Table of Contents
- 2024 USA Ultimate College Season Overview
- USA Ultimate College Regular Season Guidelines
- USA Ultimate College Series Guidelines
- Violations and Sanctions
I. 2024 USA Ultimate College Season Overview
USA Ultimate College Regular Season Overview
- Timeline – The official USA Ultimate College Regular Season will run from January 1, 2024 through March 31, 2024.
- Regular Season Games – The results of games between rostered college teams at USA Ultimate-sanctioned College Regular Season events will count towards the Official USA Ultimate College Rankings. USA Ultimate-sanctioned College Regular Season event organizers will be responsible for submitting or verifying the results of games between rostered college teams at their events through USA Ultimate’s online score reporting system.
- Eligibility and Roster Verification – College teams at USA Ultimate-sanctioned Regular Season events will be required to submit their roster of participating players to the event organizer through the USA Ultimate online rostering system by 5:00pm Wednesday before the event. College teams participating in regular season games will be expected to do so only with players who meet, or who will meet, the USA Ultimate College Eligibility Rules for the USA Ultimate College Series.
- Minimum Requirements – Teams will need to have participated in a minimum of 10 regular season games to be included in the Official USA Ultimate College Rankings and impact bid allocation.
- College Series Requirements – Participation in the USA Ultimate College Regular Season is not a prerequisite for USA Ultimate College Series participation.
- Official USA Ultimate College Rankings – Following their initial release, the rankings will be updated weekly throughout the USA Ultimate College Regular Season, after which the results will be used to determine strength bid allocations for Conferences to Regionals, and for Regions to the USA Ultimate College Championships. For D-III eligible schools, the rankings algorithm will also be used to determine strength bid allocations to D-III Regionals and the USA Ultimate D-III College Championships. Should a D-III team that factored into the strength bid allocation process subsequently choose to pursue D-I regionals, the associated bid will be reallocated based on the waitlist.
USA Ultimate College Series Overview
- Timeline – The USA Ultimate College Series will run from April 13, 2024 through May 27, 2024.
- Conferences – April 13-14, or April 20-21
- Regionals – April 27-28 or May 4-5
- College Championships – D-III: May 18-20. D-I: May 24-27
- Registrar Roster Deadline – Teams that wish to participate in the USA Ultimate College Series will need to create their season team roster via the online rostering system, and generate the roster PDF to give to their school registrar. This registrar-certified roster and registrar instruction form PDF must arrive at USA Ultimate Headquarters by the 5pm MT Friday March 1, 2024 Roster Deadline in order for that team to participate in the 2024 USA Ultimate College Series. Registrar rosters can arrive via email.
College Rostering Timeline December 2023 team rollover period starts — create 2024 season roster from 2023 version, and clean out for 2024 mid February 2024
generate your season team roster PDF to give to your school registrar — include all players who played in regular season or will play in postseason March 1, 2024 deadline for registrar-certified roster PDF to be received by USA Ultimate (emailed by school official) March 25, 2024 dues and waivers due for all players; USA Ultimate will copy your season roster to the postseason event April 3, 2024 last day team managers can add players, or finalize their postseason event roster
College Series Event Participation Confirmation – All players dues and waivers must be current by Monday, March 25, 2024 (players cannot be added to a roster until your waiver and dues are current).
Your Regional Director team will confirm your participation in the College Series on/around this time. Upon confirmation of your team’s participation in the College Series, your team manager will need to complete the step below by the April 3, 2024 event roster deadline.
- College Series “Event Roster” Deadline – The deadline to add players to your Conferences “event roster” is Wednesday, April 3. This roster is the final roster for the entire college series. If an athlete is potentially participating in Regionals or the College Championships, but is unavailable during Conferences, they MUST still appear on the Conferences roster. You will not be allowed to add any players to your “event roster” after Conferences and prior to Regionals or Nationals.
- Series Progression – Every team that meets the Roster Deadline will begin the series at their Conference event. Based upon the results of the Conferences, qualifying teams will advance to a Regional event. Based upon the results of Regionals, qualifying teams will advance to the USA Ultimate College Championships.
- Bid allocation from Conferences to Regionals includes a combination of automatic bids (1 for each D-I and D-III conference) and strength bids (based on end-of-season official USA Ultimate College Rankings). Only D-III Conferences and teams in D-III Conferences are eligible to earn and compete for bids to D-III Regionals (where offered). Bid allocation for Regions to the USA Ultimate College Championships (D-I) includes a combination of 10 automatic bids (1 per Region) and 10 strength bids (based on end-of-season official USA Ultimate College Rankings).
- Bid allocation from Regionals to the USA Ultimate D-I College Championships includes a combination of 10 automatic bids (1 per Region), and 10 strength bids.
