Monday, February 26, 2007

2007 UPA Series Guidelines: Important Changes

Every year, your UPA Competition Committee convenes in January on the
weekend of the UPA Board Meeting. This committee consists of Will
Deaver(UPA Champ Series Director), Matthew Bourland(Champ Series
Manage), and the five National Directors- DeAnna Ball(Women's), Adam Goff(Open), Jeff Kula (College), Dave Raflo(Masters), and Yours Truly(Mixed).

One of our primary goals every year is to review and update the Series
. The Series Guidelines is an important document that
all players should be familiar with as it defines the Administrative
and Competition Rules for the upcoming UPA Fall Series. Most
questions (from seeding to wildcards to contact information to bids to
Regionals) about the way the UPA Championship Series works can be
answered by reading this document.

This post will quickly discuss two changes for 2007:

1) Uniform requirements now include numbers on shorts. Not much to say here. Pretty straight forward.
The Competition Committee has been steadily tightening up the Uniform
Requirements for the last 4-5 years. The addition of numbers on
shorts will lead to more cohesive and professional uniforms.

2) One deadline for roster submission. This is a pretty big change,
but one, again, that the Competition has been moving toward over the
last several years.

In previous years, there have been two deadlines: A) an "early"
deadline, and B) a "late" deadline. There were additional rules with
these deadlines: on-line registration only, a "valid" roster contains
a minimum of (7) players, teams could only add (2) players to their
rosters after the "early" deadline, and team that add more than (2)
players after the "early" deadline had to pay a $50 late fee.

For 07, you can basically throw away the above paragraph. Teams that
wish to compete in the 2007 UPA Club Championships will need to submit
their roster via the on-line rostering system by one Team Registration
. This deadline is two weeks before the first Sectional
weekend(2 weeks before Regionals for Masters). A valid roster must
have a minimum of (7) players(a minimum of 3 of each gender for Mixed)
at the time of the Registration Deadline. Teams can add up to 7
players between the Registration Deadline and the Tues before their
Sectional Tournament(Roster Deadline)
. Teams that submit a valid roster by the
Registration Deadline will count toward their section's bids to
regionals as well as Nationals size and growth wildcards.

Just to reiterate the key points:

1) Team must turn in a valid roster (a minimum of seven players) by
the Team Registration Deadline.
2) Teams can add up to seven players to their roster after the Team
Registration Deadline. The seven adds must be complete by the Roster Deadline (Tues
before their Sectional).

The Series Guidelines were published Friday, Feb 16. I think it behooves all players to check them out.


Seigs said...

Sweet! You all just made the job of the Sectional Coordinators 10 times easier...Fantastic.

Stephen said...

Requiring numbers on shorts is absolutely awful. This is emblematic of top-end players running the organization and making decisions that are not in line with the majority of players attitudes. There's likely some goal of getting televised and cleaning up the image of ultimate. But whose goal is this anyway?

gcooke said...


Over the past few years, I have received a few comments from SC's wishing that we would go back to the "show up on the day of Sectionals and register" days, but the overwhelming sentiment from the majority of SC's I have spoken to is much more along the lines of your comments.

So I am glad that this change makes things easier for our SC's.


Bill said...

I gotta agree with Stephen. It's hard enough to get our college guys to pony up for uni jerseys, now we gotta get them to pay for shorts too? What other sport even has numbers on shorts? Who does this help?

In short, bah.

gcooke said...


I will take any compliment that I can get so I appreciate being considered a "top end player".

Seriously, I appreciate the feedback. I can say that this change is directed toward increasing the "professional" image of the sport, but that there is no stated goal as specific as you imply.

I am curious: Do you feel that numbers on shorts is different than asking for numbers on jerseys?

Also, it is important to note that the published uniform requirements apply only to "Nationals". In that sense, I think this an appropriate ruling. High level and professional requirements for the showcase UPA event, but more relaxed requirements for events that are not about catering to only our top-level players. Does this not appropriately consider the needs of "the average player"?


gcooke said...

Hi Bill,

Again, these requirements are for Nationals only. My opinion is that this requirement is appropriate for the only Ultimate event that ends up on TV.


