UPDATED: Were The Columbus Cranes Unfairly Bumped From The Playoffs?

Need to catch up on the AUDL lawsuit saga? Start here.

UPDATE: See the bottom of the post and the comments. This story is developing. Stay tuned later this week for an update.

As an appropriate coda to our earlier commentary about how to fix the American Ultimate Disc League, it appears that the Columbus Cranes may have been unfairly assigned a forfeit according to the league’s own rules.

Earlier this season, the Cranes chose not to play in two games — one on the road, one at home — due to the owner’s concern about excessive heat at game time. The league then assigned the Cranes forfeits in both of those games, effectively eliminating them from playoff contention, with no public explanation of their decision.

However, the AUDL’s rulebook clearly states that the home management has authority to postpone a game.

The relevant rule reads:

[quote]For the purpose of game cancellation, the Officials’ jurisdiction begins with the opening pull. Prior to this, it shall be the decision of the home management whether or not playing conditions are such to warrant postponement. However, once the game begins, if because of extremely hazardous playing conditions (such as lightning) the question arises whether or not the game should be cancelled, the head official shall see that EVERY effort is made to continue the game before making the decision to terminate or delay it. If a game is terminated before half time, all play is negated. If a game is terminated after half time, the game is over and the final score is the score at the point of termination of play.[/quote]

If that home game had just been postponed and the Cranes had gone on to win (they were scheduled to face the Buffalo Hunters), they would have finished the season 8-8, tying them with Indianapolis for the second best record in the Western division. But the tiebreaker — the two teams’ head-to-head record — favored Columbus, who went 3-1 against Indy during the season.

The assigned forfeits, at least in part, led to Columbus’ owner stepping down — and he showed his dissatisfaction with the league in emails obtained by Ultiworld.

The AUDL has not explained the forfeits but league President Josh Moore did note in internal communications that he thinks people see the Cranes as being unfairly taken out of the playoffs.

UPDATE: A team owner tells Ultiworld that Columbus was in fact offered a makeup date for the Buffalo game, but they declined. The playoff scenarios remain confusing, due to many forfeits, but the league front office did make an effort to reschedule their missed home game. See the comments for the Cranes’ viewpoint.

Hat tip goes to ‘Cranes’ Fan’ who emailed Ultiworld about this rule.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

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


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