Triple Crown Tour Guidelines

 

 
 
 
 
I.  USA Ultimate Series Guidelines Overview
 
This document defines the guidelines and regulations for the USA Ultimate Club Season. These guidelines cover the USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour (TCT), including Regular Season and Post Season competition. In this document, you will find:
 
1.  An overview of the USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour
 
2.  Definition of the different Competition Flights
 
3.  Description of TCT Regular Season and Post Season events
 
4.  Regulations for Registration, including times and requirements
 
5.  Competition guidelines and requirements
 
The contents of this document are important for players, team organizers and tournaments directors. The dates, registration and tournament rules and definitions of the TCT in this document supersede any other information. 
 
There were changes since 2015 that will be in effect for the 2016 season. These changes include, but are not limited to:
 
New roster minimums for the US Open, Elite-Select Challenge, Pro-Elite Challenge, Select Flight Invite, and the Pro Flight Finale
Updated sanctions for failure to meet roster minimum requirements
Updated sanctions for withdrawing from TCT events (US Open, Elite-Select Challenge, Pro-Elite Challenge, Select Flight Invite, and Pro Flight Finale) after the commitment deadline 
 
 
II.  USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour Overview
 
The Triple Crown Tour, the Regular Season and Post Season structure for USA Ultimate's Club Men’s Mixed, and Women’s divisions, enters its fourth season in 2016. Teams in the Tour are divided into four flights based on their performance in the previous year’s Tour. Teams in each flight have different season requirements, but teams at all levels are encouraged to participate in the Tour’s Regular Season and Post Season.  While there are incentives to compete in the Regular Season, registration will be open to other teams who want to compete in the Post Season Championship Series. 
 
For additional information about the Triple Crown Tour’s development, structure, and goals, please click here. The following guidelines outline rules and information relevant to players, teams, and event organizers wishing to take part in the 2016 Triple Crown Tour.
 
 
A.  Triple Crown Tour Definitions
 
1.  Triple Crown Tour – the Triple Crown Tour encompasses both the Regular Season and the Post Season for USA Ultimate club teams. Winning the Triple Crown refers to winning the US Open (first Regular Season Pro Flight event), the Pro Flight Finale (last Regular Season Pro Flight event), and the National Championships. The Triple Crown Tour is also referred to as the "TCT" or "Tour. 

2.  Regular Season – All official TCT events and games between June 4 and August 21, including both required flight-specific events and optional sanctioned competitive events or match-play games. 

3.  Regular Season Rankings – Regular season games will be factored into the USA Ultimate Regular Season Rankings algorithm. Rankings will be published weekly starting August 3, with final Regular Season Rankings posted at the end of the season.

4.  Post Season Championship Series – The national tournament following the Regular Season, comprised of geographic based qualifying events (Sectionals, Regionals) and culminating in the National Championships. This is the primary means of promotion and relegation between Competition Flights. Also referred to as the "Post Season" or "Championship Series".

5.  National Championships – The third leg of the Triple Crown and the culminating event of the Post Season and the TCT where the USA Ultimate National Champion is crowned. Also referred to as "Nationals". 
 
B.  Flight Overview
 
1.  Pro Flight – Top 8 teams based on performance at the prior year’s National Championships. 

2.  Elite Flight – Next 8 teams below the Pro Flight, based on performance at the prior year’s National Championships. 

3.  Select Flight – 32 teams. Next highest finishing 4 teams in each geographic region, after Pro and Elite teams, based on performance in prior year’s Regional Championships. 

"Top Select Flight" teams are the highest finishing Select team from each region (8 total) from the prior year’s Triple Crown Tour. Top Select teams are the teams that lost the ‘game-to-go to Nationals’ at their Regional Championships event in the prior year. 

4.  Classic Flight – All other teams participating in the Regular Season or Post Season of the Triple Crown Tour.

 

C.  Regular Season Overview

1.  Timeline – The Regular Season will run from June 4 through August 21, 2016.

2.  Regular Season Games – All games at USA Ultimate sanctioned competitive events where a team’s official roster and players met the roster eligibility rules will count for the Regular Season.

3.  Regular Season Registration – During the Regular Season, teams competing at USA Ultimate sanctioned competitive events will be required to register their team for that event through the USA Ultimate online rostering system by 5pm MDT the Wednesday before the event. 

4.  Minimum Requirements - Teams must participate in a minimum of 10 Regular Season games to be included in the Regular Season Rankings which will impact bid allocation to the Post Season, Post Season seeding, and flight promotion/relegation opportunities.  Participation in the Regular Season is not a prerequisite for participation in the Post Season Championship Series, except as follows:

a.  Pro Flight Teams – Required to participate in the US Open (Pro 1-4) or Pro-Elite Challenge (Pro 5-8) and a minimum of 10 Regular Season games.

b.  Elite Flight Teams - Required to participate in the Elite-Select Challenge and a minimum of 10 Regular Season games.

c.  Select Flight Teams – The "Top Select" team in each region, based on performance in the prior year’s Regionals, is required to participate in the Elite-Select Challenge or the Select Flight Invite and a minimum of 10 Regular Season games. 

d.  Note: Other Select Flight teams and Classic teams are encouraged, but not required to participate in the Regular Season.  

Click here for more information on TCT flight and event requirements.

D.  Post Season Championship Series Overview

1.  The USA Ultimate Post Season Championship Series will run from August 27 through October 2, 2016.
 
a.  Sectionals will be held on August 27-28. Bids to host Sectionals are due by May 31st, with dates and locations announced by June 30th. Check the USA Ultimate website for dates and locations. Contact your sectional coordinator for additional information.  [download Sectionals bid document]
 
b.  Regionals will be held on September 10-11. Bids to host Regionals are due by March 31st, with dates and locations announced by April 30th. Check the USA Ultimate website for dates and locations. Contact your regional coordinator for additional information. [download Regionals bid document]
 
c.  The USA Ultimate National Championships will be held in Rockford, IL, September 29-October 2, 2016
 

2.  Team Registration – In order to participate in the Post Season Championship Series, teams must be created via the online rostering system and registered for their first Series event with a valid event roster (10 player minimum) by Friday, August 12th at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT. This deadline is the same for all teams, including teams advancing directly to Regionals.
 
a. Instructions for creating a team, registering for Series events, and building an event roster can be found using the links below:
 
 
Using the links above, Team Managers will create their team in the rostering system, add players to the team’s personnel list, register the team for their first Series event, and then select players from the team personnel list to add to the team’s event roster for the Series.

Teams advancing directly to Regionals must comply with the same deadline for the Sectional event in which they would have completed.

3.  Roster Additions – A team must have a minimum of 10 players on its Series event roster in order to be considered registered for the Post Season. After the August 12 team registration deadline, a team may add eligible players to their event roster, up to a maximum of 27 total players, until the Final Event Roster Deadline for the Series (Wednesday, August 24th at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT). 
 
Within the 27 player roster maximum, Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams may add a maximum of 3 players to their Post Season event roster that did not participate in a sanctioned Regular Season event with the team. 
 
 

4.  Series Progression - All Select and Classic Flight teams that meet the Team Registration Deadline will begin the Post Season Championship Series at Sectionals.  Based upon the results of Sectionals and the number of bids awarded to that section, qualifying teams will advance to Regionals.  Pro and Elite flight teams may enter the Series at Regionals provided they participate in two named TCT events. The two events are comprised of the one required event for their flight, plus one optional TCT event for which they are eligible. Based upon the results of Regionals and the number of bids awarded to that region, qualifying teams will advance to the National Championships.

5.  Bid Allocation - Bid allocation from Sectionals to Regionals includes a combination of automatic bids and strength bids (based on Regular Season Rankings through Sunday, August 14th). Bid allocation from Regionals to Nationals includes a combination of automatic bids (1 per Region) and 8 strength bids (based on final Regular Season Rankings through Sunday, August 21).
  
