OCUA Specific Rules

Rules of the Game

While the 11th Edition Rules as provided by USA Ultimate and the WFDF Foul & Dangerous Play rule, cover the vast majority of situations, there are certain areas where the Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association (OCUA) feels that these rules must be modified or added to for our league. These rule additions and modifications are detailed here.

For any question with the rules, please consult OCUA Rules Discussion Forum or for an official, OCUA-supported decision, send an email to the Rules Committee: rules@ocua.ca

Fouls & Dangerous Play | Endzone DimensionsTime Rules | Sunset Cap | Start Time | Late Teams | Length of Game | Defaulted Games | Field Setup | Uniform Color | Postponement of Games | Partially-Completed Games | Playoff Eligibility | Foot Blocks | Contact CallCo-ed Gender Ratio | Lightning Protocol | Rules on Lightning | Fixed League Rules | Field-Specific Rules | Humidex Advisory


Fouls & Dangerous Play

Starting summer 2019, OCUA has officially adopted the World Flying Disc Federation's (WFDF) rules covering fouls and dangerous play. The full rules can be found here. Essentially, dangerous play calls no longer require any contact in order to be called and fouls can now be called on any contact prior, during, or after either player is making a play on the disc. The WFDF Section 17 effectively replaces section XVI.H in the 11th edition USA U rules.

Endzone Dimensions

In accordance with Ultimate Canada and USA Ultimate, OCUA is officially implementing the switch from a 25 yards (23m) end zone to 20 yards (18m) in league play. This new dimension is not yet included in the Official Rules of Ultimate, but is being used by UC and USA U in all major events. OCUA supports this change and will be using 20 yards end zones starting in the Summer 2013 season.

Time Rules

Because OCUA league games are played outside during the evening, sunlight plays a significant role in the time a game must stop. Before a game begins, the Captains should agree on a timekeeper and a time piece. OCUA league games use the "Sunset Cap" rule.

Sunset Cap

The timekeeper should issue a warning to captains five minutes before the time cap (see your game schedule in Zuluru for specific times). At the Sunset Cap, the game stops, regardless of what stage it is at (between points or during play). The Sunset Cap is intended to ensure player safety by preventing play when it is dark and/or dangerous. For this reason, the Captain's Clause CANNOT extend the duration of the game beyond the Sunset Cap.

Start Time

All games are to start on time. Most games start at 6:45pm, except for games on turf fields or during the week of Quarter-Finals. The start times for specific fields are posted in Zuluru.

Late Teams

A team is late when it cannot field a full line less 1 player (i.e., six players for 7v7, five players for 6v6, or 4 players for 5v5), with at least two players of the same gender, at the designated start time. When a team is late, the opposing team may count one point for every five minutes beyond the designated start time that the late team fails to field a line of the correct ratio. For the on-time team to be eligible to count points, it must have set up the field (even if it is not the home team), and have a full line less 1 player, with at least two players of the same gender, at the field and ready to play (but not necessarily on the field). The captain, or a player/representative of the late team must be informed that the on-time team is counting points. If no one from the late team is present at the official start time, the first person from the late team that shows up must be informed. The late team should not let the fact that the on-time team counted points affect the SOTG rating given.

Length of Game

As per Rule V.A, games are played until one team's number of goals scored first reaches, or exceeds, 15, with a margin of at least two goals, and with a final point cap at 17 (which allows for a final score of 17-16).

Defaulted Games

A default occurs when one team cannot field a full line less 1 player, with at least two players of the same gender in coed play, within the first 30 minutes of the scheduled start time. All defaulting teams will incur a default fee of $75 and a Spirit of the Game score of 0.

In order to give the opposing team sufficient warning, defaulting teams have an obligation to notify their coordinator if they are going to default a game. This notice should be provided by no later than 3 PM on the day of the game, and ideally as soon as the team becomes aware that they may default. We recommend that the team also notify their coordinator of the reason for the default, though they are not obligated to do so.

Teams that incur a default fee should pay their fee before their next game. Teams will not be able to register for subsequent seasons until their default fee(s) have been paid. A team that defaults twice in a row, or three times in a season, may be eliminated from further play in the current season, or subsequent seasons, pending a review from the Board of Directors. Winners of defaulted games receive a score of 6-0, a SOTG rating equivalent to 9, and a $75 reimbursement of a team outing of their choice (e.g., bar/restaurant). Please note that this requires a valid receipt submitted to info@ocua.ca.

Playoffs: Teams that cannot attend playoffs may withdraw, without penalty, if they inform their coordinator by the first Friday in August. Any team that withdraws from playoffs after that point will be subject to the default penalty. If a team does not show up for their semi-final and final playoff games, they will incur two default fees ($150).

Field Setup

It is the responsibility of the home team to set up the field prior to the official start time. It is the responsibility of the visiting team to inspect the set up and approve it. It is the responsibility of all players to make both teams aware of any hazards they observe. Any such hazards should be marked with discs.

Uniform Colour

Every player must wear a uniform, or other clothing, that distinguishes that player from the players on the other team. In cases where both teams have a similar colour designated in Zuluru, the home team will have first choice of colour.

Postponement of Games

Games can be rescheduled with the agreement of both captains. If lightning is observed, players are to adhere to OCUA's Lightning Protocol. If there has been heavy rain on the day of the game, or several days prior to the day of the game, the game should be rescheduled in order to safeguard the field.

