2018 USA Ultimate 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 Postseason 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 Postseason 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 several changes in the offseason that will be in effect for the 2018 season. These changes include, but are not limited to:

 

•           The regular season will conclude on Sunday, August 26 for all teams not competing in the TCT Pro Championships over Labor Day Weekend (September 1-3).

 

•           Initial section bid allocations to regionals will be announced on Monday, August 27th after the postseason Team Registration Deadline. Final sectional bid allocations to regionals will be confirmed and announced on Monday, September 3 to account for bid allocation changes due to teams that withdraw from the postseason.


•           Women’s teams will be eligible to earn Sectional Growth Bids by competing in 10 regular season games, which will increase the size of regional events (this proposal was approved by the Club Working Group to address poor event quality due to small sectional/regional sizes, and provide more valuable playing opportunities for women’s division teams).

 

•           The World Flying Disc Federation’s (WFDF) Mixed Gender Ratio Rule B will be in effect for all regular season and postseason events in the mixed division (with the caveat that teams will only flip at the beginning of the game to determine starting end zones). See the Mixed Division Gender Ratio section of the guidelines for clarification.)

•           Adoption of a new roster composition rule that promotes consistency between the regular season and postseason rosters for all Select and Classic Flight teams.

 

 II.  USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour Overview

 

The Triple Crown Tour (TCT), the Regular Season and postseason structure for USA Ultimate's Club Men’s Mixed, and Women’s divisions, enters its sixth season in 2018. TCT teams are divided into four flights based on their performance in the previous year’s TCT. Teams in each flight have different season requirements, but teams at all levels are encouraged to participate in the TCT’s regular season and postseason.  While there are incentives to compete in the regular season, registration will be open to any teams that want to compete in the postseason Championship Series. 

 

The following guidelines outline rules and information relevant to players, teams, and event organizers wishing to participate in the 2018 Triple Crown Tour.

 

 A.  Triple Crown Tour Definitions

 
1.  Triple Crown Tour (TCT) – the TCT encompasses both the regular season and the postseason for USA Ultimate club teams. Winning the Triple Crown refers to winning the US Open (first regular season Pro Flight event), the Pro Championships (last regular season Pro Flight event), and the National Championships.  


2.  Regular Season – All official TCT events and games between June 2 and September 3*, including required flight-specific events, optional sanctioned regular season events, or match-play games. (*note: the regular season will conclude on August 26 for all teams not competing in the TCT Pro Championships).

 

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 1, with final regular season rankings posted at the end of the regular season.


4.  Postseason Championship Series – The national tournament following the regular season, comprises geographic-based qualifying events (Sectionals, Regionals) and concludes at the National Championships. This is the primary means of promotion and relegation between competition flights. Also referred to as the "postseason" or "Championship Series".


5.  National Championships – The third leg of the Triple Crown and the culminating event of the postseason and the TCT where the USA Ultimate National Champion team is crowned in the men’s, mixed, and women’s divisions. Also referred to as "Nationals". 

 

B.  Flight Overview


1
.  Pro Flight – Top 8 teams (1st through 8th) based on performance at the prior year’s National Championships. 


2.  
Elite Flight – Next 8 teams below the Pro Flight (9th through 16th), 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 the prior year’s Regional Championships. 


"Top Select" teams are the highest finishing Select team from each region (8 total) from the prior year’s Regional Championships. 

 
4.  Classic Flight – All other teams participating in the regular season or postseason of the TCT.


 

 C.  Regular Season Overview


1.  Timeline – The regular season will run from June 2 through September 3, 2018 (note: the regular season will conclude on August 26, 2018 for all teams not participating in the TCT Pro Championships).

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

3.  Regular Season Registration – Teams competing at USA Ultimate sanctioned regular season events will be required to register their team and submit their event roster for that event through the USA Ultimate online rostering system by 5pm MDT on the Wednesday prior to 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 postseason, postseason seeding, and flight promotion/relegation opportunities.  Participation in the regular season is not a prerequisite for participation in the postseason, 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 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.  Postseason Championship Series Overview


1.  The USA Ultimate postseason Championship Series will run from September 8 through October 21, 2018.

 

a.  Sectionals will be held on September 8-9. Bids to host Sectionals are due to Regional Coordinators 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 23-24. Bids to host 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 October 18-21, 2018 at the Surf Cup Sports Park in San Diego, CA.

 

2.  Team Registration Deadline – In order to participate in the postseason, teams must be created via the online rostering system and registered for their first postseason event (Regionals for Pro & Elite teams that use a bye to regionals; Sectional for all other teams) with a valid event roster (10 player minimum) by Friday, August 24th at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT. This deadline is the same for all teams, including teams advancing directly to Regionals.

