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Rules

All MZU games will follow the USA Ultimate (USAU) 2020-2021 12th Edition Rules, minus the exceptions below, and rules/policies described throughout this site.

Read the USAU 2020-2021 12th Edition Rules

Check out this article for an explanation of the major differences between the 11th and 12th edition of the rules.

It is expected that players learn and understand the rules. Players must play an active role in making calls during the game.

  • All calls should be made loudly and clearly and in a positive manner.
  • No player or team is ever to be criticized because they choose to stick to the rules.
  • Strict adherence to rules should not be used to gain an advantage, such as making calls that positively affect your team while ignoring or unfairly contesting calls made by your opposition.
  • If needed, explain your call to the opposing player.
  • Games can be stopped momentarily to check or discuss a ruling and is not a delay of game.
  • Spirit points are given for sticking to the rules and for being open to learning the rules.

Exceptions to USAU 2020-2021 12th Edition Rules

1. Game Format


2. Time-outs and Halftime

  • MZU games are approximately 80-90 minutes in length and are played until one team reaches 15 points.
  • Halftime will occur when:
    • A team reaches 8 points.
    • New for 2019, a halftime cap will take effect if neither team has reached 8 points after 45 minutes (6:15pm for games starting at 5:30pm or 7:45pm for games starting at 7pm). At this point, the current point is finished. If neither team has reached 8 points, then one point is added to the score of the leading team (or both teams in the event of a tie), to determine the new halftime target. Halftime will then occur once that score is reached.
  • Each team is allowed only one 90 second timeout per half.
  • No timeouts in the last 5 minutes of a game.
  • Weather Timeout: if prior to the start of a game, the weather is deemed to be a potential issue for some players or result in series of long points (e.g., extreme temperatures, gale force winds, etc.), Captains can agree under the Captain’s Clause that if a point lasts in excess of 20 minutes a weather timeout will be called, and they can decide whether or not substitutions will be allowed during this timeout.


3. Foot Blocks

Foot blocks are allowed unless Captains agree not to use them under the Captain’s Clause.


4. Captain’s Clause

There are a number of exceptions in MZU leagues, Captains cannot make agreements that change the following:

  • Team/gender composition
  • Any rule which impacts the safety of the players/teams
  • Players serving a suspension
  • Players involved in physical alterations
  • Player eligibility (subs, age, etc…)
  • Game length and end time


5. Equipment

Metal cleats are forbidden in all MZU games.


6. Dangerous Play

A basic rule of Ultimate is that each player is responsible to avoid contact in every way possible. It is recognized that a certain amount of incidental contact will occur while playing. However, there is one rule call in Ultimate that supersedes all other rules; Dangerous Play.

Actions demonstrating reckless disregard for the safety of or posing a significant risk of injury to fellow players, or other dangerously aggressive behavior are considered “dangerous play” and are treated as a foul. The proper call in such circumstances is “dangerous play” and play stops. 

Dangerous play is considered a foul regardless of whether or when the disc arrives or contact occurs.The vast majority of dangerous play will involve contact between players. However, contact is not required for a player to invoke this rule where there is reasonable certainty that contact would have occurred had the player not taken steps to avoid contact. If a player feels that making a play on the disc poses a clear personal danger because of an opposing player’s intentional or unintentional dangerous behavior, reckless disregard for safety, lack of attention, or failure to use caution, that player may elect to call a Dangerous Play foul. Refer to the rules here to figure out what happens once a dangerous play is called.

Why did we implement this rule?

  • MZU is an adult recreational league, so while we want to foster competition and  have players strive for success, no one should play in a manner so as to risk the safety of any other teammates or opponent.
  • Like all rules, no one should use the dangerous play foul to gain an unfair advantage. We expect the rule to be used with spirit of the game in mind.

What is a dangerous play? While it is very subjective, here’s some guidelines:

  • Some things are dangerous: Charging into stationary players, not looking where you’re going, intentionally fouling. Etc.
    • Size matters: Ultimately, the size difference, regardless of gender, in a potential collision should be your significant concern. Will making the play against a smaller, less experienced player, likely result in that player being hurt?
    • Experience matters: With a wide range of skills in MZU, taking the experience level into consideration is important. Collisions between experienced players tend to produce fewer injuries than those between developing players simply due to the nature of how each experience level moves relative the field and other players. Take this into consideration when playing!
  • Some things are just unavoidable: Two players going equally hard towards a disc.