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Ultimate Frisbee Rules

Game

A. A minimum of 5 players is required to avoid forfeit, teams may play with a maximum of 7 players. Any combination of men and women may play.

B. Games consist of two 15 minute halves with a 5 minute halftime. Running clock till the last two minutes of second half, the clock will continue to run if one team is up by 5 or more goals. If not the clock will stop after a goal, and re-start on the throw-off.

C. Each team has 1- one minute timeout per game.

D. There will be a 3 minute overtime period(s) if needed.

Start of the game

A. The team winning the initial coin toss or the overtime coin toss has the option of receiving the throw-off, or selecting which goal they wish to defend. The team losing the flip is given the remaining choice and will have their choice of those same two options to start the second half or the second overtime (play-offs only), if needed.

General Playing Rules and Scoring

*Remember, this game requires a high degree of sportsmanship at all times while expressing courtesy and respect for rules and opponents.
A. Ultimate is a non-contact sport with no scrimmage lines or off-sides (except on throw-off).

B. The disc may be passed in any direction, and the object is to score goals (similar to touchdowns in football).

C. A goal is worth one point.

D. A goal is scored when a player successfully passes the disc to a teammate standing/landing in the end zone which that team is attacking. For goals to count as time expires, thrower must release disc before scoreboard horn sounds.

E. In order for the receiver to be considered in the end zone after gaining possession of the disc, their first point of contact with the ground must be completely in the end zone (contact on the goal line is not a score).

F. A player cannot score by running into the end zone with the disc. Should a receiver's momentum carry them into the end zone after gaining possession, they must carry the disc back to the closest point on the goal line and put the disc into play from the goal line, where they can throw a pass directly back into the end zone to a teammate for a score.

G. The disc may only be moved by passing, as the thrower is not allowed to take any steps.

H. Any time a pass is incomplete, intercepted, knocked down, or contacts an out-of-bounds area, a turnover occurs, resulting in an immediate change of possession of the disc.

I. The Check: When play stops for a foul, rule interpretation, etc., the team gaining/retaining possession of the disc cannot begin play until the defensive team hands them the disc to put it into play (similar to pickup basketball games).
 

Beginning Play

A. Play starts at the beginning of each half of play and after each goal with a throw-off.

B. Each time a goal is scored, the teams switch the direction of their attack and the team which scored, throws off. The team scored upon should hustle back to their receiving end zone.

C. Positioning for the throw-off:

1. The players on the throwing team are free to move anywhere in their end zone, but may not cross the goal line until the disc is released.

2. The players on the receiving team must stand with one foot on their defending goal line, and cannot switch positions until the disc is released, in order to allow defensive assignments to be established.

D. The throw-off may be made only after the thrower and a player on the receiving team raise a hand to signal their team's readiness to begin.

E. As soon as the disc is released, all players may move in any direction.

F. No player on the throwing team may touch the throw-off in the air before it is touched by a member of the receiving team.

G. If a member of the receiving team catches the throw-off on the field of play, that player must put the disc into play from that spot. If however, the disc is caught in the end zone, the player has two options:

1. Immediately walking the disc out to the goal line at the point where the disc crossed it and then beginning play, or

2. Playing the disc in the end zone where it was caught (any hesitation when deciding means this option must be chosen).

H. If a member of the receiving team touches the disc during flight of the throw-off (whether in- or out-of-bounds) and the receiving team fails to catch it, the receiving team still gains possession of the disc where it stops (it is not a turnover). If the disc is stopped out-of-bounds, play begins at the line where it went o.b.

I. If the receiving team allows the throw-off to fall untouched to the ground, and the disc initially lands in-bounds, the receiving team gains possession of the disc where it stops.

J. If the throw-off lands out-of-bounds, the receiving team makes a choice of:

1. Putting the disc into play at the point where it crossed the goal line by walking the disc to the goal line and putting it into play, or

2. If the disc goes out of bounds on the sideline before crossing the goal line, they can invoke the "middle rule", whereby the receiver marks the spot the disc went o.b., and then walks the disc to the middle of the field before putting it into play.
 