III.  Events

A.  Regular Season Events

1.  Pro Flight Events

Event Date Location


Participants

US Open  July 1-4
South County, RI

12 teams 

- Top 4 Pro Flight teams (required)

- Bid priority to Bottom 4 Pro Flight teams, followed by Elite Flight teams, then Select Flight teams.

- Up to four non-TCT international teams

Pro-Elite Challenge                                           

 

July 30-31

                

 

Aurora, CO

              

16 teams

- Bottom 4 Pro Flight teams (required)

- Bid priority to Elite Flight teams followed by Select, then Classic flight teams.

 

 

 

 Pro Flight Finale

August 20-21               

 

 

Vancouver, WA



 

10 teams

First 8 Bids: Bid priority to Pro Flight teams followed by Elite and then Select

Final 2 Wild Card bids: Bid priority to finalists of Elite-Select Challenge, followed by next highest placing teams.

 
 
2.  Elite Flight Events 
 
 Event  Date  Location


 Participants

 
Pro-Elite Challenge                   

              
  

              


July 30-31

 

 
                         


Aurora, CO





 

16 teams

- Bottom 4 Pro Flight Teams (required)

- Bid priority to Elite Flight teams followed by Select, then Classic flight teams.

 Elite-Select Challenge  


                                 

 July 9-10  

 

Columbus, OH

 

16 Teams

- 8 Elite Flight teams (required) 

- Bid priority to Top Select teams (1 per region) that do not attend the Select Flight Invite#, followed by Pro, then Select, then Classic flight teams.  

Select Flight Invite August 13-14 Westfield, IN

16 Teams

- Elite bids (4): Bid priority to Elite teams followed by Pro, Select then Classic Flight teams.

- Select bids (12): Bid priority to Top Select teams that do not attend the Elite-Select Challenge#, followed by highest ranked Select, then Classic Flight teams

 
 
#Top Select teams are required to attend the Elite-Select Challenge or the Select Flight Invite. The Elite-Select Challenge and Select Flight Invite are optional TCT events for all other Select flight teams, with bid priority for Elite and Select flight teams. (Top Select teams will only receive bid priority to one of these two events)..
 
 
3.  Select Flight Events 

 Event  Date  Location


 Participants

 Elite-Select Challenge                



 
July 9-10       

 
           

 
Columbus, OH


 

  16 Teams

- 8 Elite Flight teams (required) 

- Bid priority to Top Select teams (1 per region) that do not attend the Select Flight Invite#, followed by Pro and then Select, then Classic flight teams.

Select Flight Invite August 13-14 Westfield, IN

16 Teams

- Select bids (12): Bid priority to Top Select teams that do not attend the Elite-Select Challenge#, followed by highest ranked Select, then Classic Flight teams

- Elite bids (4): Bid priority to Elite teams followed by Pro, Select then Classic Flight teams.

 
 Select Events*


 Various

 
 Various


 Preferred access to Select Flight teams 

  

#Top Select teams are required to attend the Elite-Select Challenge or the Select Flight Invite. The Elite-Select Challenge and Select Flight Invite are optional TCT events for all other Select flight teams, with bid priority for Elite and Select flight teams. (Top Select teams will only receive bid priority to one of these two events).

* Select Events include multiple sanctioned events throughout the country that provide preferred access to Select Flight teams, but may also be attended by teams from other flights.

 
4.  Sanctioned Competitive EventsMultiple sanctioned events throughout the country where teams from any flight can participate in the Regular Season and have their results count towards the Regular Season Rankings. Click here for more information on event sanctioning.

5.  Sanctioned Match Play – Individual games may be sanctioned at the discretion of USA Ultimate in order to provide flexibility for teams in planning their seasons and scheduling playing opportunities. Match play sanctioning may require earlier sanctioning application deadlines, will be subject to the review of USA Ultimate staff, and may require additional oversight and/or structure to ensure the integrity of the competition. Click here for more information on event sanctioning.
 

B.  Post Season Championship Series Events

1.  Sectionals

a.  All Select and Classic flight teams, including any new teams, must start the Post Season at Sectionals. Pro and Elite flight teams may receive a bye to Regionals provided they participate in two named TCT events. The two events are comprised of the required event for their flight plus one of the optional events for which they are eligible. Teams participating in Sectionals must have met all team and player requirements. There is no additional qualifying process for Sectionals.

b.  Bids to Regionals - Bids will be allocated to sections as outlined below using a combination of automatic and strength bids.

i.  Pro and Elite bids – The number of bids available to Regionals per the bid process below will be reduced by the number of Pro and Elite teams receiving a bye to Regionals. (For example, if regionals is a 12 team event and there are 1 Pro and 2 Elite teams in that region that have received a bye, there will be 9 bids available for distribution to the sections in that region).

ii.  Auto bids - The number of auto bids per region is equal to 50% of the total bids available after regional scaling and Pro/Elite byes are accounted for. If there are an odd number of bids, there will be 1 more auto bid than strength bids. All sections must receive at least 1 bid to Regionals. Regional auto bids will be awarded first to the section with greatest team count based on the Team Registration Deadline. The next bid will be awarded to the section with the second highest team count and so on until all auto bids have been awarded.

iii.  Strength bids – The number of strength bids per section is equal to 50% of the total bids available after regional scaling and Pro/Elite byes are accounted for. If there are an odd number of bids, there will be 1 more auto bid than strength bids.

•  Team Strength Bids - Team Strength bids to Regionals will be awarded to the section with the "next" highest ranked team, based on Regular Season Rankings for results through Sunday, August 16th,, where "next" describes one more bid than the section has already been awarded up to that point. For example, a section with 4 bids and a section with 2 bids will compare their 5th and 3rd ranked teams, respectively, for a Team Strength Bid.

 Þ  Sections may earn more than one Team Strength Bid. All strength bids will be awarded as Team Strength Bids unless the region does not have enough ranked teams

·  Sectional Strength Bids - If a Team Strength Bid cannot be awarded because not enough teams in a region’s sections meet the Regular Season Rankings requirements, the average power rating of the ranked teams in each section will be calculated and compared. The un-awarded Team Strength Bids will be allocated to each section in order of average section strength (highest to lowest) until all bids have been awarded.

iv.  Wait List Bids – If, after all Sectionals have been completed, a team turns down its bid to Regionals, the bid will be offered to another team from the Region as follows:

·  The next highest finishing, non-qualifying team from each section will be compared to one another. The team with the highest final Regular Season Ranking will be awarded the next bid. This process will be repeated until all bids have been awarded.

·   If the next highest finishing, non-qualifying team in a section is an unranked team, then that team will take on the ranking of the next highest finishing ranked team below it. If there are no ranked teams left in a section, wait list bids will be awarded to teams from other sections.

·  If bids are still available and there are only unranked teams in the section, bids will be awarded in order of average section strength (highest to lowest) until all bids have been awarded.

·  If a team drops out less than one week prior to the tournament, the Regional Coordinator may accelerate the above process by shortening response times and immediately contacting all potential replacement teams.

·  If the spot has not been filled 3 days prior to the tournament, the RC may award the bid at his/her discretion with the approval of the National Division Director.

c.  USA Ultimate reserves the right, based on the number of teams registered in a section, to combine sections or migrate teams to another section.

2.  Regionals

a.  Pro and Elite flight teams may receive a bye to Regionals  provided they participate in two named TCT events. The two events are comprised of the required event for their flight plus one of the optional events for which they are eligible. All other teams, including new teams must qualify for Regionals through Sectionals.

b.  Regional Event Scaling - The size of Regional events will be based on the number of teams in a region that meet the Post Season team registration deadline.
 


