USA Ultimate Competition Working Group Meeting - Beach Division Update

Posted: December 17, 2015 10:40 AM
U.S. Representation on WFDF Committee, New Rules to Promote Gender Equity, National Championships and 2017 World Championships of Beach Ultimate Application Process
Colorado Springs, Colo. (December 17, 2015)—Thirty-seven representatives of USA Ultimate’s Competition Working Group recently convened in Colorado for their annual retreat. In order to inform the community about any newsworthy discussion points and decisions, the organization is publishing several reports from various subgroups. 
Following earlier reports about the College Working Group and the Youth Outreach Working Group, the Beach Working Group summary is up next.  Comprised of USA Ultimate Events Manager Byron Hicks, regional volunteers Kimberly Beach (East Coast), Becky LeDonne (Great Lakes), Sean McCall (Gulf Coast), and Keegan Uhl (West Coast), the Beach Working Group conducted a productive discussion and identified several action items, proposed and implemented some ideas that promote gender equity, and considered the timing of events and calendars. 
In order to better facilitate interaction and collaboration between the national governing body in the United States and the IOC-recognized international federation, WFDF agreed to give USA Ultimate’s Beach Working Group representation on the WFDF Beach Committee beginning in 2016.
The working group also examined the yet-to-be-published 2016 Beach Guidelines which outline USA Ultimate’s competitive structure. One of the approved changes designed to promote and celebrate the sport’s unique commitment to gender equity includes new rostering rules for the mixed and mixed masters divisions at the national championships. The total difference between the number of men and women on a team’s roster, which may include a total of up to 16 athletes, may not exceed one. This also means that rosters with an even number of players must include the same number of men and women.
In addition to the new roster rules, the Beach Working Group is establishing a process to administer experimental events that feature a 4 vs. 4 format which requires teams to play 2 men and 2 women at all times. These events would also experiment with various rules and field dimensions. 
After thoughtful discussion and careful consideration the working group also reaffirmed its commitment to hosting the USA Ultimate Beach National Championships in the spring. (The 2016 edition is scheduled for May 14-15 in Virginia Beach). The working group also considered a summer or fall tournament date, but determined spring was optimal, primarily because it provided a natural culmination to the traditional winter/spring beach season and meant the availability of more venues.
There was considerable interest, however, in producing a high-profile beach event in the fall that could serve to help generate visibility and excitement for beach ultimate. Currently, the idea of a mixed division, international-level tournament is under consideration.
Other topics of discussion included increasing the presence of beach ultimate on the USA Ultimate website to include resource and promotional materials, as well as identifying ways to implement outreach programs such as Learn to Play and GUM into the beach scene.
Finally, USA Ultimate will roll out the application process next spring for the 2017 WFDF World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU). Usually held every four years, the timing of the WCBU has shifted to a onetime two-year cycle, before resuming a four-year cycle in 2021. WFDF is expected to announce the 2017 dates and location in February of 2016 after fielding interest from eight countries in four continents. 
At the conclusion of this series of working group reports, USA Ultimate will conduct a Q&A with key volunteers and USA Ultimate staff for each of these working groups. Please send any questions you’d like us to answer to

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