Gameplay Policies and Forms
The following is a list of the official USQ gameplay policies and procedures. Please note that any tournament that includes gameplay violations or deviates from the official rulebook will be excluded from the standings. If you have any questions about a policy listed on this page, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see information about player residency requirements, please click here.
2016-2017 Seasonal Gameplay Requirements
Requirements for Official Matches
Test Proctor Payment Policy
Roster Submission Requirements
Season Play Requirements
Regional Distribution Count
Registration for Regionals and Nationals
International Friendly Policy
2016-2017 SEASONAL GAMEPLAY REQUIREMENTS
For a game to be considered official (i.e. fulfilling seasonal requirements and to be included in the rankings), it must be between two official member teams and meet the following criteria:
- The game or tournament must be submitted to the USQ events calendar at least two weeks before the event. *
- Participating teams must submit their rosters at least 24 hours in advance.
- USQ member IDs must be checked against the rosters before the game starts (in the case of tournaments, before the first game starts).
- A certified head referee paid $15 and a lead assistant referee must be paid $10 to adjudicate the game, and if the snitch for the game is certified, the snitch must also be paid $8.
- There must be a nonplaying EMT or certified athletic trainer available on site at all times.
- Each team must have a certified coach present during the match.
- A certified tournament director must organize and be present at the event.
For any tournament to have ranked games, all games in the tournament between two USQ official teams must be ranked, and this must be announced by the organizers before registration. This is so a team cannot claim, after the fact, that a game should not be ranked (e.g. after a loss). Rankings provide pool seeding for regional championships and the US Quidditch Cup.
For tournaments with four or fewer teams, the certified tournament director who is organizing the event may also have another role at the event (e.g. player, referee, coach, etc.). For tournaments with five or more teams, the certified TD must be a dedicated TD who does not have any other role at the event. The exception to this is at tournaments that are co-run by multiple certified TDs who have each been heavily involved in the planning of the event. In this case, only one of these TDs must be a dedicated TD at any given time.
For a tournament to have USQ official games in the standings, the tournament director must submit the scores to the USQ website. The TD must also submit an event report after the match or tournament.
* Once an event is submitted to the calendar, it will be pending approval. To see the status of a submitted event, visit the "my events" tab on your dashboard. If the event has been approved and posted on the calendar, you'll see "Approved" under the Approval column. If the event was successfully submitted to the website, but not yet approved, it will say Pending. Note: if you believe you submitted the event, but it is not showing up as pending under "my events" that means the event was not properly submitted.
If a head referee or snitch runner is taking a field test under the supervision of a USQ referee/snitch proctor, that match may be counted as official. Payment for the match must be given to the referee proctor ($15) or to the snitch proctor ($8), rather than to the individual taking the field test. (Lead assistant refs should still be paid directly.)
Each team’s roster of up to 21 players must be submitted on the USQ website 24 hours before the start of the game. Changes to the submitted roster may be made up until 24 hours before the start of the event, as it is listed on the USQ events calendar.
If the initial roster is not submitted 24 hours prior to the tournament, no games played by that team at that tournament may be counted as official. Any game played under an ineligible roster will not be counted as official and will not be included in the rankings. Any games that are later discovered to have been played with an illegal roster will be removed from the rankings and the team captain will be subject to the disciplinary policy
Submitted team rosters will be publicly available for every tournament. Rosters will be displayed with the player’s first initial and full last name, as listed on their individual membership.
For the 2016-2017 season, all official teams will be required to play at least eight games per season against a minimum of four different official teams at three different events before the US Quidditch Cup. Games played at regionals do not count toward this total.
These scheduled games do not have to be one-on-one games. Tournament games count toward the minimum (and beyond), although all games cannot take place in the same tournament.
To be eligible to compete in the US Quidditch Cup, a team must have completed the above seasonal play requirements by two weeks before the event date.
For teams with a fall regional: you must play at least three games against two teams at one event at least two weeks before regionals.
For teams with a spring regional: you must play at least five games against three teams in two events at least two weeks before regionals.
Regional championships are held each season in order for teams to qualify for the US Quidditch Cup, as well as to determine a champion for each region. Regionals are the pinnacle of competition at the regional level, and are the marquee events for the season within each region. The top teams from each regional advance to the US Quidditch Cup, the highest level of competition in the league.
For the regional spot distribution for the US Quidditch Cup, each team must be registered before October 1, 2016 to be counted.* To register, the $150 team dues must be paid, along with at least seven individual members added to the team.
*This means that for the purposes of bid distribution, no teams will be counted after 11:59pm ET on September 30.
