The USQ Gameplay Department announces updates for the 2021-22 season and future plans.
The USQ Gameplay Department has been evaluating their plans for the season. In response to a changing membership landscape as well as team feedback, we are making changes to key components of the rules that were adjusted in USQ Rulebook 14 and 15. Additionally, this article lays out the department’s key priorities for rules and policies over the next year.
The changes to the rulebook go into effect immediately. By September 23, the updated USQ Rulebook 15 will be available online. Updated referee and snitch runner tests will be available the week of September 13.
A summary of just the rules changes is available here. Teams are encouraged to share this PDF with their players.
Rulebook 15 was released July 2021. It contains(ed) new rules based on projects started in 2018, outreach to teams and referees in the 2020- 21 season, and the rules suggestion form. During the spring of 2021, when many new changes were being finalized for Rulebook 15, we expected there to be a steep drop in team and player numbers compared to the 2019-20 season. At the time, universities were not yet set to reopen in the fall, teams had severely low numbers, and teams’ leadership and tournament directors did not know if they would be able host events during the 2021-22 season. From the end of August into early September, due to the work of regional coordinators and the membership department, USQ is happy to see that the state of the league is different than expected and the league may boast more members and teams than it did during the 2019-20 season. With the understanding that the league is at a different place now than during the Rulebook 15 implementation process of spring 2021, the USQ Gameplay Department, under the leadership of Gameplay Department Manager Christian Barnes, sought to solicit feedback from teams across the league regarding changes to the USQ ruleset and the 2021-22 season.
Working with regional coordinators, 101 teams were contacted and given a chance to provide feedback. The form was open to feedback regarding any rule changes, with specific questions focusing on USQ start up procedure, halftime stoppage, and endgame.
We were able to reach a great level of regional diversity and received responses from 62 teams.
Of the teams who responded, 36 are in the collegiate division (58.1%) and 26 are in the club division (41.9%).
Some consistent points brought up from the feedback were the importance of playtesting new rules prior to their adoption, confusion regarding the score cap rule, the status of the gender maximum rule, questions regarding the half time stoppage, concerns about pitch size, team referee changes (removal of snitch referee), and the complexity of the rule regarding head beats. Many people also indicated interest in providing feedback and support in the future to help USQ staff better understand the community’s perspective on rules and gameplay.
As we tabulated the feedback from the community, the USQ Gameplay Department used Slack and team meetings to discuss and plan next steps for this and next season, and map out the ramifications on official play. Some changes will take place immediately and affect the rules and gameplay of the 2021-22 season, and some changes will require more work, thought, and time to implement.
Effective immediately, the following changes will take place for the USQ ruleset. By September 23, the updated USQ Rulebook 15 will be available online. Updated referee and snitch tests will be available the week of September 13.
You can download a copy of these changes to share with your team here.
Some aspects of USQ rules have raised questions that we believe require clarification instead of rule changes. The feedback we gained from the rules feedback form was considered alongside the referee feedback form sent out to head referees and lead assistant referees at the end of the 2019-20 season. We hope to standardize more of refereeing across the league and, in addition to the casebook, are finalizing the creation of the following developmental materials for release later this year:
We want to provide more transparency regarding the change of the lead assistant referee to replace the snitch referee. While many lead assistant referees are referees who are best at refereeing beater play, the purpose and expectation of a lead assistant referee is that they are at most a certified head referee serving in the lead assistant referee for the game, and at minimum a referee with the understanding of rules and procedures to the level of a head referee. With this expectation, we believe a lead assistant referee will be able to handle snitch play and the sometimes complex situations and procedural issues that arise in gameplay around the snitch, up to and including suggesting the replacement of a snitch runner that is violating the Snitch Code of Conduct. We will be keeping this change and assessing the impact at the end of the season.
The USQ Gameplay Department (including, but not limited to, rules team) will continue working to innovate the way that rule changes are made. We hope to gather feedback toward the end of the season and throughout the summer regarding changes for future seasons. More details will be available later this year regarding project support opportunities regarding future rulesets.
Topics the USQ Gameplay Department will continue considering:
We are thankful to all conferences, team leaders, players, and volunteers that worked on this process. Most importantly, we want to thank the USQ Rules Team and their work at all phases of this process, the other teams within the USQ Gameplay Department for their support, and all the USQ Regional Coordinators who helped in community outreach regarding this process.
For questions about these changes, email email@example.com.