Table of Contents
- Spirit of the Game
- Competition Authority
- Definition of a Team
- Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines
- Triple Crown Tour Overview
- Regular Season
- Forfeit Rule
- Season Roster Changes
- Geographic Eligibility
- Gender Division Eligibility
- Mixed Division On-Field Personnel Ratio
- Roster Maximums and Minimums
- Team Flight Status
- Major Triple Crown Tour Events
- Other Regular Season Events
- Team Registration Requirements
- Postseason (Championship Series)
- Violations and Sanctions
USA Ultimate Club 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.
The contents of this document are important for players, team organizers, and tournament directors. The dates, registration and tournament rules and definitions of the TCT in this document supersede any other information.
Please ensure you read and understand all of the guidelines in this document and reach out to your National Director or USA Ultimate directly with any questions. Below are key updates between the 2022 and 2023 guidelines for ease of reference – this is not a comprehensive summary of all important information:
- We affirm that people of all gender identities should have the freedom to participate in USA Ultimate Regular Season or championship series events in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe based on their gender identity and should be recognized, respected and included at every level of the sport. For more information see the USAU Gender Inclusion Policy and the Gender Division Eligibility section.
- Wait lists for events will be based on 2022 season finish and rankings only. Click here for event wait lists.
- With required events, there will be opportunities for byes to regionals for Pro and Elite Flight teams. All pro and elite teams that meet participation requirements (one required mTCT event and one optional mTCT in Men’s and Mixed, one required mTCT event in Women’s) during the regular season will not be required to play at sectionals.
- All Mixed Regular Season and Post Season Events will utilize WFDF’s Rule A for on-field personnel ratios (including majority pulling).
- The “2022-2023 Official Rules of Ultimate” which will be used for all USA Ultimate club competition. This applies to all USA Ultimate-owned and sanctioned events. The rules are available at usaultimate.org/rules, along with supporting documentation highlighting and explaining the changes from the 2020-2021 Edition.
- The rankings will continue to follow the same requirements from prior years (10 game minimum to earn series bids).
- International games at the U.S. Open will count towards a teams 10 game minimum, but the results will not be utilized in the rankings.
- As in 2022, there will be early season roster flexibility with players being allowed to switch teams multiple times before July 5th. See Season Roster Changes
- Team season roster caps will continue to be 32 for Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams. Select and Classic teams will not have a season roster cap.
- Coaching requirements have changed as of December 2022. See Coaching Requirements Section.
- Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines has been updated and a new document specifying all related rules can be found here.
- Match play fees will be waived for women’s divisions games.
- There will not be Prize Money for the 2023 mTCT. The funds have been reallocated within the TCT to support teams and the mission of USA Ultimate.
- Seeding For Nationals will be done based on a draw similar to the World Cup. Teams will be placed into Pots based on Post Regional Rankings. 1-4 will be seeded based on those rankings and the other teams will be drawn randomly based on which pot they are in.
There have been many changes in the recent seasons, so please read through this year’s guidelines in their entirety to ensure you are aware of the changes that are specific to the 2023 season as well as any changes that have been instituted in prior seasons that remain in these guidelines.
USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour
The Triple Crown Tour (TCT) for USA Ultimate’s club men’s, mixed and women’s divisions enters its tenth season in 2023. TCT teams are divided into four (4) flights based on their performance in the previous year’s TCT. Teams in each flight have different season requirements. 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.
- Triple Crown Tour (TCT) – The TCT encompasses both the Regular Season and the Postseason for USA Ultimate club teams. The TCT includes Major TCT (mTCT) events run by USA Ultimate and any event which is a Regular Season or Postseason event. Winning the Triple Crown refers to winning the U.S. Open Club Championships, the Pro Championships and the National Championships.
- Regular Season – All official Regular Season Events or match-play games that occur between the first weekend in June and last weekend in August, with the addition of Labor Day weekend for teams attending the Pro Championship is the Regular Season. All games at USA Ultimate Regular Season Events where a team’s official roster and players met the roster eligibility rules will count for the regular season. All Regular Season events must be Sanctioned through USA Ultimate.
