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League Rules and General Tenets of Play

Twin Cities Ultimate League (TCUL) offers a number of different leagues, tournaments, events, and competitions throughout the year. The following provides an overview of the various rules, best practices, and tenets of play for our leagues. These should apply to all leagues/games/events that TCUL puts on, with any specific modifications per league called out specifically. 

Personnel

  • All leagues are expected to play 7 vs 7 players
    • However, per USAU Rules, teams can play with a minimum of 5 players.
  • Waivers:
    • All players (subs included) must fill out a waiver.  If you register for a TCUL league or event, you must sign electronic waivers.  Electronic waivers can be found here.
  • Cancellations: 
    • Players may cancel registrations before an event takes place or a league draft is performed and potentially receive a full or partial refund, depending upon the event/league and amount of time before the event/league starts. Please inquire about a cancellation as soon as you know you may want to do so.  Cancellations that occur after an event or team draft will forfeit their registration fee.
  • Substitution Rules: Captains can seek subs to bring their team personnel up to 6 male-matching and 5 female-matching participants for the event.
    • Captains must notify the Board/League Committee of subs at least 24 hours prior to the event; prior to playing, subs must complete an online waiver, COVID agreement, and upload proof of vaccination. 
    • Captains should seek skill equivalent subs for their replaced player(s)
    • In the event of a participant’s league cancellation, the TCUL Board may assign a permanent substitute player (often from a league waiting list) to replace that player.  Captains may be asked for input, but ultimately the decision falls to the board.  Permasubs will not be allowed after midseason in any league.
  • Players should bring a dark jersey and a white jersey (no grey, or light blue) to games.
    • Captains may coordinate a single color for their team and communicate to opposing Captains in advance.

Game Lengths

  • Games are played to 15, win by 2 up to a hard cap of 17, or until hard cap time is reached.
    • Captains must agree to a hard time cap prior to game start, unless specified by league rules.
    • Once hard time cap is reached, finish the point in progress. The team with a greater score wins. If score is tied, play one final point to determine a winner if a tournament or playoff game, or else end in a tie.
  • Halftime occurs when one team reaches 8 or a halftime cap is reached (e.g., 45 min), add 1 to the top score and that becomes the new halftime target.
    • Halftime break is limited to 5 minutes, unless otherwise agreed to by opposing Captain(s).
  • Timeouts: each team is allowed 2 timeouts per half. No timeouts are allowed after hard cap. 
    • Timeouts are called by the player in possession of the disc. Equipment and injury timeouts can be called by any on-field player, at any time.
    • Timeouts should be limited to 70 seconds.

Weather / Lightning

If the games have not previously been cancelled and you see lightning at the fields, stop playing and go to your cars for 30 minutes before resuming play.  Every time you see lighting the 30-minute clock resets.  If it gets to the point where you will have no chance to get a reasonable length game played before the game's allotted time or before sunset, then games will be cancelled at that point. Board members may utilize airhorns to alert players to lightning postponements or cancellations. When in doubt, check the chat in the SportsEngine app or the TCUL Facebook page for the most up to date information on game cancellations, either due to decisions made by the National Sports Center, the TCUL Board, or other venues where TCUL events are taking place. The TCUL Board also communicates to Captains actively through the SportsEngine app.

Field Setup and Takedown

  • The field of play is 40-yds wide by 70-yds long, plus 20-yd long end zones.
    • The brick is at 15 yards.
  • Captains are responsible for setting up and removing field cones.
  • Captains can flip 2 discs for game start (even/odd); determine which team is pulling (i.e., defense) and from which end zone. 
    • Following halftime, the opposing team will pull from that same end zone.

Spirit of the Game

  • Full TCUL Code of Conduct can be read here.
  • An expanded Statement on Appropriate Coed Ultimate can be read here.
  • TCUL players are expected to play with a level of inclusiveness beyond what is expected by the USA Ultimate Conduct Policy. TCUL leagues are recreational leagues that strike a balance between a competitive and teaching atmosphere, adhering to the Spirit of the Game.
    • We encourage all players to read and know the rules, however, we recognize there are varied skill levels and familiarity with the rules. Thus, we look to Captains and other league leaders to help determine appropriate continuation of play. 
  • These general league rules describe how the game is played, including how players self-officiate and apply the principles of Spirit of the Game in competition. It is assumed that no player will intentionally violate the rules, and the Continuation Rule outlines a method for resuming play in a manner that simulates what most likely would have occurred absent the infraction. 
  • In Ultimate, an intentional infraction is considered cheating and a gross offense against the spirit of sportsmanship. Often a player is in a position to gain an advantage by committing an infraction, but that player is morally bound to abide by the rules. 
  • The integrity of Ultimate depends on each player's responsibility to uphold the Spirit of the Game, and this responsibility should remain paramount.
  • Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play. 
    • Discussion is encouraged following a rules call, not only to determine how play should continue following the stoppage, but also for shared learning. However, tone is important and respect should be shown towards all players.  
    • There are 14 “referees” on the field. When a call is made, defer to the player with the best perspective. If best perspective cannot be agreed upon, the disc is returned to the thrower and put into play with a person-check with the count reached plus one (not exceeding stall 6). 
    • Players may seek the perspective of sideline players to clarify the rules and to assist players in making the appropriate call. A sideline player may offer perspective without being asked by a player if the perspective offered is to the detriment of the sideline player’s team.