For a team to compete in its regional championship, it must register for the tournament at least two weeks prior to the event.
Teams must qualify for the US Quidditch Cup (Nationals) through their regional championship. Upon qualification, each team will be sent information about registration for Nationals, and must complete the initial registration confirmation by the deadline announced with the registration information.
An “international friendly” is a match held on US, Canadian, or Mexican soil between official member teams of more than one of those national governing bodies. Because international friendlies are not played against official USQ teams, they will not be added to USQ’s standings. To see more about the policy, read the initial policy announcement here. In order for the game to count for USQ’s incentives, the game must follow several requirements:
- The event or tournament must be listed on the USQ events calendar at least two weeks before the event.
- The games must abide by the following USQ policies:
- Played under rulebook 10.
- A non-playing certified EMT or athletic trainer must be on site at all times.
- A certified head referee and certified lead assistant referee (subject to the host governing body’s requirements) must adjudicate the game.
- A certified tournament director (subject to the host governing body’s requirements) must be present.
- The game must be against an official team with the other national governing body.
- The game must be submitted to this form on the USQ website within 7 days of occurring.
Results for international friendlies can be found here.
Regional Transfer Policy
If a team cannot attend its designated regional championship, it may submit a waiver to attend a different regional championship. These waivers are only accepted in extreme circumstances, such as:
- Assigned regional is much farther away than alternative regional
- Financially infeasible to attend assigned regional
- Affiliated institution is holding a required activity during the regional (e.g. finals)
All waivers must be submitted at least one month before the assigned regional in order to be considered. Click here to access the waiver form.
Player Transfer Policy
If a player wishes to transfer between official teams during the season, that player may submit a waiver to transfer. All individual players will be allowed the opportunity to transfer from one official member team to another official member team one time before Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 11:59pm ET.
After October 26, or after the one transfer has been used, no further transfers will be allowed. Exceptions will be made only if the player:
Provides documentation of a change in school enrollment status.
Provides timely documentation of an address change greater than 100 miles, as measured by driving distance.
Proves their current team environment is unsafe for them based upon violations of the Unlawful Harassment clause of the USQ Member Code of Conduct.
*The requesting player may be asked to provide documentation of the violations, which may include names and contact information of multiple individuals willing to attest to the violations. A player on a team that has failed to qualify for nationals will not be allowed to transfer to a team that has qualified, or has yet to qualify.
USQ reserves the right to reject a transfer under the above listed exceptions based on the specific circumstances of a transfer request.
US Quidditch has developed these transfer policies in order to protect competitive integrity and uphold fair play.
Player Disciplinary Policy
The disciplinary policy applies to official games, sanctioned events, and USQ-hosted events. It applies to incidents on or off the field, including at event-related activities. USQ members are expected to abide also by the member code of conduct and the unlawful harassment policy, as well as all other USQ gameplay policies. Offenses which involve tournament staff, personnel, or volunteers will be given additional scrutiny.
Please note that for USQ to act on an incident it must be reported to us. At USQ regional and national championships, potential disciplinary incidents may be reported directly to tournament staff, and action may be taken immediately. For those who chose not to report on site or for those attending non-USQ hosted events, attendees are encouraged to report any potential disciplinary incidents via this form within one week after the event or game takes place.
In addition, USQ has implemented multiple offense modifiers for repeat offenders of a specific policy. For a second offense the suspension range will increase by 50% of the original range, and for a third offense the suspension range will increase by 100% of the original range. Please note that modifiers apply only to one offense, not two separate offenses. Modifiers will be in effect for 12 months (one calendar year) after the initial (or subsequent) offense occurred.
Multiple Red Cards:
Two straight red cards at an event*
1 to 1 games
Two straight red cards in consecutive matches*
1 to 2 games
*Note: suspensions may be increased if the given straight red card falls into an additional suspension category, as listed below. As applicable, players may be be given multiple suspensions both under the multiple red card category as well as a verbal, physical, or policy offense.
Directed violent, discriminatory or abusive language or obscene gestures
1 to 5 games
Verbal tirade involving violent, discriminatory, or abusive language or obscene gestures
3 to 6 games
Threatening another person (in game/at event)
3 to 6 games
Sexual harassment (in game/at event)**
Minimum of 5 games
**Note: please see USQ’s Unlawful Harassment Policy here.
Attempting to injure another person
2 to 8 games
Inciting a brawl
4 to 9 games
Participation in a brawl
2 to 8 games
Assault or destruction of tournament property
2 to 6 games
Egregiously Illegal Contact
1 to 4 games
Minimum of 5 games
**Note: please see USQ’s Unlawful Harassment Policy here.
Presiding over a roster infraction
2 to 6 games plus game invalidation
Covering up a suspendable offense from the league ***
4 to 10 games
4 to 10 games plus game invalidation
4 to 10 games plus game invalidation
*** Note: this suspension is in addition to the suspension for the original offense as well. As applicable, the game(s) may be invalidated.
