NY Times Takes On Referee/Observer Debate

NY TimesToday, the New York Times published one of the better mainstream news articles you’ll see about ultimate. The article circles back to the long-time debate about officiation and Spirit of the Game in ultimate.

It quotes multiple stakeholders — WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch, USA Ultimate CEO Tom Crawford, MLU Executive VP Nic Darling, and AUDL Marketing Manager Tim DeByl — about referees, observers, and self-officiation. There’s nothing groundbreaking here for a close watcher of the sport, but it’s a nicely put together story about the situation.

Some choice quotes:

“One of the things the [International Olympic Committee] found intriguing about ultimate is that it kind of embodies the Olympic ideal. The athletes treat each other with dignity and respect. It’s a really unique ethos. It is baked into the sport; the I.O.C. saw that right away.” – Tom Crawford

“Sometimes a call between two players happens quickly, and you don’t know what’s going on. Games occasionally fall apart, there are some bad calls by players, and that’s a bad fan experience.” – Tim DeByl

“Once you move the sport from being player-focused to being fan-focused, referees are able to facilitate the game and make sure it operates at the best pace and the best spirit of fairness.” – Nic Darling

“We believe [referees are] unnecessary, and [the AUDL and MLU are] missing a big marketing opportunity.” – Nob Rauch

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld.You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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