- Bid allocation for Regions to the USA Ultimate D-III College Championships includes a combination of 10 automatic bids (1 per Region) and 6 strength bids (based on end-of-season official USA Ultimate College Rankings). If a D-III team that has that factored into the strength bid allocation process for its D-III region and subsequently chooses to pursue the D-I route, this strength bid will be reallocated to the region with the next highest ranked team.
- Timeline – The USA Ultimate College Series will run from April 13, 2024 through May 27, 2024.
II. USA Ultimate College Regular Season Guidelines
Regular Season Registration Guidelines
- Official USA Ultimate College Regular Season Events
- Official college games may only take place at USA Ultimate-sanctioned events. These events may be college-specific events, events where there is a college division, or at non-college events where any two rostered college teams play one another. USA Ultimate sanctioned competitive events will be listed on the online USA Ultimate event calendar.
- The results of games between rostered college teams at USA Ultimate-sanctioned events will be utilized for college series rankings purposes, provided that both teams’ rosters pass the regular season eligibility check.
- Sanctioned Event Requirements
- College teams attending these events will be required to:
- Use the online rostering system to submit their roster of participating players for that event to the event organizer. The deadline for this is 5pm MT the Wednesday before the event.
- Play only with players from their online roster for that event.
- Include on their roster for the event only players who meet, or who will meet, the USA Ultimate College Eligibility Rules for the USA Ultimate College Series. Any player who is on a regular season roster for a team must also be on that team’s registrar certified roster in order to allow for eligibility verification, which is required for the results of the regular season event to count towards the Official Rankings.
- Players are required to have full College-level memberships, or the equivalent thereto, in order to participate in sanctioned regular season events.
- USA Ultimate-sanctioned event organizers will be required to:
- Provide teams in attendance with access to the rosters of all college teams in attendance in order to aid with peer-policing of rosters.
- Submit or verify the results of games between rostered college teams through the USA Ultimate’s online score reporting system.
- Comply with all requirements for USA Ultimate-sanctioned event organizers outlined in the USA Ultimate-sanctioned event agreement.
- Understand the Regular Season forfeit rule and its impact on teams’ rankings and bid allocations.
USA Ultimate approved non-consortium combined teams are permitted to play in college regular season events. Such teams consisting of athletes attending schools have not participated as independent teams in the college season for the previous two seasons. These programs are only allowed to participate in regular season events, and must have their roster approved by USA Ultimate in advance of any event they will participate in. All rostered players must comply with the academic and participation eligibility sections of the USA Ultimate College Eligibility Rules with respect to the school they attend.
- When such teams participate in an event, the event organizer must email all participants in the event to inform them that these teams are participating and that no games against such teams will be considered for college series rankings.
- Only if the following circumstances have been met, will event organizers be allowed to admit non-college teams into their events:
- Such teams are high school teams or alumni teams of the school hosting the event.
- There are no college teams on the waiting list for the event.
- The event organizer emails all participants in the event to inform them that these non-college teams are participating in the event, and that no games against such teams will be considered for college series rankings purposes.
- College teams attending these events will be required to:
- Regular Season Eligibility
- College teams participating in regular season games will be expected to do so only with players who meet, or who will meet, the USA Ultimate College Eligibility Rules for the 2024 USA Ultimate College Series.
- Teams’ registrar-certified rosters, submitted to the USA Ultimate in order to register for the USA Ultimate College Series, will be cross-checked against teams’ online rosters from regular season events.
- Only game results from events where a team’s online roster included only USA Ultimate-eligibility-verified players on their registrar-certified roster will be considered for college series rankings. USA Ultimate eligibility verification includes not only verification of required academic status through the school’s registrar, but also adherence to all aspects of the USA Ultimate College Eligibility Rules.
- Quarter-system schools – Teams from schools on the quarter system will be held to the same standard as all other teams competing in the Official USA Ultimate Regular Season. Quarter-system schools may be eligible for team registration deadline extensions when registering their roster for the USA Ultimate College Series.
- 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, etc.) may be subject to ramifications as outlined in the USA Ultimate College Season Guidelines section, “Violations and Sanctions”. Roster violations should be reported to email@example.com.
- Gender Division Eligibility – 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 sanctioned or series event, athletes should select to participate in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe based on their indicated gender identity. 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.
- Players who select Man (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in the men’s division.
- Players who select Woman (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in men’s or women’s 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.
- Retroactive Roster Issues
- If a team plays with a legitimate roster against a college team that is determined after the fact to have not had a roster of eligible players at that event, the game results will not necessarily impact college series rankings, except for situations as noted in the rankings algorithm section below.
- If a team has a player who becomes academically ineligible mid-way through the season, games prior to the player becoming ineligible may still count for college series rankings, provided that this can be established definitively by the team. Such situations should be brought to the attention of firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the end of the regular season.
- Rankings Algorithm
- The algorithm in use will be the latest version of the Top 25 algorithm , with the addition of the approved process changes made at the December 2023 competition meeting.
