READ: BYU’s Proposal To USAU For Rule Changes, Sunday Accommodations

BYU won a change in the College Guidelines.

BYU CHIOver the summer, the Brigham Young ultimate program filed a proposal with USA Ultimate to change the college guidelines in order to expand access to the postseason for the team (and others with religious or other restrictions on Sunday competition). Below, we will discuss the most notable aspects of BYU’s proposal. The full document is also available at the end of this article.

BYU’s Overall Justification

Citing the USA Ultimate bylaws — which state that “USA Ultimate shall…protect the right of opportunity, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or disability of an athlete, coach, manager, administrator or official to participate in Ultimate” — BYU made the argument that blocking the team from being able to even compete in Regionals because they knew they would be unable to compete on Sunday was unfair.

They wrote:

It is the position of BYU that the preemptory disallowance of BYU to participate in the National Tournament represents a failure to uphold this right of opportunity to participate a USAU-sanctioned ultimate event. Specifically, USAU’s preemptory refusal to allow BYU to participate represents discrimination on the basis of religion because of BYU’s religiously-motivated policy of not participating in athletic events on Sunday.

They went on to argue that it would be a positive step for USA Ultimate to allow BYU to participate and then choose to forfeit games on Sunday if they so choose, but that, “for reasons of equitability,” they should also accommodate BYU and other teams that cannot compete on Sunday through more creative tournament scheduling.

Proposed Solutions

BYU puts forth a number of solutions to the challenge of avoiding meaningful games on Sunday. Here is a list:

  • Conferences: Avoid pool play and go straight into bracket play designed to finish up within a single day of competition on Saturday.
    • Other solutions for Conferences include playing on two weekends, playing Friday and Saturday, or just advancing BYU straight to Regionals.
  • Regionals: Reduce the number of teams and hold bracket play or round robin format designed to finish in one day (or Friday night/Saturday)
    • Other solutions for Regionals include competing on Friday and Saturday or moving BYU to a region that agrees to accommodate them
  • Nationals: Play three games Friday, three games Saturday, zero on Sunday, and two on Monday.
    • Other solutions for Nationals include a 24-team format with one fewer game or allowing BYU to forfeit if they faced a Sunday game

Immediate Request

BYU made this request as a conclusion to their proposal:

BYU requests a series format that allows BYU to advance through conference and regional championships and earn a bid to the National Championships. BYU also requests USAU drop its policy of preemptively disallowing teams from being playing [sic] any portion of the national tournament if that team might choose to forfeit a game for religious reasons. If a team has earned the right to be invited to a post-season tournament, they have also earned the right to participate, up until they choose not to participate.

They also asked for more communication and a possible path towards more accommodation in future years.

New Guidelines

The 2017 College Guidelines have been released and BYU’s most prominent request — that they be able to compete in all postseason events, up until they choose not to participate — has been granted. USA Ultimate dropped the clause that blocked teams from competing at Regionals if they knew they would not be able to finish all games at Regionals.

USAU, however, did not include any rules that would require them to make specific Sunday play accommodations for BYU at any level (Conferences, Regionals, or Nationals). If BYU were to make Regionals, it would seem likely that they would be forced to forfeit any games that would earn them a bid to Nationals.

Full Document

You can read and download the full BYU proposal right here.

  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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