University Ultimate Competition Review

BUCS are doing a major review of competition structures with the goal of better-aligning those competitions with the requirements of the participants of each sport.  We have been invited to review our university competition structures and come back to BUCS by 28th July with any changes that we want to propose.  BUCS have been clear that this opens up the opportunity to have any sort of conversation and that previous limitations or constraints are, at least theoretically, removed if we can demonstrate changes would be beneficial for university ultimate players. 

To help inform the process we are inviting all current students and recent graduates to provide feedback to us on a range of topics regarding university ultimate via this google form. Please share this with all other university ultimate players you know and encourage them to fill it out.

Our priority is to make sure that the opportunities and recognition within University Women’s outdoor ultimate are at the same level as Men’s.  This should now be much easier because there are no longer any specific changes that we would need to make to our existing competition in order to achieve this.  Previously we would have had to take the Women’s outdoor competition to a Wednesday-afternoon league structure and we probably do not yet have enough viable teams to make that change successfully.  

The review also opens up the opportunity to propose the inclusion of mixed ultimate within BUCS, which historically was not possible at the same time as having a Men’s and Women’s competition.

A fundamental aspect of this project is to ensure that we all recognise that participants in a sport have very different levels of commitment and that - as far as possible - competition structures could and should seek to provide the best possible match to those commitment levels.  Simplistically - this is about ensuring that players who want to engage with a sport on a relatively flexible and social basis should be able to do so without excessive costs in time or money; that some athletes are highly motivated to compete and improve; and will prioritise their time and money towards achieving their goals within that sport; and that of course there are many people on the spectrum between those two extremes.  To some extent, the fact that ultimate is still a relatively small sport means we can only partially achieve these aims in the short term.  Nonetheless we believe there are some great opportunities to offer more choice and a better competition experience to all university ultimate players.

BUCS POINTS.  It is crucial to this exercise that we make NO ASSUMPTIONS about the allocation of BUCS points.  This is the first part of a two-stage process.  The first part is to try to set up the most appropriate competition structure.  There will be a follow-on project that BUCS runs to determine how points should be allocated in the future.  We want to move away from the model of building competition structures in order to chase BUCS points.  


This survey is about gathering more information from you about what we do next.  We decided it would be useful to provide an outline of the sort of proposal that we could go back to BUCS with, and that we believe would provide a great step forwards for UK university ultimate.  This has not been finalised in any way at all, and nor have we discussed it with BUCS.  But we thought it useful to set out something like this to help anyone completing the survey to consider the kind of directions we could take.  This is deliberately brief:

  • Women’s outdoor regionals would be BUCS competitions on a par (in terms of recognition and points) with the current Wed-afternoon-leagues in the Men’s division, and we could introduce another tier of BUCS-sanctioned women’s competition at Outdoor Nationals, i.e. our current Div 2 would be formally part of the BUCS event.
  • Both mixed divisions (indoors and outdoors) would be BUCS-sanctioned competitions on an equal footing with the other divisions.
  • We could provide players with a choice of Wednesday afternoon and weekend-events because we know that both structures have pros and cons for different people.
    • The outdoor mixed division would adopt the current Men’s league structure: similar regions and tiers, playing on Wed afternoon, etc.  We think this is the most inclusive means to opening up regular/weekly games to as many university ultimate players as possible.   
    • Men’s & Women’s outdoor “leagues / regional qualifiers” would take place at weekends - either a single event (like UWOR) - or 2-3 central venue fixtures.  (Scotland are trying out the latter in their new tier 2 Men’s league in 2018-19.)  
  • Both Men’s and Women’s competitions could have more tiers of competition (e.g. introducing new premier-league north and south groups) to create better segmentation by playing strength.  But at the same time we could make changes to ensure that Nationals provides a path-to-winning for teams that do well in the next tier/division down.
  • Structure of indoor competitions would be largely unchanged - expect that Mixed Indoors would be a BUCS-sanctioned competition.