OCUA Ratio Rule A


A What is Ratio Rule A?

Ratio Rule A, which is also known as “prescribed ratio” and “ABBA”, is defined in The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) rule book:

Rule A (“prescribed ratio” rule):  At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting the gender ratio for the first point. For the second and third points the ratio must be the reverse of the first point. For the fourth and fifth points the ratio must be the same as the first point. This pattern of alternating the ratio every two points repeats until the end of the game (half time has no impact on the pattern). Ref WFDF Rules A6.3

Using OCUA’s gender roster categories, this means that the on-field ratio of WN2 (Women, Non-binary, and Two-spirit) and ON2 (Open, Non-binary, and Two-spirit) players fairly switches between 3:4 (A) and 4:3 (B) following the ABBA pattern. 

Why is there a need to change the on-field gender ratio in mixed gender leagues?

Historically, 7v7 mixed gender Ultimate at OCUA has been played at OCUA with a 3W:4O onfield ratio (now called 3WN2:4ON2) for many years. Inherently, this means that men and women are not afforded the same amount of field time and have very different experiences on the field.

In 2022, OCUA committed to improving on-field gender equity with a plan to move towards Ratio Rule A (prescribed ratio). In order to give teams time to adjust their rosters, Ratio Rule B (endzone chooses) was adopted first since it provides some flexibility within a game. With Ratio Rule B, equality is only encouraged but not required. The flexibility also left uncertainty with respect to the optimal roster size for each game which created additional challenges for captains. Consistent and truly equal on-field play time will now be achieved with the adoption of Ratio Rule A as the default beginning in the Summer of 2024.

What are other organizations doing?

Ultimate organizations across Canada are choosing to advance gender equity in 7v7 mixed gender play. Many, like OCUA, have chosen to implement Ratio Rule A: Peterborough Ultimate League (PUL), Waterloo Organization of Disc Sports (WODS), Manitoba Organization for Disc Sports (MODS), Saskatoon Ultimate Discsports Society (SUDS), Mile Zero Ultimate (Newfoundland), and Durham Ultimate Club.

Most Ultimate Canada, USAU, and WFDF sanctioned mixed gender events follow Ratio Rule A.

How will Ratio Rule A affect my team?

Most teams will want to increase the number of WN2 players on their roster by one and decrease the number of ON2 players by one. However, most existing rosters that were able to accommodate Ratio Rule B will be able to accommodate Ratio Rule A without any forced adjustment.

What can I do if my team does not have enough WN2 players rostered?

Existing rosters should be able to accommodate Ratio Rule A without any forced adjustment, if necessary, in the short term. If your team is struggling to recruit or retain WN2 players, consider these Tips to help teams live long and prosper provided by VUL. Also check out OCUA’s Spares Facebook page to help connect you with subs.

Can the Captain’s Clause be used to change the gender ratio rule?

The simple answer is yes. With the Captain’s Clause, captains may agree to use a different ratio. However, both team captains must agree and OCUA expects teams to make every effort to uphold Ratio Rule A.

How can teams keep track of the changing ratio?

  1. Download this app to keep track of both score and ratio without need of an internet connection: scores.playwithspirit.com
  2. Use a Rule A cheat sheet! Following the lead of WODS, OCUA will provide each captain with a laminated cheat sheet to facilitate keeping track of the ratio based on the score.
  3. WFDF has created arm signals that allow players and teams to clearly communicate the ratio for each point.

Other questions?

Conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion are constantly evolving. We are collectively learning and striving for better within our organization. If you have questions, please contact us at inclusion@ocua.ca.