 

Instructions for creating a team, registering for Series events, and building an event roster can be found using the links below:

 

i. Create a Team and Add Personnel

ii. Event Registration and Rostering Participants 

 

Using the links above, Team Managers can create their team in the online rostering system, register their team for its first postseason event, add players to the team’s personnel, and move postseason players from the team personnel the team’s postseason event roster.

3.  Roster Additions – After the August 24th team registration deadline, all eligible postseason teams can make event roster adjustments until the final event roster deadline for the postseason (Wednesday, September 5th at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT). Teams must maintain a minimum of 10 players on its event roster, and can have a maximum of 27 players on its event roster.

 

Within the 27 player roster maximum, Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams may add a maximum of 3 players to their postseason 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 postseason 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 begin the postseason at Regionals, provided they participate in two named TCT events. The two events  comprise  one required event (based on the team’s flight), plus one optional major TCT event for which the team is 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 26th). 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 Monday, September 3).

 

All regular season Select and Classic flight teams -- to support roster consistency between the regular season and postseason, at least 50% of a team’s postseason roster must consist of players that competed for the team during the regular season in order for the team’s regular season ranking to count in the postseason bid allocations.

  

III.  Events


A.  Regular Season Events


1.  Pro, Elite, and Select Flight Events

Event      

Date

Location


Participants

 

Pro-Elite Challenge 
 
[PEC Wait List]

July 7-8

 

Broomfield, CO
 

 
 16 teams

 - Bottom 4 Pro Flight teams (required)

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

Select Flight Invite

 

[SFI Wait List]

July 28-29

Salt Lake City, UT

16 Teams

 - Elite bids (4): Bid priority to Elite teams followed by Pro, Select, and 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 

 

US Open Club Championships  

[USOCC Wait List]                                  

 

 Aug. 3-5

                

 

 
 Blaine, MN
 

              

 
 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

 

Elite-Select Challenge

 

[ESC Wait List]

Aug. 18-19

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.

 

 

Pro Championships
 
[
Pro Championships Wait List]

 Sep. 1-3             

 

 

Middletown, NY &
New York, NY



 

 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 Pro-Elite Challenge, followed by next highest placing 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).

  

2.  Sanctioned Regular Season Events – Multiple 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.


3.  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.  Postseason Championship Series Events


1.  Sectional Championships

a.  All Select and Classic flight teams, including any new teams, must start the postseason at Sectionals. Pro and Elite flight teams may receive a bye to Regionals provided they participate in two named TCT events; the two events comprise of one required event (based on the team’s flight) and one optional major TCT event 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 - Regional bids will be allocated to sections as outlined below using a combination of automatic and strength bids. Initial sectional bid allocations to regionals will be announced on Monday, August 27th after the postseason Team Registration Deadline. Final sectional bid allocations to regionals will be confirmed and announced on Monday, September 3. If teams withdraw from their sectional postseason event between the Friday, August 24th Team Registration Deadline and Sunday, August 26th, then sectional bid allocations will be re-allocated based on the August 24th Team Registration Deadline numbers (excluding the team(s) that withdrew). Note: it is possible for sectional bid allocations to change due to team withdrawals between the initial and final bid allocation window.

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, in a 12-team regional championship event that includes 2 Pro or Elite teams using a bye to regionals, there will be 10 bids remaining 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 with at least 1 team registered for the postseason will receive at least 1 auto 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 that is participating in the postseason, based on regular season rankings for results through Sunday, August 26th, 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).

•  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 (participating in the postseason) 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.  Women's Sectional Growth Bids (only applicable to women's division teams)

 

 • In effort to provide more valuable playing opportunities for women’s divisions teams, the Club Working Group approved an experimental proposal to help address the small size of regional events and the quality of sectional events. Women’s teams will be eligible to earn a "Sectional Growth Bid" by competing in 10 regular season games, thus increasing the size of regional events (up to a maximum of a 16-team regional event).

 

After applying the normal regional scaling rules (below), any ranked team which has not earned a bid for its section through the previous bid allocation rules, is eligible to earn a Sectional Growth Bid. Sectional Growth Bids will be awarded to sections, in order, beginning with the highest ranked team that has not already earned a bid.


v.  Wait List Bids – After the conclusion of sectionals, if a team turns down its bid to regionals, the vacant 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 vacant bid has not been filled 3 days prior to the tournament, the Regional Coordinator may award the bid at his/her discretion with the approval of the division’s 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.  
Regional Championships


a.  Pro and Elite flight teams may receive a 
bye to Regionals  provided they participate in two named TCT events. The two events comprise one required event (based on the team’s flight) and one optional major TCT event. 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 postseason Team Registration Deadline.

