USQ Update

USQ Update

2019-20 Gameplay Policies and Season Structure for Collegiate and Community

Announcement of community division structure adjustments, collegiate national championship format, changes to gameplay policies for the 2019-20 season, and reminders of other key gameplay policies and programs.

The USQ Gameplay Department conducts an extensive review of all league gameplay policies and programs from April to August each season. This detailed review includes evaluating feedback received from members through surveys and meetings. For the 2019-20 season, the primary change is to the community division format, as well as an adjustment to the format of the collegiate division at the national championship, and the introduction of a second player transfer window during the season. 

Beginning in the 2019-20 season, the community division will be renamed to the club division. Based on feedback received, it was expressed that ‘club’ better aligns with other sports leagues and more accurately reflects the gameplay opportunities within the division. Going forward, references to the former community division will be updated to say club division instead, including in the rest of this article.

The full list of gameplay policies is visible here. Any questions about the structures, policies, or programs in this article can be directed to gameplay@usquidditch.org.

Article contents:


Club division structure

Throughout the summer, over 30 members of the club division participated in a series of focus groups led by USQ to discuss ideas, thoughts, and concerns for the future of this division. That feedback was then discussed internally by USQ staff and volunteers. From there, USQ came up with proposed next steps for the season based on these conversations. Proposed next steps were then shared with focus group participants for further feedback, then reviewed again internally by USQ staff and the gameplay department. We are excited to share these finalized plans with you below. 

Starting in the 2019-20 season, this division will be shifting from a regional championship structure to a circuit structure. Club teams will no longer be required to attend a regional championship in order to qualify for US Quidditch Cup. Additional information below outlines the season structure and qualification process. 

Season play requirements

In order to be eligible to qualify for US Quidditch Cup (the national championship), club teams will need to fulfill season play requirements by March 1, 2020. The season play requirements mandate a minimum number of opponents played during the season, and a minimum number of game points, which are earned by playing official games.

Teams must have at least 14 game points. These can be earned in a variety of ways. Playing any game is worth 1 point, whether it is a club vs. club game or a or club vs. college game. At events with circuit recognition (see below for more information on this), club vs. club games at are worth 1.5 points. Club vs. club games at a USQ-hosted circuit event are worth 2 points.

The bonus points earned for circuit events only apply for up to 5 games per event (up to an additional 2.5 bonus points from a circuit event, and up to an additional 5 bonus points from a USQ-hosted circuit event) for an individual team. Additional games played beyond the 5-game cap are worth the normal 1 point each.

Club teams will also be required to play games against at least six (6) different official member teams. At least three (3) of those opponents must be club teams. 

There is not a minimum number of events that a club team is required to attend to fulfill their season play requirements. Teams are not required to attend a circuit event or a USQ-hosted event in order to fulfill their season play requirements.

Circuit structure & points system

Events throughout the season can apply for recognition as part of the circuit system. If the event meets the minimum requirement, club vs. club games at that event can be eligible for bonus points (see the season play requirements section above for more information). 

Circuit event requirements and application

The following requirements must be met for an event to qualify for circuit recognition:

  • At least 2 club teams competing officially at the event
  • At least 1 game that is an official club team vs. another official club team
  • The gameplay format is emailed to gameplay@usquidditch.org at least one week in advance of the event. TDs are encouraged to send it further in advance when possible.  
  • The event must apply for and be approved for event sanctioning. The requirements for this are outlined below.

The events must satisfy the requirements of hosts of a sanctioned event:

