UKU Tour Structure Changes 2017 (Open division)
We would like to provide an update on plans for UKU Tour 2017 in the Open division. It has been clear for some years that the structure is not scalable as the number of Open and Women’s teams continues to grow. We have been planning for some time that we would start to make changes in 2017, although we would obviously prefer to have resolved all of the issues earlier than this.
In 2017 we are only making changes to the Open division, but we recognise there is a body of opinion in the community that is asking for a broader review of the Tour structure and timing. We will have an ongoing consultation process about the competition structure and calendar over the next few months.
For now the changes are driven by simple logistics: in general we cannot fit all the teams into a single venue (except Nottingham). However, once teams are split across venues the process for promoting/relegating teams potentially becomes quite problematic for the teams that are affected.
The rules for 2017 are set out below in a format where the changes are all grouped together. When these are written into the competition rules (being done now) these changes will be spread out in different parts of that document.
We know these changes are not perfect, and we do expect further changes over the coming few years.
The UKU Tour has been based on the following principles for many years:
The solution we have picked for managing split venues is based on two additional principles:
(*) You can still complete the strategic survey if you want to as we will continue to review incoming responses.
Information about the actual changes
There are several principles that have helped to guide the final formulation of the plan for 2017.
We expect there will be further, ongoing changes to Open Tour structure over several years, and teams should expect that their relative final ranking will affect their starting status in the following season.
Event entry allocation
Ranking Points allocation
Some adjustments to the points-allocation system are required to help avoid a situation where B-Tour teams do well, but are still blocked from advancing by virtue of their initial starting position
[*1] These teams are: Chevron Action Flash, Glasgow 1, Manchester 1, Fire of London 1, Reading 1, Devon 1, EMO 1, Clapham, SMOG, Ka-Pow!, Birmingham 1, Flump. FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT these teams are NOT guaranteed to play in the A Tour at all three events, they are simply guaranteed entry to that venue.
[*2] New teams, foreign teams, teams representing GB or much-changed teams believed likely by the competitions committee (based on e.g. known personnel or early season results) to finish in the top 24. Teams whose participation the UKU Competitions Committee believe will benefit the growth of Ultimate – for example, but not limited to, local teams who may not yet be ready to travel to other tournaments, or teams based in underrepresented geographical areas.
[*3] E.g. at OWT2 Cardiff, teams allocated to the “South region” will have priority.
1. Why no promotion and relegation?
We want to avoid a situation where teams are scrambling to work out which venue they will play at for T2 or T3. If we retained something like the old promotion/relegation system we would have something like 16-20 teams (maybe more) that could not make firm travel plans for those events. This would be particularly difficult between T2 and T3 where the calendar constraints have forced us down to a 2-week gap.
2. Do the Protected Teams always play A-Tour? That doesn't seem fair.
NO THEY DO NOT. They are guaranteed a spot at that tournament, but the seeding at T2 and T3 will be based on current tour rankings. If the protected teams do badly they will be overtaken by other teams in the rankings. We expect and intend that some of those protected teams may start T2 or T3 in the B-Tour.
3. Why isn't T3 further north? Birmingham is not in The North.
Clearly this doesn't look quite right, but this was the best combination of main venues we were able to secure this year. We are not able to use the Manchester Wythenshawe venue due to other commitments they have; and we've not been able to find any new comparable venues further north than Nottingham and Birmingham. Please contact us if you have suggestions for venues. We are always keen to find more venues.
4. Why is Tour 1 different?
We will continue to host one very large club event per year because we see them offering a different experience for players and spectators.
5. What about 2018 and beyond?
We will be doing a consultation project on the competition structure and calendar during 2017. This will be used to inform further adjustments or major changes (depending on the feedback).
6. How do I provide feedback?
We are unlikely to make substantial changes for 2017.
For the longer term, as noted above we will be attempting to provide a structured forum for providing feedback. However members are always welcome to provide feedback, raise issues or concerns by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org (who will forward the email to the relevant people) or by contacting members of the Competition Committee directly. UKU staff and competition committee members also monitor online forums (britdisc, reddit, etc) but note that these are not necessarily representative of the whole community.