Josh said...


george, it is my understanding that you only have to have a "uniform" at nationals, and even at regionals (especially for college) it isn't even really required (but it would make the life of an observer a lot easier). for example, middlebury college last year was playing hard late into saturday or sunday in their non-uniform uniforms.

so, this really only affects the top level - i.e. nationals.

also, if the "college exception rule" (my name for it) is still viable for the club series (the rule that is if your school doesn't start x days from sectionals roster deadline, you only have to turn in a roster with a name or two on it to be counted) is still in effect, then college players have nothing to worry about for any of the changes.

besides, if your college team makes it to nationals and you can't afford matching shorts, i am sure some alumni or parent will buy you guys some shorts.

i have played with and without uniforms, and having uniforms is pretty cool. of course i guess that is coming from a club playing d-bag who is now "the establishment". ahhhh how quickly youth goes away.


degs said...

Bill & Stephen,
Lacrosse and soccer are two sports that require numbers on shorts. I'm pretty neutral on the numbers-on-shorts thing... I think it's another thing on an already long list of things college teams need to attend to, but the top teams (Nationals-caliber ones) need to be prepared for that sort of thing.

As for the club championships... It makes them look more professional and we will be ready if Versus comes along. Like Lyn and Will D. installing the first generation of uniform requirements for the college kids, it will be good to be prepared for television even if we are not on it yet.

Another interesting thing to note is that WFDF had super serious uni requirements for the World Games. If teams are surprised by numbers on shorts, get ready for matching socks and hats, etc.

gapoole said...

Personally, I'm all for the professionalism of matching jerseys. Anything beyond that, though, and I start to question. My eyesight isn't great, and it's easier to match up with a person who distinguishes himself from his teammates with a hat, shorts, crazy socks, etc. I get that professionalism is important, but I hope we don't lose the individualism and personality of Ultimate as I have known it. Matching shorts at nationals? Cool. But I don't like excessive regulation in general, and I hope we don't go any farther, even at nats. I like crazy socks, man.

billy said...

As far as I can tell there are no restrictions on how the numbers are to be applied to the shorts (or jerseys for that matter). So, could I legally put a piece of athletic tape on my shorts & write my number on there with a marker?

Alex Peters said...

Ugh, numbered shorts is so dumb. Why not also require numbered wristbands, numbered elbowpads, numbered cleats and under armour? Any of those is just as arbitrary and unimportant as numbered shorts, when you already have numbered jerseys.

I have no problem with requiring IDENTICAL shorts, but the numbers just serve no purpose, and is just excessive regulation.

degs said...

Excessive regulation? Please. I'm no UPA apologist, but tell me Alex, who's on the mark here? Who's catching this? And can you ID either of these people?

It is regulation. It is also more regulation, but it is not yet excessive.

Alex Peters said...

I'm sorry, I didn't see it anywhere in the UPA mission that said "All players must be identifiable by number in every photo taken of them." Like I said, we better start requiring wristbands, headbands, and cleats be worn and numbered, just in case the shorts aren't in the photo either.

degs said...

Are there any complaints from people who will be playing at Nationals? Please speak up if so.

van said...


From what i read on the guidelines page it says that the numbers have to be on the front of the right or left leg.

My team already has numbers on our shorts but we have them printed on the side of the leg. We are a possible college nationals team. Will we run into any problems with this?

Handy said...

I like the fact that matching shorts are required and I think that a more standard image is only a good step. However, screenprinting the shorts with numbers seems very superfluous and will just cost another x dollars on top of what is already an expensive endeavor. Will it keep me from Sarasota, no, but is it a pain in the ass for no real reason? yeah. Is it really that much more professional than matching shorts just to have numbers?

Also, you can mention the crazy guidelines for worlds, but think about the backlash there was about the (incredibly stupid) rule in the NBA banning leggings. Everybody viewed it as serious micromanagement. Next the UPA will say "same color leggings, same color hats, same color wristbands, no individuality..." I don't support the ridiculousness at some tourneys but come on. I just don't like the precedent this sets.

Sidebar: kudos to the rostering rules.

degs said...

