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Utlimate Rules

USA Ultimate

Rules for Intramural Ultimate


It is assumed that no player will intentionally violate the rules; thus, there are no harsh penalties for inadvertent infractions, but rather a method to resume play simulating what most likely would have occurred absent the infraction. In Ultimate, an intentional infraction is considered cheating and an offense against the spirit of sportsmanship. A player may be in a position to gain an advantage by committing an infraction, but that player is morally bound to abide by the rules. Each player is responsible for upholding the Spirit of the Game™ (see below), and this responsibility should remain paramount.

I. Introduction

A) Description: Ultimate is a non-contact disc sport played by two teams of seven players with the objective of scoring goals. A goal is scored when a player catches the disc in the end zone that player is attacking. A player may not run while holding the disc. The disc is advanced by passing it to other players. The disc may be passed in any direction. If a pass is incomplete (i.e., hits the ground, is caught out-of-bounds, or is intercepted by a defensive player), a turnover occurs, resulting in an immediate change of the team in possession of the disc. An attempt to unfairly disadvantage an opponent through physical contact is a foul. Ultimate is self-officiated – there are no referees; players are responsible for making their own infraction and boundary (including scoring) calls.

B) Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that 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. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions, or other “win-at-all-costs” behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

II. Playing Field

The field is a rectangle with an end zone at each end. An official regulation-sized field is 120x40 yards, with a playing field length of 70 yards and 25-yard end zones.

III. Eligibility

View the player eligibility rules.

IV. Equipment

A. Rubber and molded cleats, turf shoes, or running shoes may be worn. No metal cleats.

B. Players must remove all jewelry.

C. Teams must wear shirts or jerseys of matching color, or pennies.

D. Any disc acceptable to both teams may be used. The standard competition disc is 175 grams.

V. Players

A. A team consists of seven (7) players.

B. A team may start and play a game with as few as five (5) players.

C. In Co-Rec play there must be a gender difference of one (1) (e.g., three males and four females, or three females and four males).

VI. Playing the Game

A. Length of Game: The game consists of two 20-minute halves with a 5-minute half time. Time is continuous for each half, except when there is an injury time-out or a team calls time-out.

B. Starting and Restarting Play

1. A disc toss, will be conducted by representatives of the two teams. The winner chooses to either receive the initial pull, or select the end zone they wish to defend.

2. The other team is given the remaining choice.

3. After a point ends, it is recommended that players begin the next point within 90 seconds.

4. After a turnover, a player on the team becoming offense may immediately pick up the disc and put it back in to play by establishing a pivot foot in-bounds.

5. The second half begins with an automatic reversal of the initial choices.

6. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, see overtime procedures in section VI.C.3.

C. Scoring

1. A goal is scored when an in-bounds player catches a pass in the end zone of attack.

2. The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner.

3. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, play stops and overtime procedures are as follows:

a. Regular Season Games: A 3-minute overtime period is played with a sudden death format. To begin an overtime period, teams must follow the rules for Restarting Play (VI.B.1-2). If no one has scored after the overtime, the game will be determined a tie.

b. Playoffs: The overtime sudden-death period will continue until the first team scores.

D. Time-outs

1. Each team has one 2-minute time-out per half.

2. Time-out may be called only by the team in possession of the disc, except that either team may call time-out between points (after a goal, but before the ensuing pull).

3. No time-outs during overtime.

E. Pull

1. Play starts at the beginning of each half and after each goal with a “pull” -- a player on the pulling team throws the disc toward the opposite goal line to begin play.

2. Each time a goal is scored, the teams switch their direction of attack and the team that scored pulls to the opposing team.

3. On a pull, players must remain in their end zone (not cross the goal line) until the disc is released.

4. A pull may not be made until a player on the receiving team indicates readiness to play by raising a hand.

5. After the disc is released, all players may move in any direction.

6. No player on the pulling team may touch the pull in the air before a member of the receiving team touches it.

7. If a member of the receiving team catches the pull on the playing field, that player must put the disc into play from that spot.

8. If the receiving team allows the disc to fall untouched to the ground, and the disc initially lands inbounds, the receiving team gains possession of the disc where it stops if in-bounds or at the point on the playing field, excluding the end zone, nearest to where it crossed the out-of-bounds line.

9. If the pull lands out-of-bounds the receiving team puts the disc into play at the point on the playing field, excluding the end zone, nearest to where it crossed the out-of-bounds line.

F. In and Out-of-Bounds

1. The perimeter lines themselves are out-of-bounds.

2. A disc is out-of-bounds when it first contacts an out-of-bounds area or anything which is out-ofbounds.

3. For a receiver to be considered in-bounds after gaining possession of the disc, the first point of contact with the ground must be completely in-bounds. If any portion of the first point of contact is out-of-bounds, the player is considered to be out-of-bounds.

4. If a player makes a catch in-bounds and momentum then carries him/her out-of-bounds, the player is considered in-bounds (to continue play, the player carries the disc to the point where s/he went out-of-bounds and puts the disc into play at that point).

