USA Ultimate Meets with AUDL Leadership Following Vision Tour Feedback

Posted: December 7, 2017 01:55 PM

NGB, Semi-Pro League Discuss Challenges around Partnership, Potential Ways to Collaborate 

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 7, 2017)—Last spring, members of the ultimate community attending the Vision Tour identified semi-pro ultimate leagues – in particular the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – as one of the top issues for USA Ultimate to address as it considers its 2019-21 strategic plan.

On the 11-city tour of ultimate communities across the country, USA Ultimate board members and staff had the opportunity to engage with many of the sport’s stakeholders, including athletes, coaches, volunteers, parents, educators, local affiliates and state organizations, league and event organizers, and others as the organization gathers input to help shape the future of ultimate in the United States. Among other comments, attendees of the Vision Tour cited a desire for USA Ultimate to communicate more regularly with the AUDL, consider a collaboration and encourage the league to more prominently exemplify USA Ultimate’s values – in particular gender equity and Spirit of the Game.

After gathering and analyzing the data from the Vision Tour, the USA Ultimate Board of Directors voted unanimously in August for its organizational leadership to expand communications with leaders of the AUDL. As a result, board president DeAnna Ball and chief executive officer Tom Crawford traveled to Chicago last week to meet with AUDL Commissioner Steve Gordon and league V.P. of marketing and Madison Radicals owner Tim DeByl.

During the three-hour meeting, USA Ultimate had the opportunity to share firsthand the community feedback it received on the Vision Tour. The meeting also allowed USA Ultimate to reiterate and more thoroughly describe the challenges preventing the national governing body from formally recognizing or partnering with the league. The issues of gender equity, Sprit of the Game, use of traditional referees and scheduling conflicts were discussed at length. The two organizations also explored the idea of collaborating on mutually beneficial activities and agreed to continue the dialogue with more regular communication.

"I thought the meeting was very positive, candid and forward-looking, which we greatly appreciated," commented Crawford. "Steve and Tim were both very friendly and open to the discussion, and it continued the open dialogue I’ve had with Steve for the past few years. We look forward to continuing the conversation as our tour attendees encouraged."

"I enjoyed meeting and engaging with Steve and Tim," added Ball. "It was a very open dialogue, and I look forward to future conversations."

Following two initial membership surveys and the nationwide Vision Tour, USA Ultimate will continue its strategic planning process with a final follow-up survey early next year. The survey will be the final formal opportunity for the community to weigh in with its thoughts and ideas in helping to shape the future of USA Ultimate and ultimate in America. The survey will solicit more thoughts from the community about the AUDL, as well as other important topics. USA Ultimate is hoping for very broad participation in this survey.

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.