USA Ultimate Suspends Competition until April 20

There is still hope for a college postseason.

The second field site of the 2018 Stanford Invite.
Photo: Simon Pollock

Yesterday, USA Ultimate suspended all sanctioned events — including leagues and College Conferences — through at least April 20th.

“We know some of you will be disappointed and frustrated with some tough decisions, and they were not made lightly,” said USAU Board of Directors President Robyn Fennig in a statement. “The health and safety of our members, athletes, families and communities are paramount. This is a very challenging time and we are all heading toward uncharted waters. Please be safe, and take care of each other through this difficult time. Thank you for everyone’s cooperation.”

By Friday, March 13th, most remaining college tournaments — including Northwest Challenge, Easterns, and women’s Centex — had been officially cancelled. Many local leagues, even those without USAU sanctioning, have suspended competition for at least the next two weeks.

USA Ultimate Director of Marketing Andy Lee said that there was still a possibility of a college postseason, though it is far from guaranteed. “All options are on the table and we’re still discussing,” he said. “If Regionals happen, we would likely rely heavily on the rankings to determine bids.”

If Regionals were also cancelled, there is a possibility that the rankings could be used to assign autobids and strength bids and send teams directly to Nationals.

“Currently, the D-I and D-III College Championships have not been affected by these cancellations and will continue as planned if permitted by state or local governments and deemed safe,” reads USAU’s statement. “Ultimately, if the safety of athletes and attendees cannot be ensured it is likely these events will not occur.”

Both Wisconsin and Ohio, the sites for D-I and D-III Nationals, respectively, have announced a state of emergency. Ohio has closed school for three weeks and banned mass gatherings of 100 or more people. Wisconsin has recommended that events larger than 250 people be cancelled. But without strict timetables, knowing whether these restrictions will be in place in May at the time of Nationals is unclear.

Many schools are also barring travel for club sports teams through April and May. If the postseason were to take place, many teams would be unable to attend events given current restrictions.

Many players have been asking on social media about the possibility of extended eligibility in the case of a fully cancelled postseason. USAU has not yet discussed anything relating to next year, given the more pressing weeks ahead.

There is also potential that the coronavirus pandemic could impact the upcoming club season, though USA Ultimate has yet to make any announcements, nor is anything expected before next month.

  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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