- Regular Season Rankings – Regular Season games will be factored into the USA Ultimate Regular Season rankings algorithm. Rankings are published weekly starting the last Wednesday in July, with Final Regular Season Rankings posted at the end of the Regular Season. Teams must play a minimum of 10 games to be included in the Final Regular Season Rankings. International games at the U.S. Open will be included in a team’s Regular Season game count but will not be included when calculating a team’s power rating. Games against International Teams at other events will not count towards Regular Season Rankings.
- Postseason Championship Series – The national tournament following the regular season comprises geographic-based qualifying events (Sectionals, Regionals) and concludes at the National Championships. Also referred to as the “Postseason” and “Championship Series.” The entirety of the Postseason, including Sectionals, Regionals and Nationals is a single Event.
- National Championships – The third leg of the Triple Crown and the culminating event of the Postseason and the TCT where the USA Ultimate National Championship winning teams are crowned in the men’s, mixed and women’s divisions. Also referred to as “Nationals.”
- Major TCT Event – The following tournaments are considered Major TCT Events: Pro-Elite Challenge-East, Pro-Elite Challenge-West, Select Flight Invite-West, Select Flight Invite-East, U.S. Open Club Championships, Elite-Select Challenge and Pro Championships.
- Bid Allocation – Bid allocation from Sectionals to Regionals and from Regionals to Nationals include a combination of automatic bids and strength bids. Strength bids are allocated based on Final Regular Season Rankings.
- Pro Flight – Top eight teams (1st through 8th) based on performance at the 2022 National Championships.
- Elite Flight – Next eight teams (9th through 16th) based on performance at the 2022 National Championships.
Select Flight – 32 teams. Next highest finishing four teams in each geographic region, after Pro and Elite teams, based on performance in the 2022 Regional Championships.
- Top Select – teams are Select Flight teams that were the highest finishing Select team from each region (eight total) from the 2022 Regional Championships. The Top Select team is the team that lost the “game-to-go” to Nationals.
- Classic Flight – All other teams participating in the Regular Season or Postseason of the TCT.
B. Spirt of the Game (SOTG)
Spirit of the Game is a set of principles which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules or the basic joy of play.
All players are responsible for knowing, administering and adhering to the rules. The integrity of ultimate depends on each player’s responsibility to uphold the Spirit of the Game, and this responsibility should remain paramount.
It is assumed that no 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 most likely would have occurred absent the infraction. An intentional infraction is cheating and considered a gross offense against the Spirit of the Game. Players are morally bound to abide by the rules and not gain advantage by knowingly committing an infraction, or calling one where none exists.
D. Definition of a Team
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. A team will be defined primarily by its name and home location (city, state) and the following factors:
- For consistency between seasons, If a team has at least seven (7) returning players from the previous season (2022), they are considered that same team and are expected to retain the team’s name and home location.
- If two teams have seven (7) or more returning players from one team that participated in the previous season, the team with more returning players will have priority in retaining team name, branding, etc. as well as the team’s spot on invitation lists for mTCT events.
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 seven players from that team’s prior year roster in order to be eligible for the postseason.
An exception may be granted if the new team plays at least 10 regular season games.
- To change either a team’s name or its home location and still retain the team’s flight status and spot on any mTCT invitation list, the team must present an appeal to the corresponding USA Ultimate National Director describing its rationale. Appeals must be submitted prior to competing..
E. Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines
The Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines document is a part of the TCT Guidelines and must be followed. See guidelines here.
To coach any club team at a USA Ultimate sanctioned event (including all Regular Season and Postseason Events), a coach must be a member of USA Ultimate and have completed at least the Foundational Coach training. The steps to complete the Foundational Coach training can be found here.
Coaching Sideline Access Policy
During games at TCT events where field access is restricted (ex: US Open, Nationals), sideline access will only be granted to players, USA Ultimate Foundational Coaches 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 (5) – may have player-level access to sidelines/field
- Coaches must be listed on the team’s online Event Roster prior to the event in order to have sideline access, which means coaches must have an active USA Ultimate membership and have satisfactorily passed the coaching and rules test.**
- Team Support (2) – must remain in team tent/bench area during points
* Team media must contact the USA Ultimate media manager for credentials and event media waivers.
** Teams must ensure that their coach is an active member of USA Ultimate, and has completed all necessary coaching requirements, including the SafeSport training and obtaining a “Green Light” on a NCSI Background check. Background checks take an average of 10 business days to complete and can be started on the coach’s USAU membership dashboard once they login. Coaches who have lived outside of the United States in the last five (5) years should expect a longer turnaround time and a higher cost for their background checks. For further information on coach requirements, refer to the Foundation Coach Training.
