Tangled legs a foul?

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
K By K

Two players running for a disc, somehow their legs get tangled and both fall. What's the consensus: foul, or incidental contact?

My take is that it's not incidental because it affected the play on the disc. However, it's not a foul if both players were equally responsible. Now, if one player was more at fault, say by sticking their leg between the other guy's, then it's a foul.

What about stepping on someone's foot? Some people have told me that's incidental, but to me that's a foul. The guy that got stomped usually falls or slows down out of pain, taking him out of the play. Obviously if I stick my foot right under yours as it's coming down, so that it's unavoidable for you, that's not a foul...but most of the time it happens when a receiver makes a quick cut on a tight check and steps on him.

K By K

You're right, O & D have equal rights to the disc. But in my original post, I didn't mention O or D, just two players.

Affecting the play definitely matters. According to 10th ed XVI.I., "A foul is the result of physical contact between opposing players that affects the outcome of the play."

To me, it really depends on how the legs got tangled. If you can't tell who initiated the contact, then you can't call foul, since you don't know who to call the foul on. (From general rule that says foul is caused by the person who initiates contact.)

But, if one person is following the other, but too close, it's pretty safe to consider the person behind to have caused the contact. So foul.

I think you've got it right about stepping on a foot. If you know you didn't thrust your foot underneath theirs, then it sure sounds like "they" initiated the contact, so foul.

Right and you can't take a position that's unavoidable by the other player. If you make a cut into the lane that your check is running in, and your check can't avoid stepping on your foot (or other contact), it's your foul.

If the two of you are running side by side for the disc, and your check steps on your foot, it'll affect play and it's his foul.

When you get to situations that are somewhere in the middle of those two, it can get a bit grey, but use your judgement when calling the foul, and your check will do the same to decide if he wants to contest.

Hi guys,

I think we're all much on the same wavelength here. Mortekai and Tample have said some of it. . .

In response to the post, I agree -- you did say just 'two players' and did not specify 'O' and 'D'. But how do you call a foul on tangled legs? Is is the player in front or the one behind who gets blamed?

Yes, players should avoid contact in every way possible. But this is followed in the rules by "the players initiating contact is guilty of the foul". Who has initiated the contact when two people running get their legs tangled?

Continue on with the section in the rules about Fouls, and you'll see #7 -- 'a certain amount of incidental contact. . .is often unavoidable and is not a foul'

Unless you're going to call a deliberate foul for tripping, don't you have to consider the tangled legs as incidental and let the play continue?

K By K

I think we're actually on a slightly different wavelength. If I'm understand you guys correctly, Art and meme are saying that the contact is "incidental", and therefore not a foul. This is actually another point I wanted to clarify: what does "incidental" mean? It really makes a HUGE difference in what you consider a foul.

Dictionary defines incidental as 1. "being of minor consequence", 2. occuring without intention." I think Art and meme are going with definition 2...if the contact wasn't deliberate, and both players are simply going for the disc, then it is incidental. I vehemently disagree with that interpretation. Fouls are almost never deliberate. The rules preface even says "In Ultimate, an intentional foul is considered cheating and a gross offense against the spirit of sportsmanship.". And just because both players are going for the disc doesn't make contact incidental. If that was the standard by which fouls were called, it wouldn't be a foul if I accidentally elbowed you in the face while running for the disc.

The "minor consequence" definition makes much more sense, i.e. it's incidental if it didn't affect the play. Remember the goal of the rules is to "[resume] play in a manner that simulates what would most likely have occurred had there been no infraction." That is why incidental contact (contact that doesn't affect the play) is NOT a foul; since it didn't affect the play, there is no need to "simulate what would most likely have occurred had there been no infraction".

It's true that if legs get tangled, it might be impossible to tell who initiated the contact. But that doesn't make the contact incidental. We can acknowledge that a foul occurred, we just don't know who is guilty of it.

We've got two players in motion who get tangled up and cannot get to the disc (to which both players have equal rights at this point). It's going to depend on what the players themselves think. . . I'm not going to say "it's incidental, no foul" if the players agree it IS a foul.

But the description given of this event screams out to me that it is incidental contact. Neither player initiates tangled legs -- it just happens.

I don't mean 'incidental' to mean 'a minor thing'. I take it in this context as meaning 'in addition to' or 'beyond the main event'. And that seems to me to be what has happened in this example.

'Nuff said for me on this point, I hope.

And in Art's defense, I'd be very surprised if he's using the "without intention" definition. He knows as I do, and as you obviously do, that it's assumed that people don't "intend" to foul. Intention doesn't come into it in any rules.

Ah, Morty I was hoping to escape this thread, but

just when I thought I was out, you've pulled me

back in!

I'm sure that everybody is agreed that intent

does not factor into our interpretation of


Though it doesn't really relate to the discussion,

I'm compelled to mention that there are a few

rules which are based upon intent (rules with

"solely" or "use" for instance).

Though what you meant was correct, what if

somebody reads this months from now then gets

in a knife duel with the captain of the other team

over an argument about no rules concerning


I can't have that on my concience.

Well Temple, I just wouldn't have felt that my job was complete if I hadn't drawn you back in ;^)

[We'll have to met up at Art's soon (once we all can get together), so you can straighten me out in person :) ]

But yes, you're exactly right, that rule DOES suggest intent.

How about this? There was an incident where the disc was above our heads but I accidentally stepped on his foot to go after a disc. He called foul. I protested. Is it a foul?

Accident or not is not relevant. Fouls are all assumed to be not intentional.

If your stepping on his foot affected his play on the disc, then yes, foul. Did it?

Why would you contest it? Is it because you don't understand what constitutes a foul? If it's because you don't understand the rules well enough, may I suggest another read/refresher. I do that at least once a month or so, and remind myself of something I'd forgotten each time. Sometimes I even learn something new.

What had happened was that I went up for the disc first and I accidentally stepped on his foot during my take off.

"What had happened was that I went up for the disc first and I accidentally......"

Doesn't matter what you put after this statement, IF it affected the other persons play on the disc it is a foul......

... unless you finish the sentence with "... accidentally blew a big fart that gave me an extra 2 inches of height". That's NOT a foul.

... unless it's one of Unca Buck's... then that's Harmful Endangerment, which is always a foul.


Well what's funny was that my teammate asked what happened, I told him and said I contested it and my team mate replyed 'good job'.

I'm not sure whether I find that "funny" or actually a bit sad.

It really depends on why you contested it. I'm curious about that... why DID you?

I suppose I saw it as incidental where at the time it was just one of those things that just happened but I guess regardless whether it was accidental or incidental it was still a foul.