USA Ultimate Has Upper Hand, But Discussions With Group Of 18 Will Continue

USA Ultimate and NexGen.USA Ultimate made a splashy announcement Tuesday night that appears targeted at the 18 elite men’s teams who are considering Kevin Minderhout’s NexGen league. Naturally, we considered the possibility that USAU’s major announced changes — a new elected board of elite players and a reduction in the number of required Pro Flight tournaments from three to two — would spell the end of the NexGen discussion and bring teams back into the fold.

After some time considering the announcement, it seems like this is really just the start of negotiations. We haven’t heard from teams and Minderhout declined comment about the USAU press release. It seems increasingly like there is more to come.

In a conversation with a top team representative involved in the discussions with USA Ultimate, Ultiworld learned that there are two main concerns: the cost and length of the season under the Triple Crown Tour structure. But it is it really possible that this entire drama will come down to a single required tournament?

Players from Revolver, Sockeye, Ironside, Doublewide, and Madison Club are currently meeting to further outline their goals for their future of ultimate. They will continue discussions with USA Ultimate soon.

In light of the teams’ extended silence, we have repeatedly asked: what is that these teams want? Do they really want to go with Minderhout’s plan or are they using it as leverage? (It’s working, if so.) What are their goals? Just to have a less expensive season of play, at any cost to the rest of the Ultimate community?

You have to assume good faith, but they are not doing anything to make clear that their goals align with a broader vision for moving the sport forward.

We do know that any kind of partnership between NexGen and USAU is very unlikely. USA Ultimate did not mention Minderhout or NexGen once in their press release, and the two sides have not spoken since December. Whatever happens will likely be a clean split.

That gives USA Ultimate a big upper hand. The “fundamentals” here point to teams maintaining their risk-averse nature and their desire to go to Worlds. USA Ultimate has basically said, ‘We’ll throw you this bone, but we’re doing the Triple Crown Tour. Take it or leave it.’

Teams are probably going to take it.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    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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