2021 Masters Division

Competition Guidelines

Overview

Nationals Date

Age Requirements

Masters Division Registration

Competition Guidelines

Violations and Sanctions

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into 2021, USA Ultimate activities and programs for the year will be evaluated and planned with the health and safety of our members and the broader community as the top priority. In collaboration with its Medical Advisory Working Group, along with guidance from other medical experts, public health officials, and sports organizations, USA Ultimate will work during 2021 to provide opportunities for safe and healthy ultimate and ultimate-related activities that are in line with its Return to Play Guidelines and all applicable state and local health and safety regulations.

Guidelines for programs and events will be developed and published with the goal of clear communication and transparency, as well as an understanding of the need to plan far enough ahead to create viable opportunities while remaining flexible to allow for necessary adjustments to the structure and/or timing of activities. USA Ultimate’s goal is to offer safe opportunities to play that continue to build on the high-quality events and programs the community has come to expect, and to tailor these programs to fit the evolving health and safety situation over the course of the year.


Overview

The Masters Division – which includes the following divisions: great grand masters, grand masters men’s, 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 that 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. The next steps towards adding and/or restructuring age divisions are described in Section III (Age Requirements) below.

USA Ultimate is considering additional changes for future Masters Division seasons. The following will NOT be in effect for 2021, but are being considered for future years.

  • Updates to divisional nomenclature to incremental age classifications, such as Over-30, Over-33, Over-40, Over-50 and others, similar to youth division age classifications (e.g. Under-20 and Under-17)
  • Adding Great Grand Masters Women’s, Grand Masters Mixed
  • Consideration of a 4-day staggered National Championship to accommodate more and/or larger divisions

Nationals Date

The 2021 USA Ultimate Masters Championships will be held in Aurora, Colo., on July 16-18, 2021 at the Aurora Sports Complex.

In the event that the July Masters Championships have to be cancelled USA Ultimate will make every effort to schedule a Masters Championship event in the fall/winter season. Registration procedures and deadlines for any future event will be updated in this document.

Age Requirements

The minimum age for the 2021 USA Ultimate Masters Championships are as follows (age as of 12/31/21).

  • Great Grand Masters: 50 for men; 45 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
  • Grand Masters Men’s: 40 for men; 37 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
  • Grand Masters Women’s: 37
  • Masters Men’s: 33 for men; 30 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
  • Masters Women’s: 30
  • Masters Mixed: 33 for men; 30 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity

USA Ultimate Masters Division Registration

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the registration process will be different as there will be no regional qualifiers due to travel restrictions and lack of available facilities. Masters Championships will be an invitational tournament with teams submitting applications for consideration.

Masters Series Registration

  1. Team Application DeadlineFriday, May 7, 2021 (by 5pm MDT/7pm EDT).
    • Team must submit the online application by May 7, 2021, 5pm MST to USA Ultimate headquarters. For a division to be held, at least six (6) teams must register by the Team Application Deadline. Note: Registration does require the submission of a partial roster on the application of at least five (5) players.
    • Team confirmations will be sent out by May 21, 2021. Confirmed teams must have 14 current players with valid USA Ultimate memberships rostered (all teams in mixed divisions must have at least seven (7) man-matching and seven (7) woman-matching position players rostered)* by June 4, 2021. Teams not receiving confirmation on May 21 will be waitlisted and will be contacted as spots become available.
      • *Note: Acknowledging that not all players’ gender identity may align with their sex assigned at birth, we will be using the terms “man-matching” and “woman-matching” in reference to on-field personnel matchups in all mixed divisions.

  2. Final Roster DeadlineJune 25, 2021. Teams will have until this date to add players to their roster, submit team info form and pay player fees.
    • The maximum size of a team’s Event Roster for the USA Ultimate Masters Championships is 28 players. Team managers can add or remove players from their team’s Event Roster until the Final Event Roster Deadline.

Team Requirements

There will be six (6) potential divisions at Masters Championships: Masters Men’s, Masters Mixed, Masters Women’s, Grand Masters Men’s, Grand Masters Women’s and Great Grand Masters.

  1. Registration Clarification and Exceptions
    • Event Roster Changes
      • All teams must meet the registration deadlines with the appropriate materials as outlined in this document.
      • Final Roster Deadline
        • Masters Championships – June 25, 2021, 5pm MST.
        • Earlier registration deadlines are outlined in the section above. Player requirements are outlined below.
      • 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 May 7 Team Registration Deadline.
    • Player Appeals
      • 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.
      • Appeals for late or incorrect registration of players may or may not be granted, and may require payment of a late fee.
    • Player Minimums
      • In order for a team to participate in the USA Ultimate Masters Championships, it must have at least 14 players on its Event Roster at the Final Event Roster Deadline. All teams in mixed divisions must have at least seven (7) man-matching and seven (7) woman-matching position players rostered.
    • Player Maximums
      • The maximum size of a team’s Event Roster for the USA Ultimate Masters Championships is 28 players.

