2023

Masters
Guidelines

I. Overview

The Masters Division – which includes the following divisions: Great Grand Masters Men’s, Great Grand Masters Women’s, Grand Masters Men’s, Grand Masters Mixed, Grand Masters Women’s, Masters Men’s, Masters Mixed and Masters Women’s – will have specific competition, eligibility and geographic guidelines. USA Ultimate recognizes that each division has unique differences at this time and will adjust guidelines to best fit each division. As the sport of ultimate continues to grow, the masters division will need to continue to evolve to accommodate new age divisions. For 2023 the following changes will be in effect for the Series.

  • USA Ultimate will be adding two new divisions: Great Grand Masters Women’s and Grand Masters Mixed. Division requirements will be outlined in the guidelines.
  • Great Grand Masters Men’s Out of Region Player Maximum has been reduced from 7 to 5.
  • In response to player feedback, USA Ultimate will transition to an expanded regional format to encourage meaningful competitive qualifying events.
  • The National Championships will expand to a four day event with no division competing for more than three of the four days. Events per division will be held on consecutive days.
  • Please note the Team Registration deadline of April 1st. If you are going to have problems meeting that deadline please contact Byron at USA Ultimate HQ. Exceptions may be granted for extenuating circumstances.

II. Masters Series Event Dates

  1. Nationals – The 2023 USA Ultimate Masters Championships will be held in Aurora, CO, on July 21-24, 2023 at the Aurora Sports Complex.
  2. Regionals – Regional events will be held the weekends of June 3-4, 10-11, 17-18. Please contact your regional coordinator for details.

III. Age Requirements

The minimum age for the 2023 USA Ultimate Masters Championships are as follows (age as of 12/31/23).

  • Great Grand Masters: 50 for men, 47 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
  • Grand Masters: 40 for men, 37 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
  • Masters: 33 for men; 30 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity

IV. USA Ultimate Masters Division Registration

All teams will be required to adhere to the same registration deadlines in 2023.

  1. Masters Series Registration

    1. Team Registration Deadline – Friday, March 31, 2023. (by 5pm MDT/7pm EDT)
      1. To be eligible to participate in the USA Ultimate Masters Series, teams must be created via the online rostering system and registered for their appropriate regional event with a valid event roster (10-player minimum) by Friday, March 31 at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT.
      2. Instructions for creating a team and building an event roster can be found using the links below:
        1. How to Create a Team
        2. Register for an event and create an event roster
        3. Using the links above, team managers will create their team in the rostering system, add players to the team’s personnel list, register the team for a regional event and then add players to the event roster. Players must be on the team’s regional event roster in order to compete in the USA Ultimate Masters Series.

      3. After the Team Registration Deadline, team managers may edit and add up to a maximum of 28 players to their USA Ultimate Masters Series event roster until the Final Event Roster Deadline (see below).
    2. Final Event Roster Deadline
      1. To participate in the USA Ultimate Masters Series (regionals and/or nationals), players must be on a team’s regional championships Event Roster by the Final Event Roster Deadline, the Wednesday before the team’s regional tournament.
      2. Regionals Weekend Final Event Roster Deadline for the Masters Series:
        June 3-4 Wednesday, May 31 (5pm MDT)
        June 10-11 Wednesday, June 7 (5pm MDT)
        June 17-18 Wednesday, June 14 (5pm MDT)
  2. Championships Deadline

    1. Final event rosters for the 2023 Masters Championships are due on the following:
      1. If a team is playing in a qualifying regional event, their final Event Roster is due on the Wednesday preceding their regional event at 5pm MDT/7pm EDT.
      2. If a team has received an automatic bye to the USA Ultimate Masters Championships, their final event roster is due June 14, 5pm MDT/7pm EDT (the Wednesday preceding the final weekend of regional events).
    2. Teams participating in the USA Ultimate Masters Championships will receive a qualifiers’ packet with information relating to the championship event. Teams competing in the championship event must submit all required paperwork and player fees by the following schedule:

      • June 3-4 Regionals – all fees and forms due June 9
      • June 10-11 Regionals – all fees and forms due June 16
      • June 17-18 Regionals – all fees and forms due June 23

      If your team does not have to participate in a regional event, all fees and forms are due June 23.

