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A Live Chat With USA Ultimate About The Triple Crown Tour

by in News with 12 Comments

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About Charlie Eisenhood

Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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  • Troy

    Thanks for your time everyone

  • Shi-Min

    The majority of Ultimate teams in the country did not go to Nationals. However, many lower level teams still love the opportunity to play elite teams, even if they get spanked, just for the experience and also because playing elite teams helps lower level teams get better. With this flight system in place, does it mean that lower level teams will lose all their opportunities to ever face the elite teams? I feel like this would be bad for the lower level (or just not elite) teams (which I might add, make up the majority of Ultimate teams who sign up to play in the USAU series)

  • Phillip


    No. Pro and Elite Flight teams can still play Classic and Select Flight teams at any sanctioned USA Ultimate event all summer long across the country. The new structure just creates a couple of specific events that only certain flights can attend in order to guarantee that top teams play each other. Other than that Pro, Elite, Select and Classic Flight teams can play each other at tournaments all they want.

    • Ryan

      But why would a team play more than the three Pro tournaments?

  • James


    I think that’s the point. They’re trying to move to a system more like other sports – the Celtics don’t play against local rec league teams, even if it’d be fun for the rec teams. USAU would like there to be stable, year-to-year elite teams, while maintaining some minimal ability to transition between the tiers.

  • James

    Also, this was an excellent learning opportunity, thanks Ultiworld and USAU.

  • Shawn McCarthy

    If I am correct in my reading of these responses, a team that “opts out” of their specified flight can’t play through the series and get to Nationals. That is a complete joke. Anything that USAU says about “flexibility” in this plan is thereby complete bunkum.

    Also, lower level teams get completely screwed out of opportunities to get better by playing top quality teams in the plan. No top quality team ever willingly plays lower level teams. Lower level teams get so much better by even getting a single rep against a nationals team in the summer, and while this plan doesn’t completely eliminate that possibility in most cases, it largely does.

    A huge problem in Ultimate as a sport is that “the rich get richer.” Teams that are higher level attract the best players, and play against the best competition, and keep getting better and better. It’s already hard enough for lower level teams to build programs and rise through the ranks, and this plan makes it even more difficult.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, this new structure is un-American in that regard. In a country built on the opportunity to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” with the Triple Crown plan, USA Ultimate is creating barriers to such progress. For everyone that likes the political rhetoric from Al Gore, Barack Obama, or whomever the Democratic candidate of the day is, about the “wealthiest 1% of Americans,” Tom Crawford is the Ultimate community’s Mitt Romney.

  • Nicky

    Really dislike the idea of a team not being able to enter sectionals without having played the regular season. So many fun teams just show up for club sectionals! Also college and high school teams often hop in club sectionals for fun and round out the numbers / sometimes do alright. I’ll definitely miss that [Ed. note: pickup teams and new teams will still be able to enter Sectionals without playing the regular season. What is at issue here is that top teams that make it to the Club Championships are required to play in their Flight-specific tournaments and may not skip the regular season.]

  • James

    This just in: Mixed teams now reserving 7 roster spots for traveling skeleton crew

  • Pooh

    I’d like to reserve complete judgment until we actually see the details, but the answers in this chat do not fill me with hope that this structure will prove adequate for anyone but about the top 20 Open programs and maybe top 8 women’s.

  • joe

    So if a team has to miss one of the summer tourneys in their flight they will not be able to compete in the series? Am i understanding this correctly. As many teams are made up of people who are close friends with each other…what happens if a teammate’s wedding falls on one of these weekends and the majority of the team decides to go to the wedding? Will pro/elite teams need to turn in rosters at a much earlier time that sectionals? If not, do you can the pro/elite teams take anyone they want to tourneys if travel becomes too much of burden?

  • KM

    I didn’t like this idea at first, because: change. It seems like a lot of people are resisting for that reason. (Seriously, the best teams will continue to attract the best players? That’s how sports work!)

    The more I think about it, the more I think this is an awesome direction for the sport to move in. It shows a lot of vision on the part of the USAU. If my neighbors and coworkers hear about the area Pro team a few times and decide to check them out in person or on TV, then they might actually learn the first thing about the sport I play. They might come watch my team next time, or sponsor the rec league. That would be a huge step up from “is it like golf?” *rolleyes*

    I’m totally willing to accept a (slightly) reduced chance of improving my team’s rank if it means ultimate gains the respect of, say, lacrosse. This is totally a case where the rising tide lifts all boats.

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