USQ Update

MembershipUSQ Update

14th Edition of Rulebook Released

USQ Rulebook 14 is now available and will be in effect for the 2020-21 season.

USQ is excited to release the 14th edition of the rulebook! The online version can be accessed here. The print and e-book editions will be published later this fall. This rulebook will be in effect for the 2020-21 season in the United States. To view the full changelog from the 14th edition, please view Appendix D in the rulebook.

The rulebook suggestion form is also open. Anyone is invited to submit suggestions for future editions of the USQ rulebook.

USQ is currently recruiting for additional rules coordinators, which is a year-round volunteer role on rules team. More information is available here. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. 

USQ rules team meets regularly to discuss changes that were proposed both within USQ and from the rulebook suggestion form. Changes are made primarily for three reasons: player safety, to improve previous rules that may have been difficult to understand or difficult to call, and to increase the quality of gameplay. A summary of major changes is available below. 


  • Starting procedure (3.2.1. Brooms up procedure): done in conjunction with the IQA, the new starting procedure changes the brooms up runup into a start on the sideline. The previous runup had serious safety concerns. By starting all players on the same sideline, the potential for head on collisions is significantly reduced. This change also preserves some of the excitement and energy of the previous brooms up rule, and keeps our rulebook in alignment with the international community on a key gameplay procedure. 
    • Players will start on one sideline instead of their respective keeper zones. The quaffle and one bludger will be on the midline while the other bludgers will be on the keeper zone lines. Each team will select one quaffle player and one beater who will be positioned to compete for the balls on the midline.
  • End game procedure (3.4. Regulating game time): there will be a point cap added of + 70 to the leading score at 20 minutes and either team reaching that score or catching the snitch will end regulation. The snitch is still worth 30 points. This end game works for a diversity of games and skills, an important component for a league like USQ. 
    • There are additional changes being made due to this new rule, such as the elimination of second overtime and the adjustment of snitch handicaps. 
    • A change to the end game was suggested frequently through the rules suggestion form. 
    • Rules team considered other end game options, including the set score system used by MLQ. MLQ’s end game uses a set score procedure. The first team to reach or surpass the goal score of 60 points wins immediately. Catching the snitch does not end the game, and it gives a team 35 points. Given the breadth of teams that play with USQ, rules team did not want to create an end game environment that would be tedious or hard to finish for some teams. They also wanted to have a higher incentive for catching the snitch, both for excitement’s sake but also for the public’s understanding of the game. 
  • Snitch referee -> lead assistant referee (10.1.5. Lead assistant referee): The snitch referee role has been replaced with the lead assistant referee. This change is to ensure a higher level of certification when it comes to snitch/seeker play. 
  • Two armed contact (6.1.8. Stealing and 6.2.4. Wrapping): two armed contact is now allowed when stealing and wrapping. This is a rules change first adopted by MLQ. It was heavily supported by feedback from the rules suggestion form. Two armed contact has been shown to be safe in play tests over the past year and a half. 
  • Placement of the hoops (2.2.3. Hoop positioning): the two non-center hoops are now placed 3 yards or 9 feet apart from the center hoop; the previous distance was 7 feet 8 inches. This is a rules change first adopted by MLQ. It was heavily supported by feedback from the rules suggestion form. 
  • Changing the tag up point (5.3.1. Knocking procedure): when knocked out, all players must touch the 6 foot center hoop in order to remount their brooms. This is a rules change first adopted by MLQ. It was heavily supported by feedback from the rules suggestion form. 
  • Third yellow (9.1.5.E. Penalty Cards): three yellow cards now result in a red card, instead of the previous two yellow cards. This is a rules change first adopted by MLQ. It was heavily supported by feedback from the rules suggestion form. 
  • Snitch code of conduct (8.3.1. Snitch runner code of conduct): the snitch code of conduct was revised to reflect situations seen in the recent two seasons of USQ play regarding safety, and to better align with the new field test protocol.
  • Declaring a suspended game (3.7.1. Declaring a suspended game): as part of the equity audit, “extreme or inappropriate misconduct” was changed to ”extreme or inappropriate unsporting behavior” in the section on why a head referee can declare a suspended game. Misconduct was previously undefined in the rulebook. Unsporting behavior is defined, and has its own section. Another reason for declaring a suspended game was added, “danger from spectators.”
  • Third bludger (5.5.1.B.ii. Third bludger): as part of the equity audit, rules team added additional criteria for determining which two bludgers are turned over for third bludger interference, while allowing for some referee discretion. This was previously only up to referee discretion. 


An updated version of the USQ casebook will be available later this fall.  The casebook is designed to clarify interactions between different rules by providing situations in gameplay that can serve as examples.

If you would like to suggest a situation for the casebook, please fill out this form


The rules team is composed of: Kym Couch, Clay Dockery, Sarah Kneiling, Jared Leggett, Ricky Nelson, and Liam Zach. The team was managed by Director of Gameplay and Membership Eric Schnier through June. Executive Director Mary Kimball took over management of the rules team in July, as part of the organizational restructure that USQ underwent this summer. 

Other teams in the gameplay department - gameplay, referee, and snitch teams - also had the opportunity to give feedback on all proposed rules changes. The referee team also made significant updates to the referee signals appendix. 

This summer, the rules team conducted an equity audit with the help of DEI committee member Taylor Gibbs. The framing question of the audit was, “how might BIPOC [Black, Indigueous, People of Color] and other marginalized groups be harmed by the way a rule is written?” Rules were adjusted as necessary to mitigate that harm. 

The editing team for Rulebook 14 consisted of: West Regional Coordinator and Public Communications Coordinator Alexia Barnes, Snitch Coordinator Jarrod Bailey, Executive Director Mary Kimball, and Director of Events & Partnerships Laura Porth. Other staff members in the gameplay department also helped with editing, including Gameplay Coordinator and Referee Coordinator Matt Melton. 

Discussions for Future Rulebooks

Rules team has already identified two areas of the rulebook to discuss for future editions:

  • Helpless receiver
  • Pitch and player area dimensions

Rules team will also be discussing the impact of changes made in Rulebook 14 on safe and competitive play in the 2020-21 season.