Specific Rules and Definitions
Out-of-bounds

A. The perimeter lines themselves are considered out-of-bounds.

B. A disc is out-of-bounds when it first contacts an out-of-bounds area or contacts anything out-of-bounds (i.e. diving catches that carry a player o.b.).

C. The disc may fly outside a perimeter line and return to the playing field (quite common in this sport), and defensive players may go out-of-bounds in order to make a play on the disc.

D. If a pass does not come in bounds, the opposing team gains possession of the disc where it left the field of play only if the defense did not contact the disc. If the defense contacted the disc, the disc must be put into play at the point closest to the playing field where the contact occurred.

E. A player is out-of-bounds when they are contacting an out-of-bounds area. When a player is in the air, their in- or out-of-bounds is determined by where they last contacted the ground.

F. For a receiver to be considered in bounds after gaining possession of the disc, the first point of contact with the ground must be completely in-bounds. If any portion of the first point of contact is out-of-bounds, the player is considered out-of-bounds.

G. Should the momentum of a player carry them o.b. after making a catch and landing in bounds, the player is considered in-bounds. The player carries the disc to the point where they went o.b. and puts the disc into play at that point (no check needed).

H. To restart play after the disc has gone o.b., a member of the team gaining possession of the disc must carry the disc to the point on the playing field where the disc went o.b., and put the disc into play at that point (no check needed).

I. The thrower may pivot in- and out-of-bounds, providing that some part of the pivot foot contacts the playing field.
 

End Zones

A. If a team gains possession in the end zone which it is defending, the player taking possession must make the immediate decision to either:

1. Put the disc into play from that spot (by pausing, a player must choose this option), or

2. Carry it directly to the closest point on the goal line and put it into play from there. If this option is chosen, the player taking possession may not throw a pass during the approach.

Note: When a player receives a pass from their own teammate in their own defensive end zone, their only option is to play the disc from the spot it was caught.

B. If a team gains possession in the end zone which it is attacking, the player taking possession must carry the disc directly to the closest point on the goal line (no check needed) and put the disc into play from there (no "interception" for a score).
 

Turnovers

A. An incomplete, intercepted, knocked down, or out-of-bounds pass results in a loss of possession (even if the defender un intentionally fails to catch an interception). However, a defender who intentionally drops an interception after gaining possession has turned the disc back over to the throwing team.

B. The following actions result in a loss of possession:

1. If the disc is handed from player to player.

2. If the thrower intentionally deflects a pass to themselves off another player.

3. If the thrower catches their own throw without the disc touching another player from either team during its flight.
 

The Thrower

A. The thrower must establish a pivot foot and may not change that pivot foot until the throw is released.

B. Once a defender has established a legal defensive position, the thrower may not pivot into that player.

C. If the disc is dropped by the thrower without defensive interference, it is considered an incomplete pass and possession is lost.
 

The Marker (Defender)

A. Only one defensive player may guard the thrower at any one time. All other defenders must be at least 10 feet away from the thrower, unless one or more of the thrower's teammates are within 10 feet.

B. The marker may not straddle (place their foot on either side of) the pivot foot of the thrower.

C. There must be at least one disc's diameter between the upper bodies of the thrower and the marker at all times.

D. The marker cannot position their arms in such a manner as to restrict the thrower from pivoting.

E. Stalling.

1. Once a marker has established a set guarding stance on the thrower, they can call, "Stalling", and they begin counting at one second intervals from one to ten loudly enough for the thrower to hear. Only the marker may initiate a stalling count! No "designated counters"!

2. If the thrower has not released the disc at the first utterance of the word "ten", a turnover results (a good rule of thumb to avoid controversy is to release the disc by the count of "nine").

3. If the defense decides to switch markers, and if the new marker wishes to initiate a stalling count, they must start again from one.

4. In the event of a stall, the defensive team takes possession from the stall violator and play resumes (disc must be checked).
 

The Receiver

A. The receiver is any offensive player besides the thrower.

B. Purposeful , controlled bobbling of the disc to oneself in order to advance the disc is considered traveling and is not allowed (unintentional bobbling is allowed).

C. After catching a pass, the receiver is only allowed the fewest number of steps required to come to a stop and establish a pivot foot.