Dangerous Play

This is a BIG deal – dangerous play is not welcome in any of our programming.

  • Actions demonstrating reckless disregard for the safety of or posing a significant risk of injury to fellow players, or other dangerously aggressive behavior is considered dangerous play.
  • Applies when any play resulted in risks which could have been avoided.
  • “I had a play on it” is not an excuse to disregard the safety of another player.
  • No disc, no play, no game is worth a major injury, or even the chance of a major injury.
  • Any league participant can report incidents to the TCUL Reporting Committee via email at TCULPlayerReporting@gmail.com

Lost and Found

The lost & found treasure chest gets very large each season, and most of it goes unclaimed. The league will send out a communication to Captains via SportsEngine periodically with a list of lost & found items. If you lose an item, please notify your Captain or email the TCUL Board at TwinCitiesUltimate@gmail.com. After two weeks, lost & found items will be donated to charity, added to the lost & found curator’s assets, or discarded properly.

Food, Alcohol, and Other Forms of Enjoyment

Food is allowed on the fields but alcohol and all forms of recreational drugs are prohibited by various city ordinances. Beyond any legal ramifications encountered from players caught using alcohol or drugs on the fields, TCUL could get banned from renting fields and/or lose its liability insurance. 

There are many bars in Blaine, St. Paul and Minneapolis that can cater to your needs, including Invictus Brewing Company or Brick's (Blaine) and Carbone's at the intersection of Cedar Ave. and Minnehaha Parkway. Teams interested in post-game socializing are encouraged to frequent those establishments; do not bring the party to the fields.


Fall League Exceptions

PERSONNEL

  • Played with a 3-3-1 lineup. Prior to game start, Captains must agree upon which end zone is the "genzone" for that game. Prior to each pull, the team in the genzone will indicate to the opposing team which gender-matching ratio they prefer, which must be followed by both teams during that point. 
    • To signal a ratio of 4 female-matching, signal arms out to the side like a "T". To signal a ratio of 4 male-matching, signal with hands behind head, elbows out. Refer to USAU 2022-2023 Rules Appendix C for more information.  
    • Captains can propose a different approach to determining player lines/gender-matching ratio, but this must be agreed upon by both team's Captains prior to game start.
      • In the event of injury, Captains can agree to a different gender-matching ratio at another point during the game.
  • All registered players must play in a minimum of two Fall League games during the regular season in order to be eligible during the playoffs. While this is a tough rule to enforce, the League Committee relies upon the honor system and verification from opposing Captains, if necessary. The intent of this rule is to encourage teams to generate a relatively consistent level of play throughout the regular season and playoffs, and to prevent ringers from showing up for only the playoff competition.

TIME CAPS

  • Games have a 90-min hard cap due to field reservations.

FIELDS, SETUP AND TAKEDOWN

  • Fall League is played at Lake Nokomis athletic fields.
  • Refer to a field map on the Fall League page .
  • Fields will be labeled A through H on the field map located both online and at Ultimate Central. 
  • The TCUL Board will endeavor to mark field corners at the start of the season. If field locations become difficult to identify, Captains are encouraged to utilize a can of spray paint from Ultimate Central. 
  • Field cones and First Aid Kits will be available at Ultimate Central.
  • The field cones will be setup for Week 1, but Captains will be responsible for setting up their field cones thereafter.
  • Please take note of field locations, refer to the field map located at Ultimate Central, and be mindful of Captains setting up adjacent field spaces. 
  • The price of winning is costly! Each winning Captain of games in the final time slot is responsible for picking up cones and returning them to Ultimate Central by 5 pm.
  • Captains of games in all time slots are responsible for keeping their sidelines clean of refuse following their games.