      After a team accepts a bid to the Masters Championships, USA Ultimate staff will use the event management system to rollover the team (including the team’s event roster) to register the team for the Masters Championships.

  3. Team Requirements

    1. Registration Clarification and Exceptions
      1. Event Roster Changes
        1. All series players must be on a team’s regional championships Event Roster prior to the Final Event Roster Deadline.*
        2. Players may not be rostered on more than one team in the Masters Series.
        3. * Exceptions:

          • Roster appeals: If a player has been accidentally omitted from a team’s event roster or requires additional clarification after the Final Event Roster Deadline, please contact Byron Hicks at USA Ultimate HQ (byron@hq.usaultimate.org) to file a player appeal, by the deadlines in the table below. Please note this process is not for teams that miss the March 31 Team Registration Deadline.
      2. Player Appeals
        1. The deadline for submitting a player appeal (including materials or any other requested documentation) is 5pm MDT, the day after the team’s Final Event Roster deadline.
          Regionals Weekend Final Event Roster Deadline Player Appeal Deadline
          June 3-4 Wednesday, May 31 (5pm MDT) Thursday, June 1 (5pm MDT)
          June 10-11 Wednesday, June 7 Thursday, June 8
          June 17-18

          Wednesday, June 14

          Thursday, June 15

        2. Appeals for late or incorrect registration of players may or may not be granted, and may require payment of a late fee.
      3. Player Minimums
        1. In order for a team to participate in the USA Ultimate Masters Series, it must have at least 10 players on its regional championships event roster at the Final Event Roster Deadline.
      4. Player Maximums
        1. The maximum size of a team’s event roster for the USA Ultimate Masters Series is 28 players.
    2. Geographic Requirements

      A team must represent one of the current eight masters regions.

      1. Masters Men’s / Masters Mixed / Grand Masters Men’s / Grand Masters Mixed / Great Grand Masters Men’s
        1. At least 75 percent of the players on a team’s roster must reside in the region a team is representing.
        2. No more than five (5) players may reside outside the region that the team is representing.
      2. Great Grand Masters Women’s
        1. There will be no geographic requirements imposed on Great Grand Masters Women’s Teams.
        2. Teams must register under one of the current eight masters regions.
      3. Masters Women’s / Grand Masters Women’s
        1. At least 51 percent of the players on a team must reside in the region a team is representing.
        2. No more than ten (10) players may reside outside the region that the team is representing.
      4. Residence is defined as meeting BOTH of the following requirements:
        1. Location where the person is living for the majority of July, AND
        2. Location where the person is living for the majority of either three (3) months prior to July 1 or immediately following July 31.
      5. 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 the team’s out-of-region limits.
    3. Official Team Count
      1. A division’s official team count will include all teams that meet the division’s registration requirements and competition guidelines. Teams must compete in a USA Ultimate Masters Series event to be included in the division’s official team count.
      2. In order to hold a championship event for a division, the division must have at least six (6) teams in its “official team count” unless otherwise approved by USA Ultimate.
  4. Player Requirements

    1. Age Requirements – The minimum age (as of 12/31/2023) for 2023 USA Ultimate Masters Championships are as follows:
      1. Great Grand Masters: 50 years – men; 47 – women/non-binary/prefer to self-report
      2. Grand Masters: 40 years – men; 37 – women/non-binary/prefer to self-report
      3. Masters: 33 years – men; 30 – women/non-binary/prefer to self-report
    2. Roster Requirements
      1. All players participating in the Masters Series must be on a valid team’s regional championships event roster.

        The ramifications for having an unrostered player (i.e. a player that is not on the team’s regionals event roster) participate in the Masters Series with that team are outlined in the “Violations and Sanctions” section of these guidelines.

      2. USA Ultimate Dues – All players must be current members in good standing before they can be added to a team’s event roster.
      3. Liability Waivers – Each player must (completely and correctly) fill out the appropriate USA Ultimate waiver forms for the year in which they will be competing. These forms are good for the entire calendar year. Waivers may be submitted online via a player’s membership account page.
  5. USA Ultimate Contact Information

    Masters Championships
    (Division/Name of Team)
    USA Ultimate
    5825 Delmonico Drive
    Suite 350
    Colorado Springs, CO 80919

    Byron Hicks
    Manager – Events
    719-219-8324 x121
    byron@hq.usaultimate.org

V. Competition Guidelines

  1. 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.