- The algorithm will be run and published weekly starting in March, although all rankings are tentative pending eligibility verification. At the end of the regular season, adjustments as to which game results will count will be made and the final rankings will be published.
- Teams will need to have participated in a minimum of 10 regular season games to be included in the final Official USA Ultimate College Rankings and impact bid allocation. Participation in the USA Ultimate College Regular Season is not a prerequisite for USA Ultimate College Series participation.
- If a team plays with a legitimate roster against a college team that is determined after the fact to have not had a roster of eligible players at that event, the game will count towards the eligible team’s 10 game minimum for inclusion in the rankings.
- If a team with an ineligible player has games removed from the rankings, the team cannot improve its ranking due to those results being removed. The results of games played with the ineligible player(s) will be included if they lower the team’s ranking, but the games will not be counted toward their 10 game minimum for inclusion in the rankings.
- If a team has a player who becomes academically ineligible mid-way through the season, games prior to the player becoming ineligible may still count, provided that this can be established definitively by the team. Such situations should be brought to the attention of USA Ultimate Headquarters (email@example.com) prior to the end of the regular season.
- Clarifications and exceptions
- X/Y teams / split squads – A team is not allowed to split into two separate teams for the purpose of participating in the same tournament together or at separate tournaments occurring at the same time. If a team is splitting for the purpose of try outs, the alternative would be to utilize an A/B/C team structure. If a tournament is in need of another team, the tournament organizer must find an additional team rather than split an existing team into multiple teams.
- A/B/C team movement – Player eligibility for all teams from a school will be verified without respect to A/B/C team affiliation, in order to allow teams to make final A/B/C team determinations until Monday, March 25. Reasonable movement of such players during the regular season is acceptable. However, deliberate mis-designation of a group of players at an event will be considered a roster violation and may be subject to ramifications as outlined in the section, “Violations and Sanctions”. If such deliberate mis-designation of players is discovered, USA Ultimate reserves the right to assign a game result to whichever team it deems appropriate.
- Official USA Ultimate College Regular Season Events
Regular Season Competition Guidelines
- 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. Note that only USA Ultimate certified Observers may be used at USA Ultimate-sanctioned events as outlined in the “Observer” section of these guidelines.
- In order for USA Ultimate sanctioned events to have their results count:
- The competition rules must designate the number of players on the field for a team to be 7.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 College Season or the mission and policies of USA Ultimate.
- USA Ultimate-sanctioned College Regular Season event organizers will be responsible for submitting or verifying the results of games between rostered college teams at their events through USA Ultimate’s online score reporting system.
- Forfeit Rule (Regular Season) – As a general rule, USA Ultimate prohibits the forfeiting of scheduled games during the regular season. New to 2024: a power ranking penalty of 60 points will be assessed to teams who forfeit regular season games (see Sanctions and Exceptions, below).
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.
- Any team that declines to finish a scheduled game or games, plays in a manner indicative of intent to lose or attempts to decide a match by any manner other than playing ultimate on the field will forfeit those games and all following games in the tournament. Should both teams in a match choose not to play, then it will be considered a double forfeit.
- A team will be considered to have forfeited any game in which the number of players that can safely participate falls below the minimum requirement set by the competition minimums below.
- Teams that withdraw from an event 7 days or less of the event without approval from the Tournament Director and USAU HQ may be subject to the sanctions described in Part e. In the event of a withdrawal, Tournament Directors or teams negatively impacted by the withdrawal can report a violation to USA Ultimate HQ (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Sanctions – USA Ultimate reserves the right to sanction teams that forfeit games during the regular season (examples include disqualification from season and/or series, bid allocation penalties, team and/or player/coach suspensions).
For each forfeited game, a 60-point power rating penalty will be assessed to forfeiting team(s). This will be applied to the Final Regular Season Rankings. See exceptions below for an appeal process.
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. This includes following COVID-19 protocols, and adherence to both university and location safety regulations.
Game forfeit appeals can be sent to the College Manager (email@example.com), with exceptions given on a case by case basis (limited to health and safety risks, or other verifiable logistical challenges).
III. USA Ultimate College Regular Season Guidelines
USA Ultimate College Series Registration Guidelines
- Team Info – All teams must submit a registrar-certified 2024 USA Ultimate College Series roster and registrar instruction form by March 1, 2024.
- Roster Deadline: 5pm MT, Friday, March 1, 2024:
- Registrar-certified roster and signed registrar instruction form must be received, not postmarked, at USA Ultimate Headquarters by 5pm MT March 1, 2024. (Note: it may take your registrar several weeks to process these materials, so turn them in as early as possible in the spring).
- The registrar or an employed school official may email the registrar roster (with the cover page and signed instructions) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Verified rosters emailed by student athletes will not be accepted.
- Rosters not emailed by school staff will be required to be mailed to USA Ultimate at the following address:
College Series Roster
5825 Delmonico Drive, Suite 370
Colorado Springs, CO 80919
A valid roster consists of at least 10 players. There is no maximum roster limit. Teams registered with fewer than 10 players at the Roster Deadline must follow the late registration process in order to play in the series.
