The Rule Report - Dangerous Play

June 1, 2020 at 2:24pm

MODS will be releasing a series of news stories over the next few months to help explain the changes to the rules of Ultimate which have been adopted by the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) and Ultimate Canada (UC). The monthly stories are here to help understand the new rules and will be vetted by Operations Director Corey Draper and Manitoba's top Observer, Josh Drury.

Rule Update #6 - Dangerous Play

One of the biggest changes in the new 2020 / 21 rules has been made to the “Dangerous Play” rule.  The new rule specifies that contact is NOT required for a dangerous play call to be made if contact would have been made without the player who would have been impacted taking steps to avoid it (e.g. for example, a player about to be collided with can call it while stepping out of the way to avoid a collision).

Fortunately for MODS this change will be very easy to adapt as the key change in the rule replicates an existing change in our Winnipeg Ultimate League rule amendment on dangerous play.  As this amendment is now redundant with the USAU rule change, the amendment has been dropped, but players can continue to play with the same protection of being able to call dangerous play while avoiding contact where possible.

Below are the key changes to the new rule; the Winnipeg Rule Amendment for reference, and then the complete new 20-21 Rule for Dangerous Play (section 17.1.a.1 represents the substantive change and has been bolded for emphasis).  While the language of the rule is long, it is worth reading in full given the importance of the rule in directing safe play.  Note also the examples of dangerous play listed as these types of play should be avoided at all times.

For some leagues this change will be difficult to incorporate, luckily for us we’ve been playing this way for years.

Wording from Substantive Changes document

Moved the Dangerous Play rule to the front of the Fouls section. Contact is no longer a requirement to call Dangerous Play. Clarified how to resolve Dangerous Play calls in different situations. (17.I.1) [safety, wfdf]

Wording from now discontinued MODS Rules Amendment

(this will be removed from our amendments starting in 2020 as the updated USAU rule is substantively similar)

Dangerous Play Foul

If an instance of dangerous, aggressive behaviour, or reckless disregard for the safety of players is imminent (i.e. someone feels they are about to be involved in a dangerous collision), a foul may be called prior to this instance and without contact. Ramifications are handled in the same manner as any foul. 

Complete wording in 2020-21 Rules

I. Fouls (3.C): It is the responsibility of all players to avoid contact in every way possible. [[Avoid contact in every way reasonably possible, while still playing ultimate. Some contact is inevitable, but players have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to avoid contact.]]

1. Dangerous Play. Actions demonstrating reckless disregard for the safety of or posing a significant risk of injury to fellow players, or other dangerously aggressive behavior are considered "dangerous play" and are treated as a foul. The proper call in such circumstances is "dangerous play" and play stops. This rule is not superseded by any other rule. [[The following are non-exhaustive examples of dangerous play:

    • significantly colliding with a mostly stationary opponent,
    • jumping into a group of mostly stationary players,
    • diving around or through a player that results in contact with a player's back or legs,
    • running without looking when there is a likelihood of other players occupying the space into which the player is traveling,
    • jumping or otherwise leaving the ground where it is likely that a significant collision will result,
    • wild or uncontrolled throwing motions,
    • initiating contact with a player's head,
    • initiating contact with an airborne player's lower body that prevents them from landing on their feet, and
    • jumping right in front of a sprinting player in a manner where contact is unavoidable]
      • a. Dangerous play is considered a foul regardless of whether or when the disc arrives or contact occurs.                                         
      • 1. The vast majority of dangerous play will involve contact between players. However, contact is not required for a player to invoke this rule where there is reasonable certainty that contact would have occurred had the player not taken steps to avoid contact. [[A player is not required to hold their position and receive contact in order to call "dangerous play," but the mere possibility of contact is insufficient to justify a call. Furthermore, if the offending player stops or changes their path such that contact would not have occurred, contact was not "reasonably certain."]]
        • b. Resoluion. If uncontested, a call of "dangerous play" is resolved as an analogous foul (e.g., if the call occurred while or immediately after the calling player was making a play on a disc in the air, it is treated as a Receiving Foul (17.I.4.b)). A player called for dangerous play may contest the call if they believe the call was incorrect (17.B).
        • 1. Dangerous play between a thrower and marker is treated as a throwing foul that affected the play, regardless of whether or when the disc is released or when contact occurs, unless the calling player determines otherwise.
          1. Dangerous play occurring when or immediately after the disc is in the air is treated as a receiving foul if either player involved is attempting a play on the disc. However, the calling player may elect to treat the dangerous play as a general foul, if the player determines that the dangerous play was unrelated to the overall play that decided the outcome of the action. [[For example, if a third player appears and grabs the disc far before it reaches the two involved players, or if the disc is thrown to the opposite side of the field, the involved players will not be attempting a play on the disc. However, if multiple players accumulate under a floating disc, one player's dangerous play will be treated as a receiving foul, even if a third player happens to make a successful play on the disc, as the players under the disc were attempting a play on the disc. The calling player would have discretion to deem the third player's play so independent and removed from the involved players that the calling player wishes to treat the dangerous play as a general foul rather than a receiving foul. In general, a calling player's decision that a dangerous play was unrelated to the overall play will be based on the dangerous play being removed in significant distance or time from the overall play. By way of further example, even a dangerous play committed against a player unaware of the approaching disc will be treated as a receiving foul, where the offending player was attempting to make a play on the disc, giving the benefit of the doubt that the calling player could potentially have become aware of the approaching disc, had the offending player made a safe play. In this instance, the calling player could determine that it would not have been possible to become aware of the disc such that the outcome of the play would have changed and therefore elect to treat the dangerous play as a general foul.]]
          2. Dangerous play is treated as a general foul only if it occurs when the disc is not in the air, occurs far away from the disc, when the disc is obviously uncatchable, or when the calling player has elected such treatment under I.1.b.2. In this situation, the calling player determines whether the play was affected, under the standard enunciated in this rule and its annotations. [[A disc is obviously uncatchable only when it hits the ground before a catch could possibly be made, is out-of-bounds with no possibility of an in-bounds completion, or otherwise presents no opportunity for a catch (whether initial or subsequent efforts), giving every benefit of the doubt to the calling player.]] [[In determining whether a dangerous play affected the play under 17.I.1.b.3, the calling player should broadly consider the entire play, including any approach taken by the offending player immediately before the dangerous play. A good rule of thumb is to look to the last time when a player could have still changed their actions and actively avoided a dangerous outcome but did not (the "point of no return") through the time immediately after resolution of the play and broadly consider whether the outcome of the play could possibly have been different, had the offending player taken a safe approach. Even a player's awareness of the presence of the offending player can affect the play.]]