    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.

  2. Regional Championships

    All Divisions will be required to host regional events if the division has more teams than bids to the USA Ultimate Masters Championships at the conclusion of the Team Registration Deadline.

    In response to player feedback, USA Ultimate will transition to an inter-regional format to encourage meaningful and competitive qualifying events. To facilitate this, two (2) regions will be paired together for Regional Championships.

    • Northwest + Southwest
    • North Central + South Central
    • Great Lakes + Southeast
    • Northeast + Mid Atlantic

    In 2023, Southwest, North Central, Southeast, and Northeast will host Masters Men’s, Masters Women’s, Masters Mixed Regional Qualifiers

    In 2023, Northwest, South Central, Great Lakes, and Mid-Atlantic will host Grand Masters Men’s, Women’s and Mixed and Great Grand Masters Regional Qualifiers.

    In 2024, Northwest, South Central, Great Lakes, and Mid-Atlantic will host Masters Men’s, Masters Women’s, Masters Mixed Regional Qualifiers.

    In 2024, Southwest, North Central, Southeast, and Northeast will host Grand Masters Men’s, Women’s and Mixed and Great Grand Masters Regional Qualifiers.

    Regions will alternate which divisions they host each year.

    If a division has six (6) or more teams in both regions, inter-regional competition will not occur. That division will hold their regional qualifying event in their home region.

  3. USA Ultimate National Championships

    1. USA Ultimate will offer up to 16 bids to the National Championship per division.
    2. Regional bids
      1. Bids will be awarded to the National Championships based on the number of teams and players registered with valid Event Rosters at the Team Registration Deadline and finalized upon submission of Event Rosters for the Regional Events.
      2. Each Region with at least one valid Event Roster will be awarded one Automatic Bid to the National Championships.
      3. “Size Bids will be awarded to regions with 6 or more teams at the time of the Team Registration Deadline, in order, one at a time, starting with the largest region (by number of teams).
      4. Any remaining bids will be awarded in order, one bid at a time, from the largest region to the smallest region until all of the bids have been awarded.”

        In the event of a tie in the number of teams per region, total player count at the time of the Team Registration Deadline will be used to determine the larger region.

        USA Ultimate may redistribute bids to the National Championships to promote equity, maximize participation, and balance geographic representation to support meaningful competitive qualifying events.

    3. Nationals Event Scheduling
      1. Masters Men’s, Masters Women’s, Mixed Masters, and Great Grand Masters Men’s National Championships will be held on July 21-23, 2023 (Friday – Sunday)
      2. Grand Masters Men’s, Grand Masters Women’s, Grand Masters Mixed, and Great Grand Masters Women’s National Championships will be held on July 22-24, 2023 (Saturday – Monday)
        1. Great Grand Masters Women’s National Championships will be scheduled for 2 or 3 days, depending on the number of teams registered, starting on July 22, (Saturday).
  4. Name/Logo Uniform Guidelines

    USA Ultimate reserves the right to alter, or require a team to alter, a team name, player 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. Alterations must meet with the approval of USA Ultimate personnel. Any sponsor logos on a team’s uniform other than the apparel manufacturer must be approved by USA Ultimate.

  5. Uniform Requirements

    1. Player Uniform Requirements
      1. Regionals – Teams participating in regionals are required to have players on their team wear matching jerseys while playing. Teams and players are encouraged to follow the uniform requirements for the Masters Championships.
      2. Masters Championships
        1. All players participating in the USA Ultimate Masters Championships for a given team must wear jerseys of identical color and design.
        2. Teams must have two jerseys of distinctly different color; one primarily dark and the other primarily white.
        3. Jerseys must have numbers on the back. The numbers on the back must be at least six (6) inches high and be one or two-digit Arabic numerals, be solid and in clear contrast with the jersey. 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).
        4. Uniform bottoms worn by players on the field must be of identical color and design.
        5. Number placement must be the same for the whole team.
        6. It is recommended that the uniform accessories including tights, undershirts, hats and socks be of identical or coordinated style and color.
        7. USA Ultimate reserves the right to disqualify and/or fine players who fail to meet the uniform requirements.
  6. Formats

    The formats for the event will be determined by USA Ultimate Masters Series staff, with the goals of determining a champion, showcasing the division at its best and providing a great playing experience for all the teams.