  • For those events with unofficial teams, a list of all participants.
  • Certified head referees ($15/game) and certified lead assistant referees ($10/game) paid the standard league fee for all games, including unofficial matches
  • For unofficial matches involving Quidditch Canada teams or players, including fantasy tournaments featuring both American and Canadian players, we will accept QC head referee certification in lieu of USQ head referee certification. Lead assistant referees will still be required. QC referees need to have passed the written QC assistant referee, snitch referee, and head referee tests to serve in the LAR role. Certified HRs and LARs must still be paid the standard league fee for these games.
  • If used, certified snitch runners paid the standard league fee for all games ($8/game), including unofficial matches
  • Facility for event including: high quality playing fields (soft turf or grass), clear field demarcation, ample on-site water, access to bathrooms, and food on-site or nearby
  • Professional, nonplaying medical staff onsite. Medical staff must be dedicated and designated in their role for the entirety of the tournament. Also, an overall injury report must be submitted after the event.
  • Standard and safe equipment: hoops, brooms, balls, and clear scoreboards
  • Logical gameplay procedures: overall structure, pool assignment, bracket seeding, tiebreaker mechanism
  • Schedule released at least one week in advance: gameplay, referees, snitches, and other volunteers
  • All tournament essentials (including those listed above) reserved and confirmed a reasonable amount of time before the tournament date. USQ is happy to provide support in securing the essentials described above, given reasonable notice.
  • Non-USQ members competing in sanctioned events are required to pay a $10 sanctioned event registration fee. 

To apply for circuit recognition, the Tournament Director should fill out the event sanctioning form and confirm on the first page of the form that they are interested in circuit recognition. If you already submitted your event for event sanctioning prior to the announcement of the circuit structure, please email events@usquidditch.org

Automatic bids to US Quidditch Cup 13

A limited number of events are able to apply to have the club champion of their event automatically receive a bid to the national championship. In order for an event to be selected as an auto-bid event, it must have circuit recognition and apply for auto-bid status. To apply, email gameplay@usquidditch.org once your event has been approved as a sanctioned event. 

Minimum requirements

In addition to the requirements for circuit events listed above, auto-bid events must meet the following requirements: 

  • At least 6 club teams competing officially at the event
  • The champion must have played against at least 5 different club teams at the event
  • The tournament must use the USQ tiebreakers
  • The gameplay format is emailed to gameplay@usquidditch.org at least two weeks in advance of the event, and it must be approved. TDs are encouraged to send it further in advance when possible, and recommended to send it in as soon as the format is determined.  
    • Any changes to the gameplay format must be immediately sent to the USQ Gameplay Department.
    • USQ reserves the right to decline to designate an event for an auto-bid if the gameplay format is determined to be unfair or below league standards.

If these requirements are met, then the club champion - either the champion of the entire event if they are a club team, or the champion of the club division if collegiate and club teams are competing separately - will be awarded an auto-bid.

Deadlines and other information

Eligible fall events must apply for auto-bid status either one month before their event, or by October 23, 2019, whichever comes first. Eligible spring events are encouraged to apply for an auto-bid as soon as the event format is determined, as it helps teams to more effectively plan for the season. Spring events must apply no later than February 5, 2020. 

If a team has already received an auto-bid at a previous circuit event and then wins another event that has auto-bid, there will be no auto-bid awarded at that second event. It does not drop down to the second place team. 

Teams who receive an auto-bid are still required to meet the season play requirements by March 1, 2019, but will not be part of the rankings-based qualification process. 

If a team drops and tournament is below 6 club teams, or otherwise fails to continue to meet the requirements for an auto-bid event, that tournament/team is no longer able to get an auto-bid. If the circuit event requirements are still met, the competing teams would still be eligible for the circuit bonus points, but the winning team would not receive an auto-bid.

USQ-hosted circuit events & bonus points

USQ will be hosting a number of circuit events in conjunction with the collegiate regional championships. The specific dates and locations for these events will be finalized by the end of September, to allow for input and interest from teams. An email will be sent out to all current club teams as well as club teams that were official members in the 2018-19 season by Thursday, September 5 with additional information about specific planned circuit events and a survey for initial interest from teams. 

The majority of the regional championships will be partnered with a circuit event. The goal is to ensure that all club teams will have at least one accessible USQ-hosted circuit event near them, and event locations will be selected to create the best event experience for teams both at the event site and the overall travel experience. If you have questions about a particular event, please feel free to reach out to us at events@usquidditch.org

Games played at a USQ-hosted circuit event are worth 2 points each. This bonus only applies for up to 5 games per event (up to an additional 5 bonus points) for an individual team. Additional games played beyond the 5-game cap are worth the normal 1 point each.

