Friday, December 22, 2006

11th Edition

Someone on RSD requested that the blog folks express their opinion about the UPA's proposed 11th edition, so I will jump in. First, however, I wish everyone a happy holiday season. I will take next week off from posting, but I will resume posting on Jan 2, 2007.

I can sum up my thoughts about the 11th very quickly: I think you should vote to approve it. This is not to say that it is perfect or that everyone will like all of it. I really like the cap language, but I am not a huge fan of not having to acknowledge a goal. I think this edition does a pretty good job in further defining marker fouls....which is not an easy task. Overall, I think the 11th is characterized by streamlining and removing redundancies.

I think the biggest reason to approve it, though, is that the process was transparent. The creation of a Google discussion group was a good idea, and the Rules Committee can't be responsible for some folks communicating as if it was RSD. If you wanted to be part of the process, or had questions or concerns, there were clear opportunities to participate and get your say in.

This is a chance to move out of the comfort zone of what we are "used to". The 11th does not solve some of the gnarly rules issues that we have inherited, but it does clear up many inconsistencies and redundancies. Thanks to Peri and the SRC for doing a lot of hard work on our behalf. I think their efforts deserve a vote of approval.


Jon said...

I really like the cap language, but I am not a huge fan of not having to acknowledge a goal.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but the 11th draft removes the requirement for acknowledging a goal. Were you saying this was something you liked?

gcooke said...


Sorry I wasn't clear. I am saying that I liked having to acknowledge a goal in the 10th.

My overriding point was to say that there are things in the 11th that I like...and things that I am not so fond of. Overall, I think the SRC did good work and that we should approve the 11th.

Thanks for your comments,


Gambler said...

What do you think will be the biggest things players will have to get used to while playing under the 11th edition rules (assuming the new edition gets passed)?

gapoole said...

For me, there's no question: the newly defined rules of marking. I blogged about it, because I think it will significantly impact the game. I predict easier force-side passes, more difficult breaks. I agree with you, George, about players having to acknowledge goals, but I also think that line calls should be actively ruled by an Observer.

gcooke said...

Gwen and Glenn,

This is a great question, Gwen. I have spent some time looking at the major changes with the 11th, and I am having trouble answering your question as I feel like most of the changes are somewhat subtle clarifications of problem areas with the 10th.

...but then I read Glenn's comments and I think that maybe I am just not that swift.....

I have been thinking about about how this will change things for the college season (assuming that the 11th is what we use), but I am still trying to work my way through some of the language.

So this is a pretty lame answer. Maybe the thing to do is to say "I don't know, Gwen...what do you think?"

Nebishly yours,

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

If you can't decide how the new rules are going to impact the game as it is played, are they really worth voting yes on?

Rules that I must 'work my way through some of the language' are more vague than clear. This would go against what I feel should come from new rules.


gcooke said...

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your comments.

The short answer is sure...I think it is worth voting for.

I didn't say that I couldn't decide how the new rules are going to impact the game. I said I couldn't answer Gwen's question.

I don't agree with your assertion about language. Many rules of many sports are complex and take time to digest when reading. I cited an example in my blog afew months ago of the top level college b-ball refs getting the nuances of new rules wrong.

So, for example, there is a lot of language in the 11th about "affecting the play". I have looked through this a bit...enough to see that the bulk of the work is about clarification and not some major change, but I have not really had the time to consider if it will have some large impact on the way the sport is played.

Did you write into the google groups to express concern about the language?


Kevin said...

I didn't write on the news group. I browsed around, but I never got too excited about any of the discussions.

Looking over the original question I see that I misread it. And it does appear that the new marking rules encompass the most significant changes.

I think the problem with making Ultimate rules too nuanced is the lack of referees. As Ultimate players we make our own calls. The merits of this are another discussion, however, we must acknowledge that not everyone that plays ultimate reads the rules thoroughly and thoughtfully, much less reads them.

In other sports there are good refs and bad refs, but the important thing is that there are refs. They are people that make it their job to understand subtle differences in the rules. I wouldn’t describe Ultimate players on the whole as extremely concerned with careful study of the rules.

It seems to me that since all players make their own calls that the best way to speed up the game is to reduce arguments. I’m not sure that the new language will increase the length of arguments, but I also don’t think that they will reduce them.

I would like to see the pace of Ultimate become more fan friendly. As the game currently stands the best way to do this without adding refs would be to simplify the rule set. Then again I haven’t really thought that last sentence through and not sure if I agree with it. But I do think that the new rules won’t speed up the game and that they don’t significantly affect game play enough to justify a revision.

gcooke said...


Those are interesting comments.