It's already "recommended" that leggings, hats, etc. all be the same:

I suspect that's the first step towards legislating it....

Knappy said...

Degs, Alex did go to Club Nationals last year & was an asst coach on the national champion YCC team.

I also went to UPA Club Championships the past 2 years, albeit mostly in an organizer/old dude role in Mixed (DB/Amp)

And, speaking as a longtime ultimate organizer & huge supporter of all things Ultimate & UPA....I think having numbered shorts is excessive & unnecessary. I have no issue with matching shorts, but screenprinting them is annoying & just another expense/issue for organizers. I could go on & on, but I think previous posters have listed valid reasons and their opinions should be respected, as I would respect anyone who disagreed with me/us on this subject.


Adam Tarr said...

I think there are two ideas that motivated the move:

1) The move toward uniformity in uniforms at nationals. Perfectly reasonable for the only televised event.

2) The desire to be able to identify players by number from angles other than the back. This is also perfectly reasonable for nationals.

Requiring numbers on shorts is one way to meet these requirements. So would, say, jerseys that had numbers on both sides, and shorts with no numbers. My guess is that if you came to the UPA with an alternate proposal for your team along those lines, they would probably greenlight it.

gcooke said...


I don't appreciate you coming onto my my blog and calling me dumb. One of things I enjoy about the blog world is the appearance of basic decency and respect. I have no problem with folks disagreeing with decsions that I have made or that I have been a part of, but to comment with a "you don't get it" type of attitude is an emotional response that not only shuts down any conversation, but is tiresome to try to wrangle with.

Come at me with something better and I will deal with that.


gcooke said...


That would be something you would want to address sooner, rather than later. I would suggest writing your RC or UPA HQ ASAP.


gcooke said...

I thought that the roster changes would be the big news......

This issue, as a result of this post, is also a thread on RSD now. I think Will's response presents a pretty good overview.


dusty.rhodes said...

I've already left my post on rsd
Distillation: Numbers on shorts? Whatever. Buy some matching shorts with numbers on them.

More directly to this discussion:

Handy, you said that this will add cost "on top of what is already an expensive endeavor." Are you kidding me? Ultimate is a very cheap sport. No refs, no equipment to speak of, crappy fields in the middle of nowhere and 3-10 games in a weekend.

I'm really tiring of the lack of cost perspective from the ultimate community at large. Find some friends who play high level amateur (that is our level, afterall) soccer, basketball, lacrose, flag football, wiffleball, softball, kickball or anything else and you will find that they are playing more per game, per tournament, per minute, per piece of equipment or per just about anything meaningful.

Admittedly, this is anecdotal evidence, but it is a ton of anecdotal evidence as this is something I discuss regularly.

This is NOT anywhere near an expensive sport. One more number on your jersey will not change that.

brent said...

While ultimate may not be considered an expensive sport to you, I disagree that many of the other sports you listed would be considered expensive. Most of the sports you listed usually put on tournaments that include prize money, giving you the ability to win some of what you spent back. Also, many of these sports are part of a league that use sponsors to help offset the costs of player fees and tournaments. Soccer, basketball, kickball, wiffleball, flag football, and softball are pretty equal when it comes to equipment as well. You need cleats and a few items to play the game, just like in ultimate. Most of the amateur organizations do require a flat-rate players fee (like upa dues) but they will also tend to have more people playing, since soccer, baseball, football, and lacrosse all have more than 7 people on the field. This requires more people on the team in order to practice with two full squads. This will help split the costs up to more people. I agree that lacrosse can get expensive. Hockey is also one because of ice time, but in general, I disagree ultimate is a cheaper sport to play overall than most of the sports you listed.

Knappy said...

I love George Cooke.....did I mention that?

Bill said...

George, I'll second knappy's love.

That said, my team is one whose goal is to sneak into nationals at the bottom - a position I suspect a fair number of teams are in. Thus, we must follow nationals uniform guidelines. (I'm the uniform guy on our team, btw)

50% of our team is in college, and maxing themselves out to get to tournaments already. 2 jerseys, last year, cost $50. We had to distribute some of those player's costs just to get them jerseys.

