2016 Competition Working Group Meeting - Club Update

Posted: December 15, 2016 03:40 PM

TCT Events, Requirements, Bids; Gender Ratio Rules; Athlete Safety Discussed

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 15, 2016) – USA Ultimate’s Competition Working Group was in Denver Dec. 3-4, for its annual meeting to discuss various aspects of the organization’s programs, including outreach programs and the youth, college, club and beach divisions. The meeting included 10 USA Ultimate members, two members of the board of directors and 23 key volunteers and was held over two days. Following the meeting, we are releasing summaries of each smaller group’s discussions. This is the final recap in our series about the 2016 meeting. The first four recaps, from the youth competition, college, beach and youth outreach divisions, were released over the last two weeks.

The club working group consists of USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and Athlete Programs – Club Ernest Toney; three national directors – National Men’s Director Adam Goff, National Mixed Director Remy Schor, National Women’s Director Carolyn Finney; and two elected player representatives from each gender division – men’s division representatives Andrew Francis and Tyler Kinley, mixed division representatives Raha Mozaffari and Steve Sullivan, and women’s division representatives Charlie Mercer and Akina Younge.

2016 Club Working Group
Goff, Younge, Kinley, Schor, Mercer, Francis, Toney, Finney, Mozaffari, Sullivan

The club working group took on quite a few topics throughout the course of the weekend, running the gamut from discussions of the event bid process to season schedules and formats at major events to newly proposed gender ratio rules from the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) to event requirements for teams at all flight levels and more.

During their discussion of Triple Crown Tour (TCT) event requirements for teams in various flights, the club working group affirmed the importance of structured cross-flight and cross-regional play for a strength-based bid allocation system. But the group also recognizes the reality of travel and cost issues for teams and explored the potential to create flexibility within event requirements that will not compromise fairness or integrity of the season for other teams. Potential options were identified and will be revisited as the club division guidelines are prepared for release in February. Additionally, to further the integrity of the season, the working group discussed working toward consistency between TCT event formats and schedules to ensure the events provide quality competitive experiences for all participating teams across the season.

Specific issues related to major TCT events were also discussed, including format changes for U.S. Open and Pro Flight Finale, due to changes in length of both events and the impact of media coverage. More information about the changes for those events is still to come. The format for the National Championships will remain unchanged in 2017, with the exception of the addition of a third-place game to determine qualification for the 2018 World Ultimate Club Championships. 

The working group evaluated WFDF's newly proposed gender ratio rules. (Mixed division representative Steve Sullivan wrote an article for Ultiworld explaining the proposed rules.) They affirmed general support for equity-focused, values-based rules but also took a hard look at the likely result of immediately implementing the new rule(s) at USA Ultimate events. Potential impacts on participation were identified and include the likely displacement of a significant number of male players and the migration of female players that could negatively impact the viability of lower-flight mixed and women's teams. The working group ruled out WFDF's "Option A" for these reasons but considered the adoption of "Option B," and will send out a survey to teams to assess the impact of implementing the rule for the 2017 season.

Club participation on a more general level was also discussed, with a particular focus on small or remote sections of the country, retention of players and teams from season to season and outreach to local leagues to encourage athlete participation in the summer club season and fall championship series. 

The process for selecting hosts for USAU events was also on the club working group’s agenda with an emphasis on TCT and Postseason Championship Series events. The group focused on strategies to communicate with and encourage potential hosts, including teams and local disc organizations, recognizing the need to get more bids and provide more good options for consideration when selecting event sites. The decision process for 2017 TCT events is ongoing, with plans to announce host sites early next year. The 2018 TCT schedule was also discussed, with a deliberate eye on getting information out more than a year in advance of the season. Once 2017 decisions are finalized, the focus will be on determining 2018 events and dates. 

Athlete safety was another important topic for the club working group throughout the weekend. The group plans to send a recommendation to the SOAR (Spirit, Observers and Rules) Committee with proposed changes to help ensure athlete safety, particularly related to dangerous plays. The working group’s recommendations include a suggestion to change to the more conservative WFDF dangerous play rule (no contact required), stricter application by observers of the misconduct foul system, broader use of Spirit of the Game feedback, tournament director education to identify and address problem players and/or teams and an education campaign about dangerous plays.

You can contact your division representatives any time:


Previous 2016 Competition Working Group Updates:

2016 Competition Working Group

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