Single Gender Handbook
Washington State High School Ultimate Association – Handbook
Last Revised May 28, 2015.
- Purpose of this document is to describe the management of boys and girls divisions of high school ultimate in the State of Washington. The Washington State High School Ultimate Association is referred to in this handbook as the Association.
- The Handbook describes Association policies and guidelines that apply to players, coaches, member schools, and Association administrators.
- The Northwest Ultimate Association (DBA DiscNW) is the sanctioning organization for all Association events.
- There are four main sections to the Handbook.
- Structure and Governance: Code of ethics, Advisory Committee, voting rights of member schools
- Competition & Event Management: scheduling guidelines, season format, game rules, score reporting, rosters and waivers, coaching regulations, player eligibility
- Administration: event registration, finances, enforcement of rules and guidelines, affiliation with DiscNW
- New Membership: application process for schools and leagues, continuing membership
The objectives of the Association are to
- Promote the growth and development of single gender high school ultimate in Washington State by offering high quality and safe playing opportunities.
- Direct and supervise the high school interscholastic ultimate activities of the Association and administer the Association policies.
- Encourage good fellowship and sportsmanship among the schools of the association and to promote the spirit of sportsmanship among players.
- Endorse the sport to both boys and girls in high school.
- Ethically serve the Washington youth ultimate community.
- Advocate for the official recognition by the school administration of their boys and girls ultimate teams as an official school club, club sport, or varsity sport.
Association Structure & Governance
The Association is comprised of three Leagues: the Emerald City League, the Seattle Public School League, and the Puget Sound League.
A League may create Divisions comprised of groups of League teams. The establishment of Divisions should be considered to better serve member Programs. For example, north and south Divisions in a League could allow for easier game scheduling and reduced travel for Programs. The League Commissioner is responsible for proposing the creation of a new Division to the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council must approve the proposal before the Division is established.
Each League must abide by written and approved bylaws. The League bylaws cannot be less restrictive than the Association bylaws, however, League bylaws can be more restrictive.
Each League has a League Commissioner who is responsible for administration of the League. The League Commissioner is responsible for the creation of League schedules and compliance of League teams to Association rules. The League Commissioner is also a member of the Advisory Committee as described below.
See Appendix A for information about current League Commissioners. Any new League Commissioner must be nominated by a Program Coordinator (see below) and approved by the Advisory Committee.
A Program is defined as a collection of teams at a member school. All boys, girls, varsity and JV teams at a given school are all part of that school’s ultimate Program. Specific requirements of membership for schools are defined below.
Each school Program has a Program Coordinator that serves as the main point of contact for all teams at the member school. They represent the school in all official Association matters. Each school selects it’s own Program Coordinator. Each school’s Program Coordinator is responsible for the proper conduct of the school’s players, coaching staff, and fans. The Program Coordinator must be informed of all matters concerning actions of the Association and of all DiscNW youth ultimate policies. A Program Coordinator may be a school Athletic Director, Head Coach, Team Manager, parent, or other school representative.
A Program Coordinator may work with multiple Coaches within a school Program. Coaches are responsible for ensuring their team’s compliance with the rules and policies of the Association and of DiscNW at all Association events. Coaches will manage their team at Association events and will ensure proper supervision of players. Prior to each game, Coaches are required to conduct a brief meeting with the opposing team’s Coach to ensure agreement to all game rules (see Game Rules section below).
See Appendix A for a list of participating Leagues, League Commissioners, and member schools.
DiscNW is the sanctioning organization for Association events and oversees the management of Association events. The DiscNW Youth Director is a member of the Advisory Committee. Additionally, the Youth Director ensures that all Association finances, administrative duties, and governance responsibilities are completed successfully. The Youth Director shall promote and enforce compliance of all Programs with Association and DiscNW policies. The Youth Director is a full-time staff member of DiscNW.
The Association will schedule an annual meeting each summer. Member schools may choose to be represented by their Program Coordinator, the League Commissioner, or by a named proxy. The Youth Director will determine attendance requirements for each Program at the Summer Meeting. Mandatory attendance will be required in the event of urgent or vital Association business.
Youth Directorshall chair the League and Association meetings and set the agenda. The agenda will be distributed at least one week prior to the meeting. The minutes of each meeting will be distributed to all Program Coordinators.
Each member school Program in good standing has one vote. The Program Coordinator or a named proxy shall be responsible for voting. A school Program that does not vote will be marked as an abstention. A quorum of at least half of member schools is required for any vote. General policy decisions will be determined by a majority vote of qualified voters.
