Sport without referees

Ultimate is a non-contact sport played with a 175 gram flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or rugby. Players may not run with the disc, and may only move one foot while holding the disc (pivoting).

While originally called Ultimate Frisbee, it is now officially called Ultimate because Frisbee is the trademark, albeit genericized, for the line of discs made by the Wham-O toy company. In 2008, there were 4.9 million Ultimate players in the US.

Ultimate is known for its “Spirit of the Game”, often abbreviated SOTG. Ultimate’s self-officiated nature demands a strong spirit of sportsmanship and respect. The following description is from the official Ultimate rules established by the Ultimate Players Association:

F4 Frogs defeated the G2 Gators for the Ultimate Frisbee Brigade Championship (5)

Ultimate has traditionally relied upon a spirit of sportsmanship which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of the bond of mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate adverse conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting of opposing players, dangerous aggression, intentional fouling, or other ‘win-at-all-costs’ behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

Men’s Ultimate Frisbee highlights from the national championships in Florida

Many tournaments give awards for the most spirited team, as voted for by all the teams taking part in the tournament.


The first national exposure of Ultimate Frisbee came on the 4th of July weekend of 1970 when a group of Frisbee players from Boston calling themselves the Nat Love Nine, journeyed to Houghton, Michigan for the annual International Frisbee Tournament. They brought with them a new game; one they had learned at Antioch College called Frisbee Football which later became known as Ultimate Frisbee. The event was chronicled by Sports Illustrated Magazine in their August 3rd, 1971 edition.

The first collegiate Ultimate club was formed by Sam Weingast when he arrived at Lafayette College in 1970.

The first intercollegiate competition was held at Rutgers’s New Brunswick campus between Rutgers and Princeton on November 6, 1972, the 103rd anniversary of the first intercollegiate game of American football featuring the same schools competing in the same location.

By 1975, dozens of colleges had teams, and in April 1975, players organized the first Ultimate tournament, an eight-team invitational called the “Intercollegiate Ultimate Frisbee Championships,” to be played at Yale. Rutgers beat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 26-23 in the finals.

Ultimate Club Championships, WUCC 2006 & 2010 and WUGC 08, UV highlights

By 1976, teams were organizing in areas outside the Northeast. A 16-team single elimination tournament was set up at Amherst, Massachusetts, to include 13 East Coast teams and 3 Midwest teams. Rutgers again took the title, beating Hampshire College in the finals. Penn State and Princeton were the other semi-finalists. While it was called the “National Ultimate Frisbee Championships”, Ultimate was starting to appear in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara area.

Penn State hosted the first five-region National Ultimate Championships in May 1979. There were five regional representatives: three college and two club teams. They were as follows: Cornell University-(Northeast), Glassboro State- (Middle Atlantic), Michigan State-(Central), Orlando Fling-(South), Santa Barbara Condors-(West). Each team played the other in a round robin format to produce a Glassboro-Condors final. The Condors had gone undefeated up to this point; however Glassboro prevailed 19-18 to become the 1979 national champions. They repeated as champions in 1980 as well.

The first College Nationals made up exclusively of college teams took place in 1984 in Somerville, MA. The event, hosted by the Tufts University E-Men crowned Stanford its winner, as they beat Glassboro State in the finals.

It’s from..

In the fall of 1968, Joel Silver, a student at Columbia High School proposed a school Frisbee team to the student council on a whim. The following summer, a group of students got together to play what Silver claimed to be the “ultimate game experience,” adapting the sport from a form of Frisbee football, likely learned from Jared Kass while attending a summer camp at Northfield Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, where Kass was teaching. The proportion of rules developed by Kass, and those developed by Silver, is disputed. It was discovered in 2003 that the game that Kass and Silver played may have been more similar to Ultimate than had been thought.[4] Regardless, the students who played and codified the rules at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, were an eclectic group of students including participants in academics, student politics, the student newspaper, and school dramatic productions. Key early contributors besides Silver included Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring and Jonny Hines. Another member of the original team was Walter Sabo, who went on to be a major figure in the American radio business. The sport became identified as a counterculture activity. The first definitive history of the sport was published in December 2005, ULTIMATE: The First Four Decades.

While the rules governing movement and scoring of the sport have not changed, the early Columbia High School games had sidelines that were defined by the parking lot of the school and team sizes based on the number of players that showed up. A foul was defined as contact “sufficient to arouse the ire of the player fouled.” No referees were present, which often holds true today: most Ultimate matches (even at high level events) are self-officiated. At higher levels of play referees called ‘observers’ are often present. Observers only make calls when appealed to by one of the teams, at which point the result is binding.


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