This year, the shorts requirement is going to bump that price up (at an uninformed guess) to $80. Seems like a small amount of money, but $30 x 20 = $600 = 1 tournament's bid money.

That's my opposition to the regulation; you just added what seems like an unnecessary tournament bid's worth of expense to my team's already stretched finances.

Bill Mill
Medicine Men #99

Nathan said...

Personally, I think that uniform numbers on shorts look pretty goofy (George, I am not saying that you are goofy or look goofy...not here anyway ;) ).

I prefer numbers on the front and back of shirts, with a requirement of matching shorts (how about the UPA require either numbers on both sides of shirts OR on shorts?). The NBA and NFL have numbers on both sides of shirts...and not on shorts/pants.

As for further requirements (matching socks, cleats, hats, etc) - those things seem silly and petty when the NBA or NFL enforces them. For the UPA to enforce those things would be verging on absurd.

The thing I don't like about this decision is requiring it for this college season - I would guess that most college teams have already gotten their uniforms for this season (at least those _planning_ on going to Nationals). Why not just require it for 2007 Club Nationals and 2008 College Nationals?

But my real question is:
Why is the UPA choosing to expend energy on this, when there seem to be more pressing issues to be addressed? When I show friends video from Nationals, they do think it looks fairly unprofessional. But it has nothing to do with a lack of numbers on shorts. It is because:
1) The camera angles are generally pretty bad.
2) The crowd is small, so it looks like a pick-up game.
3) Calls and discussions.

I will not be playing at Nationals.

dusty.rhodes said...


Why would a player who purchased 2 jerseys last year need to buy 2 more jerseys this year? Unless you've got a whole new roster, most of those guys would just need to purchase shorts, right? If you figure 15 returners (complete guess) that's 15x50=750. This should be enough to offset shorts costs and then some of a tourney fee. Or a tourney fee and a couple of shorts.

I agree that numbered shorts are not necessary, but numbers *somewhere* on the front of the jersey/shorts combo should be required.

If you're interested, I'm compiling data on leagues/tournaments of other sports to compare to ultimate. Eventually, it will be up on my blog which you should be able to reach through my profile. Not sure when it will be up though. Any relevant data (dusty.rhodes at would be appreciated.

Bill said...

Dusty: gotta fix some design flaws from last year's kit. Upgrades are optional, but recommended.

Anyway, I'd be fine with numbers on front and back. That way, we could postpone shorts until we knew if we were in or not.

gcooke said...

Hi All,

Thanks for the comments....and the love.

It is important to keep in mind that the issue of uniform requirements is a continuum. The UPA has around 25,000 members and probably all of them land in a different place on this continuum. I am sure there are folks out there who view ANY uniform regulations as a violation of the spirit of the sport circa 1969-1999 (as defined, perhaps, by teams like Flying Circus, Rude Boys, and NYNY)and there may be just as many folks who feel that our lax mandates condemn the sport to "is that the sport with the dogs" status for the foreseeable future. This is to say that any decision on the continuum will be met with opposition and I appreciate those that took the time to voice their concerns. However, the tenor of many of the comments is that of someone who is cemented in a certain point of view. Of one who has drawn a line in the sand, and, as such, the content of the comments is bolstered by the assumption that this decision was made with a limited consideration of the issues at best, and, at worst, that this decision was inept.

We are all entitled to our opinions, of course, but we do need to take responsibility for informed opinions. The people I serve with on the Championship Committee are some of the most considerate people I have had the honor to work with, and our opinions and concerns are as diverse as can be expected of such a group. Will Deaver mentions in his RSD post on this topic that this issue was brought before the Board (elected by you) for guidance and it was the product of hours of discussion on all of the various concerns that have been brought up in this forum.

Again, I appreciate the feedback on this decision, my main point here is try to convey that it was not made on a whim.

Lastly, while it may sound like passing the buck, the original intent of this post was to identify changes in the CLUB Series Guidelines. While I am happy that the changes in the College Series Guidelines came to light, concerns about the specifics of the College Series Guidelines should be addressed to Jeff Kula or UPA HQ.