Any player who is on a regular season roster for a team must also be on that team’s registrar certified roster in order to allow for eligibility verification, which is required for the results of the regular season event to count towards the Official Rankings.
- D-III teams will be required to decide their path through the Series upon submitting their Series roster. This is accomplished by including their route choice with their submitted roster materials. If a team wishes to alter their decision, they must submit a written request to email@example.com by Monday, March 25.
- Teams may not be allowed to participate in the series if their roster materials do not arrive at USA Ultimate by the Roster Deadline. If your roster will not be received by USA Ultimate by the 5pm MT, March 1 deadline, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Late Team Registration – A team that has missed the March 1 Registration Deadline may apply to participate in the 2024 USA Ultimate Series by contacting email@example.com. At this time teams will be required to submit a letter detailing the reason for late registration as well as a final roster for the 2024 college series. If allowed to participate in the college series, teams will be put on Administrative Probation for a period of one year and these teams will be required to pay a late registration fee and potentially an administrative fee to roster for the college series.
- Individual Roster Additions – If a player has been accidentally omitted from a team roster or requires additional clarification after the roster deadline, please resubmit a roster with the updated players names added. Please note that this process is not for teams that missed the Roster Deadline; this only applies to individual players who require additional clarification (i.e. a player who is on the registrar-verified roster, but due to registrar error, was not signed off on properly) or who are omitted from a team roster that has otherwise been properly submitted. The deadline for submitting a Player Appeal Form (including registrar-verified materials or any other requested documentation) is 5pm MT Friday March 14, 2024 (received at headquarters, not postmarked, by 5pm MT March 15). Appeals for late or incorrect registration of players may or may not be granted. Fees and/or fines may be associated with certain appeals.
- Quarter School Conflict Extension – Quarter system schools should submit a registrar-approved roster with their Fall+Winter quarter players by March 1. If you have students only academically eligible for the Fall+Spring or Winter+Spring quarters, please follow the instructions below:
- Submit your Fall+Winter quarters registrar-approved roster by the March 1 deadline.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1 to request an extension for the Spring enrollment players. Please include the team contact, school name, and URL of the school calendar in your email.
- College Series Event Roster Deadlines:
- USA Ultimate membership dues and individual waivers must be current by the Event Participation Confirmation Deadline (March 25th). Players cannot be added to the College Series Event Roster until both are current in the system.
- The deadline to finalize your College Series event roster is Wednesday, April 3. This event roster will lock for the entirety of the college series. Teams will not be allowed to add players to their Conferences, Regionals or College Championships roster after this date.
- Registration clarifications and exceptions:
- A and B teams – Programs should submit registrar rosters for A and B (and C, D, etc.) teams. Teams wishing to move Registrar-cleared players between team rosters (A to B, B to C, etc) need to make the change in the online roster system prior to Monday, March 25, 2024.
- Canadian Teams — Canadian schools must also have their players’ eligibility approved via Ultimate Canada in accordance with the college eligibility rules. Official Ultimate Canada Start Dates must be provided to USA Ultimate Headquarters. Please contact email@example.com for further instructions.
- All teams should contact their Regional Director at least one month prior to their Conference event to confirm with the coordinator that they intend to participate in the College Series (or any other deadline as set and communicated to the teams by the Regional Director team).
- Registrar certification clarifications and exceptions:
- The USA Ultimate College Championship Series roster and registrar instruction form provided through the USA Ultimate website are the only forms teams can use for participation in the series.
- Individual certifications — if your school issues individual student certifications instead of certifying the entire roster:
- teams are responsible to make sure each individual certification includes hours enrolled and degree program
- for schools on the quarter-system, verification of enrollment in two of the three quarters (fall, winter, spring) must be included.
- teams are responsible for making sure an individual certification is included for each player on their online roster
- teams must include a printed copy of their uncertified roster PDF generated via online rostering
- due to the longer processing time for these materials, such teams are encouraged to register as early as possible
- Teams are recommended to make a copy of their roster prior to mailing it to USA Ultimate Headquarters for their records. This copy should be brought to the Conferences in case it needs to be referenced.
- Roster Deadline: 5pm MT, Friday, March 1, 2024:
- Player Info
- All players participating on a team for any and all series events must be listed on the team roster.
- All players listed on the roster must be current USA Ultimate members in good standing. Non-members must purchase an appropriate college-level membership and sign the individual waiver form prior to being rostered for their Conference event by Wednesday, April 3 in order to be eligible to play in any portion of the series.
- All USA Ultimate members must sign an individual waiver form for the calendar year prior to being rostered. Players may sign the waiver through their online member account page.
- Players may appear on only one event roster for the series and may not switch teams for any portion of the series. This rule also applies to A and B teams from the same school.