  7. Seeding

    Seeding for the USA Ultimate Masters Championships will be done by Masters Series staff using the following information: input solicited from all the captains of participating teams; results of head to head match-ups prior to the Masters Championships; prior Masters Championships results; other applicable information such as team composition during or prior to the Masters Championships (USA Ultimate has the authority to adjust rankings according to the best information available).

  8. Forfeit Rule

    A team must play all its games at a “qualifying” tournament in order to qualify for the next tournament in the Masters Series.

    1. A team that forfeits a Masters Series game, and every player on that team’s event roster, is disqualified for the remainder of the current series, in every division.
    2. 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.
    3. A team will be considered to have forfeited any game where the number of players that can safely participate falls below five (5) players.
    4. At the discretion of the event’s USA Ultimate coordinator, consideration may be given to situations that might warrant an exception being made, provided it does not affect the fairness or integrity of the competition. Consideration should be given if a team misses the first game of the first day because of travel problems.
    5. 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 technically forfeit the game.
    6. The list of allowable forfeit scenarios is found in the formats manual.
  9. Rules

    The USA Ultimate Masters Series will be played using the current edition of the USA Ultimate Official Rules of Ultimate. Any changes to these rules must be pre-approved by the USA Ultimate Masters Series headquarters staff.

    USA Ultimate highly encourages all team managers to read these new rules and communicate these changes to their teams.

  10. Observers

    USA Ultimate may have a limited number of observers on hand for the event. Teams wishing observers for their games must contact the Manager of Events prior to their games to receive consideration of their request. Observers will be assigned at the discretion of Head Observer and USA Ultimate when scheduling conflicts arise.

  11. 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 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 11.2020).

    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 below in the On-field Personnel Ratio for Mixed Division section.

  12. On-field Personnel Ratio for Mixed Division

    1. The personnel ratio on the field at all times for the masters mixed division will be 4/3 (four man-matching players and three woman-matching players or four woman-matching players and three man-matching players).
    2. At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting the personnel 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).
    3. If a team cannot match the entire seven-player personnel ratio of the opposing team for the point, then it must play with fewer than seven players, matching the personnel ratio with as many players as possible.
    4. Injury timeouts
      1. In the event of an injury timeout where a player leaves the field, the replacing player must maintain the same personnel ratio as was with the injured player.
      2. If a team replaces players, the opposing team has the option of substituting a like number of, or fewer, players.
        1. The replacing player(s) must maintain the same personnel ratio as was with the player(s) they replace.
        2. If a team calls an injury timeout but does not have a replacement player to maintain the same personnel ratio as was with the injured player, it may not replace that player and must play fewer than seven (7) players.
    5. Pull Rule: Whichever gender-matching players have the majority on the starting line, a player of that gender-matching group must pull. For example, if there are 4 woman-matching players and 3 man-matching players on the line that is pulling, one of their woman-matching players must pull the disc to start the point and vice versa.
  13. WFDF Events

    1. The 2023 PAUC Tournament will be held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, November 28-December 2. USA Ultimate will invite teams based on the 2022 National Championship finish order to represent the US.
    2. The 2024 World Masters Ultimate Championships will be held in summer 2024, dates and location TBA. The highest placing US teams will earn the right to represent the United States at this event. In the event a team declines the bid it will then be offered to the next highest finishing US team. The teams which qualify will represent themselves as “USA Ultimate” and not by their masters team names. This is how the teams will be registered with WFDF and will be referenced in all media. “USA Ultimate” must be incorporated into the competition uniforms and logos as the most prominent design element. All uniform designs are subject to final approval by USAU.

      Player registration info and deadlines will be made available as they are received by WFDF.

VI. Violations and Sanctions

Failure to abide by any of these 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.

In order to help teams follow the Masters Guidelines and avoid violations, USA Ultimate will continue to work to improve registration procedures and communication of information pertaining to the USA Ultimate Masters Championships. As these improvements are made by the organization, teams will continue to be held more fully responsible for following procedures and understanding masters information. Because consistency in holding all participants to the same administrative and competitive standards is vital to the integrity of the Masters Championships, 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.