USQ Update

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2020-21 Gameplay Policies Update

Important updates on gameplay policies for the 2020-21 season are now available.

The USQ Gameplay Team conducted an extensive review of all league gameplay policies and programs throughout the summer. This detailed review includes evaluating feedback received from members through surveys and meetings. For the 2020-21 season, the primary changes are to policies that revolve around USQ events, gameplay requirements, and registration. Many of the changes were made due to the upcoming season having a reduced number of games and events. 

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.

The list of major policy changes that we will reference in this article are:

  • Season play requirements have changed to 1 event, 2 teams, 3 games
  • No minimum game requirements for regionals
  • Minimum regional size for club and college
  • Nationals qualification for both club and college
  • Regional transfers are no longer necessary as all teams are welcome at all regionals
  • Transfer window has been updated and reduced, with the free transfer window being available from March 1-14, 2021
  • An additional violation to the fair play policy
  • Updates on how gameplay disciplinary conduct reports are processed
  • Clarification on the timeline for submitting equipment waivers 
  • Updates to the forfeit policy

Reminder on Return to Play Policies

As announced earlier this month, all USQ member teams are currently in stage 1 of the COVID-19 return to play guidelines. Stage 1 includes the following restrictions:

  • Only outdoor practices with 10 people or less
  • No indoor practices or meetings
  • No activities that require direct contact between athletes. All drills must be non-contact.
  • No scrimmages between other teams
  • All athletes must use their own broom
  • No sharing of water bottles, towels, mouth guards, or other personal items
  • Wear a mask at all times
  • Follow CDC sanitization guidelines

This means that official games may not take place until further notice. On September 4, there will be another update on if teams may progress to stage 2, and what activities will be permitted at that time.

Full information on policies and programs impacted by COVID-19 are available here on our website.

Season Play Requirements

Due to the uncertainty of this year’s event season and the delay of the opening of the season, the Director of Events & Partnerships, Laura Porth, and the gameplay team have decided to reduce season play requirements for the 2020-21 season. Both club and collegiate official teams will be required to play at least three games per season against a minimum of two different official teams at one event before US Quidditch Cup 14. There are no gameplay requirements for attending a regional championship or circuit event. 

Games played at regionals will count toward the total requirements. This season, international friendlies will not count towards season play requirements.

To be eligible to compete in USQ Cup 14, a team must have completed the above season play requirements by two weeks before the championship. This deadline will be 11:59pm ET on Sunday, April 4. More information on USQ Cup 14 is below.

Regional Championships

As announced earlier this summer, USQ regional championships and circuit events are open to all teams, no matter which region a team resides in. A cap on the number of teams may be implemented due to facility size and COVID-19 restrictions. Regional size will be announced 29 days prior to the event date. Those dates are as follows. 

  • Northeast: Friday, October 2, 2020
  • Great Lakes: Friday, October 9, 2020
  • Mid-Atlantic: Friday, October 16, 2020
  • South: Friday, January 15, 2021
  • Southwest: Friday, January 22, 2021
  • West: Friday, January 29, 2021

For a team to compete at a USQ regional championship or circuit event, they must be fully registered for the tournament and have paid the team membership fee at least 2 weeks prior to the event. Registration for regionals will be first come, first serve and will open 29 days prior to the event date. Registration will close two weeks before the event or when the number of teams reaches the maximum amount. 

Minimum Regional Size and Registration

If the return to play guidelines allow for USQ regionals to take place, there is a minimum number of teams that must attend to make a regional championship or circuit event possible. The collegiate division minimum will be five teams and the club division minimum will be four teams. If a division does not meet the minimum teams registered by 11:59 PM ET on the last day of registration there will be no regional championship or circuit event for that division.

The registration deadlines are as follows: 

  • Northeast: Friday, October 16, 2020
  • Great Lakes: Friday, October 23, 2020
  • Mid-Atlantic: Friday, October 30, 2020
  • South: Friday, January 29, 2021
  • Southwest: Friday, February 5, 2021
  • West: Friday, February 12, 2021

More information on registration for these events, including adjustments to the stay and play policy, will be released on Friday, August 21.

US Quidditch Cup

All teams must complete season play requirements by 11:59pm ET on Sunday, April 4. Teams are not required to attend a regional or circuit event to register for USQ Cup 14, as long as the gameplay requirements are met. 

