Rules of Ultimate


The purpose of the rules of ultimate is to provide a guideline describing the way the game is played. It assumed that no ultimate player will intentionally violate the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for inadvertent infractions, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner that simulates what would most likely have occurred had there been no infraction.

In ultimate, an intentional foul is considered cheating and a gross offense against the spirit of sportsmanship. Often a player is in a position where it is clearly to a player's advantage to foul or commit some infraction, but that player is morally bound to abide by the rules. The integrity of Ultimate depends on each player's responsibility to uphold the spirit of the game, and this responsibility should not be taken lightly.

11th Edition Rules

Current Official USA Ultimate Rules of Ultimate

10 Simple Rules

Ultimate in 10 simple rules

10 Reglas Sencillas

Ultimate en 10 Reglas Sencillas

Rules Resources

FAQ, Blog, etc.

Intramural Rules

Simplified version of the USAU rules established for intramural play.

Experimental Events


Rules Suggestions

The Rules Working Group wants to hear from you. Fill out this Google form with areas you think should be revised and suggested changes.







Experimental Rules:

The following changes have been approved for use in the College, Youth, Masters and Club championship series and regular seasons: 

  • End Zone Size - End zone 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".


Ultimate in 10 Simple Rules

by Steve Courlang and Neal Dambra

  1. The Field: A rectangular shape with end zones at each end. A regulation field is 70 yards by 40 yards, with end zones 25 yards deep.
  2. Initiate Play: Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. The defense throws ("pulls") the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.
  3. Scoring: Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense's end zone, the offense scores a point. Play is initiated after each score.
  4. Movement of the Disc: The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc ("thrower") has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower ("marker") counts out the stall count.
  5. Change of Possession: When a pass is not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception, stalled), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.
  6. Substitutions: Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.
  7. Non-contact: No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.
  8. Fouls: When a player initiates contact on another player a foul occurs. When a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the foul call, the play is redone.
  9. Self-Officiating: Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
  10. Spirit of the Game: Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.


NEW! Spanish Translation: Ultimate en 10 Reglas Sencillas

11th Edition Rules Resources

What's the Call?

USA Ultimate magazine article covering common rules misconceptions

11th Edition Rulebook

Order copies of the 11th Edition Rules

Printable 11th Edition Rules

Printable PDF of the 11th Edition Rules

Rules FAQ

FAQ answered by the Standing Rules Committee

Substantive Changes - Major

Help Document - Major changes from 10th Edition (PDF)

Substantive Changes- Detailed                 

Help Document - More exhaustive list of changes from 10th Edition (PDF)

Rules and Officiating Discussion Message board discussion forum for rules

UPA Rules Blog

Archived discussions on the 11th Edition Rules

Player Misconduct System

Information about the player misconduct system in observed games.
Dangerous Plays Clarifications and interpretations for the 11th Edition's dangerous plays rule, from the Rules Working Group and SOAR Committee


Experimental Events



In order to help further develop and refine the sport of Ultimate, USA Ultimate is committed to experimenting with rules and rules implementation at its own events and in partnership with other event organizers. Tournaments where these experiments take place allow players, organizers, and USA Ultimate officials a way to assess a variety of innovations and ideas in a setting that provides both support for implementation of changes and a process for feedback on and analysis of their impacts. The goal of this initiative is the improvement of the sport in a structured manner that encourages educated discussion and decision-making that is in line with the organization's mission.






June 21-22, 2008


Summer Solstice
Eugene, OR


Active travels, active up/down, longer games, timing/penalty modifications






March 7-8, 2009


Stanford Invite
Modesto, CA


Active travel and up/down calls. Observer checks disc in instead of players after stoppages.






March 21-22, 2009


Centex (Open)
Austin, TX


Immediate referral travel and up/down calls. Observer checks disc in instead of players after stoppages.






March 27-28, 2009


Centex (Women)
Austin, TX


Immediate referral travel and up/down calls. Observer checks disc in instead of players after stoppages.






Spring 2009


Feedback Report


Report of feedback from the players and Observers who participated in the three experimental events (above) during the March of 2009.






May 2009


2009 UPA College Championships - Rules Vote
Columbus, OH


Results of rules vote to determine which experimental rules would be implemented for 2009 College Championships

Feb 13-14, 2010   Wilmington 8s
Wilmington, NC
  Active travel calls, active stall count, active disc check-in, active up/down calls, immediate referral foul/violation rulings
March 6-7, 2010   Tally Classic
Tallahassee, GL
  Active stall count, disc check-in, up/down calls by observers
March 6-7, 2010   Stanford Invite
Stevinson, CA
  Active travel calls, immediate referral travel calls, active stall count by observers (players initiate count/make stall call)
July 31 - Aug 1, 2010   Motown Throwdown
Detroit, MI
  20 yard endzones, narrower fields (35 yards; 37 yards), field spacing (3 yard equipment lines; 10 yards between fields)
Aug 14-15, 2010   Emerald City Classic
Burlington, WA
  20 yard endzones, "contact" call on marking violations
Jan 29-30, 2011   ACCUC
Chapel Hill, NC
  Active travel calls, active stall count, active disc check-in, immediate referral foul/violation rulings
Feb 12-13, 2011   Queen City Tune Up
Charlotte, NC
  20 yard endzones, "contact" call on marking violations, immediate referral travel calls, stricter misconduct system
Mar 19-20, 2011   Easterns
Wilmington, NC
July 30-31, 2011   Colorado Cup
Boulder, CO
  20 yard endzones, "contact" call on marking violations, immediate referral travel calls
2012   Stanford Invite   Reduced time between points, subbing during timeouts
2014   Philly Invite    WFDF Travel Rule 18.2.7.  WFDF time between points.