All use of Observers will be subject to the guidelines and practices of the USA Ultimate Observer Program. Only USA Ultimate Certified Observers are permitted to officiate at USA Ultimate sanctioned events, including Regular Season Events and the Postseason Championship Series.
Regular Season Events must be played in accordance with 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 USA Ultimate.
If observers are used during the postseason, 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 Working Group. 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.
H. Triple Crown Tour Overview
The Triple Crown Tour (TCT) for USA Ultimate’s club Men’s, Mixed and Women’s divisions has existed since 2013. TCT teams are divided into four (4) flights based on their performance in the previous year’s TCT. For 2023, flight requirements have been reinstated. Teams will be invited to Major TCT events based on their 2022 performance. Teams at all levels are encouraged to participate in the TCT’s regular season and postseason.
The TCT regular season typically runs from June through August with the Postseason Championship Series starting in September with sectional tournaments. Teams advance from sectionals to regionals, and then from regionals to nationals where a champion in each division is crowned.
Registration for the Postseason Championship Series will be open to any teams that want to compete.
I. Regular Season
The TCT Regular Season is from June 3, 2023 through August 27, 2023, plus Pro Championships.
Teams competing at 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.
All USA Ultimate Regular Season and Postseason Events must use the “2022-2023 Official Rules of Ultimate” which are available at usaultimate.org/rules in HTML and PDF formats along with supporting documentation highlighting and explaining the substantive changes from the 2020-2021 Edition.
Game Length Minimums
TCT games should be scheduled to last at least 90 minutes and play to 15 points. All games at sanctioned USA Ultimate events must meet the minimum point and time-based requirements – each game must be initially set, at minimum, to 11 points and 60 minutes in length. Games under the minimums are subject to USA Ultimate review for inclusion in rankings or game counts.
- NEVER report an inaccurate score. Doing so will result in game disqualifications and other sanctions to teams, organizers and players
- If a game is a forfeit (see forfeit rule below), do NOT enter the score in as 13-0 or 15-0. You must inform the TD and report a W/F on the USA Ultimate reporting app.
- Requests to shorten any game must be approved prior to playing by the event manager/TD and should still meet the minimum requirements mentioned above. Captains may not simply agree to play to a lower number or for a certain amount of time. This will result in consequences for both teams and both captains.
- Games that are suspended due to inclement weather or other unavoidable reasons will be counted only if a team has reached at least half the minimum point total or half the minimum game length.
- Games that do not reach halftime and cannot be continued should be recorded as “canceled.”
- For mTCT events and the postseason halftime will be 7 minutes long. At the end of half time Rule 9.c. applies for restarting play. Seven minute half times is recommended for all other regular season events, but may be adjusted per the Event Organizers Clause, based on tournament needs.
J. Forfeit Rule
The competition format of an event and the season as a whole rely on scheduled games being played. 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. 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 at a rate of one (1) point per five (5) minutes. Under these conditions, if the score of the game reaches 8-0, the team that has failed to signal readiness will 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, found here.
- Reporting false scores will be treated with significant sanctions. If a game is forfeited, teams must report the forfeiture. If a game is not finished, scores and game length are to be reported as they are. Teams may not manipulate the final score to reach the game minimum. Violating this rule will incur sanctions for both teams involved. See the sanctions section (Item 6 below) for more information.
- 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 be published at least two (2) business days prior to the event. Impact to teams due to changes with short notice must be considered.
- Games that are the last of an event for both teams may be forfeited, provided the tournament director and both teams are in agreement. Games which are forfeited without the TD director approval are subject to 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.
Teams participating in any Regular Season event or game must do so only with players who are on the team’s Regular Season roster AND Event Roster for that event or game.
L. Season Roster Changes
For the 2023 season, to allow players and teams the time to host tryouts and establish rosters on a timeline they and their community are comfortable with, players will have the flexibility to play on multiple rosters from the start of the Regular Season until Tuesday July 4th. After the July 4th cutoff, players may switch rosters but not return to a roster after playing a Regular Season Event with a different team.