Teams are not required to attend a USQ-hosted circuit event in order to be eligible to qualify for the national championship. Teams are permitted to attend multiple USQ-hosted circuit events, including those hosted in a different region than that in which they reside. Any official club teams are welcome to participate in any USQ-hosted circuit event, including teams who have already received an auto-bid to US Quidditch Cup. There are not season play requirements that a team must fulfill before competing in one of these events.

There is not a minimum number of club teams for a USQ-hosted circuit event. If at least 6 club teams are present, the USQ-hosted circuit event will be an auto-bid event.

As with other USQ-hosted events, the league’s stay and play policy will be in effect. 

Qualification for nationals

There will be 24 total club teams who qualify for US Quidditch Cup 13. These teams will compete in a competitive tournament structure, with 4 pools of 6 teams. 

Some teams will qualify for the event through the auto-bid process as described above. The majority of teams will qualify through an at large bid process. Teams must meet the season play requirements of 14 game points and 6 opponents in order to be eligible for the selection. There is no additional reward for teams who complete game points than the necessary 14. 

The rankings will freeze on Sunday, March 1, 2020. At that time, the remaining bids not filled through the auto-bid system will be awarded to teams based on the rankings. Starting with the top club team in the standings, any team who has not been awarded an auto-bid will be offered an at large bid, until the bids are all distributed. Teams will have until Friday, March 6, 2020 to confirm acceptance of the bid. 

Teams who drop out of the event after confirming acceptance of an auto-bid or at large bid may face penalties in the 2020-21 season, including being ineligible to compete in the competitive division at the national championship.

Rankings

There will not be a change to the rankings algorithm for the 2019-20 season. Club vs. club games at circuit events will not have additional weight in the rankings. All games played against official member teams, including club vs. college games, will be included in the rankings. 

Ongoing evaluation

USQ will be collecting feedback during the 2019-20 season to gauge how this new structure is working for club division teams. Feedback will be reviewed at the end of the season and the divisional structure for the 2020-21 season will be announced in June 2020. 

To facilitate feedback opportunities, USQ will be hosting meetings throughout the season that club division members will be invited to. More info on specific dates and times will be shared soon. You are also welcome to email strategicplanning@usquidditch.org or gameplay@usquidditch.org with any feedback throughout the season. Finally, a survey will be shared at the end of the season with club team members.

Your feedback is important to us so we can make adjustments where necessary, so please do not hesitate to reach out to USQ with comments, thoughts, or ideas. This is your sport, and you always have the opportunity to positively impact the direction it grows.

Collegiate division structure

The overall season structure will be the same as the 2018-19 season for the collegiate division. Teams will compete in regular season matches as well as a regional championship. There will be opportunities for teams to qualify for the national championship at regional events as well as through an at large process. The format for the collegiate division at US Quidditch Cup is being adjusted, as outlined below.

Season play requirements

The season play requirements will be the same for the collegiate division as in the 2018-19 season. 

All official collegiate teams will be required to play at least eight games per season against a minimum of four different official teams (of either division) at three different events by two weeks before the US Quidditch Cup. Games played at regionals do not count toward this total. Of these requirements, 2 games may be filled by an international friendly. International friendlies will not count toward the minimum number of opponents or events.

Teams with a fall regional must play at least three games against two teams at one event no later than two weeks before regionals. Teams with a spring regional must play at least five games against three teams in two events no later than two weeks before regionals

Additional information is available here

Regional championships

Team registration for the regional championships will open on Friday, August 30, 2019. 

USQ requires a minimum regional size for the collegiate division. In the 2019-20 season, the minimum will be five teams, the same as in the 2018-19 season. If a region does not have five teams fully registered in a division by 11:59pm ET on September 30, 2019, there will be no regional for the collegiate division in that region. Teams in that region and division will be required to attend an assigned super regional championship instead.

Additional information about regional championship dates and locations can be found here.

National championship

At US Quidditch Cup 13, the collegiate division will be split into two separate divisions. The competitive division will be similar in structure to previous years, and a new open division will be introduced. Information about the format and qualification process for each division. 64 total teams will be able to compete at the event, between both divisions.