- All players on the team must meet the player requirements AND the team must meet the team requirements of the USA Ultimate College Eligibility Rules throughout the entire college series.
- USA Ultimate reserves the right to use additional relevant information, should it become available, in a fair and consistent manner to ensure player and team eligibility standards are met throughout the series.
- Player eligibility status may be re-checked at any point prior to, during, or following the series. Rosters will be randomly re-verified with school Registrar offices following each stage of the series (Conferences, Regionals, College Championships).
- Team managers will not be able to add players to their Conference event roster without paid dues and signed waivers.
- Failure to abide by any of the above rules may result in ramifications outlined in the section, “Violations and Sanctions.”
- Minor (Under 18) Player Info – Minors participating in the series must have the appropriate forms completed prior to participation (waiver, medical release) and meet the chaperone requirement. A copy of the chaperone form must be included with the roster. The medical release form is the responsibility of the chaperone; it must be brought to each series 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.
- Team Info – All teams must submit a registrar-certified 2024 USA Ultimate College Series roster and registrar instruction form by March 1, 2024.
USA Ultimate College Series Competition Guidelines
Spirit of the Game – 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. Teams are expected to have a Spirit Captain, a player that has been designated by their team to address, discuss and resolve spirit-related issues at any point throughout the competition with opponents, teammates, coaches and event officials.
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.
For more information on Spirit of the Game, click here. To read more about the work USA Ultimate is doing to limit implicit bias within the SotG structure, click here.
- Player Minimums – USAU College Series Events set specific player minimum requirements for as defined below:
- Registration Minimums: Whether a team can officially register for an event. For Series Events: 10 players
- Competition Minimums: Whether a team can continue to compete safely at an event. For series events: 7 players to start, 6 to continue playing. Fewer than 6 is a forfeit.
Teams should rely solely on their Regional Director team (not TDs) for the following elements in the College Series:
- Awarding Series event hosts/TDs
- Confirming teams’ Series event participation
- Series event seeding and format
- Team advancement to the next round in the Series (Regionals, College Championships)
- Waitlist bid allocations
*Tournament Directors are not authorities for teams on these elements
- Conference Participation — Any team may participate in Conferences provided they have met the team and player requirements for participation. There is no additional qualifying process to participate in the first event of the USA Ultimate College Series.
- Conference Assignment — Teams will be placed into one of three types of Conferences:
- D-I Conference (limited to one per school)
- D-III Conference (limited to all teams at schools with <7500 enrollment; see v. below for potential exception), or a
- Developmental Conference (limited to all 2nd/3rd/etc. teams from D-I schools).
- In Regions without D-III Conferences (i.e. regions with just one D-III team), the D-III teams in that region will be placed into the appropriate D-I Conference once the final team count is confirmed by USA Ultimate HQ. D-III teams that earned their Region’s bid to D-III Nationals may still participate in the D-I Conference event. However, if they earn a bid to D-I Regionals, they will need to decide at that time whether they will take either the D-I Regionals bid or D-III Nationals bid.
- Developmental Conferences events will be determined between the March 1 roster deadline and the March 25 team registration deadline and require that there are at least 6 registered 2nd/3rd/etc. teams at D-I schools. This will be at the discretion of the College Manager.
- In Regions without Developmental Conferences, the Developmental teams in that region will be placed into the appropriate D-I Conferences, once the final team count is confirmed by USA Ultimate HQ.
- D-III Conference schools that have qualified for the D-I College Championships in any of the prior 4 years will be placed into a D-I Conference by default and thus, in regions where there are D-III Conferences, will not be eligible for the D-III postseason. Those schools may apply by March 1, 2024 to stay in a D-III Conference if that is their preference. To apply, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- v. Notwithstanding section iv above, a D-III team can choose to participate at their D-I conference event if they have participated at their D-I regional event for each of the previous three years. To apply to be placed into a D-I conference, the team must apply before the beginning of the college regular season. To apply, email your request to email@example.com.
- Once a D-III team opts out of their D-I path earned through participating at their D-I regional event, the team will return to its D-III Conference, and will need to re-qualify for D-I Championships in order to again be eligible for the 4-year window.
- If a D-I team last participated in the series in 2019 or earlier, that team is eligible to participate in their respective Developmental Conference for the current season only. This division switch requires approval from the College Manager. Teams must apply by March 1 to be considered for the current season. To apply, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Conference Size – conferences are targeted to be between 6 and 14 teams.
- As new teams form, they will be added to existing conferences based upon the type of team and/or size of school. When a conference has more than 14 or fewer than 6 teams participating in a given year, it may be split or reorganized the following year to keep all the conferences in the 6-14 team range.
- If fewer than 6 teams in a conference register for the series in a given year, those teams may be migrated to another conference for that year’s series at the discretion of USA Ultimate HQ.
- If there is a conference with fewer than 6 registered teams, all teams must unanimously agree to play in their own event. Otherwise, the teams will be migrated to another conference.