 

 


 Size of Regionals

 Number of Registered Teams


 8 teams          

           

16 or fewer teams


 10 teams
 

 17-20 teams


 12 teams
 

 21-24 teams


 16 teams
 

 25 or more teams

 

 

• Women's Sectional Growth Bids - After applying the normal regional scaling rules, any ranked team which has not earned a bid for its section through the previous bid allocation rules, is eligible to earn a Sectional Growth Bid. Sectional Growth Bids will be awarded to sections, in order, beginning with the highest ranked team that has not already earned a bid.

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 have been 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 that is participating in the postseason, 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.  National Championships

 

a.  16 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, in addition to winning the US Open and Pro Championships, will win the Triple Crown.


c.  Placement at Nationals determines 
promotion and relegation between the Pro and Elite flights..

 
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 TCT season. 


2.  For each division, prize money will be awarded to each of the following:

 

a.  Pro-Elite Challenge - $750 (1st Place) 
 

b.  U.S. Open- $2,000 (1st place) & $1,000 (2nd Place)


c.  Elite-Select Challenge - $500 (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 Championships, 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 run from June 2 through September 3, 2018 (note: the regular season will conclude on August 26, 2018 for all teams not participating in the TCT Pro Championships).


2.  Regular Season Events – Any USA Ultimate sanctioned regular season event during this time period will count towards the regular season rankings and results unless otherwise pre-approved. All attending teams will be considered regular season teams unless otherwise pre-approved. Contact 
sanctioning@usaultimate.org with any questions.

  

a.  USA Ultimate sanctioned regular season events will be listed in the online USA Ultimate event calendar.

 

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 that compete in the regular season must submit an online event roster by the event-specific, rolling deadlines outlined below. Teams are required to:

 

a.  Notify the event organizer of their in competing in the event, acknowledge understanding that the team will be considered a regular season team, and receive confirmation that the team has received a bid to the event.


b.  Once confirmed, use the 
online rostering system to submit the team’s event roster for the event. 


c.  Complete team’s event roster by 5pm MDT on the Wednesday prior to the event.

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 prior to the event in order to participate. 

 

5.  Flight-specific Registration Requirements

  

 


Flights/Teams/Events

Deadlines 

 Requirement 


Pro, Elite 
 

 March 31         

Commit to required TCT regular season event 


Top Select

 April 14 

Commit to required TCT regular season event


 
Select 
 

 April 14

 Accept or decline Select Flight status for season


TCT event lineups finalized

 

 May 25

All teams confirmed for TCT regular season events


Pro/Elite/Top Select


 
June 1 
 

 
Add minimum of 14 players to team personnel (e.g. team roster) in roster management system
 


Pro-Elite Challenge

               

 July 5

 Final event roster due


US Open Club Championshpis

 

 July 13

Team Info Forms due to HQ, final event roster due

Select Flight Invite   


 
July 25
 

 
Final event roster due 

 

Elite-Select Challenge

 August 15


Final event roster due


 Pro Championships
 

 August 29
                           

Final event roster due               


All other regular season events
 

Wednesday (5pm MDT) prior to event


Final event roster due

 

 

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 teams 1-4) or Pro-Elite Challenge (Pro teams 5-8) as well as 10 regular season games in order to be eligible for the postseason. 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 postseason.     


ii.  Any team that commits to a TCT event is required to compete in that event in order to be eligible for the postseason.

 

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 postseason. 


ii.  All other Select Flight teams (excluding Top Select teams) that opt out of the Select Flight remain eligible for the postseason.


c.  Classic Flight


i.  All teams that did not qualify for the Pro, Elite or Select flights will have a Classic Flight designation. This includes teams that are new in 2018.


ii.  Classic Flight teams must register for regular season events by the deadlines outlined in the 
Team Registration Requirements section above. 


iii.  Classic Flight teams that do not participate in the regular season remain eligible for the postseason.

 
d.  Flight Adjustments


i.   If vacancies occur in the Pro or Elite flights after the March 30 deadline, USA Ultimate will target replacing those vacancies by April 13.


ii.  If vacancies occur in the Select Flight after the April 13 deadline, USA Ultimate will target replacing those vacancies by May 11.


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 30, 2018, without approval from their National Director or the USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and Athlete Programs (
ernest@hq.usaultimate.org). 

