Ryan Mallen took a look at the new USA Ultimate strategic plan and had this to say:
They could start with some adjustments to the rulebook.
A quick fix for the pacing issue would be to implement a time cap on foul call discussions (10 seconds?), after which the ruling is automatically turned to the observer. Also, to cut back on the number of calls in general, I think travel calls should be taken out of the hands of the players and made actively by observers only.
As for the un-Spirited play… it really bothers me when teams use techniques like calling bogus travels and intentional fouls to slow offensive movement; its a clear violation of Spirit, but observers rarely intervene (unless the fouls become excessive to the point of physical harm/danger). I believe that observers need to take a much more authoritative role in penalizing teams that persist in violating Spirit. Whether its a more liberal assessment of TMFs/PMFs or a new system entirely, I believe some adjustments are necessary to deter teams from playing in an un-Spirited fashion.
I don’t think ultimate needs referees. I think self-officiation (with the aid of observers) is a valid (and sometimes more efficient) model for organizing competitive play. But there are some refinements and clarifications that need to be made before USAU starts pursuing a wider audience. I personally would like to see (from USAU) a clarification on the role of Spirit, which seems at times like a redheaded stepchild in discussions for furthering the sport. I believe its up to the USAU to (re)commit itself to SOTG and set forth a plan to establish the important role of Spirit in playing ultimate at all levels of competition. Self-officiation under the code of SOTG is part of what makes ultimate so great; it’s a unique and intriguing element to the sport the just needs some fine tuning to become sustainable. I hope that SOTG can endure the growing pains of our sport to bring the Spirited ultimate we know and love to a wider viewership.
USAU says it plans to “lead a community-wide effort to clarify and communicate how Spirit of the Game applies to behaviors on and off the field”. I look forward to finding out what that means exactly.