Regional Event Scaling
- The size of D-I and D-III men’s regional events will be based on the number of teams in the region that meet the Roster Deadline (March 1, 2024) and the College Series Event Participation Confirmation date (on/around March 25, 2024).
The following Regional event scaling will apply for 2024:
Regional Event Bids 8 10 12 14 16 D-I Men’s 13 teams or fewer 14-18 teams 19-22 teams 23 or more teams D-III Men’s 13 teams or fewer 14-18 teams 19-22 teams 23 or more teams D-I Women’s 10 or fewer teams —> all advance to D-I Regionals 11-15 teams 16-19 teams 20 or more teams D-III Women’s 16 or fewer teams —> all advance to D-III Regionals 16 or more teams —> 16 teams advance
- The D-I and D-III women’s divisions continue to focus on growth. These divisions will have different Regional event scaling and continue to offer meaningful playing opportunities for these teams.
- For D-I women’s regions with 10 or fewer registered teams, all teams will advance to D-I Regionals.
- For D-III women’s regions with 16 or fewer registered teams, all teams will advance to D-III Regionals
- For D-I Regionals, all the D-I and D-I Developmental teams in the Region will count for determining the event size. D-III teams that opt for the D-I pathway will also be included in the count.
- For D-III Regionals, all D-III and D-III Developmental teams from small schools (<7500 enrollment) in a Region will count for determining the event size.
- For Developmental Regionals, all the series-registered 2nd/3rd/etc teams from D-I schools in the region will count for determining the event size.
D-I Regionals – Bids will be allocated to Conferences as outlined below:
- Automatic bids – Each D-I Conference will receive 1 automatic bid to D-I Regionals.
- Strength bids – The remaining bids will be based on the ranking of teams in each conference in the end-of-season official USA Ultimate College Rankings, as outlined below.
- Team strength – Strength bids will be awarded to conferences with the “next” highest ranked team, where “next” describes one more bid than the conference has already been awarded up to that point. (For example, a conference with four bids and a conference with two bids will compare their 5th and 3rd ranked teams, respectively, for a Team strength bid.)
- A Conference may earn more than one team strength bid.
- If a Team strength bid cannot be awarded because teams in a region’s Conferences do not meet the participation requirements, the un-awarded bids will be allocated to each non-developmental conference in order of official team count (highest to lowest).
- College Series Registration – If a team earns a strength bid to Regionals for its conference, but the team earning the bid declines to register for their or the team drops out of their Conference Championship, the earned bid will be awarded to the Conference with the “next” highest ranked team. Registration is defined as submitting a registrar verified roster and signing up on the USA Ultimate website for the event.
D-III pathway to D-I Regionals – Prior to participation in D-III Conferences, all D-III teams must elect which pathway they will take to either D-I Regionals or D-III Regionals. This election must be made on the registrar-verified roster that is submitted by the team when registering for the College Series.
- Teams that elect a certain pathway cannot change pathways after their election has been made. Therefore, if a team elects the D-I pathway but does not perform well enough at D-III Conferences to earn a bid to D-I Regionals, they cannot then opt for D-III Regionals.
- Teams that elect the D-I pathway who do not perform well enough at Conferences to earn a bid to D-I Regionals still have the opportunity to improve their position for a waitlist bid based on their overall performance at Conferences.
D-III Regionals – Bids will be allocated to Conferences as outlined below:
- D-III Regionals will occur in Regions with more than one D-III Conference. Regions with one D-III Conference will have that Conference event serve as the D-III Regional event (for the purposes of D-III Nationals qualification). Regions without a D-III Conference will allocate bids to D-III Nationals directly to teams based on the end-of-season rankings.
- Automatic bids – Each D-III Conference will receive 1 automatic bid to D-III Regionals.
- Strength bids – Strength bids will be allocated in the same manner as D-I Regionals bids, using the D-III subset of teams.
- D-III teams that opt for the D-I Regionals pathway are no longer eligible to participate in D-III Regionals. If a team that elects the D-I Regionals pathway does not place high enough to qualify for D-I Regionals, they are not eligible to qualify for D-III Regionals either.
- Developmental Regionals – Bids will be allocated to Conferences as outlined below:
- Developmental Regionals will occur in Regions with more than one developmental conference, unless the National Director and the Regional Director agree that there should not be a regional event, based on feedback from the Regional Director team and the teams within the region.
- Automatic bids – Each developmental conference will receive 1 automatic bid to Developmental Regionals.
- Strength bids – Strength bids will be allocated in the same manner as D-I Regional bids, using the developmental subset of teams.
- Unaccepted bids – If a team declines its bid to regionals, the bid will be offered to the next highest finishing (eligible) team from the conference that is next in line in the team strength waitlist. The team strength waitlist is the ordered list of conferences beyond the original number of bids allocated, based on the ranking of their “next best teams”, according to the team strength process. Unaccepted bids will be awarded by the Regional Director team.