AT THE GAME
- At the game, no action needs to be made by a reporting party, but that person should attempt to record and remember the pertinent details of the incident. This includes what game the incident occurred in as well as the names of any involved parties. However, at USQ regional and national championships, potential disciplinary incidents may be reported directly to tournament staff, and action may be taken immediately.
AFTER THE GAME
- Within one (1) week after the event occurs, the reporting party must fill out a disciplinary conduct review form. If the form is not filled out in time, the conduct cannot be reviewed. That form is also available online.
- The gameplay coordinators and staff make an initial determination whether the situation described in the form is eligible for suspension. If it is not, the case is immediately dismissed.
- If the case goes forward, a staff member or gameplay coordinator will gather information on the situation from the head referee. USQ may also seek information from assistant referees, team captains, and anyone else who has further information on the appealed game.
- Before any decision is made, the captain of the player being reviewed will be contacted in order to gain that player’s own response to the situation.
- Enough information has been gathered to make a determination, the gameplay coordinators and staff will decide whether to suspend the player, for how long and whether any part of the suspension may be appealed, based on the suspension guidelines specified above.
- Any suspensions are reported to the affected teams and USQ officials.
DURING A SUSPENSION
- If the suspension includes a portion which may be appealed, the suspended player may submit a suspension appeal form within seven (7) days of the suspension being handed down. An online meeting will be set up with the player, and determine whether to adjust the player’s suspension within a week after the meeting takes place. A player is still suspended for the duration of any appeal, unless the suspension is complete prior to the end of the appeal process.
- If a player is suspended, that player may not play in any of their team’s games until the suspension is complete. Once the player has sat out the number of required games, that player will be allowed to rejoin the team for any later games or tournaments. A suspended player may rejoin a team mid-tournament, if the team chooses to use up a roster spot for that player through the entire tournament, including the games in which the player may not participate.
- If the player was suspended for a game or multiple games for this particular incident onsite at the event, these games may count towards time served for the suspension.
Game Appeal Policy
The appeal process exists in order to fix correctable mistakes when the result of a game was impacted. Within one week after the game occurred, the appealing team must fill out the appeals form. Appeals are for unusual and extreme cases, and we encourage teams not to submit them unless there are clear grounds for appeal. The only practical effect an appeal can have is the removal of an official game from USQ rankings. Appeals which do not qualify under the grounds for appeal will automatically be dismissed. Here are the grounds for an appeal: “A clearly incorrect implementation of the rules that played a direct role in determining the outcome of the game. Judgement calls and missed calls do not apply.”
AT THE GAME
A team need not take any action during or immediately following the game. If a team intends to file an appeal, they should note the teams playing and the name of the head referee.
AFTER THE GAME
Within one (1) week after the game occurs, the appealing team must fill out the appeal form. If the form is not filled out in time, the appeal cannot be considered.
IN THE GAMEPLAY DEPARTMENT
The gameplay coordinators makes an initial determination whether the situation described by a team is eligible for appeal. If it is not, the appeal is immediately dismissed.
If the appeal goes forward, a gameplay coordinator will gather information on the situation from the head referee. USQ may also seek information from assistant referees, team captains, and anyone else who has further information on the appealed game.
Once the final decision is made, the involved teams will receive an e-mail with that decision as well as the reason behind the decision. If an appeal succeeds, the appealed game is struck from the record and excluded from the rankings.
One of the three pillars of USQ is competition. As such, it is essential that USQ sponsors official competitions that are fun, fair, and competitive. The Fair Play policy has been put in place to ensure the authenticity of USQ contests.
In the case of a breach of the Fair Play policy, USQ may choose to invalidate any games involved in the breach. Anyone intentionally breaching the Fair Play policy will also be subject to USQ Player Disciplinary policy.
- Match-fixing: It is against USQ rules to intentionally fix the outcome of any game, including intentionally throwing a game.
- Betting: It is against USQ rules to bet money on any game or tournament you are participating in as player, coach, or referee.
- Bribery: It is against USQ rules to accept any money, good, or service in exchange for altering the outcome of a game or intentionally injuring any person.