5. The thrower may pivot in and out-of-bounds, provided that the pivot foot is in-bounds.

G. Turnovers

1. A turnover occurs when:

a. A pass is incomplete (dropped, hits the ground, is caught out of bounds, blocked, intercepted). A receiver must retain possession of the disc throughout all ground contact related to the catch (if a player falls to the ground during a catch and drops the disc, it is incomplete).

b. The marker’s count reaches the maximum number (10) before the throw is released.

c. When a turnover has occurs, any member of the team becoming offense may take possession of the disc.

d. To initiate play after a turnover, the person picking up the disc must put it into play at the spot of the turnover. If the disc landed out of bounds, the offensive player puts the disc into play at the point where it crossed the out-of-bounds line.

H. Substitutions: May be made after a goal and prior to the ensuing pull, before the beginning of a half, or to replace an injured or ejected player.

VII. The Thrower

A. Any member of the offensive team may take possession of the disc.

B. The thrower must establish a pivot foot and may not change that pivot foot until the throw is released.

C. The thrower may pivot in any direction, but once the marker has established a legal defensive position, the thrower may not pivot into him/her.

VIII. The Marker

A. Only one player may guard the thrower at any one time; that player is the “marker.”

B. The marker may not straddle the pivot foot of the thrower.

C. There must be at least one disc's diameter between the bodies of the thrower and the marker at all times.

D. The marker cannot position his/her arms in such a manner as to restrict the thrower from pivoting.

E. Stall count: The period of time within which a thrower must release a throw.

1. A player in possession of the disc has 10 seconds to release a throw.

2. The marker must be within 10 feet of the person with the disc before beginning the stall count.

3. The stall count consists of the marker counting to 10 audibly at one second intervals (e.g. “stalling one, two, three . . . .”).

4. If the thrower has not released the disc by the count of 10, a turnover results. If this call is disputed, the thrower gets the disc back with the stall count coming in at “stalling 8.”

5. If the defense switches markers, the new marker must restart the count at one.

IX. The Receiver

A. After catching a pass, the receiver may take only the fewest number of steps required to come to a stop and establish a pivot foot.

B. Exception: If the receiver catches the disc while running, s/he may throw a pass without coming to a stop, but only so long as s/he releases the disc before the third ground contact after catching the disc.

C. If offensive and defensive players catch the disc simultaneously, the offense retains possession.

X. Fouls and Violations

A foul is the result of physical contact between opposing players; a violation generally is any other infraction of the rules. When an infraction (a foul or violation) occurs:

A. The offending player loudly calls out the infraction (e.g., “Travel,” “Foul,” etc.).

B. A player called for an infraction may contest that call (by loudly calling “contest”), if that player believes that s/he did not commit the infraction.

C. After a call, play stops and players remain stationary until the parties involved have resolved the call.

D. If a call is not disputed, play resumes in a way simulating what most likely would have occurred without the infraction. E.g., 1) If a thrower was fouled while throwing and the pass was incomplete, the thrower gets the disc back with a new stall count, or 2) If a receiver is fouled on a reception attempt and the pass is incomplete, the receiver gets the disc at the point that the foul occurred.

E. If a call is disputed and the players cannot come to a resolution, the play is redone with each player returning to the position s/he occupied when the disputed infraction allegedly occurred.

F. Infractions include:

1. Foul: Contact between opposing players.

2. Fast count: When the marker counts at intervals of less than one second.

3. Double-team: When more than one defensive player is guarding the thrower within 10 feet.

4. Disc space: If the marker touches or is less than one disc diameter away from the thrower.

5. Travel: When a thrower fails to establish a pivot foot at the appropriate spot on the field, and/or to keep in contact with that spot until the throw is released.

6. Strip: When a defensive player knocks the disc out of a thrower’s hands.

7. Pick: Obstructing the movement of a player on the opposing team.

XI. Positioning

A. Each player is entitled to occupy any position on the field not occupied by another player.

B. Picks: No player may establish a position, or move in such a manner, so as to obstruct the movement of any player on the opposing team; to do so is a pick.

C. When the disc is in the air, players must play the disc, not the opponent.

D. Each player has the right to the space immediately above him/her. A player who has jumped is entitled to land at the same point of take off without hindrance by opponents.

XII. Mercy Rule

If a team is losing by 7 or more points with 10 minutes left in the second half the game will end and the score will be recorded on the official score sheet as so. If both teams are under mutual agreement the last 10 minutes can be played for “fun”.  No score will be recorded and all rules will be enforced.

XIII. Forfeits

A. Game time is forfeit time. All teams must be signed in and ready to play at game time in order to not receive a forfeit. The supervisor’s watch is the official game time on the field.

B. In order to claim forfeit, a team must have the correct number of players present (minimum of 5) and be ready to play.

C. If neither team is able to field a team, a double forfeit will be declared.

XIV. Player Conduct

Acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, including unnecessary roughness, arguing with the Game Official, fighting, abusive language directed towards officials/opponents, will result in a player(s) being ejected from the game. Recommended penalties include:

A. Warning: For unintentional unsportsmanlike conduct

B. Ejection: For intentional unsportsmanlike conduct or following the issuance of a warning for a particular individual.