 Size of Regionals

 Number of Registered Teams

 8 teams

 16 of fewer teams

 10 teams
 
 17-20 teams

 12 teams
 
 21-24 teams

 16 teams
 
 25 or more teams

 

 c.  Bids to Nationals - 16 bids will be available in each of the Men’s, Mixed, and Women’s divisions. Bids will be allocated to regions as outlined below using a combination of automatic and strength bids.


i.  Auto Bids
•  Each region will receive 1 automatic bid.
 
ii.  Strength Bids – After Auto Bids are awarded, remaining bids will be based on the ranking of teams in each region in the final Regular Season Rankings, as outlined below:

•  Team Strength - All Strength Bids will be awarded to regions with the "next" highest ranked team, where "next" describes one more bid than the region has already been awarded up to that point. For example, a region with 2 bids and a region with 3 bids will compare their 3rd and 4th ranked teams, respectively, for a Team Strength Bid.
 
•  A region may earn multiple Team Strength Bids.

3.  Nationals
 
a.  Sixteen teams representing 8 regions will compete for the USA Ultimate National Championship in the Men’s, Mixed, and Women’s divisions.

b.  Nationals is the third leg of the Triple Crown. A team that wins Nationals that also won the US Open and the Pro Flight Finale will have won the Triple Crown.

c.  Placement at Nationals determines promotion and relegation between the Pro and Elite flights, as well as qualification for the following year’s US Open.
 
C.  Prize Money

1.  Prize money will be awarded in recognition of competitive excellence and in order to help offset some costs for teams that are invested in and committed to the Triple Crown Tour season. 

2.  For each division, prize money will be awarded to each of the following:
 
a.  US Open - $2,000 (1st place) & $1,000 (2nd place) 
 
b.  Elite-Select Challenge - $500 (1st place)

c.  Pro-Elite Challenge - $750 (1st place)
 
d.  Pro Flight Finale - $1,500 (1st place) & $500 (2nd place)

e.  National Championship - $2,000 (1st place) & $1,000 (2nd place)

f.  
Triple Crown (wins US Open, Pro Flight Finale, and Nationals) - $2,000

3.  Prize money amounts and ability to distribute beyond winning teams will be dependent on the ability to generate additional revenue through new revenue streams and sponsorships associated with the Triple Crown Tour. 

IV.  Registration Guidelines

A.  Regular Season Registration 
 
1.  Timeline – The Regular Season will take place fromJune 4, 2016 through August 21, 2016.

2.  Regular Season Events – Any USA Ultimate sanctioned competitive tier event during this time period will automatically be considered part of the Regular Season unless otherwise pre-approved.
 
a.  USA Ultimate sanctioned competitive events will be listed in the online USA Ultimate event calendar.

b.  All attending teams will be considered Regular Season teams unless otherwise pre-approved. Contact sanctioning@usaultimate.org with any questions.

c.  The results of games between registered, eligible teams at USA Ultimate sanctioned competitive events will count for the Regular Season Rankings.
 
3.  Sanctioned Event Requirements – USA Ultimate will be progressively increasing the minimum standards which tournaments/events will be required to meet to receive sanctioning approval. USA Ultimate will not sanction an event if it believes that the event or event organizer is not aligned with the best interests of the sport, the Triple Crown Tour, other USA Ultimate programs, or the mission and policies of USA Ultimate. USA Ultimate-sanctioned event organizers will be required to:
 
a.  Submit or verify the results of games through the USA Ultimate’s online score reporting system.
 
b.  Comply with all requirements for USA Ultimate-sanctioned event organizers outlined in the USA Ultimate Tournament Director’s Certification Program and sanctioned event agreement
 
4.  Team Registration Requirements – All teams wishing to compete in the Regular Season must submit an online roster by the event-specific, rolling deadlines outlined below. Teams are required to:
 
a.  Notify the event organizer of their wish to attend the event, acknowledge understanding that they will be considered a Regular Season team, and receive confirmation that they have received a bid to the event.

b.  Once confirmed, use the online rostering system to submit their event roster for the event. 

c.  Complete their team registration by 5pm MDT on the Wednesday before the event. For example, for events the first Regular Season weekend (June 4), rosters must be submitted and/or updated by June 1 at 5 pm MDT.

d.  USA Ultimate membership dues and individual waivers must be submitted before a player can be added to an event roster.  Players must be added to the event roster by 5pm MDT on the Wednesday before the event in order to participate in the event. 
 
5.  Flight-specific Registration Requirements
  
 

Flight/Teams/Events
 Deadline  Requirement

 Pro/Elite/Top Select
 
 March 1         Commit to required and  optional TCT Regular  Season events 

 Select
 
 April 1  Accept or decline Select  Flight status for Regular Season 


 Pro/Elite/Top Select


 May 31 
 
 Minimum (14) players on  team personnel list in  online rostering system 

 US Open
 June 7  Final event roster due in  online rostering system 

Elite-Select Challenge
 
 July 6   Final event roster due in  online rostering system 

Pro-Elite Challenge
               

 July 27
 
 
 Final event roster due in  online rosteringsystem 
 
Select Flight Invite
 
 August 10
 


 Final event roster due in  online rostering system

 


 Pro Flight Finale
 

 August 17
                           
 
 Final event roster due in  online rostering system                              

 Select/Classic
 (also Pro/Elite attending  non -  required Regular  Season  events)
 
Wednesday (5pm MDT)  prior to specific event              Final roster due in online  rostering system
 

 

a.  Pro and Elite Flights

i.  Teams in the Pro Flight are required to compete in one flight-specific Regular Season event (US Open (Pro 1-4) or Pro-Elite Challenge (Pro 5-8) as well as 10 regular season games in order to be eligible for the Post Season Championship Series. Teams in the Elite Flight are required to compete in one flight-specific Regular Season event (Elite-Select Challenge) as well as 10 regular season games in order to be eligible for the Post Season Championship Serie   

ii.  Any team that commits to a TCT event is required to compete in that event in order to be eligible for the Post Season Championship Series.

b.  Select Flight
 
i.  Top Select teams are required to compete in one flight-specific Regular Season Event (Elite-Select Challenge or Select Flight Invite) as well as 10 regular season games in order to be eligible for the Post Season Championship Series. 
 
ii.  Other Select teams will receive bid preference to designated Select Flight events. Select Flight teams must register for Regular Season events, both Select and other competitive sanctioned events, by deadlines outlined in the Team Registration Requirements section above. 

iii.  All other Select Flight teams (excluding Top Select teams) that opt out of the Select Flight remain eligible for the Post Season.

c.  Classic Flight

i.  All teams that did not qualify for the Pro, Elite or Select flights are eligible to participate in the Classic Flight. This includes teams that did not finish highly enough during the Post Season Championship Series in 2015 or teams that are new in 2016.

ii.  Classic Flight teams must register for Regular Season events, both Select and other competitive sanctioned events, by deadlines outlined in the Team Registration Requirements section above. 

iii.  Classic or new teams that do not participate in the Regular Season remain eligible for the Post Season.

d.  Flight Adjustments

i.  If vacancies occur in the Pro, Elite, or Top Select flights after the March 1 deadline, USA Ultimate will fill those vacancies by March 31.

ii.  If vacancies occur in the Select Flight after the April 1 deadline, those spots will be filled by April 30.

e.  Sanctions
  
Withdrawing from TCT Events - Teams cannot withdraw from the US Open, Elite-Select challenge, Pro-Elite Challenge, Select Flight Invite, or Pro Flight Finale after March 31, 2016, without approval from the Club Working Group, Tournament Director, and the USA
 Ultimate Manager of Competition and Athlete Programs (ernest@hq.usaultimate.org). Should a team withdraw without approval, USA Ultimate reserves the right to forfeit the team's results and disqualify the team (see Sanctions).