Online voting is permitted for Association business. For urgent or vital matters, the Youth Director may require an in-person voting process.
A two-thirds majority is required for changing the Handbook. All proposed amendments must be submitted in writing for consideration to the Advisory Committee at least one month prior to voting by the Programs.
Association Advisory Committee
The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to review and resolve grievances and appeals. The Advisory Committee is comprised of the League Commissioners and the DiscNW Youth Director. In the case that the issue pertains to a member of the Advisory Committee, the conflicted Committee member can either be temporarily replaced with another representative from the conflicted member’s League, or the Advisory Committee may resolve the issue without a temporary replacement. The Youth Director shall make the final determination.
Every effort will be made to resolve a dispute between schools by the Program Coordinators of the schools involved. If a resolution still cannot be achieved, then the case will be submitted to the Association Advisory Committee.
A grievance may be the result of a rules violation, score dispute, poor sportsmanship/Spirit of the Game, or other Association matter. A grievance may also take the form of a desire to change Association or DiscNW rules or policies.
The Program Coordinator must submit notice of grievance to the Advisory Committee. This notice shall detail the dispute, the Program(s) involved, the individual(s) involved (coaches, players, Program Coordinators, spectators, etc.), and attempts at resolution. The Advisory Committee shall resolve the dispute in a timely and effective manner. A written record of the initiation, proceedings, and resolution of each case will be distributed to all Programs and will be filed by the Youth Director.
Code of Ethics
- The primary purpose of the program of the Association is to benefit the boys and girls who participate in high school ultimate.
- At all times the welfare of the participants in any Association activity is paramount.
- We communicate the importance of sportsmanship and ethical conduct to emphasize the best values of the game.
- Promote sustainable girls and boys ultimate teams at all member schools.
- Association schools will collaborate for the betterment of all member school Programs by building of positive relationships with each other.
- The Code of Ethics described in this handbook guides the actions of coaches, players, parents, and school administrators at Association events.
- Coaches are expected to utilize appropriate game strategies during games in which opponents are not equally matched and the outcome of the game is not in question.
- Association members and leagues will adhere to, the rules of the Association.
Competition & Event Management
These rules are the default rules for all Leagues. They are to be followed for all playoff and Championship games. Individual Leagues may have their own rules that govern intra-League games. Those rules must be presented to the Advisory Committee prior to the start of the season.
Teams play Regular Season games against all other teams in their League or Division. Teams may also schedule scrimmages and games against teams in other Leagues. The Program Coordinator will provide a scheduling matrix for all teams in the League.
The Boys Season is the fall. All Boys Season games must be scheduled between the months of September through November. Each League may designate rules for pre-season practices prior to the official start of the season.
The Girls Season is the spring. All Girls Season games must be scheduled between the months of March through May. Each League may designate rules for pre-season practices prior to the official start of the season.
All teams will participate in Playoffs at the conclusion of the Regular Season. The League Commissioner is responsible for setting the Playoff format for the League he/she represents prior to the start of the season. The League Commissioner shall work with the Program Coordinators to coordinate Playoff formats and schedules for League Playoffs.
The number of teams that qualify for the DiscNW Championships is based proportionally to the number of varsity teams in each League. A count of the varsity teams playing at the end of the fourth week of the season will establish the number of teams that qualify from each League for the Championships. The Advisory Committee shall make the final determination regarding bids to the Championships.
DiscNW Championship Tournament Format
The Advisory Committee will determine the schedule and format for the Championship taking into consideration the geographical representation of participating Programs.
Responsibilities of School Programs
- The host school Program will use its best available facility for the activity. Schools will never use fields for contests for which they do not have legal right or permit to use.
- All schools are expected to follow the Scheduling Guidelines (see below).
- Schools will respect each other's choice to conduct pregame activities in a manner that meets the needs of the host school while being respectful of the needs of the visiting team.
- School Programs must commit themselves to the following year’s season prior to the scheduling meeting for each league. Schools can be admitted to a season after that time only if the schedule will accommodate them or by special permission of the League Commissioner.
- The League Program Coordinator shall resolve any scheduling conflicts.
- The Program Coordinator or designee will ensure timely reporting of scores.
- All students are considered student athletes and as such are expected to be in good standing educationally and discipline manners within their school. All schools will maintain a reasonable process for ensuring this is true for each student.
- The League Commissioners shall prepare and distribute scheduling guidelines to the Program Coordinators prior to the start of each season.