Summer League Exceptions

PERSONNEL

  • In co-ed leagues, each team must have 3 male-matching and 3 female-matching players on the field at all times. If both teams have at least two subs for each gender-match, games can be played 4F/3M (the team on one established endzone, the "genzone", gets to choose whether 3 or 4 female-matching players will be on the line for the pull) if both captains agree to this strategy before the start of the game, or else the standard 4M/3F ratio will be used. 

FIELDS, SETUP AND TAKEDOWN

  • Summer leagues are primarily played at the Blaine National Sports Center or St. Paul Academy.
  • Summer league games have also been hosted at various locations in Maple Grove when NSC or SPA is unavailable. 
  • Depending on field spacing, teams may share a sideline. 
  • Field cones and First Aid Kits will be provided to Captains at Week 1 games.

2022-2023 OFFICIAL RULES OF ULTIMATE

TCUL games are played under the USAU’s 2022-2023 Rules, available online here.

MISCELLANEOUS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lines are out (perimeter lines and goal lines)
    • First point of contact vs. dragging feet or straddling
  • If disc caught in endzone and recognized by any player on the field, it’s a score (regardless if thrown away)
  • When play stops, each player must come to a stop as quickly as possible. Before restarting play, all players must assume the location on the field specified by the rule that covers that specific stoppage of play and remain there until play is restarted.
    • A player's ability to catch or make a play on the disc is not considered to be affected because that player stopped, slowed down, or otherwise ceased to continue playing because a call was made by another player. Players are encouraged to make every effort to continue playing (i.e., catch the disc) until play actually stops.
  • Prior to the pull, players may move anywhere in their end zone, but not past the goal line until the disc is released. Signal readiness by raising an arm.
  • After a pull, the disc is put into play where it was caught or came to rest, or at the spot nearest to where it exited the playing field (rolling). If a disc never made contact with the field before exiting, it is placed in play in the center of near the point it exited, or a central marker (brick) if it left the end zone. (9.B) 
  • A disc can be put into play after exiting the playing field or after a stoppage of play through a ground check by the offensive player or offering the disc to a defensive mark, who taps the disc and says “disc in”. (9.D)
  • If offensive and defensive players catch the disc simultaneously, the offense retains possession. (16.D) 

MARKING

  • The mark (15.A): A player on the team without possession is within 10 feet of and moving/reacting to the thrower. Counting from "Stalling 1" to “10” in one second, or longer, increments.
    • The word stalling must be said at the beginning of any stall count, but "stalling" does not need to be said between numbers after 1.
    • Double team (15.B.2): If another defensive player other than the mark is within 10 feet of an isolated thrower. However, merely running across this area is not a double team.
  • Disc space violations (15.B.3):
    • If any part of the mark is less than a disc-width away from the torso of the thrower; or
    • A drawn line between any two extended parts of the mark’s body would intersect with the disc space of the thrower, as determined by the pivot foot (e.g., straddling, wrapping).

PICKS

  • A pick occurs whenever an offensive player moves in a manner that causes a defensive player guarding an offensive player to be obstructed by another player. Obstruction may result from contact with, or the need to avoid, the obstructing player.
  • A pick can be called only by the obstructed player and must be announced by loudly calling pick immediately when it occurs.
  • The obstructed player is then allowed to move to recover the relative position lost because of the pick.
    • Disc returned to thrower if the defensive player would have been able to make a play on the disc, if the pick hadn’t occurred. Otherwise, up to 1 continuation throw allowed. 
    • A pick call cannot be contested but can be discussed by players (i.e., was defender within 10 feet and moving in reaction to the offensive player?)