Example: Player A can play with Team X and Team Y interchangeably from the start of the Regular Season until July 4th. If Player A attends a Regular Season event with Team X on July 8-9, then an event with Team Y in August, that Player may NOT return to play any Regular Season event or the series with Team X. Doing so will result in disqualification from the event, games not counting, and potential suspensions for the Player and Team.
M. Geographic Eligibility
At least 50% of the players on a team’s Season Roster must reside in the section in which that team will compete.
At least 75% of the players on a team’s Season Roster must reside in the region in which that team will compete.
A team can roster no more than five (5) out-of-region players at any Regular Season Event in which the team will be competing. Additionally, a team may not roster more than seven (7) out-of-region players during the Regular Season.
“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 three months prior to September 1 or immediately following October 31.
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 five out-of-region players and no more than 25% of the roster).
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 or Postseason event. To request this exception, email your National Director and copy the Manager of Competition and National Team Programs firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sectional and Regional boundaries are available on the USA Ultimate website.
N. Gender Division Eligibility
USA Ultimate will not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, regardless of sex assigned at birth, or any other form of gender expression for whether an athlete matches up against a woman-matching or man-matching player of the opposing team during any given point.
We affirm that people of all gender identities should have the freedom to participate in USA Ultimate Regular Season or championship series events in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe based on their gender identity and should be recognized, respected and included at every level of the sport.
Teams that are found to have violated the letter or spirit of the rules mentioned here, 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, intentionally misrepresenting gender for mixed on-field personnel ratio, etc.) will be subject to ramifications as outlined in “Violations and Sanctions.” Roster violations should be reported to the Manager of Competition and National Team Programs at email@example.com.
- In their USA Ultimate membership account, every athlete should select the gender identity option that best aligns with their gender identity. When registering for a USA Ultimate Regular Season or championship series event, athletes should select to participate in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe based on their indicated gender identity.
- Players who select Man (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in Men’s divisions or as a man-matching player in Mixed divisions.
- Players who select Woman (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in Men’s or Women’s divisions, or as a Woman-matching player in Mixed divisions.
- Players who select the Non-Binary or Prefer to Self-Report gender identity option are eligible to compete in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe, as per USA Ultimate’s Gender Inclusion Policy (approved 11.2021).
- Note: For those who select Prefer to Self-Report, there will be a fill-in option to provide any additional information regarding your gender identity. This is for internal educational purposes only and will not be shared.
- On-field personnel ratio rules for the mixed division are described in the Mixed Division On-field Personnel Ratio section of the Competition Guidelines.
For more information about USA Ultimate’s Gender Inclusion Policy, click here.
O. Mixed Division On-Field Personnel Ratio
The personnel ratio for the mixed division of the Triple Crown Tour regular season and postseason will be 4/3 (four woman-matching and three man-matching or four man-matching and three woman-matching).
For more information about USA Ultimate’s Gender Inclusion Policy, click here.
Determining the ratio
All Mixed games will use the “prescribed ratio” rule (also known as Rule A in the official WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2022-2024 – APPENDIX v1.0:
Ratio Rule A (“prescribed ratio” rule):
At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting the gender ratio for the first point. For the second and third points the ratio must be the reverse of the first point. For the fourth and fifth points the ratio must be the same as the first point. This pattern of alternating the ratio every two points repeats until the end of the game (half time has no impact on the pattern).
All Mixed games will use the “majority pull” rule”
Each point, a player representing the gender match-up with four players on the field must pull for that point. That is, if there are four women-matching players a woman-matching player must pull.
- For all Mixed games, if a team cannot match the on-field personnel ratio of all seven players on the team determining the personnel ratio for the point, then it must play with fewer than seven players, but no less than 5, matching the personnel ratio with as many players as possible.
For all Mixed games –
- Personnel Ratio Violation: Violations of the prescribed personnel ratio and how they are handled are described in 2022-2023 Official Rules of Ultimate (9.B.3.a).
- Majority Pull Violation: Violations of the majority pull rule will be handled the same as an offsides violation (9.B.4.d), but instead of calling “offsides,” the offense should call “majority pull violation.” Like with offsides violations, after the first majority pull violation, any subsequent majority pull violations should be handled as described in 9.B.4.d.2. Majority pull rule violations accumulate separately from offsides/false start violations. In games with observers, either the observer or a player on the field may call the violation.