- This procedure will be followed until the bid is awarded.
- If the next highest finishing team within that conference declines the bid, this process will be repeated starting with the conference next in line to receive a bid according to team strength waitlist order.
- If a team drops out less than one week prior to the tournament, the Regional Director may accelerate the above process by shortening response times and immediately contacting all potential replacement teams.
- If the spot has not been filled 3 days prior to the tournament, the RD may award the bid at his/her discretion with the approval of the respective National Director. The team being awarded the bid must be competing in that event’s respective competition/gender divisions and must have participated in conferences.
- If the declined bid is a conference’s single automatic bid to Regionals in the same division, that bid will stay within the conference and be offered to the next highest finishing team in that conference.
- Regional Event Scaling
D-I College Championships
- USA Ultimate D-I College Championships – This four-day event will be held on May 24-27. There will be 20 bids available to each division (Women’s and Men’s) of the D-I College Championships. Bids will be assigned in the following order:
- Automatic bids – Each region will receive one automatic bid to the USA Ultimate College Championships.
- Strength bids – The remaining 10 bids will be based on the ranking of teams in each Region in the end-of-season official USA Ultimate College Rankings, as outlined below.
- Team strength – All 10 strength bids will be awarded to regions with the “next” highest ranked team, where “next” describes one more bid than the region has already been awarded up to that point. (For example, a region with two bids and a region with three bids will compare their 3rd and 4th ranked teams, respectively, for a team strength bid. A region may earn more than one team strength bid.)
- College Series Participation – If a team earns a strength bid to the College Championships for its region, but the team earning the bid declines to participate in their Conference event, the earned bid will be awarded to the region with the “next” highest ranked team.
- Unaccepted Bids – In the event a bid is declined by a team, that bid will be awarded to the next Region on the Strength Bid Waitlist, unless the declined bid is an automatic bid, in which case it will remain in the Region. Should a team be disqualified from accepting a bid, the vacated bid will stay in Region and be awarded to the next highest finisher at that Regional event.
D-III College Championships
The D-III structure will include a national championship event and regional or conference qualifiers in regions where they are viable.
- School size – In order to be eligible for D-III, a team must be from a school that has a total enrollment of less than 7500 students (undergraduate and graduate combined) based upon the National Center for Education Statistics Fall 2022 enrollment data.
- Official USA Ultimate D-III College Rankings – D-III rankings will be contained within the overall USA Ultimate College Rankings. Teams from D-III schools will be included in the primary rankings just like all other teams and will be held to the same standards. The D-III rankings will compare only the D-III teams to each other.
- USA Ultimate D-III College Championships – This two-day event will be held on May 18-20. There will be 16 bids available to each division (Women’s and Men’s) of the D-III College Championships. Teams will not be permitted to compete in both the D-I USA Ultimate College Championships and D-III College Championships. Bids will be assigned in the following order:
- Automatic bids – One automatic bid will be awarded to each region. If there are no teams in a region that meet the minimum requirements to be included in the rankings, their geographic bid will be added to the team strength bid process.
- Team Strength bids – six team strength bids will be awarded. The highest ranked D-III qualifying team in the rankings that has not yet been awarded a bid will have their Region receive a team strength bid to D-III College Championships. Bids will continue to be awarded in this manner until all bids have been awarded.
If a team that is involved in the allocation process of a D-III strength bid chooses to participate in D-I regionals instead of D-III, that bid will be reallocated to the home region of the next highest ranked team.
- Bid cap – no D-III region can receive more than four bids to the D-III College Championships.
- Unaccepted Bids – in the event a bid is declined by a team, that bid will be awarded to the next region on the strength bid waitlist, unless the declined bid is an automatic bid, in which case it will remain in the region. Should a team be disqualified from accepting a bid, the vacated bid will stay in region and be awarded to the next highest finisher at that Regional event.
- Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines – USA Ultimate reserves the right to alter, or require a team to alter, a team name, player or coach nickname, team logo, jersey 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 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.
- Player Uniform Requirements
- All series events – names, logos and graphics on jerseys must comply with the Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines above.
- Conferences – teams and players are encouraged to follow the uniform requirements for the college championships.
- Regionals – teams participating in the finals of regionals are required to have players on their team wear the same color jersey while playing. Teams and players are encouraged to follow the uniform requirements for the college championships.
- College Championships
- i. All players participating in the USA Ultimate College Championship tournaments (both D-I and D-III) for a given team must wear jerseys of identical color and design. We recommend using the club division’s approved vendors to ensure your team’s jerseys will be in compliance.
- 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 six 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 four 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 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.).
- Jersey number contrast check. Numbers should be a solid color which has a contrast ratio of at least 6:1 from the primary shirt color. Use this Contrast Checker. This is the same as WFDF jersey requirements.