 

i. Penalties

Withdrawing from TCT events creates real implications to the event format for participating teams and event organizers due to the challenges of finding replacement teams on short notice. The following sanctions will be applied to teams that withdraw from TCT events, with a sliding scale for penalties relative to the the time in which a team withdraws from a TCT event:

•  Upon acceptance of bid to event: $250 + tournament fee

 

•  Within two months of the event: $500 + tournament fee

 

•  Within one month of the event: $750 + tournament fee

 
The tournament fee will be refunded if a replacement team is found.
 

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 play for a team at a regular season event, then compete for a different team at a subsequent regular season event, with the following limitation:          


ii.  Once a player has played 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 playing at a 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.  A team can roster no more than 5 out of region players at any regular season event 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.  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 –

 

 Pro, Elite, and Top Select flight teams:

           

Pro, Elite, and Top Select flight teams may roster a maximum of 30 total individual players on regular season event rosters for the entirety of the regular season


- Pro, Elite, and Top Select flight teams may roster a maximum of 27 players on any given regular season event roster.

 

 

 All other teams (below the Top Select designation; Select and Classic flight teams):

 

- Do not have a cap on the number of players that can be used for the entirety of the regular season on event rosters.


- May roster a maximum of 27 players on any given regular season event roster.


ii.  Minimums
 

• Pro-Elite Challenge (PEC) - July 7-8, 2018

o    Men's teams:

       Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic Flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
 

o    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.
 

o    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) - July 28-29, 2018


o    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.
 

o    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.
 

o    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.
 

        US Open Ultimate Club Championships (USOCC) - August 3-5, 2018

o    Men's teams:

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

o    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.
 

o    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) - August 18-19, 2018

o    Men's teams:

          Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic Flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
 

o    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.
 

o    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 Championships - September 1-3, 2018

o    Men's teams:

          Pro, Elite, Select, and Classic Flight teams – must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
 

o    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.
 

o    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

o    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 postseason, ranking and/or bid allocation penalties, forfeiture of game results, team and/or player/coach suspensions, forfeiture of bye to regionals, lowering of postseason 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 30, 2018 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.  Postseason Championship Series Registration Guidelines

 

1.  Team Registration Requirements


a.  Team Registration Deadline 


i.  Teams must register for the  postseason via the online rostering system by August 24, 2018 (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 24, 2018 (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 24th 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 event 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, September 5th 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 postseason via the online rostering system by Friday, 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 24th Team Registration Deadline and the Final Event Roster Deadline on September 5th. (Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams may have a maximum of 27 players on their postseason event roster, but can only add a maximum of 3 players to their postseason 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’s postseason event roster or requires additional clarification after the roster deadline, please contact 
ernest@hq.usaultimate.org to submit an appeal. Please note that this process is not for teams that miss the Team Registration Deadline. The deadline for submitting an appeal (including requested documentation) is 11:59 PM MDT on Sunday, August 26, 2017.

 

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 13 or later are eligible for a roster deadline extension.


ii.  To receive the School Based Extension, by August 24 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 (September 5th at 5pm MDT), the team’s full postseason 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 postseason 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.).


e.  Teams should make a copy of its event roster for its records and bring a copy to all postseason events in case it needs to be referenced.

 
2.  Postseason Eligibility


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


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


c.  Geographic Guidelines

 

i.  At least 50% of the players on a team’s event 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 postseason event roster.


•  Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams - may add a maximum of 3 players to their postseason 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 postseason 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 Postseason Competition Guidelines 

 

1.  Competition Authority


a.  Regular Season


i.  Pro, Elite, and Select Flight 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.  All other sanctioned regular season 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. 



b.  Postseason – 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, Elite, and Select Flight Events (Pro-Elite Challenge, Select Flight Invite, US Open, Elite-Select Challenge, and Pro Flight Finale) – USA Ultimate will determine the field of teams.  

 

ii.  All other sanctioned regular season – Organizers may invite teams from any flight.

 

b.  Postseason – Eligible teams register for the postseason 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 bid allocations for the Postseason. The rankings will be based on games played between eligible teams at sanctioned regular season events.  


b.  The regular season rankings algorithm will be run and published weekly starting August 1, 2018.


c.  Teams must compete in a minimum of 10 regular season games to be included in the final regular season rankings, which impact bid allocation to Regionals and Nationals.    


d. All regular season Select and Classic flight teams -- to support roster consistency between the regular season and postseason, at least 50% of a team’s postseason roster must consist of players that competed for the team during the regular season in order for the team’s regular season ranking to count in the postseason bid allocations.


e.  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 included in the final regular season rankings.


ii.  Results of sanctioned regular season events will not count  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).

