University Outdoor Dates & Venues 2018-19 - Update

Following the announcement on Friday about the details of the University Outdoor events this year, we received a query on the South West Facebook group about why the decision was made to hold UXON in St Andrews in 2018-19 with a smaller “Division 2” event in the South of England. We felt that it would be useful to address the issues raised in this query, to explain why the tournament is not in a more ‘central’ location* or even in the South, in a way that is accessible for all of the regions.


*To clarify, in the context of University events, ‘central location’ roughly means the area between Durham and Birmingham. Generally the journeys for the Universities at the edges of the UK are approx. 4-8 hours long when events are held in this area, with perhaps Manchester being the ‘mid-point’. We run the majority of our uni nationals events in this ‘region’.  


When selecting the venues and dates for our university events we seek to balance a number of criteria - including the location and it’s accessibility for different parts of our community.  For some events we do have reasons to choose a particular venue, e.g. the size enables us to fit all divisions at one location, but otherwise location is a major consideration - and we try to achieve a balance over time when we have more flexibility with location options. Looking back at the last couple of years. UXON was held in Salford in 2017-18, Leicester in 2016-17, and Durham the year before that. No Outdoor National tournament has been held in Scotland since the 2010-11 season. 


We did consider using a large venue in the South to hold UXON this year, followed by the tournament being held in the North in 2019-20. However, as we are already committed to holding UMWIN at Ravenscraig next season (because it’s such a good venue), we felt that there would be a better balance by delaying the Southern event until next year and holding UXON in St Andrews now as we thought that two National events in Scotland in one season would be more unfavourable.


Recognising that St Andrews is a long way north for some teams, we decided to experiment with an idea to introduce a smaller, limited, “Division 2” event alongside the Nationals event in Scotland. The goal is to provide teams with the opportunity to play if their alternative would have been to not play at all. Unfortunately, this is an issue that does occur for clubs at the edges of the UK, and so we wanted to experiment with this secondary event for teams as some might prefer to prioritise a shorter journey over competing at the Nationals competition. We hope that this event might be useful for teams that definitely can’t travel up to Scotland, or for newer teams and/or third/fourth teams etc. that wouldn’t consider travelling that far. But whilst we are aiming to put this event on, we would like to clarify that we haven’t taken this approach to avoid putting on a large Southern event in the future, and we do aim to continue moving the events around the UK to help all teams participate in the sport as we know that travel is a major cost in Ultimate.  If the idea receives some support, then it is something we may look to repeat the other way around next year.


We hope that this answers some of the queries that you may be having and that it’s now clearer for why the decision was made to hold UXON in St Andrews for 2018-19. We look forward to seeing you there!