 
6.  Regular Season Eligibility
 
a.  Teams participating in Regular Season games must do so only with players who are on their official event roster and must comply with both the player and roster guidelines as outlined below.

b.  Roster Changes - To allow teams some leeway in determining their final roster, while preserving the integrity of the Regular Season Rankings by preventing artificial manipulation of rosters, the following rules will apply to roster changes. 

i.  Players may participate on one team and then participate with another for a subsequent event, with the following limitation:

ii.  Once a player has participated with a team at a sanctioned regular season event, they are not eligible to return to that team after they have participated in a sanctioned regular season event with another in the Men’s, Mixed, or Women’s divisions.
 
iii.  "Participation" for the purposes of this rule is defined as a player playing at an event or a player being included on a team’s event roster for an event. 

c.  Geographic Guidelines

i.  At least 50% of the players on a team’s roster must reside in the section in which that team will compete. Pro and Elite teams receiving byes to Regionals must meet this standard for the section in which they would normally compete.
 
 ii.  At least 75% of the players on a team’s roster must reside in the region in which that team will compete.
 
iii.  No more than 5 players at any Regular Season event may reside outside the region in which the team will be competing.
 
iv.  "Residence" is defined as meeting both of the below criteria:
•  Location where the person is living for the majority of August and September, and
•  Location where the person is living for the majority of either the 3 months prior to August 1 or immediately following September 30.

v.  If the above definition means that a player does not have a region as their "residence", then the player is considered to be an out-of-region player and counts towards a team’s out-of-region limits (maximum of 5 out-of-region players and no more than 25% of the roster).

vi.  a regional boundary divides a metropolitan area, a team based in that metropolitan area may request an exception for players living in that metropolitan area to count as in-region for that team.  In order for an exception to be granted, a player and team must establish that the player is part of the local community in which the team is based. In order for teams to be in compliance with the geographic guidelines throughout the season, players must receive exception approval prior to participation with the team at a regular season event. To request this exception, email ernest@hq.usaultimate.org.

vii.  Sectional and Regional boundaries are available on the USA Ultimate website.
 
d.  Roster Maximums and Minimums
 
i.  Maximums –
 
 Pro, Elite, and Top Select Flight teams:
Pro, Elite, and Top Select flight teams may use a maximum of 30 total players over the course of the Regular Season. 

- Pro, Elite, and Top Select flight teams may have a maximum of 27 players on any Regular Season event roster.
 
 
 All other teams:
 
- Teams may have a maximum of 27 players on any Regular Season event roster.

ii.  Minimums

  • US Open (USO)

    • Men's teams:
      • Pro, Elite, and Classic Flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.

    • Mixed teams:
      • Pro, Elite, and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players; with a minimum of six (6) women and six (6) men players.
         
    • Women's teams:
      • Pro and Elite flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 18 players.
         
      • Select and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 16 players.
 
  • Elite-Select Challenge (ESC)

    • Men's teams:
      • Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic Flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
         
    • Mixed teams:
      • Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players; with a minimum of six (6) women and six (6) men players.
         
    • Women's teams:
      • Pro and Elite flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 18 players.
         
      • Select and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 16 players.

 

  • Pro-Elite Challenge (PEC)

    • Men's teams:
      • Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic Flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
         
    • Mixed teams:
      • Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players; with a minimum of six (6) women and six (6) men players.
         
    • Women's teams:
      • Pro and Elite flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 18 players.
         
      • Select and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 16 players.
         
  • Select Flight Invite (SFI)

    • Men's teams:

      • Pro and Elite flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players if using the SFI:

            - to meet their 10 regular season games requirement, or
            - as their optional TCT event to fulfill requirements to earn a bye to Regionals.
         
      • Top Select flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players if using the SFI:

            -  to meet their 10 regular season games requirement, or
            -  as their required TCT event for the season.
         
      • All other Select and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players.
         
    • Mixed teams:

      • Pro and Elite flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players, with at least six (6) women and six (6) men, if using the SFI:

            - to meet their 10 regular season games requirement, or
            - as their optional TCT event to fulfill requirements to earn a bye to Regionals.
         
      • Top Select flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players, with at least six (6) women and six (6) men, if using the SFI:

            -  to meet their 10 regular season games requirement, or
            -  as their required TCT event for the season.
         
      • All other Select and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players; with a minimum of four (4) women and four 4) men players.
         
    • Women's teams:

      • Pro and Elite flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 18 players if using the SFI:

            - to meet their 10 regular season games requirement, or
            - as their optional TCT event to fulfill requirements to earn a bye to Regionals.
         
      • Top Select flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 16 players if using the SFI:

            -  to meet their 10 regular season games requirement, or
            -  as their required TCT event for the season.
         
      • All other Select and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players.

  • Pro Flight Finale (PFF)

    • Men's teams:
      • Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic Flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
         
    • Mixed teams:
      • Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players; with a minimum of six (6) women and six (6) men players.
         
    • Women's teams:
      • Pro and Elite flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 18 players.
         
      • Select and Classic flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 16 players.

         
  • All other regular season events

    • All teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players. Mixed teams must roster and dress a minimum of four (4) women and four (4) men players.
 

iii.  Competition Minimums: 

Set to determine whether a team can continue to compete safely at an event: 7 players to start, 5 to continue player. Fewer than 5 is a forfeit.

iv. Sanctions:

Minimum roster number violations –
USA Ultimate reserves the right to sanction teams that fail to meet the roster minimums for designated TCT events. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to: disqualification from the regular season and/or post season, ranking and/or bid allocation penalties, forfeiture of game results, team and/or player/coach suspensions, forfeiture of bye to regionals, lowering of post season series roster cap, financial penalties, and team and/or player conduct hearings.  Minimum roster number violations will be dealt with on a case by case basis, taking into account all pertinent facts and perspectives.

v. Exceptions:

The goal of of the roster minimum requirements is to ensure consistent team representation at TCT events throughout the regular season. Exceptions to roster minimums may be considered for special circumstances, such as national team conflicts, small roster sizes, or other unforeseen issues. Please contact ernest@hq.usaultimate.org by March 31, 2016 to request an exception to the roster minimum requirements.

 
 

e.  Gender Division Eligibility

i.  Males are eligible to compete in the Men’s and Mixed divisions.

ii.  Females are eligible to compete in the Men’s, Mixed, and Women’s divisions.

iii.  On-field gender ratio rules for the Mixed Division are described in the Mixed Division Gender Ratio section of the Competition Guidelines.

iv.  The eligibility of transgender athletes will be governed by the USA Ultimate Policy on Transgender Athletes. Contact USA Ultimate HQ for more information.

f.  Teams that are found to have violated the letter or spirit of these rules or whose behavior undermines the competition structure (e.g. misrepresenting the composition of a team at a specific event, misrepresenting the composition of a team over the course of the season, intentionally playing with ineligible players) will be subject to ramifications as outlined in the USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour Guidelines section, Violations and Sanctions.  Roster violations should be reported to the Manager of Competition at ernest@hq.usaultimate.org.

B.  Post Season Championship Series Registration Guidelines

1.  Team Registration Requirements

a.  Team Registration Deadline 

i.  Teams must register for the  Post Season via the online rostering system by August 12, 2016 (by 5pm MDT/7pm EDT). This date is the same for all teams.

•  Select and Classic flight teams must register for their appropriate sectional event.