Player substitutions can be completed only:
- after a goal and before the substituting team has signaled readiness; or
- to replace injured players, replace players with illegal equipment, or to resolve an incorrect personnel violation. In this case, the opposing team may substitute a like number of, or fewer, players. In the Mixed Division the substituting players must be of the same gender match.
P. Roster Maximums and Minimums
Pro, Elite, and Top Select Flight teams:
Pro, Elite and Top Select Flight teams may roster a maximum of 32 different individual players on TCT Event Rosters for the 2023 season.Pro, Elite and Top Select Flight teams may roster a maximum of 26 players on any given Event Roster.
All other teams (Select and Classic Flight teams):
Do not have a cap on the number of players that can be used for the TCT; May roster a maximum of 26 players on any given TCT Event Roster. Note: The Championship Series is considered a single event.
- Pro, Elite, and Top Select Flight teams:
Pro-Elite Challenge, US Open, Elite-Select Challenge, Pro Championship
- Men’s: All teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
- Mixed: All teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
- 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
- Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players.
- Select and Classic Flight teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 12 players.
- Pro, Elite, and Top Select teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 20 players; with a minimum of six (6) woman-matching and six (6) man-matching players.
- Select and Classic Flight teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 12 players; with a minimum of six (6) woman-matching and six (6) man-matching players.
- Pro and Elite Flight teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 18 players.
- Top Select must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 16 players.
- Select and Classic Flight teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players.
All Other Events
- Men’s: All teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players.
- Mixed: All teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players; with a minimum of five (5) woman-matching players and five (5) man-matching players.
- Women’s: All teams must roster and dress (on site) a minimum of 10 players.
- Pro-Elite Challenge, US Open, Elite-Select Challenge, Pro Championship
- 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, financial penalties and team and/or player conduct hearings. Violations will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
- Exceptions -The goal of the roster minimum requirements is to ensure the safety of all athletes participating throughout the regular season. Exceptions to roster minimums may be considered for special circumstances. Please contact your division specific National Director at least four weeks prior to the Event Roster deadline to request an exception.
Q. Team Flight Status
Teams will be awarded their flights based on their 2022 TCT performance:
Pro Flight – Top eight teams (1st through 8th) based on performance at the 2022 National Championships. In Order to be eligible for the Postseason, teams in the Pro Flight are required to:
- Compete in one flight-specific Regular Season Event: U.S. Open Club Championships (Pro teams 1-4) or Pro-Elite Challenge (Pro teams 5-8), and
- Play 10 regular season games.
Elight Flight – Next eight teams (9th through 16th) based on performance at the 2022 National Championships. In Order to be eligible for the Postseason, teams in the Elite Flight are required to:
- Compete in the Elite-Select Challenge, and
- Play 10 regular season games.
Select Flight – 32 teams. Next highest finishing four teams in each geographic region, after Pro and Elite teams, based on performance in the 2022 Regional Championships.
Top Select teams are Select Flight teams that were the highest finishing Select team from each region (eight total per division) from the 2022 Regional Championships. The Top Select team is the team that lost the “game-to-go” to Nationals. In Order to be eligible for the post season teams in the Top Select are required to:
- Compete in one flight-specific regular season event (Elite-Select Challenge, Select Flight Invite-West, or Select Flight Invite-East), and
- Play 10 regular season games.
Classic Flight – All other teams participating in the Regular Season or Postseason of the TCT. Click the appropriate division link below for a full list of teams in Pro, Elite, and Select flights. Any team not included in the tables will be considered a Classic team for 2023. If you have any questions or concerns with the lists below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Select and Classic Flight teams must register for Regular Season Events by the deadlines outlined in the Team Registration Requirements section.
All Select and Classic Flight teams are eligible for the postseason
- 2023 PEC Wait List
- 2023 SFI Waitlist
- 2023 US Open Waitlist
- 2023 ESC Waitlist
- 2023 Pro Champs Waitlist
Any team that commits to a Major TCT event is required to compete in that event in order to be eligible for the Postseason, unless otherwise approved as described below. Any team that drops from a Major TCT event after the drop deadline will be subject to a fine described below.