VIOLATIONS AND FOULS

  • It is the responsibility of all players to avoid contact in every way possible.
  • A foul can be called only by the fouled player and must be announced by loudly calling “foul” immediately after it occurs. Similarly, an infraction can only be called by the team not responsible for the infraction.
    • A foul can only occur with involvement by an opposing player (i.e., contact between teammates is not a foul, but could be seen as a dangerous play and should be taken seriously).
    • The stall count is returned to zero following an uncontested foul. A violation also returns the stall count to zero.
    • A player called for an infraction may contest that call if that player believes the infraction did not occur. The stall count resumes at one higher than the previous number said, but no higher than 6.
  • Any time an infraction is called, the Continuation Rule applies.
  • Continuation Rule: The USAU Rules provide detailed guidance on how to resume play after each given infraction. However, a general understanding of the Continuation Rule can quickly guide an appropriate restart of play during the game:
    • Play stops when the thrower acknowledges that an infraction has been called. 
      • If a call is made when the disc is in the air or the thrower is in the act of throwing, or if the thrower fails to acknowledge the call and subsequently attempts a pass, play continues until the outcome of that pass is determined (e.g., disc is caught or results in a turnover).
    • If the involved players on both teams agree that the infraction did not affect the outcome of the play, play stops and the result of the play stands. Example:
      • A pick is called by a defensive player not guarding the receiver; the receiver maintains possession of the disc and the defensive player catches up to their target before play resumes. 
    • In general, play should resume in a manner such that the team said to have violated the rules is not gaining an advantage from the infraction that occurred. Example:
      • While in the act of throwing, a marking foul occurs; if the throw results in a turnover, the disc should be returned to the thrower vs. a caught disc should remain where it is (i.e., “play on”)
  • Throwing Fouls (17.I.4.a): In general, any contact between the thrower and the extended (i.e., away from the midline of the body) arms or legs of a marker is a foul on the marker, unless the contacted area of the marker is completely stationary and in a legal position.
  • Blocking Fouls (17.I.4.c): When the disc is in the air a player may not move in a manner solely to prevent an opponent from taking an unoccupied path to the disc and any resulting non-incidental contact is a foul on the blocking player which is treated like a receiving foul.
  • Strip (17.I.4.d): If a foul causes a player to lose possession of the disc, it is a strip. A strip is a subset of fouls and is treated the same way.
    • Possession is defined as “sustained contact with, and control of, a non-spinning disc” … thus, it’s important to determine whether a turnover resulted from a foul or if the disc was defended legally prior to possession by the offensive player.
  • Receiving Fouls (17.I.4.b): If a player contacts an opponent while the disc is in the air and thereby interferes with that opponent's attempt to make a play on the disc, that player has committed a receiving foul. Some amount of incidental contact before, during, or immediately after the attempt often is unavoidable and is not a foul.
    • The Continuation Rule applies: if the call is uncontested, the fouled player gains possession at the spot on the playing field closest to the spot of the infraction. If the foul is contested, the disc reverts to the thrower.
    • The Principle of Verticality: All players have the right to enter the air space immediately above their torso to make a play on a thrown disc. If non-incidental contact occurs in the airspace immediately above a player before the outcome of the play is determined (e.g., before possession is gained or an incomplete pass is effected), it is a foul on the player entering the vertical space of the other player.

SportsEngine Specific Information


PARENTS AND ATHLETES

Parents and athletes need to manage their SportsEngine accounts to ensure they get the most out of their Twin Cities Ultimate League experience during each sporting season. With their accounts properly configured, athletes and their families will receive communications according to their preferences and be able to complete registrations more efficiently.  SportsEngine has created a Team Management Guide for Parents and Athletes that will help our members with frequently asked questions about our website and mobile app.

New to SportsEngine?

Here is your quick start guide to creating an account and using the SportsEngine platform as an athlete or parent.

STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR TEAM

Keep connected to your team(s). Get schedules and team updates for every athlete in the house, plus a way to message other members on your team and a way to give coaches a heads up about practice. Enjoy unlimited access to scores & stats, photo/video sharing, and more.


ESSENTIAL PARENT HOW-TO'S

Adding an additional guardian

In many instances, more than one parent or guardian needs to be in the loop with a child's sports life. Using the mobile app, you can add additional guardians to an account. Guardians can 1) View games and events 2) RSVP to games and events 3) Send and receive messages to coaches and team members 4) participate in team chat

Adding a Mobile Phone

Once you've created your account, add your mobile phone so you can receive text messages from your team manager or coach.

Enabling Text Messaging

Now that you have your mobile phone on your account, make sure you enable text messaging and any other notifications.

Following a Team on the SportsEngine Mobile App

Are you a family friend, grandparent or fan that wants to follow a specific team on the SportsEngine platform? Here is a quick guide to follow teams on the mobile app.

Forwarding Athlete Messages

Do you need a second parent, other family member or nanny to get messages about schedule changes or game times? Add a second email address to forward all communications.

Sending a Message

Do you need to send a question to your team manager or another parent about a ride? Follow these instructions on how to send messages using the mobile app.

RSVP to Game or Event

Coaches and team managers need to know if you are going to able to attend a game or practice. You can easily RSVP using the mobile application.

Team Management Guide for Parents & Athletes

Is your team using SportsEngine Team Management to manage RSVPs, schedules, and communication? This article will provide you with everything you need to know for a successful season!

Bookmark your Website to the Home Screen of your Mobile Device

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Reset My Login Password

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