Partially-Completed Games

A partially-completed game occurs when external factors, other than time cap (e.g. lightning, damage being caused to the field due to play, etc.), halts a game before one team has reached a winning score. The game is considered complete and the game score will stand as final if either of the following conditions is met at the time at which play is halted:

  1. one team has reached at least ten points; or
  2. one team has reached at least eight points, and is leading by at least two points.

If neither of these conditions is met, captains can agree to continue the game from the current score at a later time, or to accept whatever score was reached as final. If agreement between the captains cannot be reached, and neither game completion condition was met, no result should be entered for this game, and the game is canceled.

Playoff Eligibility

A player must be registered on a team's roster, and have played in (or been present for) a minimum of four regular season games with their team to qualify for playoffs. No player may register for more than one team on the same night. If a team wishes to use an ineligible player, they must first secure permission from their opponent. This, however, does not extend to players who have been suspended for disciplinary reasons.

Foot Blocks

Foot blocks are allowed in all divisions. The Captain's Clause can be used to override this if both captains agree.

Contact Call

The Contact Call rule is NOT adopted in OCUA Summer Leagues. The Captain's Clause can be used to opt in the rule if both captains agree. If you have questions about the Contact Call, please consult this forum post.

Co-ed Gender Ratio

The number and gender ratio of players on the field is defined by the season and division you are playing in. For summer, and fall co-ed divisions, this means 7 players per side, at a ratio of 4/3. For winter and spring indoor leagues, it varies per night -- consult your coordinator. Teams must field their lines according to this ratio, unless both captains agree otherwise, as per the Captain's Clause. Unless specified otherwise, OCUA does not require the pulling team to field a line matching the receiving team's gender ratio. This means that a team in a 4/3 division may choose to field a line of 4 men, 3 women, or 4 women, 3 men at any time during the game, and its opponent does not need to follow suit.

OCUA will be testing WFDF Gender Ratio Rules A & B in the fall of 2019. Summer coed teams are encouraged to try the new ratio rules; both captains must agree prior to the start of the game to play with one of the gender ratio rules. 

Lightning Protocol

Use the 30/30 rule:

  • When lightning is observed, play stops and the time between the lightning and thunder is counted.
  • When you count 30 seconds or fewer between lightning and thunder, leave the field and take the appropriate shelter IMMEDIATELY.
  • Remain sheltered for 30 minutes after the last peal (or sound) of thunder.
  • Safe shelter is considered to be inside a substantial building, away from doorways and windows. Baseball/Softball dugouts are not appropriate. The shelter should be able to keep players and fans comfortable for up to 1 hour or more. While less than ideal, an enclosed motor vehicle will suffice. Avoid contact with the steering wheel, ignition, keys and/or radio.
  • Play may continue if the time between the lightning and the thunder is greater than 30 seconds.

Rules on Lightning:

  • If a lightning stoppage occurs within 30 minutes of time cap, the game is to be ended rather than trying to wait it out.
  • For partially completed games, please refer to the OCUA specific rules to determine how a partially completed game should be handled. http://www.ocua.ca/ocua-specific-rules
  • Unless both captains agree via the captain’s clause to cancel the game, teams are required to take safe shelter and attempt to resume the game 30 minutes after the lightning has passed. In the event one team leaves, they will be considered to have defaulted the game, and the team that remains will record the game as a default. All the provisions of the default rule will apply in this scenario, except that the $75 fine will not be applied to the defaulting team, and the $75 credit will not be granted to the remaining team.

Fixed League Rules

The Captain's Clause states that any rule modifications may be implemented at game time as long as the captains of both teams agree to them. The following rules cannot be changed by the Captain's Clause:

  • If lightning is observed play is stopped immediately and OCUA's Lightning Protocol is applied. Games should not be resumed until at least one half hour has elapsed since the most recent sighting of lightning. See OCUA's Lightning Protocol for more details;
  • The Sunset Cap rule applies regardless of the Captain’s Clause;
  • Dogs are to be leashed at all times. This rule extends to all fields;
  • If there is standing water on the fields, do not use them; and
  • If playing on the field is causing any damage due to wetness, the game must be stopped.

Field-Specific Rules

Due to any number of factors, certain fields used by OCUA for league games may have rules applied specific to the location. All players are responsible for knowing any field-specific rules, and abiding by them. These rules are posted on the OCUA website on each individual field page. To find a specific field page, ensure you are logged in to ocua.ca and visit our Fields List.

Humidex Advisory

Humidex advisories are issued by Environment Canada when the humidex will reach 40 degrees or more, and the conditions are expected to last for 1 hour or more. In the event of a humidex advisory, OCUA puts in place two temporary modifications to the rules:

  • Each team will be allowed three time-outs per half instead of two. Each time-out can be two minutes in length instead of the usual 70 seconds; and
  • Heat-related substitutions will be permitted.

Players are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids, bring extra fluids to the game, take a full 10-minute break at halftime, and seek shade during breaks. Teams may wish to bring umbrellas or other items if playing at a location with little shade. Captains may wish to use the Captain's Clause to postpone the start time of the game by 30 minutes to allow cooler temperatures.