contesting violations. Unless asked specifically, the observers will not correct your misunderstanding of the rules, even if that misunderstanding affects the oucome of the game.

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  • Q: What calls will an observer make actively?

    A:

    The following are active calls for an observer:

    • Perimeter line calls
    • In bounds and out of bounds
    • In the end zone and out of the end zone
    • Off-sides
    • Force-out fouls
    • Any misconduct foul

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  • Q: What calls are NOT actively made by observers?

    A:
    • Any call not listed above
    • Including whether the disc is up or down

     

    This means that an observer may indicated that a receiver has the disc in the end zone, but will not make a statement abouth whether the receiver established possession. The players must determine this, but may go to the observer for a ruling if there is a dispute.

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  • Q: How do you get an observer ruling?

    A:

    1. You must be involved in the dispute or the play.
    Even if you are on the field, you can't ask for a ruling if you aren't involved.

    2. You must ask th eobserver for a ruling.
    Only ONE involved player needs to go to the observer to request a ruling.

    3. You must tell the observer what the call is.

    4. You may need to tell the observer the specific reason for the call or dispute.
    For example - did you call the travel because of no ground check? Because of a foot drag?

    EXCEPTION: If your dispute takes too long, the observer may ask you to come to a conclusion. If you cannot do so within 20 seconds, the observer may make a ruling.

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  • Q: What are the results of going to the observer on a call?

    A:

    1. The observer will make a final ruling (this ruling can NOT be disputed)

    2. If the observer agrees that an infraction occurred, the results are the same as would occure if there were no contest.

    3. If the observer disagrees, the call would be treated as if the violation never occurred.

    4. Please remember : the observer will ONLY rule on the call you are disputing - if other infractions occurred but were not called (or were not disputed with the observer), the observer will not make any ruling on them.

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  • Q: Will an observer intervene if the players have incorrectly resolved a situation?

    A:

    NO, Observers will only correct results when appealed to, and then the correction is only limited to the calls made and disputed. This means that if the players agree to something that is not supported by the rules and do not go to the observer for clarification or a ruling, the observers will NOT intervene.

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  • Q: If I don't know what the count should be when we start play again or where I should set-up, can I ask the observer?

    A:

    Yes, even where a disputed call does not go to the observer, any player may ask the observer for the correct stall count, positioning, location of the disc, etc. The observer will NOT rule on the diputed call, but will assist the players in re-starting play according to the agreement that they have reached (for example, to treat it as a contested foul).

    If you are uncertain, you should ask an obsever about this. But you, as a player, should know the rules.

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  • Q: Why do observers sometimes send the disc bback?

    A:

    Sometimes the observer will not be certain enough of the proper outcome to resolve a contention between players and the situation will be resolved with a re-do instead of a ruling. Observers will only rule if they are very sure they correctly saw what happened.

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  • Q: What time keeping functions to observers track?

    A:

    The observers will actively keep track of the time between points and during time outs. Time allotted for both under the rules goes by fairly quickly & there are penalties that will occur if a team fails to heed the observer time warnings.
         For example, if the offensive team does not set up w/in the allotted time, they may be forced to freeze in their time out huddle. Further, the defensive team may be allowed to start the stall. Or the offensive team may be allowed to start play without the defensive team on the field. Etc.
     

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  • Q: How does my team not get called for offsides?

    A:

    By following these simple procedures your team will not be offsides.

    Defense: do not break the plane of the goal line until the disc is released.

    Offense: one foot must be placed on the goal line. As long as that foot is planted upon the release of the disc, it doesn't matter where the rest of your body is.

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