To qualify and confirm a spot at USQ Cup 14, a team must register with USQ, fill out the team registration form, and complete two of the following:

  • Register for hotels
  • Pay registration fee
  • Team referee crew form

Registration for nationals is otherwise open in 2021 and spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis. More information on USQ Cup will be released in October.

Transfers 

Regional Transfers

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 Midwest Regional Championship and the possibility of the cancellation of the other 2020 fall championships, the USQ gameplay team has made it easier for teams to attend any regional they desire. As stated earlier, regional championships and circuit events are open to all teams, regardless of where their team is from.  For the 2020-21 season, there is no waiver needed to transfer to another region. 

Player Transfer Policy

There will still be a free transfer window this season. The free transfer will be open between March 1 and March 14, 2021. 

If a player wishes to transfer between official teams during the season outside this window, 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, unless one of the three exceptions listed on the gameplay policies page applies.

Game Appeals

In previous seasons, game appeals could only take place within one week after the game occurred. Last season, the gameplay team added the possibility of appealing a game onsite at USQ-hosted events only. On-site game appeals will continue this season.The normal post-event USQ appeals process may still be pursued under any of those applicable situations as mentioned here.

An on-site appeal may be submitted if all of the following are true:

  • One of these circumstances has occurred:
    • A straight red card has been issued which the team believes is not a valid card 
    • The game clock has been incorrectly managed with a direct impact on the game (ex. if the snitch and/or seekers are released early). 
    • A gross misapplication of the rules has resulted in a direct impact on the outcome of the game. Judgement calls do not apply.  
  • The appeal is submitted during a stoppage of play.

To submit an on-site appeal:

  • During the stoppage, inform the head referee that you are filing an appeal
  • During the stoppage, report to the scorekeeping tent and fill out an onsite appeals form
  • The field manager or other person at the scorekeeping tent must immediately radio tournament staff to inform them of the appeal.
  • Note: the head referee is permitted to resume play even if an appeal has been filed

The possible outcomes of an on-site appeal may include replaying a portion of a game, disregarding a straight red card for the purposes of tournament red card accumulation leading to suspensions, or no action, among other things.

Fair Play Policy

The fair play policy is remaining largely the same, with an amendment to address violations of public safety guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amended policy states:

Intentionally flouting public safety guidelines: A person or team who is found to have played in a game, practice, or event when unsafe to due so in regards to school, local, state, or USQ/MLQ guidelines will be ineligible to compete at US Quidditch Cup that season.

Disciplinary Conduct

The player disciplinary policy is staying the same for the upcoming season, but we have added more information on how reports are processed. After a report is filed, the gameplay team will reach out to the involved parties to gather information. After reviewing all statements and evidence, the gameplay team will make their decision. If the gameplay team fails to receive a response within one week of first contact by the gameplay team, they will proceed with the report based on available evidence

If a report is filed and accusing a team or persons of intentionally flouting public safety guidelines, the gameplay team, in conjunction with the risk management team, will make a determination on disciplinary action. Both teams will do a full investigation and make a decision based on what has been learned in the course of the investigation.

Equipment Waivers

Equipment waivers can still be filled out with this form, no later than 24 hours before the event. If your equipment waiver is approved, you will receive an email from gameplay@usquidditch.org. Players approved for equipment waivers will need to show head referees the email stating that their special equipment is approved prior to the start of each of their games.  

Forfeit 

The gameplay team has added to two areas of the forfeit policy. The first update is that in situations where a forfeit would cause a team to fail to reach the gameplay requirements for the season, the team affected can fill out this form, detailing the exceptional circumstances of the forfeit. The gameplay team will rule on the forfeit. If approved, the forfeit will count for season play requirements.

The second update was made to the reasons a team would receive a forfeit. The additional reason would be a team refusing to play when scheduled to do so, except in extreme and unusual circumstances. 

Existing gameplay policies

Please review the full Gameplay Policies and Forms website page for more information on the changing policies and the key policies that are not changing from the 2019-20 season. 

The 2020-21 season will be played under USQ Rulebook 14, which will be released in mid-September. Additional policies will get updated once Rulebook 14 has been released.

Volunteer Opportunities

USQ is currently looking for volunteers to serve on the gameplay team and helping to guide the league’s gameplay structures and policies. More information is available here. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the season. 

Questions

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