Why Aren’t More People In The Hall Of Fame?

Does the ultimate Hall of Fame need an overhaul?

Ultimate Hall of Fame.The author, Jon “JC” Cohn, began playing Ultimate at Columbia High School in 1970, founded the Cornell team in 1973, and was voted into the ultimate Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Ultimate Hall of Fame was created 11 years ago. The current selection process allows for up to five people to be inducted each year. It was hoped that the five-person maximum would be achieved, at least during these early years, due to the decades of decorated players active before the formation of the Hall. It turns out that in the past eight years, only once have five people managed to receive enough votes for induction. This pattern hit a new low this year, with the induction of only two people. What’s the problem?

Clearly, the current process is flawed. It worked very well for the first three years, but as the pool of eligible voters has grown, there has been some shifting of philosophy amongst the voters. There has been frequent discussion over the years about the sources of the problems. However, it has also become clear that a perfect solution doesn’t exist. Many ideas that appear to make sense turn out to raise new issues.

Some of the primary areas that could use some correction include:

1. Transparency

Many people are confused about how the current process works. While the process is documented on the USAU web site, people still get surprised by the results. We should be able to more clearly explain the process, as well as provide feedback about the results of all phases of the process. This should improve credibility for the Hall among the Ultimate community.

2. Finding The Best Candidates

Is a reason that more people aren’t getting voted in each year that we aren’t identifying the best candidates? We need to look at the nomination process and the structure of the peer pools.

3. Regional Representation

Are we ignoring regional superstars who weren’t annual fixtures in the semis and finals at nationals?

4. Voting

Currently, the Men’s Division, Women’s Division, and Contributors’ category share a common slate of eight candidates for the final round of voting. This implies that a decision must be made annually about how many from each of those three divisions should be place on the final slate. Perhaps separating the voting for each of the categories would make more sense.


I have volunteered to lead a group of people interested in serious discussion of these topics. The goal of this working group will be to produce a set of recommendations for the USAU Board of Directors, intending to improve the Hall of Fame process. In the past, these discussions have taken place “inside” the Hall, usually among quite small groups. Yet not much has changed with respect to getting people voted in.

This year, I have 18 volunteers consisting of current Hall of Fame members. I have heard several excellent ideas from people “outside” the process. I would love to have these people and anyone else seriously interested to participate in my working group. This is not going to be easy, and we will not “fix” everything, but we can, hopefully, improve the process. The ground rules for participating in these discussions are simple:

1. No references to actual individuals. Discussion degenerates rapidly when things get personal. We will only discuss the general philosophy of how the Hall of Fame should be constituted, and a process to facilitate that.

2. All discussion will be on a free forum. This makes it easier for a large group to discuss multiple topics according to their own schedule availability. It also preserves the threading of the discussions, which can get fragmented in email threads when multiple people reply simultaneously to a particular email, or reply to an older email comment. Additionally, with such a large group, I must retain the ability to ban non-constructive troublemakers.

If you’ve made it this far, have the energy, time, and desire to participate, simply send an email to [email protected] and I will send you an invite to the forum.

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