January 14, 2022 by Mags Colvett in Livewire with 0 comments
USA Ultimate announced Friday that due to the current COVID-19 situation, the beginning of the college regular season — meaning the period in which results from sanctioned events contribute to the college rankings that determine Nationals bids — has been delayed to at least February 25.
College events will continue to be sanctioned by USAU as long as they comply with local regulations as well as USAU’s COVID-19 policies, although events held before February 25 “will not factor into, or otherwise impact, college rankings or postseason championship series bid allocation.”
According to the release, the decision was made for several reasons, including minimizing external pressure on teams, players, and event organizers to participate in events that may not meet their tolerance for risk, while also allowing events to take place for those comfortable hosting and attending them in compliance with local regulations. The release also cited concerns about competitive fairness across teams given varying rules and restrictions across the country.
US National Team activities across age divisions have also been postponed until at least February 25, including 2022 World Games tryouts, 2022 World Junior Ultimate Championships tryouts, and 2022 World Beach Ultimate Championships training camps.
Nationwide case numbers remain high, and the prevalence of the omicron variant — which is much more contagious among vaccinated people than earlier variants — has led to COVID-19 spread in circumstances that were low-risk for transmission as late as last fall. Several players and teams withdrew from the 2021 College Championships in Norco, CA last month following reported close contacts or positive tests, and many other teams reported positive test results in the week after the tournament.
USAU is in the process of reevaluating its COVID-19 policies, protocols, and recommendations (last updated in December) in consultation with its medical working group. They plan to announce further revisions next week.