- March 20 – Pro and Elite teams confirmed for required TCT Events
- March 31 – Top Select Teams confirmed to mTCT events
- March 31 – Select Teams accept or decline Select Flight status for Regular Season and commit to mTCT Regular Season Events
- April 15 – All teams confirmed for mTCT events
- June 1 – Teams have at least 14 players on the Regular Season roster for all mTCT events Monday before mTCT Event (except USOCC) – Event Rosters finalized
- July 19 – Team Bios and Final Event Rosters for US Open Club Championships
Wednesday before all other TCT Events – Event Rosters finalized
Withdrawing from TCT Events
Teams may not withdraw from mTCT events after April 15, 2023, without approval from their National Director and the USA Ultimate Manager of Competition and National Team Programs (email@example.com).
Penalties: The following sanctions will be applied to teams that withdraw from Major TCT events:
- Within one month of the event: $750 + tournament fee
- Within two months of the event: $500 + tournament fee
- After acceptance of bid to event: $250 + 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. For more information see Violations and Sanctions.
R. Major Triple Crown Tour Events
USA Ultimate will work with local organizers to put on tournament events for teams in the Pro, Elite and Select flights throughout the regular season. These events are referred to as Major TCT events (mTCT) and are invitation only. Rules, seeding, formats and guidelines for these events will be set by USAU. Flight Requirements for attending mTCT events and waitlist orders can be found here.
Pro-Elite Challenge (PEC) – West
- Dates: July 8-9
- Location: Corvallis, OR
Pro-Elite Challenge (PEC) – East
- Dates: July 15-16
- Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Select Flight Invite (SFI) – West
- Dates: July 15-16
- Location: Silver Lakes, CA
Select Flight Invite (SFI) – East
- Dates: July 29-30
- Location: Columbus, OH
U.S. Open Club Championships
- Dates: August 4-6
- Location: Aurora, CO
- Dates: August 19-20
- Location: Indianapolis, IN (tentative)
- Dates: September 2-4
- Location: Milwaukee, WI
- Pro-Elite Challenge (PEC) – West
Invitations to mTCT events will be decided based on Flight Status. Flexibility on invitations may be afforded to the National Directors and Local Organizing Committees as needed if there are vacancies within four (4) weeks of the event.
- National Directors will begin inviting teams in March 2023 and will communicate deadlines for each event via email.
- Invitation lists, including confirmed committed teams, are available here.
- Invitations to any other Regular Season events are at the sole discretion of the event organizers.
S. Other Regular Season Events
USA Ultimate-sanctioned event organizers will be required to do the following:
- Submit or verify the results of games through the USA Ultimate’s online score reporting system by the end of the day following the event/game.
- Comply with all requirements for USA Ultimate-sanctioned event organizers outlined in the USA Ultimate Tournament Director’s Certification Program and the sanctioned event agreement.
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. For 2023, sanctioning fees for match play for Women’s Division teams will be waived. Click here for more information on event sanctioning.
- USA Ultimate-sanctioned event organizers will be required to do the following:
USA Ultimate is progressively increasing the minimum standards which tournaments/events are 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.
T. Team Registration Requirements
All teams that compete in the Regular Season must submit an online Event Roster by the event- specific, rolling deadline (Wednesday prior to event). Teams are required to do the following:
- Notify the event organizer of their intention to compete 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.
- Once confirmed, use the online rostering system to submit the team’s Event Roster for the event.
- Complete team’s Event Roster by 5pm MDT on the Wednesday prior to the event.
- Ensure that USA Ultimate membership dues and individual waivers are submitted by every participant before they are 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.
- Any player found to play in a Regular Season Event without being on a team’s Event Roster will face sanctions along with any other culpable parties, including, but not limited to the Team Manager, teammates, other teams and the event organizers. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, ejection from the event, fines and/or suspensions.
The Final Regular Season Rankings are used to determine bid allocations for the Postseason. The rankings will be based on games played between eligible teams at Regular Season Events.
The Regular Season Rankings algorithm will be run, and the rankings will be published weekly starting July 26, 2023.
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. We encourage teams to utilize match play as a way to compete locally.
To support roster consistency between the Regular Season and Postseason for Classic and Select Flight teams, at least 50% of a team’s Postseason Roster must consist of players that competed for the team during the Regular Season for the team’s Regular Season ranking to count in the Postseason bid allocations.
