15th Edition of USQ Rulebook Released

USQ Rulebook 15 is now available and will be in effect for the 2021-22 season.

USQ is excited to release the 15th 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 2021-22 season in the United States. To view the full changelog from the 15th 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 the 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. 

CHANGELOG HIGHLIGHTS (Some highlights have been kept from Rulebook 14 as reminders)

  • Pitch dimensions (2.1 Field Lines and Marks): Upon feedback from tournament directors and the event bidding process, USQ has decided to shorten the length of the pitch. The new diagram can be found in Chapter 2 of the rulebook. The pitch is now 52 yards long, but it remains 36 yards wide. The area behind the hoops is 11 yards long, the keeper zone extends 5 yard in front of the hoops, and midfield is 10 yards from the keeper zone line (15 yards from the hoops). With these changes, quidditch pitches can be set up width-ways on regulation football fields, allowing for events to be held in more venues than previous seasons.

  • Starting procedure (3.1.2. Brooms up procedure): Upon feedback from the quidditch community and lack of adequate playtesting, USQ has decided not to follow the IQA’s proposed new starting procedure. We do not yet know if IQA’s proposed startup, or any current suggestions answer the serious safety concerns of the previous run up. By starting all players with balls in their keeper zone, the potential for head on collisions is significantly reduced. This change also provides the ability for gameplay to start in a way that is not complicated for new and returning players.

  • Headbeats (5.2.6 Headbeats): To increase the safety of our players in regards to potential concussions, USQ has implemented rules that determine certain head beats are now under more scrutiny. This decision was made in conjunction with the risk management team. Procedures regarding head beats are outlined in this section.

  • Contact from behind (6.1.9): Contact from behind rules have been added to allow some contact. USQ decided that in specific situations tackling from behind is safe and should not be a cardable offense within reason as outlined in the new rule. 


Kept from Rulebook 14

  • Placement of the hoops (2.2.3. Hoop positioning): The two non-center hoops are now placed 3 yards or 9 feet away 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. 

  • 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. 
  • 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.”

  • Changing the tag up point (5.3.1. Knocking procedure): When knocked out, all players must touch the middle 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 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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 Referee duties have been folded into the Lead Assistant Referee responsibilities (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.  


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, or a rule you would like clarified in the casebook, please fill out this form


The rules team is composed of: Ashley Dolan, Kym Couch, Clay Dockery, Sarah Kneiling, Ricky Nelson, and Liam Zach. The team was managed by Rules Team Lead Ricky Nelson for the 2020-2021 season, and was joined by Gameplay Department Manager Christian Barnes in January 2021. Director of Events and Partnerships Laura Porth joined in management of the team after being onboarded in January 2021. 

Other teams in the gameplay department - gameplay, referee, and snitch teams - also had the opportunity to give feedback on all proposed rules changes. In September 2020, after the organizational restructure that USQ underwent last summer, liaisons were added to the rules team. These liaisons assisted in providing feedback for all rules changes and creating new rules. The list of liaisons are:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team — Shirley Lu

Gameplay Team — Matt Melton

Referee Team — Chris LeCompte

Snitch Team — Chris Champitto 

The editing team for Rulebook 15 consisted of: West Regional Coordinator and Public Communications Coordinator Alexia Barnes, Executive Director Mary Kimball.