•  Pro and Elite flight teams that have met the requirements to earn a bye to regionals and intend to advance directly to regionals must register for their appropriate regional event by August 12, 2016 (by 5pm MDT/7pm EDT).  Otherwise they should contact their National Division Director to decline their bye and register for their appropriate sectional event like Select and Classic flight teams by the August 12 5pm MDT deadline.
 
 ii.  All teams should contact their sectional or regional coordinator before the Team Registration Deadline to confirm their participation in Sectionals. Coordinator contact info can be found on the USA Ultimate website.

iii.  For the purposes of tournament logistics, tournament directors may work with USA Ultimate coordinators to impose a deadline by which teams must decide whether they will attend the tournament. This deadline may be associated with submission of a tournament entry fee. Tournament Directors may keep entry fees from teams that pull out of the tournament beyond a certain date, provided that date (it cannot be before the Team Registration Deadline, for instance) and the fee are reasonable, were approved by the National Division Director, and were communicated to the teams ahead of time. Early tournament registration dates will be documented on the event listing on the USA Ultimate website. Any deadline imposed by a coordinator or tournament director that would restrict access to the tournament for teams that would otherwise be considered eligible must be announced well in advance and must be approved by the National Division Director.
 
b.  Final Event Roster Deadline

i.  Event rosters must be finalized, via the online rostering system, by the Wednesday prior to Sectionals (by Wednesday, August 24th at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT). 
 
•  Pro and Elite flight teams, including those who will advance directly to Regionals, must also submit their final event roster for the Post Season via the online rostering system by Wednesday, August 24th at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT.

ii.  A team may add eligible players, up to a maximum of 27 total, to their event roster in between the August 12th Team Registration Deadline and the Final Roster Deadline. (Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams may have a maximum of 27 players on their Post Season event roster, but can only add a maximum of 3 players to their Post Season event roster that did not participate in a Regular Season event with the team).

iii.  Roster Omissions - If a player has been accidentally omitted from a team roster or requires additional clarification after the roster deadline, please contact ernest@hq.usaultimate.org for the Player Appeal Form. Please note that this process is not for teams that miss the Team Registration Deadline. The deadline for submitting a Player Appeal Form (including materials or any other requested documentation) is 5 PM MDT Thursday, August 25, 2016. 
 
Appeals for late or incorrect registration of players may or may not be granted. Fees and/or fines may be associated with certain appeals. 
 
 c.  School Based Extensions

i.  School based teams who start their fall academic term on August 8 or later are eligible for a roster deadline extension.

ii.  To receive the School Based Extension, by August 12 the team must complete the following two steps:

•  Use the online rostering system to submit a partial roster for their sectional event. A partial roster can include as few as one name, and can be a player or team manager; and  

•  Email ernest@hq.usaultimate.org (and copy their sectional coordinator) to request an extension and include information about the official start of the academic term.
 
iii.  By the Final Event Roster Deadline, the team’s full Post Season event roster must be entered into the online rostering system . The school based extension teams are exempt from the 10 player minimum required for initial Team Registration. However, they must meet the 10 player minimum by the Final Event Roster Deadline. If a team is not registered and valid by that deadline, it will be dropped from the event.

d.  If prior to any Post Season Championship Series event, a team knows it will unable to complete the event, the team will be considered ineligible to participate in the event. Appeals may be made to the National Division Director through the Sectional Coordinator. Decisions on appeals will be based on the potential impact to the tournament (e.g. integrity of the competition, game schedule, quality of the event, etc.).

fe  Teams should make a copy of its event roster for its records and bring a copy to all Post Season events in case it needs to be referenced.
  
2.  Post Season Eligibility

a.  Teams participating in Post Season games must do so only with players who are on their official event roster.

b.  No player may be on more than one Post Season event roster, either within the same division or across divisions.

c.  Geographic Guidelines
 
 i.  At least 50% of the players on a team’s roster must reside in the section in which that team will compete. Pro and Elite teams must meet this standard for the section in which they would normally compete.

ii.  At least 75% of the players on a team’s roster must reside in the region in which that team will compete.

iii.  No more than 5 players may reside outside the region in which the team will be competing.

iv.  "Residence" is defined as meeting both of the below criteria:
• Location where the person is living for the majority of September and October, and
• Location where the person is living for the majority of either the 3 months prior to September 1 or immediately following October 31

v.  If the above definition means that a player does not have a region as their "residence", then the player is considered to be an out-of-region player and counts towards a team’s out-of-region limits (maximum of 5 out-of-region players and no more than 25% of the roster).

vi.  If a regional boundary divides a metropolitan area, a team based in that metropolitan area may request an exception for players living in that metropolitan area to count as in-region for that team.  In order for an exception to be granted, a player and team must establish that the player is part of the local community in which the team is based. In order for teams to be in compliance with the geographic guidelines throughout the season, players must receive exception approval prior to participation with the team at a regular season event. To request this exception, email ernest@hq.usaultimate.org.
 
vii.  Sectional and Regional boundaries are available on the USA Ultimate website

d.  Roster Maximums and Minimums

i.  Maximums – Teams may have a maximum of 27 players on their Post Season event roster. (Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams may add a maximum of 3 players to their Post Season event roster that did not participate in a Regular Season event with the team).

ii.  Minimums – Teams must have a minimum of 10 players on their Post Season event roster. 
 
•  For Mixed teams, the event roster must include at least 4 women and 4 men.
 
iii. Competition Minimums: Set to determine whether a team continue to compete safely at an event: 7 players to start, 5 to continue playing. Fewer than 5 is a forfeit.
 
e.  Gender Division Eligibility

i.  Males are eligible to compete in the Men’s and Mixed divisions.

ii.  Females are eligible to compete in the Men’s, Mixed, and Women’s divisions.

iii.  On-field gender ratio rules for the Mixed Division are described in the Mixed Division Gender Ratio section of the Competition Guidelines.

iv.  The eligibility of transgender athletes will be governed by the USA Ultimate Policy on Transgender Athletes. Contact USA Ultimate HQ for more information.

f.  Minor (Under 18) Player Info - 

i.  Minors participating in the Series must have the appropriate forms completed prior to participation (waiver, medical release) and meet the chaperone requirement. A chaperone must be named on the roster. The medical release form is the responsibility of the chaperone; it must be brought to each Post Season event and kept on hand by the chaperone. This form will allow medical personnel to treat an injured minor without a parent/guardian having to be present. Without this form a doctor might not treat an injured minor. Click here for access to the required forms for minors.

g.  Teams that are found to have violated the letter or spirit of these rules or whose behavior undermines the competition structure (e.g. misrepresenting the composition of a team at a specific event, misrepresenting the composition of a team over the course of the season, intentionally playing with ineligible players) will be subject to ramifications as outlined in the USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour Guidelines section, Violations and Sanctions.  Roster violations should be reported to the Manager of Competition at ernest@hq.usaultimate.org.
  

V.  Competition Guidelines

A.  Spirit of the Game

1.  Ultimate has traditionally relied upon a spirit of sportsmanship which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of the bond of mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed-upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate adverse conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting of opposing players, dangerous aggression, intentional fouling, or other 'win at all costs' behavior are contrary to the Spirit of the Game and must be avoided by all players. 

2.  For more information on Spirit of the Game, click here.

B.  Regular Season and Post Season Competition Guidelines

1.  Competition Authority

a.  Regular Season

i.  Pro and Elite Events (including the Elite-Select Challenge and Select Flight Invite) – Event formats, game rules, seeding, and use of Observers will be determined by USA Ultimate. 

ii.  Select and Regular Season Competitive Sanctioned Events – 

•  Event formats, game rules, seeding, and use of Observers are all at the discretion of the Regular Season event organizers, provided they meet event guidelines outlined in the USA Ultimate sanctioned-event agreement. 

•  Select Flight event formats are also subject to review by USA Ultimate and may be modified to ensure fair playing opportunities in line with the goals of the Regular Season.

b.  Post Season – All aspects of competition will be determined by USA Ultimate, including but not limited to registration, eligibility, event formats, game rules, seeding, and use of Observers.  