Regular Season rankings are tentative, pending eligibility verification. At the end of the Regular Season, any eligibility-based adjustments will be made to finalize Regular Season rankings. Results of Regular Season Events or Games 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 have been initially set to be, at minimum, to 11 points and 60 minutes in length).
- An inaccurate score is reported.
NOTE: Games suspended or modified due to inclement weather or other unavoidable reason may be counted if a team has reached at least half the minimum point total or half the minimum game length, at the discretion of USA Ultimate.
If a team competes in a Regular Season event with ineligible players, 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.
USA Ultimate reserves the right to disallow Regular Season results 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.
Teams are not allowed to split to add additional teams to an event after the July 4th cutoff. 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 titled “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.
V. Postseason (Championship Series)
Series Progression and Timeline
- Sectionals – September 9-10 (Rain Dates September 16-17)
- Regionals – September 23-24 (Rain Dates September 30-October 1)
- Nationals – October 19-22
- Series Registration Deadline – August 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm MDT
- Final Postseason Roster, including teams with byes to Regionals – September 6, 2023 at 5:00 pm MDT (note: There is a single Event Roster for the Series)
- Seeding Draw For Nationals – No later than October 11, 2023.
In order to participate in the Postseason, teams must be created via the online rostering system – or rolled over from a previous year (to roll a team over from 2020 or 2021 you may have to roll it over multiple times) and registered for their appropriate Postseason event with a valid Event Roster (10-player minimum) by Friday, August 25 at 5pm MDT. This date is the same for all teams regardless of flight or bye.
There is ONE Postseason Roster that is rolled over from Sectionals to Regionals to Nationals depending on team qualification. You CANNOT add players to your Regionals or Nationals event roster after the Postseason Event Roster Deadline (September 6, 2023). This deadline is the same for all teams, including teams advancing directly to Regionals.
Select and Classic Flight teams must register for their appropriate sectional event.
Pro and Elite Flight teams that have met their respective requirements to earn a bye to Regionals and intend to advance directly to Regionals must accept their invitation to their regional event by August 25, 2022 (by 5pm MDT/7pm EDT). Otherwise they should contact their National Division Director to decline their bye and register for their appropriate sectional event by the August 25 5pm MDT deadline.
If your sectional event has a player fee and your team has players that will not be attending, but do plan to attend Regionals upon qualification, please discuss with the Tournament Director to ensure accurate charges. ALL players must be on the Postseason Roster before Sectionals.
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.
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 the date and fee are reasonable (for instance, the date cannot be before the Team Registration Deadline), 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.
Using the links below, Team Managers can create their team in the online rostering system, register their team for the series, add players to the team’s personnel (AKA Season roster) and create a Postseason event roster:
- After the August 25 team registration deadline, teams can make roster adjustments until the Final event roster deadline for the Postseason (Wednesday, September 6 at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT). Teams must maintain a minimum of 10 players on their event roster and can have a maximum of 26 players on their event roster.
- After the Final Postseason Roster Deadline on September 6, teams may not add anyone to the Postseason roster. All players who may compete with you at sectionals, regionals or nationals must be on your Final Postseason Roster by September 6.
- If a player will not be attending sectionals but would play with your team for regionals or nationals if your team earns an invitation, they MUST be on your series roster by the deadline prior to sectionals.
Sectionals to Regionals
All Select and Classic Flight teams, including any new teams, must start the Postseason at Sectionals. All Pro and Elite teams that meet participation requirements (one required mTCT event and one optional mTCT in Men’s and Mixed, one required mTCT event in Women’s) during the Regular Season will not be required to play at sectionals. Teams participating in Sectionals must have met all team and player requirements, including having all players with a current membership and signed waiver. There is no additional qualifying process for Sectionals.
- USA Ultimate reserves the right, based on the number of teams registered in a section, to combine sections or require teams to migrate to another section.
- MEN’S AND MIXED DIVISIONS – The number of bids to Regionals will be set based on the size of the region (see below). Regional bids will be allocated to sections using a combination of automatic and strength bids. Initial Sectional bid allocations to Regionals will be announced following the conclusion of the Regular Season and announced by Friday, September 1. Any changes (teams dropping, rankings issues) may impact bid allocations until the Final Bid Allocation on Tuesday, September 5.
