Colorado Springs, Colo. (April 22, 2021)—With another ultimate season significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – including the cancellation of a second straight spring college season – USA Ultimate released today its 2021 College Division Guidelines and Eligibility Rules for a postseason championship series this fall.
The guidelines, which were written alongside USA Ultimate’s college working group, reflect a variety of major yet anticipated differences relative to a normal spring series. Nonetheless, USA Ultimate is excited to plan for a college series this season as the sport continues its return to play.
Without a regular season this year (and thus no rankings to rely on for bid allocations), as well as changes to other rules regarding eligibility, registration and rostering, this year’s college series will undoubtedly look and feel a little different for players. Still, the series is expected to bring about compelling and exciting competition that ultimately concludes with a pair of national championship tournaments for the D-I and D-III divisions.
In acknowledgement of some of the more significant changes implemented for the 2021 series, please see the outline below.
Notable Changes for 2021
- There is no 2021 regular season and therefore no rankings.
- USA Ultimate will run the 2021 College Championship Series this fall. The calendar will offer a high degree of flexibility with conferences occurring October 9-10, 16-17, 23-24 or 30-31 and Regionals happening before Thanksgiving (November 6-7, 13-14 or 20-21).
- The 2021 DI and DIII College Championships will occur in mid-December at the same location and over the course of the same weekend. While zeroing in on exact dates, the combined event will occur either December 17-20 or December 18-21.
Team Registration & Rostering
- The deadline to register for the conference championships is Friday, September 24 while the deadline to receive registrar-verified rosters is Wednesday, September, 29.
- Registrar-verified rosters may now be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org (only if sent directly by a university’s club sports department, athletic department, registrar’s office or student organization office). Digital rosters sent by team managers will NOT be accepted. A hard copy will be required if a university is not willing or able to email rosters directly to USA Ultimate.
- All teams must fill out the graduated student form. This form allows USA Ultimate to confirm school permission, verify students under the graduated student exception, and track teams that are not participating with graduated students.
- Rosters submitted for the conference championships will be a team’s only roster for the entire 2021 College Championships Series. Graduated students must be included regardless of whether or not they intend to play at conferences.
- USA Ultimate will offer an instructional webinar for team managers to explain the registration process for the 2021 College Championships Series. This will occur sometime before the summer break to help prepare teams.
- There is no developmental division in 2021. Teams will be allowed to split X/Y or A/B if they choose. Developmental teams will attend the same events as their A team.
Qualification & Bid Allocations
- Bid allocations for the 2021 DI and DIII College Championships will be awarded as follows:
- DIII will have six size bids in addition to one automatic bid per region.
- DI will have six size bids and four strength bids in addition to one automatic bid per region.
- Size bids will be determined by the official team count for each region.
- Strength bids will be determined by a three-year weighted average of bids earned during the last three college seasons – 2017, 2018 and 2019.
- USA Ultimate is encouraging as many teams as possible to participate in an effort to secure the size bids.
- Regional bid allocation will be determined completely by proportional size bids within a particular region.
- Academic eligibility requirements have been relaxed for current students. Only one full-time course and enrollment in a degree-seeking program is required. (This is a reduction from the half-time requirement in previous guidelines.) The goal is to encourage and maximize participation for all students, especially those who have had their academic schedules impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- For schools on a quarter system, only enrollment during the fall quarter will be reviewed for current students.
- There is an exception that allows graduated students to participate if the student graduated between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Eligible students must have permission from their school to participate. The verification process for this is outlined in the guidelines.
- Additionally, the previously announced eligibility exceptions remain in effect.