- Eligibility: It is against USQ rules to field a player in an official game who is not on a team’s roster.
- Extreme and intentional cheating: A person or team may be disciplined after the fact for any instance of serious intentional cheating in an official USQ match.
- Observed illegal drug use: A player observed to have used an illegal drug immediately prior to a game may not be allowed to participate.
A team which does not appear at the time and location of a game it is scheduled to play shall receive a forfeit. For the purpose of any tournament seeding, a forfeit is counted as a 150*-0 loss for the forfeiting team. If both teams forfeit, both teams shall receive a 150*-0 loss.
Forfeits do not count for the purpose of the official USQ rankings except under extreme or unusual circumstances; however, a forfeit in any game that teams have started playing will usually be included in the rankings. Any games forfeited during a regional championship or the US Quidditch Cup will be included in the rankings.
A team receives a forfeit for any of the following reasons:
- Failing to appear at the scheduled start time and location of a game.
- Not being prepared to start a game within five minutes after the scheduled start time.
- Refusing to play or continue play when instructed by the head referee, including walking out during a match.
A team will never receive a forfeit for a game that it never agreed to attend, was not informed it was scheduled to attend or had the date and time changed without agreement from both teams. However, in spite of that, a team must complete any game it has started playing or it will receive a forfeit.
A team that maliciously or repeatedly forfeits games will be subject to various penalties by USQ, including suspension. In extreme or unusual circumstances, USQ may choose to include a forfeited game in the official rankings for either or both of the teams.
Attempting to exploit USQ policies by intentionally forfeiting a game or games may result in forfeits of all future games in the same tournament. Offenders will be subject to the disciplinary policies.
The following uniform tiebreakers will be used at regional championships and the US Quidditch Cup when teams are tied with the same win record:
Head-to-head (when applicable between all tied teams)
Point differential per game (with a max value of +/- 100 points for each individual game).
Snitch catch percentage
Coin flip/random selection
For USQ regional championships that have uneven number of games played between pools during the course of pool play, the win record will be teams ranked by the number of losses they had in pool play. To then calculate between pools, the average of point differentials and snitch catch percentages will be used.
In the case of a multiple team tie when more than two teams are tied, normal tie-breaking procedures shall be used. If at any point within the tie-breaking procedure one or more of the the teams are eliminated, the procedure shall then revert to the beginning of the tiebreaker list with the remaining teams. If a team is eliminated in a round of the tiebreaker procedure, that team shall not be eligible to be ranked above the teams which remained after that round. If two teams are eliminated simultaneously, but were not tied in that step, then those eliminated teams shall be ranked against each other based on their standing in that step. If the eliminated teams were tied in the eliminating step, they shall revert to the beginning of the tiebreaker procedure. These rules are similar to what is used by other governing bodies, including the National Football League (see this link).
Team A, Team B, and Team C all finish with 3-1 records in pool play (tiebreaker policy Step 1).
Team A defeated Team B, Team B defeated Team C, and Team C defeated Team A. No clear head-to-head victor is present (tiebreaker policy Step 2).
Team A finishes with 230 point differential, Team B finishes with 230 point differential, Team C finishes with 220 point differential. Team C is eliminated due to lower point differential (tiebreaker policy Step 3) and the process reverts back to step 1.
Team A and Team B finish with 3-1 records in pool play (tiebreaker policy Step 1).
Team A defeated Team B. Team A is awarded the top place in this pool (tie-breaker policy Step 2).
Head-to-head: This statistic compares teams based on games that they’ve played against each other. For example:
If two teams are tied and one has defeated the other, the team who was victorious wins the tiebreaker.
If three teams are tied and one team has defeated the other two, that team is ranked above the other two. In this situation, the lower two teams then begin again in the tiebreaker procedure.
If three teams are tied and one team has lost to the other two, that team is ranked below the other two. In this situation, the two higher teams then begin again in the tiebreaker procedure.
In any other situation where teams are tied, skip this tiebreaker and proceed to the point differential per game tiebreaker.
Point Differential Per Game: This statistic is a point differential with a hard cap of 100 points, based on the final score at the end of the match (including any snitch catches). A hard cap means that if a team wins by more than 100 points, no matter how much they win by, the statistic will have a value of exactly 100 points. It mitigates the effect of blowouts and discourages teams from running up the score.
Snitch Catch Percentage: This statistic compares the number of times a team catch the snitch in their matches against the total number of opportunities the team had to catch the snitch (including overtime periods). For example, if a team has four pool play matches and catches the snitch three times, their snitch catch percentage would be 75%. However, if one of the four games went into overtime and the team did not catch the snitch in overtime (or no team caught the snitch), the percentage would drop to three out of five (or 60%).