2.  Team Selection Requirements for Events
 
a.  Regular Season

i.  Pro and Elite Events (including the Elite-Select Challenge and Select Flight Invite) – USA Ultimate will determine the field of teams.

ii.  Select Events – Event organizers seek Select Event status in order to identify as a competitive event targeting primarily Select Flight teams. This will help Select teams find quality events with a high level of competition. Teams from other flights may also participate in Select events. Bids to Select events must adhere to the following guidelines:

•  50% of spots in each Select competition division must be reserved for Select teams. 

•  50% of spots in each Select competition division are available for the event organizer to award as they see fit (may include Pro, Elite, Select, or Classic). 
•  Unfilled spots after bid deadline may be awarded at the event organizer’s discretion.
 
iii.  Competitive Sanctioned Events – Organizers may invite teams from any flight.
 
b.  Post Season – Eligible teams register for the Post Season in their appropriate section (Select, Classic) or region (Pro, Elite). Advancement to Regionals and Nationals follows the rules laid out in the Events section of these guidelines.
 
3.  Regular Season Rankings
 
a.  The Regular Season Rankings are used to determine the Regular Season winner as well as bid allocations for the Post Season Championship Series. The rankings will be based on games played between eligible teams at Regular Season sanctioned competitive events.  

b.  The Regular Season Rankings algorithm will be run and published weekly starting August 3.

c.  Teams will need to have participated in a minimum of 10 Regular Season games to be included in the final Regular Season Rankings which impact bid allocation.    

d.  Rankings Eligibility

i.  Regular Season Rankings are tentative pending eligibility verification.  At the end of the Regular Season, any eligibility-based adjustments will be made and the final Regular Season Rankings will be published.

ii.  USA Ultimate-sanctioned events will not have their results count for the USA Ultimate Regular Season if:
•  The event does not meet the USA Ultimate definition of Ultimate.

•  The competition rules of the event designate the number of players on the field for a team to be any number other than seven.
 
•  Games do not meet the minimum point and time-based requirements (each game must be, at minimum, to 11 points and 60 minutes in length).

      Þ  Games that are suspended due to inclement weather or other unavoidable reason will be counted only if a team has reached at least half the minimum point total or half the minimum game length

iii.  If a team plays during the Regular Season with an eligible roster against another team that is determined after the fact to have not had an eligible roster at that event, the game will count towards the eligible team’s 10 game minimum, although the game result will not impact the Regular Season Rankings algorithm.

iv.  USA Ultimate reserves the right to disallow Regular Season results for reasons not outlined in these guidelines, if they are determined not to be in line with the goals of the USA Ultimate Club Season or the mission and policies of USA Ultimate.

v.  A team is not allowed to split into two separate teams for the purpose of participating in the same tournament together or at separate tournaments occurring at the same time.
 
Teams are not allowed to split to add additional teams to a tournament.  If a tournament is in need of another team, the tournament organizer must find an additional team rather than split an existing team into multiple teams. Deliberate misrepresentation of a team registered for the Regular Season in order to influence Regular Season Rankings will be considered a roster violation and may be subject to ramifications as outlined in the section, Violations and Sanctions.  In addition to those Sanctions, if such deliberate misrepresentation of a team is discovered, USA Ultimate reserves the right to assign a game result to whichever team it deems appropriate.
 

4. Promotion and Relegation

a.  Teams are promoted or relegated to flights based on their performance in the prior year’s Triple Crown Tour. The primary mechanism for promotion/relegation is a team’s finish in the Post Season Championship Series.

b.  Pro Flight 

i.  The top eight teams based on final standings at the National Championships receive bids to the Pro Flight.

ii.  If a Pro Flight vacancy exists, the vacant spot will be awarded to the highest finishing Elite Flight team from the prior year’s Nationals. Click here for more info on Pro Flight vacancies.

c.  Elite Flight 

i.  After Pro Flight bids have been awarded, the next highest finishing 8 teams at Nationals are awarded bids to the Elite Flight.

ii.  If an Elite Flight vacancy exists, the vacant spot will be awarded to the Top Select team with the highest Regular Season Ranking from the prior year.  Click here for more info on Elite Flight vacancies.

d.  Select Flight

i.  After Pro and Elite flight bids have been awarded, the next 4 highest finishers in each region, based on final standings from Regionals, will be awarded bids to the Select Flight.

ii.  The top finishing Select Flight team in each region will be referred to as a "Top Select" team.

iii.  If a Select Flight vacancy exists, the vacant sport will be awarded to the next highest finishing team at Regionals.  Click here for more info on Select Flight vacancies.

e.  Classic Flight - All other teams that do not qualify for the Pro, Elite or Select flights.

5.  Definition of a Team

a.  The following rules will define a team from year to year, for the purpose of determining its flight status and eligibility for competing in the Triple Crown Tour and Championship Series. Note that the purpose of the promotion/relegation system is to not only reward teams based on their performance and create meaningful playing opportunities for those teams, but to incentivize consistency in team organization, branding, location, and participation from year to year.

b.  A team will be defined primarily by its name and home location (city, state). In order to change either a team’s name or its home location, and still retain the team’s place in the Triple Crown Tour, the team must present an appeal to USA Ultimate describing its rationale. Appeals must be submitted by April 30 to ernest@hq.usaultimate.org

c.  Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams must retain a minimum of 7 players from the prior season in order to retain the team’s identity and flight status.

d.  If a Pro, Elite, or Top Select team is returning the next year, a "new" team in the same division may not have more than 7 players from that team’s roster the prior year, in order to be eligible for the Post Season Championship Series. An exception may be granted if the new team plays at least 10 Regular Season games.  

e.  If a Pro, Elite, or Top Select team is not returning the next year, a "new" team in the same division may not have more than 7 players from that team’s roster the prior year, in order to be eligible for the Post Season Championship Series.  

f.  If a Pro, Elite, or Select team splits into two teams and both wish to retain the team’s flight status earned the prior year, the team with the most returning players will be recognized as the returning team. The returning players used in the analysis will be required to be on the roster for that team for the season.

6.  Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines
 
a.  USA Ultimate reserves the right, at any time, to prohibit, alter, or require a team to alter, a team name, player or coach nickname, team logo, jersey graphic, sponsor name/graphic, or uniform and/or suggest alternatives at or in conjunction with a USA Ultimate program or event should USA Ultimate personnel determine that the existing name, logo, graphic, or uniform is in conflict with or might hinder the mission of the organization or the goals of a specific USA Ultimate program or event.  This includes, but is not limited to, sexual references, profanity, drug references, and any discriminatory language or graphics.  Alterations must meet with the approval of USA Ultimate personnel.

b.  Frequently Asked Questions on Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines.

7.  Uniform Requirements

a.  Player Uniform Requirements

i.  All USA Ultimate Regular Season and Post Season Events - Names, logos, and graphics on jerseys must comply with the Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines above.

ii.  Sectionals, Select, and Sanctioned Competitive Events - Teams and players are encouraged to follow the uniform requirements for the National Championships.
 
iii.  Regionals - Teams participating in the finals of Regionals are required to have players on their team wear matching jerseys while playing.  Teams and players are encouraged to follow the uniform requirements for the National Championships.

iv.  National Championships, US Open, Pro and Elite Events
 
•  All participating players for a given team must wear jerseys of identical color and design.

•  Teams must have two jerseys of distinctly different color, one predominantly white and one predominantly dark. A jersey that is not white does not automatically qualify as a dark. Any color that may be describes as light does not qualify as a dark jersey (e.g. yellow, pink, light blue, etc.)