Competitive division

The competitive division will include 48 teams. Forty (40) teams will earn a bid through the regional championships, and eight (8) teams will earn a bid through the at large bid process. 

The 40 bids will be allocated based on the number of registered teams in a region as of October 1, 2019. A system of at large bids will determine the remaining spots. See below for additional information about at large bids. For the regional spot distribution for the US Quidditch Cup, each team must be registered before 11:59 pm ET on September 30, 2019 to be counted. To register, the $150 team dues must be paid, along with at least seven individual members added to the team.

At large bids will be awarded directly to teams based on the USQ standings as of 11:59pm ET on Sunday, March 1, 2020. Teams must meet certain requirements, including expanded season play requirements. Additional information about the at large bid process is available here

The collegiate competitive division will be a Swiss-style tournament. Additional details about the tournament structure and gameplay schedule will be released throughout this season.

Open division

US Quidditch 13 will see the introduction of an open division within the collegiate division. Spaces will be available for 16 official teams to compete. 

The open division is designed to be an opportunity for additional teams to be able to compete against other teams from across the country. This is not a tournament format, and no champion will be crowned in this division. It will be an opportunity for teams of all levels to be able to participate in the national championship and gain experience against opponents from different regions.

Additional details about the format of the open division as well as the registration process will be released in October 2019. 

Enrollment verification requirements

All players on a collegiate team must attend the same school. Current graduate students will be permitted to play on their school’s collegiate team. Faculty, staff, and community members who are not enrolled in classes will not be permitted to play on a school’s collegiate team. A student from a college with an unofficial or community team may not compete with a college team from another school.

To prevent non-students from playing on collegiate teams, members of collegiate teams must provide USQ with proof of enrollment in their institution at the beginning of the season (no later than 24 hours before the start of the first event they are competing in officially) and again after January 1 to enrollment@usquidditch.org. Players may submit either an official proof of enrollment from their school’s registrar or an official class schedule for the current season showing the player’s full name. Additional forms of proof of enrollment may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Additional information about collegiate player eligibility requirements can be found on our membership team requirements page, here.

Gameplay policy changes for 2019-20 season

Policies not listed in this section do not have substantial changes from the 2018-19 season. The full list of gameplay policies is visible here

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 October 23, 2019 at 11:59 pm ET.

For the 2019-20 season, a spring transfer window will also be available, between Monday, January 6, 2020 and Wednesday, February 5, 2020. If a player utilizes their free transfer before the end of the fall transfer window, they will not be eligible to utilize a transfer during the spring transfer window.

Between October 24 and January 5, after February 5, or after the one transfer has been used, no further transfers will be allowed. A limited number of exceptions are explained in the full player transfer policy here.

Disciplinary policy

Two categories of infractions in the player disciplinary policy have been updated. Please review the full list categories outlined in the policy.

Under physical offenses, “Recklessly endangering spectators” has been changed to “Recklessly endangering spectators or other tournament attendees” and has been changed to a 1 to 6 game suspension.

Under physical offenses, “Assault or destruction of tournament property” has been changed to “Acting with intent to damage tournament property” and remains a 2 to 6 game suspension.

The categories listed in the policy are not an exhaustive list of all potential categories of disciplinary infractions. 

Additionally, the USQ Gameplay Department reserves the right to issue a 0 game suspension for any of the listed categories. A 0 game suspension will count towards a player’s history for the multiple offense modifiers for repeat offenders of a specific policy.

Dropping from competitive division at US Quidditch Cup

Teams who drop out from the club division or competitive collegiate division at the 2019-20 national championship will not be eligible to compete in the club division or competitive collegiate division at the 2020-21 national championship. If a team is awarded a bid through a regional championship or auto-bid circuit event, they will have one week to accept or decline the bid without penalty.

A waiver form will be available for teams who face external extenuating circumstances affecting their ability to compete. If the waiver is accepted, a team may be able to retain their eligibility for the competitive division at the 2020-21 event. 