- Uniform bottoms (shorts, pants, skirts) 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 do opt to include numbers, they must be on the front left or right leg of their uniform bottoms (shorts, pants, skirts), and may be on both. The placement must be the same for the whole team. The numbers must be at least two inches high, match the number on the back of their jersey and be in visible contrast with the background material.
- 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.
- 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 matching hats, socks and under-layers.
- USA Ultimate reserves the right to disqualify and/or fine players who fail to meet the uniform requirements.
- Examples of unacceptable jersey styles:
- Examples of acceptable jersey styles:
Coach Attire Requirements
- All coaches participating in the USA Ultimate College Championships (both D-I and D-III) must wear either a uniform of identical color and design as the team, or professional coaching attire as defined below while at the competition site and/or while engaged in any activity associated with the team or event.
- Professional coaching attire is defined as any combination of the following:
- The team jersey, or a sleeved shirt/polo matching the team uniform colors (and/or university, if the team uses the university colors for their uniforms).
- 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.
- Names, logos and graphics on jerseys must comply with the Name/Logo/Uniform Guidelines above.
- All uniform accessories, including but not limited to, tights, undershirts, hats and socks, must be of identical style and color. It is recommended that uniform accessories are also coordinated with the uniform bottoms and jerseys.
- USA Ultimate reserves the right to remove from the sideline and/or fine coaches who fail to meet the uniform requirements.
- These requirements do not apply to Conferences or Regionals.
- Player Uniform Requirements
Coaching Certification Requirements – to have support personnel rostered and allowed on the field at D-I or D-III College Championships, a team must have at least one coach who has completed the College Coach Certification. All other people listed as a coach must have completed the Foundational Coach training. All coaches must have their SafeSport training and background check current through the last scheduled day of college nationals.
To attend a certification clinic (several are offered virtually), you must first complete the Foundational Coach training. Certification clinics can be found after logging into the membership portal.
- Formats – Conference and Regional tournament formats will be determined by the Regional Director team (and confirmed by the respective National Director) using the USA Ultimate Formats guidelines (updated in March 2023).
- Seeding for Conferences, Regionals, USA Ultimate D-I College Championships, and USA Ultimate D-III College Championships will be done by USA Ultimate using the following information: sanctioned results (e.g. rankings algorithm, head to head, common opponents, tournament finish), input solicited from all the captains of participating teams, results of last year’s series, and other applicable information (e.g. team composition, conditions). USA Ultimate has the authority to adjust seeding according to the best information available.
- Seeding for Regionals will additionally be held to the following guideline: No team that finishes ahead of another team at conferences may be seeded behind that team at Regionals.
- Seeding for the USA Ultimate D-I and D-III College 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.
- Seeding for all (D-I, D-III and Developmental) Conferences must be pre-approved by the appropriate Regional Director.
- Seeding for Regionals must be pre-approved by the National Director.
- Seeding for the USA Ultimate D-I and D-III College Championships must be pre-approved by the Manager of College Competition and National Team Programs.
- For d. and e. above, If the Regional Director is affiliated (player, coach, alum, etc.) with a team participating in the event, seedings must be approved by the National Director. If the National Director is affiliated with a team participating in the event, seedings must be approved by the Manager of College Competition and National Team Programs.
- Forfeit Rule (Series)
- a. A team must play all of its games at a “qualifying” tournament in order to qualify for the next tournament in the series. This includes all women’s division teams in regions that meet the Regional Event Scaling guideline found in Section 4.a.i.
- A team must start its first game in the series with 7 players and play each point with at least 6 players.
- A team that forfeits a series game, and every player on that team’s roster, is disqualified for the remainder of the current series.
- 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 event’s regional director, in consultation with the National Director, 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.
- If one team is not ready to play at game-time, points may be assessed. 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.
- The list of allowable forfeit scenarios is found in the formats manual.
- Regular Season – USA Ultimate College Regular Season events must be played in accordance to the guidelines for USA Ultimate Sanctioned Events. Rules changes (i.e. those outside of the current edition of the USA Ultimate Official Rules) may be permitted, but must be communicated in detail during the sanctioning application process and must be pre-approved by USA Ultimate.
- College Series – The USA Ultimate College Series will be played using the 2024-2025 Rules of Ultimate. Any changes to these rules must be pre-approved by the Manager of College Competition and National Team Programs.
- Regular Season – Only USA Ultimate Certified Observers are permitted to officiate at USA Ultimate-sanctioned (i.e. College Regular Season) Events. USA Ultimate College 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 USA Ultimate.
- College Series – Only USA Ultimate Certified Observers are permitted to officiate at USA Ultimate Championships or college series events. If officials are used during the USA Ultimate College Series, 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 SOAR Committee.
- Spirit of the Game – 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.
IV. Violations and Sanctions
Failure to abide by any of the college guidelines may result in sanctions on individuals or teams by the College Working Group, or 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. Because consistency in holding all participants to the same administrative and competitive standards is vital to the integrity of the college season, 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.