- Every effort will be made to confirm schedules and make corrections or changes prior to each season. Program Coordinators shall confirm schedules as needed during the season to avoid problems.
- In the unlikely event that a change is necessary during the season, the school requesting the change should do so at least two weeks prior to the contest to allow reasonable time for rescheduling of officials and facilities. If one school does not agree to the change, then the original league schedule agreed to before the season started prevails. If the team requesting the change cannot play that contest, then it must forfeit. The school responsible for the schedule change or forfeit is also responsible for any extra fees (i.e. field rental cost).
- The Advisory Committee shall review all forfeits to ensure that proper protocol was followed and to determine if an official sanction is required. Program Coordinators for teams involved in a forfeit must provide relevant game information to the Advisory Committee.
- School Programs involved in a scheduling misunderstanding will first attempt to come to an agreement between themselves. If a satisfactory solution is not reached, then the case will be submitted to the Advisory Committee for resolution. Possible sanctions include suspension from post-season play in that sport, and/or probation.
- The League Commissioners will coordinate scheduling of all Playoff and Championship tournament games with Program Coordinators.
In the event of an athletic postponement, it shall not be considered a forfeit if either school is closed or restricted for reasons beyond the control of school authorities (i.e. school lockdown, if the roads are unsafe for travel, if the ferry system is not operating, or if a natural disaster has occurred). In the case of unsafe roads, the Program Coordinators of the two schools involved will make the decision. In the case of a public health emergency, a game may be postponed upon recommendation of the City, County, or State health authorities.
If the contest/field is unsafe because of severe weather, it is not considered a forfeit. The game shall be made up at next possible date. If one of the two schools is closed due to weather or natural disaster, the game will not be rescheduled. The League Commissioners and the Youth Director will coordinate rescheduling any Championship games as needed.
Ultimate Season Guidelines
League Commissioners will provide league guidelines to their league. Guidelines will be distributed to all league athletic directors/program coordinators and coaches prior to the season. League guidelines can be more strict than the state association guidelines but not less strict. (i.e. if a league wants to have a grade point average rule that the state does not have, that is acceptable) Guidelines will be reviewed and revised annually to reflect new rules and the latest changes in All-State & All-League procedures.
General Player Eligibility Guidelines
All students have four years of eligibility that begins on their first day of ninth grade. No student 21 years or older may participate in Association events.
All players must be students in good standing within his/her school. All players will be held to the school and/or school district policies regarding grade point average and discipline. Program Coordinators are responsible for ensure the good standing of all players on teams in the school’s Program.
Home school students are eligible at their attendance area public high school or geo zone alternative public high school. Running start, UW young scholars, and other students who leave high school early to attend college level classes are still eligible to play for their attendance area public high school or geo zone alternative. This is true as long as the student is not playing college athletics and as long as s/he has not yet exhausted his/her four years of high school eligibility.
Public school students who attend an alternative high school that does not have an ultimate Program are eligible at their attendance area or geo zone alternative public school.
Private school students who attend a school without a program are eligible at their attendance area or geo zone alternative public school.
The Advisory Committee shall evaluate all eligibility cases and will determine eligibility for each. All eligibility cases will be reviewed on an annual basis unless noted otherwise by the Advisory Committee.
A player may only play in one game per day with the exception of a regional tournament, a jamboree, or an exceptional scheduling issue that requires a second game in a day. An exceptional scheduling issue must be approved by the league coordinator(s). In regional tournaments that may require multiple games in a day, ideally the time between games will be equal to or greater than the length of a game.
Out of Season Play
In order maintain competitive balance across Programs and to permit other school sports to field teams successfully, students may not participate in more than one school sponsored season of ultimate per calendar school year, excepting events in the summer. An ultimate team shall be considered school sponsored if it receives formal support from the school. A team shall also be considered to be school sponsored if one or more of the school’s in-season coaches coach the out-of-season team.
Association schools will not support boys' teams or boys' playing opportunities outside of the fall season, with the exception of summer. Association schools will not support girls' team or girls' playing opportunities outside of the spring season, with the exception of summer. Summer play is allowed after the DiscNW Championship Tournament concludes and lasting until July 31. Coed play is permitted only for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Spring Reign weekend.
Consideration may be made for new and evolving Programs. A two-year transitional period may be provided for Programs to field an ultimate team in a second season. This transitional phase will allow Programs an opportunity to work on making the necessary systemic and programmatic changes to ensure full future compliance, while allowing for sustainable and healthy participation levels.