  2. Geographic Requirements

    A team must represent one of the current eight masters regions.
    • Masters Men’s / Masters Mixed / Grand Masters Men’s
      • At least 75% of the players on a team’s roster must reside in the region the team is representing.
      • No more than five (5) players may reside outside the region the team is representing.
    • Great Grand Masters
      • At least 75% of the players on a team must reside in the region the team is representing.
      • No more than seven (7) players may reside outside the region the team is representing.
    • Masters Women’s / Grand Masters Women’s
      • At least 51% of the players on a team must reside in the region the team is representing.
      • No more than 10 players may reside outside the region the team is representing.
    • Residence is defined as meeting BOTH of the following requirements:
      • Location where the person is living for the majority of July, AND
      • Location where the person is living for the majority of either three (3) months prior to July 1 or immediately following July 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 the team’s out-of-region limits.

  3. Official Team Count
    • A division’s official team count will include all teams that meet the division’s registration requirements and competition guidelines.
    • In order to hold a championship event for a division, the division must have at least six (6) teams in its “official team count.”

Player Requirements

  1. Age Requirements – The minimum age (as of 12/31/2021) for 2021 USA Ultimate Masters Championships are as follows:
    • Great Grand Masters: 50 years – men; 45 – women/non-binary/prefer to self-report
    • Grand Masters Men’s: 40 years – men; 37 – women/non-binary/prefer to self-report
    • Grand Masters Women’s: 37
    • Masters Men’s: 33 years – men; 30 – women/non-binary/prefer to self-report
    • Masters Women’s: 30 years
    • Masters Mixed: 33 years – men; 30 years – women/non-binary/prefer to self-report

  2. Roster Requirements
    • All players participating in the Masters Championships must be on a valid team’s  Championships Event Roster.
      • The ramifications for having an unrostered player (i.e. a player that is not on the team’s event roster) participate in the Masters Championships with that team are outlined in the “Violations and Sanctions” section of these guidelines.
    • USA Ultimate Dues – All players must be current members in good standing before they can be added to a team’s event roster.
    • Liability Waivers – Each player must (completely and correctly) fill out the appropriate USA Ultimate liability waiver form and infectious disease waiver 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.

USA Ultimate Contact Information

  • Masters Championships
    (Division/Name of Team)
    USA Ultimate
    5825 Delmonico Drive
    Suite 370
    Colorado Springs, CO 80919
  • Byron Hicks
    Manager – Events
    719-219-8324 x121
    byron@hq.usaultimate.org

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.
  • 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.

USA Ultimate Masters Championships

  1. Team Selection and Divisions
    • At the conclusion of the Team Application Deadline, the USA Ultimate Manager of Events and the National Masters Directors will review applications to determine the initial set of teams for the Masters Championship. Bids will be awarded to teams based on geographic and divisional representation, previous series participation, historical regional and national results, divisional growth, and recommendations from regional coordinators.
    • Division sizes will be determined in such a way as to provide a competitive and equitable balance across all divisions based on the total number of applications received and available field space.

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.

Uniform Requirements

  1. Masters Championships
    • All players participating in the USA Ultimate Masters Championships for a given team must wear jerseys of identical color and design.
    • Teams must have two (2) jerseys of distinctly different color; one primarily dark and the other primarily white.
    • 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).
    • Uniform bottoms worn by players on the field must be of identical color and design.
    • Number placement must be the same for the whole team. 
    • It is recommended that the uniform accessories including tights, undershirts, hats and socks be of identical or coordinated style and color. vii. USA Ultimate reserves the right to disqualify and/or fine players who fail to meet the uniform requirements.

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.

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).

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A team will be considered to have forfeited any game where the number of players that can safely participate falls below five (5) players.     
  • 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.
  • If one team is not ready to play at game-time, points may be assessed, in accordance with the 2020-2021 rule set. 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.

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 has adopted a new rule set for 2020 – 2021. The new rule set can be found here. A document showing changes between the 11th edition and the 2020 – 2021 can be found here.
  • USA Ultimate highly encourages all team managers to read these new rules and communicate these changes to their teams.

Observers

  • USA Ultimate will have a limited amount 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.

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 as their 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.

On-field Personnel Ratio for Mixed Division

  • The personnel ratio on the field at all times for the masters division will be 4/3 (four man-matching and three woman-matching players or four woman-matching and three man-matching players).
  • At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting which end zone is the “genzone.” At the start of each point, the team that is at the genzone must choose the personnel ratio. This process applies for the entire game (the “Genzone Decides Rule”).
  • The Genzone Decides Rule shall be utilized at all sanctioned regular season and postseason events in 2021.
  • If a team cannot match the entire seven-player personnel ratio of the opposing team, then it must play with fewer than seven (7) players, matching the personnel ratio with as many players as possible.
  • Injury timeouts
    • 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.
    • If a team replaces players, the opposing team has the option of substituting a like number of, or fewer, players.
    • The replacing player(s) must maintain the same personnel ratio as was with the player(s) they replace.
    • 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.

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.
  • 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.