 ⇒  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 competes in a sanctioned regular season event with ineligible players (i.e. with players that were not on the team’s event roster), the team will be treated as ineligible and its results will not count for the event. Any eligible opposing team that competes against the ineligible team at the event will receive credit for competing in the game (i.e. game will be included in the team’s regular season game count), but the results of the game will not be included in the regular season rankings.


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 Triple Crown Tour 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 event or at separate events occurring on the same date.

 

Teams are not allowed to split to add additional teams to an event.  If an event is in need of another team, the event 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 will be 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 postseason.

b.  Pro Flight 

i.  The top 8 teams based on final standings at the prior season’s National Championships.

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 National Championships. Click here for more info on Pro Flight vacancies.


c.  Elite Flight 

i.  Teams that finished 9th-16th at the prior season’s National Championships.

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


d.  Select Flight

i.  The top 4 finishers in each region, from the prior season’s Regional Championships, that did not qualify for the National Championships.

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 spot will be awarded to the next highest finishing team, in that region, from the prior season’s Regional Championships.  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. 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 TCT, 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 postseason. 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 postseason.  


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 Postseason Events - Names, logos, and graphics on jerseys must comply with the Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines above.


ii.   Sanctioned Regular Season Events - Teams and players are encouraged to follow the uniform requirements for the National Championships.

 

iii.  Regional Championships - Teams participating in the Regional Championship finals 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 (Elite-Select Challenge, Pro-Elite Challenge, and Pro Flight Finale)
 

•  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 described 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 opt to include numbers, they must be on the front left or right leg of their shorts  Number 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 hats, socks, and under-layers which match across all players.


b.  Coach Attire Requirements


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


ii.   Sanctioned Regular Season Events - Coaches are encouraged to follow the coaching attire requirements for the National Championships.


iii.  Regional Championships - 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:

 ⇒    The team jersey or a sleeved shirt/polo matching the team uniform colors.
 ⇒    Team shorts/skirt or hemmed slacks/shorts/skirt of an appropriate solid color
 ⇒    Business casual attire
 ⇒    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, Elite, and Select Events (Pro-Elite Challenge, Select Flight Invite, US Open, Elite-Select Challenge, and Pro Championships) – Formats will be determined by USA Ultimate based on competitive, promotional, and logistical considerations.

ii.  All other sanctioned Regular Season Events – Formats must be in line with sanctioned event requirements. Otherwise, they are left to the discretion of the event organizer.

b.  Postseason

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 (Pro-Elite Challenge, Select Flight Invite, US Open, Elite-Select Challenge, and Pro Championships) – Seeding will be determined by USA Ultimate.

ii.  All other Sanctioned Regular Season Events – Seeding must be in line with sanctioned event requirements. Otherwise, it is left to the discretion of the event organizer, 

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 postseason (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 the prior 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 postseason 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.

 

•  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.


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.  Postseason

 

i.  A team must play all its games at a "qualifying" tournament in order to advance to the next tournament in the Series:

 

•  A team that forfeits a postseason game, and every player on that team’s postseason event roster, is disqualified for the remainder of the postseason.

 

•  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 Postseason event may be left unplayed.


•  Case 1


 ⇒
    It is the last game of the tournament for both teams.
 ⇒    Both teams are already guaranteed to advance to the next stage of the postseason (or both teams have already been eliminated from advancing). 

 ⇒    Neither of the teams wishes to play the game. 

 ⇒    If ALL of the above conditions are met, then the game may be left unplayed. The final placement of the teams will be determined based on their current standing in the format.


•  Case 2 

 


 ⇒
    It is the last game of the tournament for both teams.
 ⇒    The teams have played twice already in the tournament and one team has a 2-0 record against the other team.
 ⇒    Either one of the teams does not wish to play the game.
 ⇒    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 2018:

•  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, Elite, and Select Events – Game rules will be determined by USA Ultimate.

ii.  All other Sanctioned Regular Season 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.  Postseason

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 postseason 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 2018 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.  Postseason Championship Series 


i.  Only USA Ultimate Certified Observers are permitted to officiate at USA Ultimate Postseason events.  
 

ii.  If officials are used during the posteason, 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 Postseason 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 postseason will be 4/3 (4 men and 3 women or 4 women and 3 men). 


Approved for 2018:

 

At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting which end zone is "End Zone A", with the other end Zone becoming "End Zone B". At the start of each point, the team that is at End Zone A must choose the gender ratio. This process applies for the entire game.

 

The End Zone Decides Rule shall be utilized at all sanctioned regular season and postseason events in 2018.


c.  If a team cannot match the gender of all 7 players on the team determining the gender ratio for the point, 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.