The Program Coordinator must apply to the Advisory Committee to be eligible for this transitional phase. The proposal must detail the reason for seeking the exception and the plans for achieving compliance. If approved by the Advisory Committee, the transition phase shall be granted for up to two years.
Out of Season Coaching
It is not considered out-of-season coaching for coaches who coach select or work at camps provided the participation guidelines are open to all interested players regardless of school affiliation.
Player In-Season Play
In order to encourage commitment to the ultimate team, to avoid unduly pressuring students, and to permit other school sports to field teams successfully, all members of the varsity ultimate team at a Program are limited to participate in only one sport at their school per season. Participants on the ultimate cannot also play another sport at the school during the same season. Further, participation on the ultimate team at a school prohibits participation in another sport at another school. This rule does not restrict participation in club sports, and this rule does not apply to JV players.
Consideration may be made for new and evolving Programs. A two-year transitional period may be provided for Programs to roster a minority percentage of athletes who also play a Varsity sport. This transitional phase will allow Programs an opportunity to work on making the necessary systemic and programmatic changes to ensure full future compliance, while allowing for sustainable and healthy participation levels.
The Program Coordinator must apply to the Advisory Committee to be eligible for this transitional phase. The proposal must detail the reason for seeking the exception and the plans for achieving compliance. If approved by the Advisory Committee, the transition phase shall be granted for up to two years.
Any proposed changes to game rules can be brought up and voted on using the same procedures that are used for other Association rule changes.
The 11th edition of USA Ultimate will be used except as noted in the game rules. Please note that the Captain’s clause and other rules that allow players to change rules are not recognized for Association events. Coaches have limited authority to change rules as noted below.
A game is played until one team first reaches or exceeds 13 goals with a margin of at least two goals, or until a cap is reached. There shall be a hard time cap at 80 minutes after the scheduled game start time. Games will conclude 90 minutes after the scheduled start time. If the field reservation does not allow for a full game length, the coaches/program directors should agree ahead of time in writing about the length of the game.
Coaches will coordinate to establish an official timepiece before the game that will signal 80- and 90-minute marks.
For regular-season league games, if the score is tied at the 90-minute mark the game will continue until either a) each team has turned the disc over once, or b) one team has scored. In the case of each team turning the disc over once, the game will end in a tie. League Commissioners will communicate with Program Coordinators about rules for League Playoff and DiscNW Championship games.
Game and warm-up time frames are 120 minute blocks. 30 minutes should be used for warm-ups and 90 minutes for the games.
Time between goals should be kept to 70 seconds for the receiving team to signal readiness and 90 seconds for the pulling team to release the pull, as per the USA Ultimate Official Rules of Ultimate 11th Edition. The home team will provide a timekeeper to track and communicate time to the teams on the line (e.g., “10 seconds to signal readiness” and “10 seconds to pull”).
Halftime can be taken if coaches agree, but it should not last longer than 5 minutes. Teams with smaller numbers should be given the choice about halftime.
In the event the game cannot be completed in the allotted time due to inclement weather or another external factor, the game shall be considered completed if at least half of the game has been played. If halftime has not yet been reached, Program Coordinators for the teams involved shall reschedule the remainder of the game in cooperation with the League Commissioner. League Commissioners will communicate with Program Coordinators about rules for League Playoff and DiscNW Championship games.
Spirit of the Game/Sportsmanship
(from the USA Ultimate Official Rules of Ultimate 11th Edition)
Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions, or other “win-at-all-costs” behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.
Both teams should promptly report the final score on the League website or to the League Commissioners.
Rosters & Waivers
Each Program shall comply with DiscNW and League roster and waiver rules. The Youth Director shall ensure that specific details will be posted on the League website before the start of the season. Additionally, the Youth Director shall distribute these details to League Commissioners. The League Commissioners shall ensure that all Program Coordinators in the League receive the information.
Program Coordinators should report any roster issues or grievances to the Advisory Committee.
Event registration, Association finances, and enforcement of rules and guidelines are managed through an affiliation with DiscNW.
The Association is affiliated with DiscNW and will follow policies and procedures of DiscNW. In cases where the policies of DiscNW are different than those of the Association, the policies of the Association as described in this Handbook will be followed. Member school Programs shall contact the Advisory Committee for clarification about any conflicts.
Event fees shall be collected each season to cover the expenses of the Association. DiscNW shall collaborate with the Advisory Committee to set fees for each season. DiscNW shall manage the collection of fees. Program Coordinators are responsible for submitting payment for all teams at the Program.