Coin Flip/Random Selection: This method is the final tiebreaker. For two or more teams who have the same record, cannot be divided head-to-head, have the same point differential, and have the same snitch catch percentage, the higher seed will be decided via a coin flip or other random selection method.
Consistent enforcement of equipment policies will help in three ways. First, it will help ensure that referees do not accidentally allow equipment that may be dangerous. Second, a consistent policy will ensure that gameplay is standardized for everyone, no matter their referees or location. Third, having consistent rules with help with the expectations of players: when you show up to a tournament, you will have a better idea whether or not a particular piece of equipment will be allowed.
Note that any equipment that a player brings into a game may be destroyed due to the physical nature of the game. USQ is not liable for any broken equipment, so exercise caution and good judgment before you bring a valuable item into a game.
Here are the specific provisions:
1. Padding - Padding can be used to protect an injury from further harm, but we do not want players using excessive padding in an attempt to alter the game (imagine a player wearing pillows). Thus, all padding must meet the following standards:
A. It must be one inch or less in thickness.
B. When a referee raps on it with a knuckle, it should not make a knocking sound.
C. It must bend easily when a minimal amount of force is applied to it.
Notes for referees
- You need not perform all of these tests for all players. If you have prior knowledge of the equipment to be used, you may allow/disallow it as appropriate.
- In a tournament, you may talk to the tournament director (TD) about having a singular equipment check at the beginning of the tournament. Then, during the ground rules for each game, tell the captains that any equipment they are found to be wearing that they did not put through the equipment check and that violates the equipment rules, results in an immediate red card.
2. Braces - Athletic braces are allowed but must generally meet the standards of padding above. A brace may include a hard element; however, any hard plastic or metal in a brace must be covered at all times during a game. If any hard plastic or metal becomes exposed, the player must leave play and fix the problem per the defective equipment rules. Referees reserve the right to refuse any brace that they believe presents a danger to players.
3. Athletic supporters - Athletic supporters, or cups (used to protect the groin), are allowed in spite of the above padding rule.
4. Glasses and eyewear - Glasses are not generally dangerous, but the potential for broken glass in a game is worrisome. Thus, players are allowed to wear glasses or other eyewear, but no eyewear actually made of glass will be allowed, unless it is worn underneath goggles so that glass is not exposed.
5. Lacrosse goggles - Lacrosse "cage" goggles will not be allowed.
6. "Scrum helmets" - Rugby "scrum helmets" are considered padding, and thus must pass the padding tests if they are to be worn.
7. Other equipment - Any equipment other than clothing that is not mentioned here or in the rulebook will not be allowed. The head referee may only make very minor exceptions to this rule, such as for athletic tape or a small towel used to wipe off one’s hands (not to be used in play).
Individuals with disabilities who may require other specific equipment may fill out this waiver form. Such equipment will be approved if it does not present a danger to anyone or a competitive advantage.
Please note that equipment waivers allow the use of additional equipment in specific situations; the waiver should not be used as an attempt to avoid utilizing required safety equipment. In other words, USQ will not approve equipment waivers requesting permission to not wear a mouthguard while participating in an official USQ game. See our Player Safety page for more information about this decision.
For USQ regionals and the US Quidditch Cup in the 2015-2016 season, the official quaffle that will be used is the Baden Matchpoint size five. This quaffle is not required to be used for other official games throughout the season.
PLAYER NUMBER POLICY
Beginning in the 2017-18 season, player numbers will be restricted to integers. Letters or symbols such as pi and infinity will not be allowed. USQ recognizes that jerseys, especially those with full sublimation, are an additional expense for players. We want to ensure that teams have ample time to implement the change. We strongly recommend that teams ordering new jerseys in the 2016-17 season restrict player numbers to integers only. The one season grace period will end on June 30, 2017.
The policy for the 2016-2017 season is listed in the current rulebook. Starting in the 2017-2018 season, the policy will be as follows:
Players are restricted in what numbers they may wear on the back of their jerseys during official matches. This is to ensure that referees can recognize a player’s number and communicate it easily to other referees and players during games.
- Integers 0-999
Players may lead their number with any number of zeros, provided the number remains a total of three digits. So a player could be:
However, teams may not have repeated instances of the same number on the same team using this scheme. A team that has a number 7 could not also have a number 07 or a number 007. As another example, a team that has a number 000 could not also have a number 00 or a number 0.