•  Jerseys must have numbers on the back and front of the jersey.  The numbers on the back must be at least 6 inches high, be one or two digit Arabic numerals, be solid and  in clear contrast with the jersey.  Numbers on the front of the jersey must be at least 4 inches high, be located above the waist and clearly visible if tucked in. The front of the jersey is anything on the chest or abdomen; numbers on the front of the sleeves do not fulfill this requirement. No two players on a given team may use the same number or numbers with the same value (e.g. 00 and 0, 01 and 1, etc.).

•  Uniform bottoms (shorts) worn by players on the field must be of identical color and design. Teams are not required to have numbers on their uniform bottoms. However if teams do opt to include numbers they must be on the front left or right leg of their shorts, although teams may opt to do both.  The placement must be the same for the whole team.  The numbers must be at least 2 inches high, match the number on the back of their jersey, and be in visible contrast with the jersey. Pants and skirts are not allowed as part of the on-field uniform without the pre-approval of USA Ultimate.   

•  Uniform accessories including tights, undershirts, compression sleeves, and hats must be either solid black or coordinated with one team uniform color. Socks that are mid-calf or lower must be black, white or coordinating with one team color. Socks that sit above mid-calf must abide by the tights requirement.

•  USA Ultimate reserves the right to suspend players or fine teams who fail to meet the uniform requirements.

•  For broadcast games, USA Ultimate reserves the right to increase requirements to comply with broadcast partner standards and requirements. In light of this potential, it is recommended that teams and players prepare for the possibility of additional requirements such as matching hats, socks, and under-layers.

b.  Coach Attire Requirements

i.  All USA Ultimate Regular Season and Post Season Events - Names, logos, and graphics on coaching attire must comply with the Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines above.

ii.  Sectionals, Select, and Sanctioned Competitive Events - Coaches are encouraged to follow the coaching attire requirements for the National Championships.

iii.  Regionals - Coaches are encouraged to follow the coaching attire requirements for the National Championships.

iv.  National Championships, US Open, Pro and Elite Events

•  All coaches must wear either a uniform of identical color and design as the team, or professional coaching attire as defined below.

•  Professional coaching attire is defined as any combination of the following:
      Þ    The team jersey or a sleeved shirt/polo matching the team uniform colors.
      Þ    Team shorts/skirt or hemmed slacks/shorts/skirt of an appropriate solid color
      Þ    Business casual attire
      Þ    Closed toe shoes such as cleats, flats or athletic shoes. Flip flops, open toed sandals and bare feet are not considered professional coaching attire.

•  Coach jerseys and shorts are not subject to the number requirements for players.    

•  It is recommended that uniform accessories including weather related gear, tights, undershirts, hats, and socks be of identical or coordinated style and color.
•  USA Ultimate reserves the right to remove from the sideline/field and/or fine coaches who fail to meet the uniform requirements.

              8. Coaching Certification Requirements & Sideline Access Policy
 

a.  Coach Sideline Access Policy

i.  During games at Triple Crown Tour events  where field access is restricted,  sideline access will only be granted to players and USAU Coach Members that are designated by the team, USA Ultimate event staff, and credentialed media*.  All other non-player support staff, with player-level or limited field access, including coaches, must read, sign and agree to abide by the USA Ultimate Coaching Code of Ethics and Spirit of Coaching Statement.  The limit on the number of coaches and team support personnel, all of whom must comply with the above policy, is as follows: 

•  Coaches** – 3 (may have player-level access to sidelines/field)

o  Coaches must be listed on the team’s online event roster prior to the event in order to have sideline access.

 

o  Coaches of teams from the United States or Canada must have completed a NCSI Background check*** prior to the event in order to have sideline access.  Coaches of teams from outside the United States or Canada must be approved by their country’s National Federation prior to the US Open in order to have sideline access.

 

•  Team Support – 2  (must remain in team ten/bench area during points):

* Media must contact the USA Ultimate media manager for credentials and event media waivers.

**  Level I Certification is encouraged, but is not currently a requirement for coaches at club events.

***  Teams from the United States and Canada with coaches should take the necessary steps to make sure that their coach is a Coach Member of USA Ultimate, including obtaining a "Green Light" on a NCSI Background check.  These checks take an average of 10 business days to complete and can be started here.  Please contact Dan Raabe at dan@hq.usaultimate.org if you have questions.


ii.  Restricted sideline access

Events with restricted sideline access currently include games at the US Open and USA Ultimate Club Championships, but may be expanded to include other games at the Pro-Elite Challenge, Elite-Select Challenge, and Pro Finale.

 
   

 9.  Formats

a.  Regular Season

i.  Pro and Elite Events – Formats will be determined by USA Ultimate based on competitive, promotional, and logistical considerations.

ii.  Select and Sanctioned Competitive Events – Formats must be in line with sanctioned event requirements. Otherwise, they are left to the discretion of the event organizer, 

•  Select Flight event formats are subject to review by USA Ultimate. Modifications may be suggested or required to ensure fair playing opportunities in line with the goals of the Select Flight and the Regular Season.

b.  Post Season

i.  Sectionals and Regionals - Formats will be determined by coordinators using USA Ultimate guidelines in the USA Ultimate Formats Manual. Any variations must be approved through the National Division Director. Contact your Sectional or Regional Coordinator for information.

ii.  Nationals - Format will be determined and announced by USA Ultimate prior to the Regular Season, and will be based on competitive, promotional, and logistical considerations.

10.  Seeding

a.  Regular Season

i.  Pro and Elite Events (including the Elite-Select Challenge and Select Flight Invite) – Seeding will be determined by USA Ultimate.

ii.  Select and Sanctioned Competitive Events – Seeding must be in line with sanctioned event requirements. Otherwise, it is left to the discretion of the event organizer, 

•  Select Flight event seeding is subject to review by USA Ultimate. Modifications may be suggested or required to ensure fair playing opportunities in line with the goals of the Select Flight and the Regular Season.

b.  Post Season

i.  Seeding for Sectionals, Regionals, and Nationals will be done by the event coordinator using the following information: results prior to the Series (e.g. head to head, common opponents, tournament finish) with an emphasis on official Regular Season results and Regular Season Rankings, input solicited from all the captains of participating teams, results of last year’s season, and other applicable information. 

ii.  Seeding for Regionals will additionally be held to the following guideline: No team that finishes ahead of another team at Sectionals may be seeded behind that team at Regionals.

iii.  Seeding for Nationals Championships will additionally be held to the following guideline: The order of finish at Regionals will be strongly considered in determining seeding for Nationals, but will not be binding.

iv.  Seeding for any Post Season event must be approved by the next coordinator in the chain of command. If the USA Ultimate coordinators for the event and their immediate supervisor are affiliated with the same team (player, coach, alum, etc.) seeding must be approved by the next highest unaffiliated USA Ultimate coordinator or staff.

11.  Forfeit Rule 

a.  Regular Season
 
i.  As a general rule, USA Ultimate prohibits the forfeiting of scheduled games during the regular season. Teams are expected to play out their entire schedule of games at events they have chosen to enter. The competition format of an event and the season as a whole rely on scheduled games being played. All teams entering an event should expect that their opponents will play their scheduled games. These rules apply regardless of the caliber of the opponent or the stage of the competition in which a game is scheduled.
 
•  Any team that declines to finish a scheduled game or games or attempts to decide a match by any manner other than playing ultimate on the field will forfeit those games. Should both teams in a match choose not to play, then it will be considered a double forfeit
 
•  If one team is not ready to play at game-time, points may be assessed, in accordance with the 11th Edition Rules of Ultimate (Section VIII.A.4). Under these conditions, if the score of the game reaches 8-0, the team that has failed to signal readiness will technically forfeit the game.
 
•  team will be considered to have forfeited any game where the number of players that can safely participate falls below the minimum requirement set by the competition minimums above.

ii.  Exceptions

•  The safety of athletes is a top priority and must be considered when determining whether a game should be played and under what conditions.
 