Team name when competing unofficially

We strongly recommend that official teams competing unofficially at your event do so under a

different name. This is to eliminate any confusion over the status of the game. For more information, please review the Tournament Director (TD) Training Manual as part of our TD certification program

Existing gameplay policies

Please review the full Gameplay Policies and Forms website page for information about key policies that are not changing from the 2018-19 season. This includes the official game requirements, roster submission requirements, international friendly policy, regional transfer policy, game appeal policy, forfeit procedure, fair play policy, tiebreaker policy, and equipment waiver form

Members are also expected to abide by the official member code of conduct and unlawful harassment policy.

Any attempt to subvert the 24 hour waiting period when taking Classmarker certification quizzes (including those for referees, coaches, snitch runners, and tournament directors) will result in a season-long suspension of that person’s coach, referee, and/or snitch membership, along with the revocation of all certifications for that season. The offender will also be suspended as a player for one game. Learn more about the certification cheating policy here.

The 2019-20 season will be played under USQ Rulebook 13

Timeline & key dates

The following are general deadlines for gameplay policies:

  • September 30, 2019 at 11:59pm ET: regional transfer request deadline (if applicable)
  • October 23, 2019 at 11:59pm ET: fall player transfer window closes
  • October 23, 2019 at 11:59pm ET: deadline for initial recognition of club circuit events with an auto-bid for USQC13
  • January 6, 2020 at 12:01am ET: spring player transfer window opens
  • February 5, 2020 at 11:59pm ET: spring player transfer window closes
  • February 5, 2020 at 11:59pm ET: deadline for final recognition of club circuit events with an auto-bid for USQC13

The following deadlines apply to an event with official games: 

  • 1 month before event: event sanctioning application due (if applicable)
  • 1 month before event: club circuit status application due as part of the event sanctioning process (if applicable)
  • 2 weeks before event: waiver application deadline for the dedicated TD requirement (if applicable)
  • 1 week before event: the game or tournament must be submitted to the USQ events calendar, and TD must be certified 
  • 1 week before before event: equipment waiver primary deadline, will be processed before event (if applicable)
  • 24 hours before event: equipment waiver final deadline, may not be processed before event (if applicable)
  • 24 hours before event: participating teams must submit their rosters
  • 24 hours before event: players on collegiate teams must submit proof of enrollment
  • 24 hours before event: participating teams must have a fully certified coach 
  • 24 hours before event: team referee and snitch runner requirements due (if not completed by the team’s initial deadline)
  • 2 days after event: scores submitted to USQ standings
  • 1 week after event: submit results of international friendly matches (if applicable)
  • 1 week after event: forfeits at tournament emailed to gameplay@usquidditch.org (if applicable)
  • 1 week after event: appeal form submitted (if applicable)
  • 1 week after event: disciplinary report form submitted (if applicable)
  • 1 week after event: event survey form submitted (optional, recommended for all attendees)

The deadlines for the team referee and snitch runner requirements vary, and are as follows:

  • If a team is competing at a USQ fall regional championship or fall circuit event, they must complete the team referee and snitch runner requirements by the season play deadline for that specific event.
  • If a team is competing at a USQ spring regional championship, a USQ spring circuit event, or not going to a regional championship or circuit event at all but still an official member team, they must complete the requirements by either the season play deadline for the final fall regional championship, or one month after their team registers for the season, whichever comes later.
  • Relevant Season Play Deadlines:
    • Northeast Regional Championship: Sunday, October 13, 2019
    • Great Lakes Regional Championship: Sunday, October 20, 2019
    • Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship: Sunday, October 27, 2019
    • Midwest Regional Championship: Sunday, October 27, 2019
  • If a team does not complete these requirements by the deadline, it must complete them by 24 hours before its next scheduled official event.

Questions?

Please email gameplay@usquidditch.org with any questions or comments about any of the information in this article. 

Ongoing feedback opportunities will be available to members throughout the season. Invites to feedback opportunities will be emailed to club division members, so please be on the lookout for these communications. 

If you’re interested in joining the Gameplay Department and helping to guide the league’s gameplay structures and policies, please email us at volunteer@usquidditch.org.