Here are some common Rules questions and answers to them. If you are interested in more rules discussions, please see our Rules Forum.
Q: What is a "Dangerous Play"?
A: From the USAU Rule Book on Fouls: " Reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players of other dangerously aggressive behavior (such as significantly colliding into a stationary opponent), regardless of whether of when the disc arrives or when contact occurs is considered dangerous play and is treated as a foul. This rule is not supersede by any other rule."
Notes from the VUL on Dangerous Plays: This means that if a player feels that their safety or that of another player is threatened, they are allowed to call a foul, citing dangerous play as the reason. However, there are many nuances to this rule that make it rather complicated to implement. Namely, say the thrower sees a handler getting open up the line and throws the disc out to space, but a defender saw this developing and poached into the lane. These players both have a right to go for the disc but are going to collide with one another in a dangerous manner, making this a dangerous play. However, both players are equally at risk and could call dangerous play. In this case, given that both players have a reasonable opportunity to go for the disc, the suggestion is that the disc revert to the thrower as if it was a foul/contest.
Contrast to the above situation - what if one player was clearly going to get the disc first and the other player was going to collide with that player? This becomes rather tricky because player 1 can call a foul on what they believe will be a dangerous play before any contact happens. Player 2 is now faced with either agreeing with player 1 (that player 1 had the advantage and should keep the disc) or disagreeing with player 1, believing that the play wasn't dangerous. This situation should also be treated with the regular foul/contest conditions and play should resume as normal. These types of calls could be a bit more contentious as the contact may or may not have actually occurred.
One other common situation is a floating disc with a group of people underneath it and the opportunistic player trying to catch the disc by jumping over and often into the the pile. It is very hard to do this without putting the players underneath the disc at serious risk - this includes players from both teams. This opportunist is pulling a dangerous stunt and should not be attempting to make this play, regardless of how amazing they think the catch is going to be. No point is worth risking the well being of other players, even if you think you can do this maneuver safely, the people around you may not be as confident in your abilities and have the right to suspect the play is dangerous.
The way to deal with these situations is to be aware of your fellow players so that everyone is kept out of these situations, but if a player believes that a dangerous situation occurred (or is imminent), please take them at their word and proceed as normal. The VUL wants everyone to enjoy playing ultimate and the best way to make that happen is in a safe environment where competition is encouraged, but not at the expense of player safety and mutual respect.
Q: What is the difference between "Foul" and "Contact"?
A: "Contact" is a newer USAU rule that you may hear someone call on the field. It is a marking violation as should be treated as such. If you are marking the disc and the person with the disc calls "foul", play stops. You, as the marker, have the option to contest or not contest the call. If un-contested, the stall count drops to 1, if contested the stall count comes in where it left off at a maximum of 6. The disc is then tapped in and play continues. If the person with the disc calls "contact", this is not a stoppage of play. The marker should correct the violation and drop the stall count by 2.
Q: What happens when I get fouled or stripped in the endzone when trying to catch the disc?
A: In the field of play, there is no difference between a "foul" and a "strip" for what happens with the disc (contested - goes back to thrower, uncontested - the receiver keeps the disc). However, in the endzone there is a difference. If the "foul" or "strip" call is contested, the disc will still go back to thrower, the difference comes when it is uncontested. A "foul" is when contact prevents the offensive player from catching the disc in the endzone, in which case when uncontested, the offensive player would get the disc on the front line of the endzone (not yet in). A "strip" is when the offensive player has already caught the disc and contact forces them to drop it, in which case when uncontested is a point.
Q: Who can call "in" and "out"?
A: Any player who is on the field may call a player out of bounds (or in/out of the endzone). It is, however, the player with the best perspective that has the final say. If it cannot be agreed upon as to who had the best perspective or if the call is contested, the disc goes back to thrower. (Best perspective is defined as the most complete view available by a player that includes the relative position of the disc, ground, players and line markers involved in a play).
Q: What should happen when someone calls "Double Team"?
A: "Double Team" is another example of a marking violation. When called, the violation must be corrected and the stall count dropped by 2. If the violation occurs more than once in a stall count, the person with the disc has the option to either make the call again, or to call "violation". In the later case, the play stops and is treated like as a general violation or foul.
Where double team can get a bit tricky is when a second offensive player comes close to the disc. When this happens, a second defensive player is also allowed to come close to the disc and this is no longer a "double team". (Close being within 10 ft)
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