The Rule Report - The small stuff

July 1, 2020 at 9:51am

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 #9 – The Small Stuff

This monthly feature has covered the majority of the USAU 2020 – 21 Rule Changes now. Next month we save the update to the Continuation Rule for last at it is essentially the most confusing area of the rules for people. This month we cover a handful of small details that will need less formal explanation and we’ll also touch briefly on some rule changes that don’t affect league play (which is why we won’t actually post full updates for them).

If you would like to review the “Substantive Changes from the 11th Edition Rules” document, follow the hyper link on that title. For the full set of 2020 – 21 Rules go here.


Added the following definitions: captain, coach, event support staff, non-player, observer, sideline player, spirit captain, spectator, team member, and team support staff. (3.Q) [clarity, wfdf]

You can view these under the “Roles” section by following the hyper linked text to the left and scrolling down to 3. Q.

Playing Field

Renamed the playing field proper to central zone. Shortened end zone depth to 20 yards from 25 yards. (4.B, 4.E, Appendix A) [clarity, wfdf]

This one is just cleaning up a change that was made a long time ago, but since it was after the release of the 11th edition rules this is the first time we see it officially listed in the rules. USAU shortened their fields to bring themselves in line with WFDF and to make it easier to play games in American turf stadiums. The added benefit for all leagues is that this shorter field made it possible to place more legal sized fields in more locations.

Length of Game

Removed the following: requirement to win by 2, overtime, and point caps. There are now three-time caps: soft cap, hard cap, and halftime cap. (6) [clarity, wfdf]

You can follow this link to review this info but it’s important to note the following.

MODS Rules amendments will dictate that we only use “hard caps” in MODS league & tournament games. Half Time Caps and Soft Caps would only be in effect if specifically noted in event rules. Half Time caps are used in formal tournaments to ensure that a game doesn’t end up not getting to half like in cases of extreme wind.

Starting & Restarting Play

Removed repulls for offsides for all cases except for when an offsides call is contested. Offsides by the pulling team allows the receiving team to take the result of the pull or the disc at the brick (1st offsides) or at midfield (2nd and subsequent offsides); no defensive check is required. Offside by the receiving team requires a defensive check. Added a procedure for calling and contesting offsides in non-observed games. (9.B.4.d) [stoppages]

Wording from actual rule:

9.B.4.d If either team fails to maintain proper positioning before the pull, the other team may call "offsides" before the receiving team gains possession of the disc. The offsides call does not stop play, and the Continuation Rule (17.C) does not apply. In games where observers are used, this call is made by the observers. In games without observers, each team may send a designated sideline player to either goal line who has the ability to call “offsides” or offer their perspective on such a call. A contested offsides call results in a stoppage of play and a re-pull. [[To contest an offsides call, a player on the contesting team must have perspective at least as good as the person making the call. If the call is made by a designated sideline player, only a similarly positioned sideline player designated by the contesting team has equal or better perspective.]]

  1. In the first instance of offsides by the pulling team, the receiving team may let the disc hit the ground untouched and then take the disc at the brick mark closest to the end zone the receiving team is defending (following the same signaling procedure described in 9.B.6.d.2), even if the disc initially hits in-bounds, in addition to any other applicable options per 9.B.6-7.
  2. After the first uncontested instance of offsides, in every subsequent instance of offsides by the pulling team, the receiving team may let the disc hit the ground untouched and then take the disc at midfield (by fully extending one hand overhead and calling "midfield" before gaining possession of the disc) in addition to any other applicable options per 9.B.6-7.
  3. In any instance of offsides by the receiving team, the pulling team may call “offsides” prior to the receiving team taking possession of the disc. Play stops after the outcome of the pull is decided. Play resumes in a similar manner as after a team timeout. The player with possession of the disc (or any player on the offensive team if no player has possession) takes the disc to the spot on the playing field where the disc is to be put into play (per 9.B.6-7). Ten seconds after the player in possession reaches that location, each offensive player must establish a stationary position. Movement after this time and before the disc is checked into play is a violation. The defense has twenty seconds after all offensive players have established their positions to check the disc into play.
  4. If both the pulling and receiving teams are offsides, the offense may put the disc into play at the appropriate spot for an offsides by the pulling team but may not attempt a pass until the disc is checked into play by the defense.


Added a goal call. (12.D) [wfdf]

Wording from the actual rule

12.D If a player catches the disc and believes a goal has been scored the player may call "goal" and play stops. [[Under 12.A, scoring a goal includes surviving all ground contact related to the catch. Thus, "goal" may not be called if the player did not maintain possession through all ground contact related to the catch, nor may "goal" be called prior to completion of all ground contact related to the catch.]] Best practice is to announce "goal" and raise both hands vertically above the head. After a contested or retracted goal call, play must restart with a check and the call is deemed to have been made when the pass was caught. [[Accordingly, the stall count will resume at 1 (15.5, 15.5.a.5). When repositioning, all players should return to where they were when the pass was caught (17.C.6.a).]] [[In an observed game, in/out of the end zone and "goal" are active observer calls, and player calls are ignored. Therefore, in an observed game, a player's "goal" call does not stop play.]] [[If it is ever unclear whether "goal" was called, play continues and 12.C applies to subsequent throws (undisputed goals stand, turnovers stand on disputed goals). Unlike under WFDF rules, celebration or other actions following a suspected goal do not substitute for a "goal" call under this rule.]]

Next month along with the Continuation Rule we’ll post a Loose Ends update to cover the following items some of which is to point out that it won’t be applicable to our offerings.

August update:

How to retract a call

Multiple Infractions


Misconduct System

Hand Signals

Youth Rules Adaptations

Beach Ultimate Rules Adaptations