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USAU Announces Major 2017 Club Calendar Restructure

The US Open will also be combined with the Youth Club Championships.

Originally published at: http://ultiworld.com/2016/07/11/usau-announces-major-2017-club-calendar-restructure/

As someone who’s been unhappy about a lot of changes to the club season over the past few years, this is a big improvement, and USAU deserves kudos for changing course in response to the desires of the membership.


This is a huge improvement. Well done.

No mention of ESPN coverage in the press release. Does that contract expire after 2016? Is this change in timing likely to affect terms with ESPN (either positive or negative)?


The contract is up after this season.

My gut sense is that the timing probably does not matter to ESPN either way. Nationals was already conflicting with NFL on its previous dates, and early August is just as much of a sports dead zone as early July (re. US Open timing).

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Combining US Open and YCC will keep many dedicated club players from coaching YCC teams.

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The club working group and the board both discussed this issue (and in cooperation with USAU youth staff and organizers) and did identify this as a drawback. But the number of YCC coaches who also compete for the very top club teams in each division (the US Open is only 12 teams per division, with some of those spots going to international teams) is relatively small. We are also going to explore some scheduling options which could allow those athletes/coaches to attend games for both teams, though it will be hard to avoid overlap completely and the teams would, at minimum, probably need to have a 2nd coach without conflicts attend the tournament as well. In any event, nothing would prevent US Open club players from still coaching YCC teams. Even if they have to miss a few games at the tournament, no doubt their presence all season (and at parts of the tournament) would be most welcome.

On the flip side, some advantage of this combination are that the YCC athletes will be exposed to the top 8 club teams in each division and some awesome international teams, they will have the opportunity to watch one or more club finals games in a stadium (and conversely, have some of the top athletes in the world watching them as well), and they will enjoy the YCC event having an even higher profile than it did already. Also, both the YCC athletes and those YCC coaches who are not themselves athletes on the top teams may have opportunities to catch some convention sessions, open forums, and other activities. Looking at this from the perspective of the young athletes, I hope and expect that it will be a net benefit. Even for the top club athletes who are also YCC coaches, it will be a hectic weekend, but this also saves them a plane ticket and a summer weekend if they can do both big events at the same time, and their kids will have opportunities to watch them compete, so there are pros and cons.


Dave, I just want to thank you for the quuck, insightful response. This is the kind of communication that we need more of from the board.


Does this mean that the last two spots in the Pro Flight Finale will no longer go to the Elite-Select Finalists? It would probably be very difficult for teams to coordinate another tournament, that possibly involves flights, in two weeks…

As I’ve seen Bamasecs speculating on Twitter, it could be more likely that we now see a qualifier from the Select Flight Invite get a bid to the Elite-Select Challenge. The difference between “late July” and “mid August” is 2-4 weeks, and if it’s on the 3-4 side it is definitely manageable to plan for.

This could seemingly be more beneficial as games between high-level Select teams and the Elite teams would likely have more impact on the bid picture than and Elite team (most likely) moving up to play with Pro Flight teams.

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This is something that is still TBD. We have definitely discussed multiple options, but this is an open point. We’re certainly aware of the impact on this. Realistically, if there are two full weekends between, then it’s the same as Nationals, and there are other options as well. Look for more on this as we move forward with specifics.



To be frank, I doubt ESPN feels strongly about the timing one way or the other. For instance, this Saturday on ESPN3 they have NBA Summer League games, a boxing match, an MMA event, a cricket match, two Arena League football games, a CFL game, college gymnastics, rodeo, the USA Timbersports Championships, several Rugby matches, and a variety of soccer.

In terms of the existing status quo, every weekend looks like this, so it doesn’t change any plan at the ESPN level if the US Open is any specific weekend. They’ll throw the programming on and move on.

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Thanks for the explanation. In the end, I wonder if this will be a non-factor – While I am sure that some elite player/YCC coaches will be affected, only around 15-20 people total will need to work around the new YCC/US Open double tournament. (Around 25-30 US teams compete in the Open across all divisions, and not every one will have a player who coaches a YCC team.)

While yes, that is a major bummer for them, the benefits of the double tournament greatly outweigh this super-minority of players’ inconvenience. I am glad that USAU has already started brainstorming possible solutions in the meantime, though.

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