I agree that we need to take a lot more responsibility for our knowledge of the rules....especially in the context of self-officiating. I think your point, however, about specifically writing the rules in a simple manner that is "self-officiating friendly" is something I hadn't considered...and, like you, I need to take some time to think about the idea of simpler rules for better facilitation.

Then again, we could also try to set a high standard for ourselves...but, certainly, the precedent is one of taking the easier path of slipping by without comprehensive knowledge of the rules.

I do think that if we are going to "sell" self -officiating to the world out there...then each of us needs to be a lot more on top of our game.

One quick question: when you say you would like to see Ultimate become more fan friendly, do you have a role model or a sport that you think we could emulate? Which sports do you feel have good pace in the live setting?


Big said...

I was reading the summary of changes (, and one thing caught my interest.

"Defensive players that intercept the disc now have all the rights of a thrower. For example, they don’t have to establish a pivot if they throw before the third ground contact, which legalizes the defensive “greatest”, but such a play is subject to a turnover."

I guess this means if you intercept and land out of bounds, the other team gets the disc? Have to be more careful playing D on the sidelines...

big rig

gcooke said...


Hm. Interesting point. So, if you are close to the sideline, a defender might decide to knock the disc down rather than try to catch it....correct?


Big said...

That's how I read it, but I think that's incorrect. I did a little research at the 11th edition group ( - which seems to be down right now - and found a clarification.

If you catch it and land out of bounds, you bring it back to the sideline, same at 10th Ed. But if you catch it and try to throw it back in, then it can be a turnover. Which I guess is a change from 10th Ed? Maybe just a clarification.

I always liked the fact that you could turnover the disc even if you were in the endzone, but I guess I'll vote Yes.

big rig

el Presidente said...

I think we're in agreement that the 11th edition does a pretty good job and that the SRC put in some hard work.

You commend the process for opening the discussion group, etc. I agree. Transparent and excellent. But the entire membership doesn't post there, so the SRC is left in the tough position of guessing what the membership wants. Wouldn't voting on separate rules allow us to implement what the membership really wants?

I'd rather hold off on the 11th edition, continue improving it, and then get it approved with this individual voting. That way, there won't be whole bunch of competing interests, pushing for revision of the rules they disfavored, but had to vote for, given an all-or-nothing decision. It also lets the membership learn one set of major changes and not have to deal with a bunch of subsequent revisions.

I'm on the "it's pretty good, but let's hold off and make it very good" side of the fence. I'm interested in your thoughts on this, since I think you fall nearby, but on the other side of the fence.


gcooke said...


I think the google forum was well publicized....perhaps as well as we have the means for right now. I agree that there is small vocal minority and that it is hard to consider the feedback as comprehensive, but I guess I am having trouble visualizing what other means are available. A direct e-mail from the UPA maybe......

I know there is not a proceedure or a policy for updating part of the rules...I believe a membership vote needs to occur for any rule change. So being able to structure a system in which we have the ability to vote on individual rules may be in violation of the UPA bylaws (I am not at all sure about this, however).

I also think that being able to vote yes on certain rules, but not on others does open up a potential can of worms. If a group of folks got together and voted to overturn a rule, is this really more fair or representative than the minority of folks who voiced opinions on the Google group?

So I think we have a process and it is that we revise the rules and vote on that revision as a whole. In the context of that system, I think the 11th gets my vote. Changing the system is a different and complex discussion.


el Presidente said...

I don’t know about any required protocol for rules changes either. For the moment, let’s say that for some reason, the membership isn’t allowed to make a final vote on individual rules. The SRC could propose changes to various rules and submit them to the membership for a vote. Then, based on the vote, the SRC could create the final draft and submit that for the all-or-nothing vote, if that’s the required protocol. In this way, the wants of the voting membership would be accurately represented. Otherwise, there’s a committee of ten people working hard to guess what the majority wants, based on a minority of message board posters and whoever the committee members may have dealt with personally.

To be clear, in my hypothetical system of voting on individual rules, people would not get to vote to overturn existing rules. They'd be voting to not institute changes to certain rules. So if a majority of voters voted to not institute a certain change, yes, I think that would be more fair and more representative than the minority on the Google group.

So again accepting hypothetically that the voting process can’t change, I think the SRC has not done enough to get an accurate representation of the membership’s wants (I don’t recall receiving a survey), despite putting in a great effort and a lot of valuable work. In addition, although the 11th edition may be a net improvement over the 10th, some of the proposed changes are significant enough that I am still reluctant to approve it. If it gets voted down, there’s little harm done. It just gets improved in the meantime and perhaps the voting process will get improved. Do you see any larger downside to not approving the 11th edition just yet?


gcooke said...


Not if the "No" vote is in reaction to the rules...and not the process.

I think you make good suggestions. I know that there was a proposal submitted a few years ago that tried to address the manner in which the rules can be changed.