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
In an effort to provide more valuable playing opportunities for women’s division teams, for the women’s division in regions with up to 16 teams, all teams will be invited to the regional tournament. For regions with more than 16 teams, 16 teams will be invited.
Regional Bid Allocation Process (Men’s and Mixed Divisions)
- 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 two Pro or Elite teams using a bye to regionals, there will be 10 bids remaining for distribution to the sections in that region.
- Auto bids – The number of auto bids per region is equal to 50% of the total bids available after regional scaling. If there are an odd number of bids, there will be one more auto bid than strength bids. All sections with at least one team registered for the Postseason will receive at least one auto bid to Regionals. Regional auto bids will be awarded first to the section with the 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.
Strength bids – The number of strength bids per section is equal to 50% of the total bids available after regional scaling. If there are an odd number of bids, there will be one 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 27, where “next” describes one more bid than the section has already been awarded up to that point. (For example: a section with four bids and a section with two bids will compare their fifth and third 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 all ranked teams have been assigned Strength Bids and there are still additional bids to be assigned, average power rating of the ranked teams who are participating in the Postseason will be considered.
Wait List Bids – If, after all Sectionals have been completed, a team turns down its bid to Regionals, the 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. For further clarification, see the below scenarios:
If… Then… The next highest finishing, non- qualifying team in a section is an unranked team That team will take on the ranking of the next highest finishing ranked team below it. There are no ranked teams left in a section, Wait list bids will be awarded to teams from other sections. Bids are still available and there are only unranked teams in the region Bids will be awarded in order of average section strength (highest to lowest) until all bids have been awarded. 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. The vacant bid has not been filled five days prior to the tournament The Regional Coordinator may award the bid or reduce the size of regionals at his/her discretion with the approval of the division’s National Director.
Regionals 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.
- Auto Bids – Each region will receive one automatic bid.
- 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.
- A region with two bids and a region with three bids will compare their third and fourth ranked teams, respectively, for a Team Strength Bid.
- A region may earn multiple Team Strength Bids
- Sectionals to Regionals
Hosting a Sectional or Regional Event
- Bids to host Sectionals or Regionals are due to respective Coordinators by February 28, with dates and locations announced by May 30. Check the USA Ultimate website for dates and locations. Contact your Sectional or Regional Coordinator for additional information. To host a Regional event please make a copy and fill out this form. To host a Sectionalevent please make a copy and fill out this form.
- Due to the variety of field reservation policies across the country, bids may be accepted on a rolling basis. If you intend to bid for Sectionals or Regionals, please notify your appropriate Sectional Coordinator or Regional Coordinator as soon as possible to ensure your bid is considered.
- The USA Ultimate National Championships will be held October 19-22, 2023 at the Surf Cup Sports Park in San Diego, California.
- Sectionals and Regionals – Formats will be determined by coordinators using USA Ultimate guidelines in the USA Ultimate Formats Manual, with updates provided by the Formats Working Group in alignment with guidance from the Medical Working Group. Any variations must be approved through the National Division Director. Contact your Sectional or Regional Coordinator for information.
- Nationals – Formats will be determined and announced by USA Ultimate, and will be based on competitive, promotional, and logistical considerations. Additional changes may be made if determined by USA Ultimate to be necessary to meet goals for the event.
- 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, etc.) with an emphasis on official regular season rankings and regular season results, input solicited from all the captains of participating teams, results of the prior year’s season, and other applicable information.
- 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.
- The Nationals Championships will be draw based. Teams will be seeded using the postseason rankings, which will be published after regionals (October 4, 2023). The teams will be divided into four pots of four. All pots will be determined by each team’s Post Regional Rankings, with Pot 1 containing the highest-ranked teams who qualified for Nationals (1-4), Pot 2 containing the next highest-ranked teams who qualified for nationals (5-8), and so on until Pot 4, containing the lowest ranked teams(13-16). The top seeds will be seeded first in Pools A – D based on their post-Regional Ranking. The remaining spots in each pool will be filled with one team from each pot drawn randomly. Two teams from the same region cannot fall into the same pool, with the exception of regions with 3 bids or more, where up to two teams could share a pool.
- 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.
W. 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 the 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.
Since consistency in holding all participants to the same administrative and competitive standards is vital to the integrity of the TCT, many violations lead to unfair advantages in competition, and 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.