Event registration shall be completed on the DiscNW website. Program Coordinators are responsible for completing the registration for all teams at the Program. The League Commissioner shall assist member schools to complete the registration process.
The Advisory Committee shall monitor and enforce the Association rules and guidelines.
New School Admission
A school wishing to join the Association can do so by contacting the appropriate League Commissioner or the DiscNW Youth Director.
A simple majority vote of the member school Program Coordinators will determine acceptance. The Association will accept as new members only school programs located inside the State of Washington; no schools outside the state will be considered or accepted.
Each league is responsible for their own policies concerning applications to be in their league. The criteria listed below will serve as guidelines for the association both in considering new applicants for association membership and in reviewing the status of schools currently members of the association.
New programs should:
- Commit to abiding by all Association rules.
- Offer a varsity girls and a varsity boys ultimate team each school year, or work towards offering a team for both boys and girls.
- Work toward official recognition at their school as a club, club sport, or varsity sport.
A new school Program shall have provisional membership during its first year as a member of the Association. During this period of time, the new school Program shall demonstrate that it is deserving of continuing membership through its attendance at meetings (including online meetings), efforts to have both girls and boys ultimate programs (single gender school exception), and the fulfilling of all obligations of membership. Continuing membership will be granted at the end of the first year by the athletic directors/program coordinator upon recommendation of the athletic directors/program coordinators in the league that the team participates. After one year, the Program will be considered a Member in Good Standing.
Two schools that are unable to establish their own Program may request to form a Consortium. School representatives must apply to the Advisory Committee. The Consortium proposal must detail the reason for the Consortium and plans for managing the team. If approved by the Advisory Committee, the Consortium status shall be granted for two years.
Applications will be accepted no less than three months before the season starts for that gender. League Commissioners will vet any late applicants and will make a recommendation to the League for a vote. Late applicants may not be eligible for inclusion in league standings, league playoffs, or state tournament in their first season if they can’t be worked into the schedules without undue difficulty. Schools will be admitted by a majority vote with league coordinators being able to vote for all the schools in their league with proxy approval.
Admission of a New League
A new league can apply to join the Association. Representatives from schools wishing to create a new league must submit a proposal to the Advisory Council. Leagues must have a minimum of three teams in both the boys and girls seasons. A majority vote from qualified Association Programs and from the Advisory Committee is required for a new league to form. A new League should have written and approved bylaws. The bylaws cannot be less restrictive than the Association bylaws, however, League bylaws can be more restrictive.
Continuing League Membership
Association schools must offer at least one team in each season in order to continue as a Member in Good Standing.
The Association may, by a vote of 2/3 of the total number of schools in the Association, place a Program on probation, or suspend it at any time as defined below.
Probation is a formal reprimand for behavior detrimental to the objectives and programs of the association. Any schools placed on probation may appeal this action through written notice within thirty of notice of probation.
The period of probation is normally one year; the period of suspension is usually one season. Failure to resolve satisfactorily within one year the concerns that brought on the probation will result in suspension from the association.
Suspended schools may seek reinstatement through written appeal to the Association Advisory Committee.
League Commissioners will annually review the standing of all member schools.
No later than 3 months prior to the start of the season (before the scheduling takes place) a school program should give notice before leaving the association.
2015-2016 Member Leagues and Schools
Emerald City League
- Commissioner: Britt Atack
- Boys Division: Bush, Eastside Prep, Northwest, Overlake, Seattle Academy, University Prep
- Girls Division: Bush, Eastside Prep, Northwest, Overlake, Seattle Academy, University Prep
- The Emerald City League is comprised of high schools in the greater Seattle area that participate in the athletic conference of the same name (http://www.emeraldcityleague.org/).
- Commissioner: Rusty Brown
- Boys Division: Ballard, Cleveland, Franklin, Garfield, Ingraham, Nathan Hale, Rainier Beach, Roosevelt, West Seattle
- Girls Division: Ballard, Cleveland, Franklin, Garfield, Ingraham, Nathan Hale, and Roosevelt
- The Seattle Public School League is comprised of high schools in the Seattle Public School District (http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=197023&sessionid=7681d65c7819aa694b73ba9a6b85ee22&t).
- Commissioner: Vacant
- Boys Division: Aviation, Bellevue, Juanita, Lakeside
- Girls Division: Lakeside, Holy Names
- The Puget Sound League is comprised of independent and schools unaffiliated with another Association League.
Seattle Public School League
Commissioner- Rusty Brown ()
Puget Sound League
Interim Commissioner- Jude LaRene ()