Opening Pull: PUL Player Sponsorship Program, Coronavirus Reactions

Catch up on the ultimate news from last week.

Welcome to Opening Pull, your weekly wrap-up of the previous week in ultimate. We’ve gathered the news you need to know and highlights you need to see, and we’ll let you know what’s coming up in the next week.

Premier Ultimate League’s Player Sponsorship Program Hits 100%

In the program’s second year, the Premier Ultimate League’s Player Sponsorship Program (PSP) sold out each of the four player sponsorships and raised $215K for the league’s teams.

Not only does the PSP inject capital into the league, but it also serves an awesome marketing tool. Social media was abuzz with discussion of the league and it’s promotion, which also included the roster release, and it helped boost the profile of the four new franchises and their new rosters.

First Tournaments Cancelled Due to Coronavirus

The United States and beyond have been struck by the spread of COVID-19, or Coronavirus, and ultimate is not immune. Major events have been cancelled as the virus — and concern about it — has spread, including Japan’s Dream Cup, Italy’s beach event, Paganello, and recently, Seattle’s Northwest Challenge Tier 2 & 3.

USA Ultimate and WFDF, as many organizations are doing, are monitoring the situation in order to scale reaction appropriately. Players are encouraged to practice safe event hygiene: washing and/or sanitizing hands, avoiding group handshake lines and spirit circles, and not sharing food and beverages.

Three Detroit Mechanic Players Lose Lives In Highway Accident

The ultimate community lost three members last Saturday: Kevin Coulter, Drew Piet, and Michael Cannon were killed in a vehicular accident on Interstate 96 in Michigan on their way to Mechanix practice.

We extend our condolences to the families, teammates, and communities of these players.

First USAU College Rankings Released

The first USA Ultimate college rankings of the 2020 season were released last week, beginning the journey towards Nationals in earnest.

In D-I men’s, #3 Washington took the first place spot. The Atlantic Coast and Ohio Valley, with two and one bid, respectively, may have cause for concern. Over in D-I women’s, #2 North Carolina is the top ranked club, though that is unlikely to survive Carleton’s win at Stanford Invite. Puget Sound and Embry Riddle lead D-III women’s and men’s, respectively.

College Season Quick Hits

#1 Carleton defended their ranking, winning the women’s division of Stanford Invite, the most competitive tournament of the women’s season so far. While they did need some comebacks to make it happen, Syzygy’s depth of skill proved too much for the stacked field. They ended the weekend with a 13-10 win over #3 Tufts in the final.

Over at Smoky Mountain Invite, a number of elite men’s teams gathered to compete. When all was said and done, #2 North Carolina emerged a comfortable victor, winning in the last two rounds of bracket play by five or more goals. They remain undefeated this season and are the national championship favorite at this point.

In the men’s division of Stanford Invite, #10 Colorado claimed the prestigious tournament championship, capping off their run with a 13-10 victory over #8 Oregon in the final. Mamabird’s mix of talented underclassmen and veteran playmakers gives them a very strong top seven, and while they weren’t exactly dominant, that group was able to keep their weekend record clean.

USAU Profiles The Masters of the Bee

The Masters of the Bee, or MOB, received a profile on USA Ultimate by Larry Melton, to conclude Black History Month. If you haven’t heard of MOB, the first all-black team in ultimate history, you should definitely check out this story about who they were and what there experience was like.

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