Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sept. 12, 2019) – USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States and member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, is excited to announce the release of the 2020-2021 Official Rules of Ultimate.

The updated rules reflect a year-long process of review, revisions and community feedback, the result of which is the first update to the sport’s official rules since 2007. The new rules were officially approved by the USA Ultimate Board of Directors on August 27, 2019, and will take effect January 1, 2020. The current 11th Edition Rules of Ultimate will be used throughout the remainder of 2019, including in all club postseason competition up to and through the 2019 National Championships.

Structural oversight of the official rules and all aspects of how the sport is played are the responsibility of the Spirit, Officiating, and Rules (SOAR) Committee, a board-level committee defined in the USA Ultimate Bylaws.

Within the SOAR Committee are the Spirit of the Game, Rules, and Observer working groups. These three groups work together under SOAR to implement policy decisions related to the rules and rules philosophy, and to oversee relevant programs.

In 2018, a new rules policy was developed by SOAR and passed by the USA Ultimate Board of Directors; the policy defined a new process for how and when the rules are revised. Going forward, new rules ideas and experimentation will happen on a continual basis, and official rules will be revised every two years. New editions will be named for the years in which those rules are to be in effect.

Under the direction of National Rules Director Janna Hamaker, the Rules Working Group, along with the Spirit and Observer Working Groups, spent the early part of 2019 evaluating ideas and developing concrete proposals for change.

Those proposed changes were set out before the larger ultimate community in mid-June for a month-long period of public feedback. The community feedback was reviewed in great detail and tweaks were made to initial change proposals, helping the Rules Working Group arrive at the 2020-2021 Official Rules of Ultimate.

The changes incorporated into the new, revised rules focused on five areas:

  • Increasing player safety
  • Reducing stoppages
  • Clarifying previous rule inconsistencies, ambiguities or omissions
  • Aligning with the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF)
  • Consolidating rules resources

The 2020-2021 Official Rules of Ultimate, including all approved changes, will be used for all official USA Ultimate competition during 2020 and 2021. Outside of USA Ultimate competition, event organizers and tournament directors are free to incorporate any or all of the updated rules between now and the end of 2019. 

More information about the rules revisions and substantive changes from the 11th Edition to the 2020-2021 Rules of Ultimate can be found on the USA Ultimate rules page.