•  Consideration should be given if a team misses the first game of the first day because of travel problems.
 
•  Tournament formats and event schedules must fall within the guidelines set forth for sanctioned events, and must be published 2 business days prior to the event.
 
•  Games that are the last of an event for both teams may be forfeited, provided the tournament director and both teams are in agreement.
 
iii.  Sanctions - USA Ultimate reserves the right to sanction teams that forfeit games during the regular season.
 
•  Sanctions may include, but are not limited to disqualification from the regular season and/or series, rankings and/or bid allocation penalties, team and/or player/coach suspensions, financial penalties, and team and/or member conduct hearings. Game forfeits will be dealt with on a case by case basis, taking into account all pertinent facts and perspectives. 
 
b.  Post Season
 
i.  A team must play all its games at a "qualifying" tournament in order to qualify for the next tournament in the Series:
 
•  A team that forfeits a Series game, and every player on that team’s Series event roster, is disqualified for the remainder of the current Series, in every Division.
 
•  Any team that declines to finish a scheduled game or games or attempts to decide a match by any manner other than playing ultimate on the field will forfeit those games. Should both teams in a match choose not to play, then it will be considered a double forfeit.
 
•  At the discretion of the events USAU coordinator, consideration may be given to situations that might warrant an exception being made, provided it does not affect the fairness or integrity of the competition.
 
•  Consideration should be given if a team misses the first game of the first day because of travel problems.
 
ii.  If one team is not ready to play at game-time, points may be assessed, in accordance with the 11th Edition Rules of Ultimate (Section VIII.A.4). Under these conditions, if the score of the game reaches 8-0, the team that has failed to signal readiness will technically forfeit the game.
 
iii.  A team will be considered to have forfeited any game where the number of players that can safely participate falls below the minimum requirement set by the competition minimums above.

iv.  Exceptions: In the following two cases, also outlined in the Formats Manual, a scheduled game at a Post Season event may be left un-played.
•  Case 1
      Þ    It is the last game of the tournament for both teams.
      Þ    Both teams are already guaranteed to advance to the next stage of the                               Championship Series (or both teams have already been eliminated from advancing). 
      Þ    Neither of the teams wishes to play the game. 
      Þ    If ALL of the above conditions are met, then the game may be left un-played. The                  final placement of the teams will be determined based on their current standing in                the format.

•  
Case 2 
      Þ    It is the last game of the tournament for both teams.
      Þ    The teams have played twice already in the tournament and one team has a 2-0                    record against the other team.
      Þ    Either one of the teams does not wish to play the game.
      Þ    The team with the 2-0 record will be placed above the other team in the final                          tournament rankings. 

12.  Rules

a.  By default, all games should be played using the current edition of the USA Ultimate Official Rules of Ultimate.

i.  Re-approved for 2016:

•  Endzone Size - Endzone length will be shortened to 20 yards. This change allows for consistency with WFDF rules used in international competition and increases the number of field sites that can be used for ultimate.

•  Contact Call - If contact occurs between the thrower and marker that would constitute a foul under XVI.H.3.a but the thrower does not release the disc, "contact" may be called. Play does not stop and the marker resumes the stall count at "one". Other than resetting the stall count to "one" after the first instance, the "contact" call is treated as any other marking violation. The marker may contest the "contact" call by calling "violation", which stops play. If the thrower calls "contact" after beginning the throwing motion and subsequently releases the disc, it is treated as if the thrower called "foul".

b.  Regular Season

i.  Pro and Elite Events – Game rules will be determined by USA Ultimate.

ii.  Select and Regular Season Competitive Sanctioned Events – Game rules may be modified at the discretion of the event organizer, provided they meet event guidelines outlined in the USA Ultimate sanctioned-event agreement. 

c.  Post Season

i.  All games will be played using the current edition of the USA Ultimate Official Rules of Ultimate.  Any changes to these rules must be pre-approved by the USA Ultimate Competition Committee. Any experimental changes authorized by USA Ultimate for use during the Championship Series will be outlined in this section of the guidelines and communicated to team and event organizers prior to the start of the Regular Season.

ii.  Teams participating in the National Championships will be required to have a representative from their team take and successfully pass a rules quiz. The quiz will cover basic rules questions, cap rules, and observer applications. Completion of this quiz is mandatory for all teams attending the 2016 National Championships.

13.  Observers

a.  All use of Observers will be subject to the guidelines and practices of the USA Ultimate Observer Program.

b.  Regular Season 

i.  Only USA Ultimate Certified Observers are permitted to officiate at USA Ultimate sanctioned events, including Regular Season Events. 
 
ii.  Regular Season events must be played in accordance to the guidelines for USA Ultimate sanctioned events.  Experimental changes in officiating responsibilities (i.e. those outside of the current edition of the USA Ultimate Observer Manual) may be permitted, but must be communicated in detail during the sanctioning application process and must be pre-approved by the USA Ultimate.

c.  Post Season Championship Series 

i.  Only USA Ultimate Certified Observers are permitted to officiate at USA Ultimate Post Season events.  
 
ii.  If officials are used during the Post Season, their duties must be in line with those described in the USA Ultimate Observer Manual.  Any changes to these duties must be pre-approved by the Competition Committee. Any experimental changes authorized by USA Ultimate for use during the Post Season will be outlined in this section of the guidelines and communicated to team and event organizers prior to the start of the Regular Season.
 
          14. Gender Division Eligibility
 
a. Males are eligible to compete in the Men's and Mixed divisions.

b. Females are eligible to compete in the Women's, Mixed, and Men's divisions.

c. On-field gender ratio rules for the Mixed division are described below in the Mixed Division Gender Ratio section of the Competition Guidelines.

d. The eligibility of transgender athletes will be governed by the USA Ultimate Policy on Transgender Athletes
     
15. Mixed Division Gender Ratio
 
a.  The gender ratio for the Mixed Division of the Triple Crown Tour Regular Season and Post Season will be 4/3 (4 men and 3 women or 4 women and 3 men).

b.  The receiving team will determine if the current point will be played with 4 men and 3 women or 4 women and 3 men. The pulling team must match the gender ratio of the receiving team.

c.  If the pulling team cannot match the gender of all 7 players, then it must play with fewer than 7 players, matching the gender of as many players as possible.

d.  Injury timeouts

i.  In the event of an injury timeout where a player leaves the field, the replacing player must be the same gender as the injured player.

ii.  If a team replaces players, the opposing team has the option of substituting a like number of, or fewer players.
 
•  The replacing player(s) must be the same gender as the player(s) they replace.

•  If a team calls an injury timeout but does not have a replacement player of the same gender as the injured player, it may not replace that player and must play fewer than 7 players.

VI.  Violations and Sanctions

Failure to abide by any of the Triple Crown Tour Guidelines may result in sanctions through the USA Ultimate conduct process. Such sanctions may be imposed on a team or individuals associated with a team deemed to be in violation of the guidelines, and may include, but are not limited to, suspension or disqualification from USA Ultimate competition.

  • Disqualification - may include not only elimination of the team from the current season, but also limitations on participation of players during the remainder of current season, and limitation on participation of the team (and its players) in subsequent seasons.
 
In order to help teams follow Triple Crown Tour Guidelines and avoid violations, USA Ultimate will continue to work to improve registration procedures and communication of information pertaining to the USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour. As these improvements are made by the organization, teams will continue to be held more fully responsible for following procedures and understanding information. Because consistency in holding all participants to the same administrative and competitive standards is vital to the integrity of the TCT, because many violations lead to unfair advantages in competition, and because it is often difficult to determine intent, guideline violations will result in serious repercussions. Such repercussions will provide an incentive for players and teams to understand the guidelines fully, follow the guidelines carefully, and avoid intended or unintended violations in the future.