Ultimate Rules | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

Ultimate Rules

 Rule 1: Facility | Rule 2: Player Eligibility | Rule 3: Team Composition | Rule 4: Equipment | Rule 5: Beginning a Game | Rule 6: Game Time and Time-Outs | 
Rule 7: Officiating | Rule 8: SubstitutionsRule 9: Game Play | Rule 10: Scoring and Winning the Game | Rule 11: Spirit of the Game

Recent rule changes appear in italicized font.

Rule 1: Facility

  1. All games will be played at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex unless otherwise communicated directly with teams.

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Rule 2: Player Eligibility

  1. All Intramural Sports eligibility rules apply. Please check the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations carefully.
  2. All players must check-in with their University ID cards or government-issued photo IDs with the Intramural Supervisor prior to the start of the event.

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Rule 3: Team Composition

  1. Teams will consist of seven players on the field at one time (at least five players are needed to start a game).
  2. There is no gender restriction for teams, meaning teams can have any number of males or females.
  3. No more than two players of any team may be members or coaches of an ultimate club that plays competitively. If in question, club membership will be determined by the Intramural Sports Staff.

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Rule 4: Equipment

  1. All players must wear athletic shoes. Teams are encouraged to wear cleats, but NO shoes with any type of metal spikes or shoes with detachable metal cleats are allowed.
  2. Jewelry. Hand jewelry is not permitted to be worn during participation in Ultimate. Wrist jewelry must be taped down, and must stay taped down throughout the contest. Necklaces must be taped down inside the shirt, and must stay taped down throughout the contest. Stud earrings, or earrings that do not extend beyond the earlobe, are permitted, but must be covered throughout the contest. Intramural Sports will not provide tape for the taping of jewelry. The Intramural Sports staff retains the right to require any jewelry deemed dangerous to be removed prior to participation, or continued participation.
    1. Any player in the game found wearing illegal jewelry will immediately be asked to leave the field and may not return until the next stoppage of play. 

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Rule 5: Beginning a Game

  1. Teams must be present within 10 minutes of a game’s scheduled start time. If this requirement is not met, it will result in a forfeit.
  2. Team captains will conduct a coin toss or rock, paper, scissors to determine how to start the game.
  3. The winner of the coin toss (or rock, paper, scissors) will have the option of:
    • Choosing which goal to defend
    • Passing or receiving to begin the first half
    • OR, deferring to the second half
  4. The opposite team will have the choice of the remaining options.
  5. Teams will start the game at opposite ends of the field. The team which passes to start the half will begin the game at its own end zone with an opening throw to the receiving team.

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Rule 6: Game Time and Time-outs

  1. Each game will be played until the first team reaches 11 points or consist of 30 minutes of play with a “soft” time cap. If a team can start a point or is currently playing a point at the time cap the final point will be played out. 
  2. In the event of a tie, the match will go into “Sudden Death” Overtime, in which the first team to score will win.
  3. Teams will be allowed one time-out each for the entire game. Time-outs will be 60 seconds in length.

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Rule 7: Officiating

  1. Games will be self-officiated by players on the field. Players are responsible for calling fouls. Players are expected to be fair and resolve conflicts on their own. Intramural Sports Staff will not resolve in-game controversial plays. Intramural Sports Staff can only clarify rules to participants.
  2. The supervisor will inform teams when to start each game.

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Rule 8: Substitutions

  1. Substitutions can be made only:
    • After a goal and before the substituting team has signal readiness.
    • To replace an injured player.
    • To replace a player with hazardous or illegal equipment.
  2. Teams may have unlimited substitutions after scoring, regardless of which team scored. 

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Rule 9: Game Play

  1. Ultimate is a passing-oriented game. A player may only run with the disc by taking up to four steps after catching the disc to gain his/her balance.
  2. Ultimate is a non-contact sport. Any contact by an offensive or defensive player that impedes the throw or catch of the disc will be a called a foul by the player involved.
    • Foul on offensive player – control of the disc will be turned over to the defense and the disc will be put in play at the spot where the disc was last controlled.
    • Foul on a defensive player – the disc will revert back to the spot where it was last controlled by the offense and will be put in play from there.
  3. Each person has 10 seconds to throw the disc.
    • For a 10-second “stall” count to be valid, it must be made out loud by a defensive player within three yards of the offensive player with the disc.
  4. Any player in possession of the disc cannot be double-teamed by the opposing team.
    • If the defense, other than the marker, is within 10 feet of any pivot of the thrower without also being within 10 feet of, and guarding, another offensive player, it is a double team.
  5. If a disc is dropped or touches the ground, the opposing team will receive control of the disc at the spot where the disc was dropped.
    • EXCEPTION: If the disc is dropped in the end zone, the opposing team may bring the disc to the end line and touch the ground with the disc, re-initiating play.
  6. A player may not catch his/her own throw. The disc must be touched by another player before the thrower can legally touch the disc again.
  7. The field will be 60 yards long and 35 yards wide with a 20-yard end zone at each end. The perimeter lines are out of bounds, as is any object not included within the boundaries of the field.
    • A throw out-of-bounds on an opening throw or a throw directly after a touchdown.
      • The team which gains possession will receive the disc at the yard line where the disc went out of bounds.
      • The disc may be brought directly into the center of the field, from the spot, and resume play from that point.
    • A throw out-of-bounds during regular play.
      • The disc will be thrown-in from the sideline at the spot where it crossed the out-of-bounds line.
    • If a team throws the disc out of the back of the end zone, the opposing team gains possession and will throw the disc from the goal line.
  8. If a pull goes into the end zone without being touched, the opposing team shall resume play at its own goal line.

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Rule 10: Scoring and Winning the Game

  1. A point is scored when the disc is tossed across the goal line and is caught by a team member who has both feet completely in-bounds in the end zone. 
    • Carrying the disc across the line does not constitute a point.
  2. One point is awarded for each goal.
  3. The scoring team will start the next point by throwing from the end zone in which it just scored. The opposing team will receive the throw at the opposite end of the field from which the previous score was just made.
  4. Whoever has the most points at the end of the second half wins the game.
  5. Mercy rule:
    • If a team is ahead by 10 points or more with 5 minutes remaining in the second half, the match will end.

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Rule 11: Spirit of the Game

  1. Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play.
  2. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.

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