D. Simultaneous possessions belong to the offensive player.

E. If an airborne receiver jumps and makes a catch, and is contacted by a defensive player before landing, and that contact caused the receiver to land out-of-bounds instead of in-bounds, the receiver either calls themselves out-of-bounds, or calls a foul on the defensive player. Regardless, a check is needed.

F. If a player fumbles a pass as a result of contacting the ground, the pass is incomplete and a turnover results (no score if it occurred in the end zone).

G. If the receiver is running as they catch the disc, the receiver may throw a pass before the third ground contact after catching the disc without coming to a complete stop.
 

Fouls and Penalties

A. A foul can only be called by the player who has been fouled and must be announced by calling, "Foul" loudly immediately after the foul occurred.

B. Dangerous, aggressive behavior or reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players is always a foul.

C. The player initiating contact is guilty of a foul.

D. After a foul, possession is determined and the disc is checked by the defensive team.

E. If the thrower is fouled in the act of throwing and the pass is completed, the foul is automatically declined and play continues without interruption and the player who was fouled yells, "Play on".

F. If the marker is fouled in the act of throwing and the pass is not completed, foul is declined and play continues without interruption as the marker's team gains possession at the point of incompletion.

G. If a player's attempt to make a play on the disc causes significant impact with a legitimately positioned stationary opponent, before or after the disc arrives, it's a foul.

H. If a player contacts an opponent before the disc arrives and thereby interferes with that opponent's attempt to make a play on the disc, it's a foul.

I. Catching fouls are called when there is contact between opposing players in the process of attempting a catch, interception, or knock-down. A certain amount of incidental contact during or immediately after the catching attempt is often unavoidable and is not a foul.

J. If a catching foul occurs and is uncontested, the player fouled gains possession at the point of the infraction. If the call is disputed, the disc goes back to the thrower.

K. A defensive foul that occurs in the defensive team's end zone results in the offensive team retaining possession at thegoal line (a check is needed).

L. The game cannot end on a defensive foul. If time expired, the players will be reset to their positions at the time of the foul , and the original offensive team will have one last throw to attempt to score.

M. For severe behavior: Players guilty of repeated or unsportsmanlike violations will be temporarily removed from play for five minutes, or possibly ejected. In either case, no substitutes will be allowed for those players, regardless of how many goals are scored.

N. Jewelry violations discovered during play will also bring about a five-minute suspension per violator. Remove it before the game!

O. Captains are expected to ensure proper behavior by their players and spectators should an altercation develop.
 

Violations (Less Severe Than Fouls)

A. Traveling: results in continued possession, but re-started from where violation occurred.

1. The thrower must keep all or part of the pivot foot in contact with a single spot on the field. Should the thrower lose contact with that spot, the thrower has traveled.

2. If the receiver obviously takes more steps than are required to stop after catching a pass, that player has traveled.

3. If a receiver, after receiving a pass on the run, releases after the third ground contact and before coming to a complete stop, that receiver has traveled.

B. Strip:

1. No defensive player may touch the disc while it is in the hands of the thrower. If a defensive player does so, causing the thrower to drop the disc, the thrower calls "Strip."

2. The thrower picks up the disc and play continues unhalted from the point where the thrower gained possession.

C. No player may establish a position, or move in such a manner, so as to obstruct the movement of any player on the opposing team; to do so is an illegal "pick." However, if two defenders run into one another on their own, there is no foul.
 

Rule Clarifications

A. Cardinal Rule: Whenever an infringement of the rules or a time-out occur, play is halted and the disc is put back into play at the point of the last possession before play was stopped (except for any exceptions noted).

B. If there is ever a failure to come to an agreement over any call, the disc reverts back to the thrower after a check.

C. Offsetting catching fouls on the same play result in the disc being given back to the thrower after a check.

D. If the marker's stall count is interrupted by the call of a foul, pick, or time-out, the count is resumed as follows:

1. If the call is against the defense, the count is reset to zero (0), unless the foul is contested at which time the count remains the same if the count was less than five (5), or is reset to five (5) if the count was over five (5).

2. If the call is against the offense, the count continues from the point at which it was stopped, except the thrower is given a minimum of five (5) seconds (e.g. count at eight, reset to 5).