Monday, May 12, 2008

The UPA and Seattle HS Ultimate


I have put together a plan to re-organize Seattle youth ultimate. There are several different pieces of the plan. The UPA and DiscNW were the first to see the plan when I got done writing it a couple of weeks ago. I also e-mailed the plan to some of the organizers and coaches I know around the country. One piece of the plan involves the UPA and Seattle HS ultimate. I figure some of the people who read this blog might find this interesting. (When I use the word "we" in the plan I mean the "we" as in the Seattle youth organizers who agree with the plan and help make it happen. All that said I'm not sure this will happen.)

1. We would probably take all of our Seattle HS teams out of the UPA for these reasons:

  • Scheduling - The UPA schedule doesn't really work with what we need to do.
  • Championships - We can run our own state and regional chamionships for HS teams. And we feel as if the UPA will not be able to get the growth accomplished that we can accomplish in our region. (i.e., Why won't Vancouver come on board with the UPA, how do we make the sport more accessible)
  • Double organizing - Our coaches and admins are spending way too much time trying to get kids signed up for UPA and taking care of rosters. We can come up with a better local system. We completely understand why a national roster system has to be in place though.
  • Cost per kid is too much with the UPA. We want to have 5,000 kids playing in ultimate leagues in our area by 2015. There is no way we would send the UPA $100,000.

2. We would stay in the UPA with a UPA youth club league as described on the UPA page concerning YCC guidelines: "Category 1 - UPA Youth Club Leagues: Sponsored by a UPA sanctioned Youth Club (non-high school based) League that occurred during the previous calendar year. Within Category 1, one bid is guaranteed in each division for which the league applies and can support a team for the event. The UPA reserves the right to determine that a league can adequately and safely support a team."

3. We would be willing to discuss the affiliate model with the UPA but that is probably further down the road when we see how our Seattle Youth Ultimate Association plan plays out.

4. Hopefully we can still figure out a way to continue our interactions with Alameda and Minneapolis HS ultimate. Maybe Alameda could come to our regional tournament? And possibly there could be some interaction between Minneapolis and WA/OR in HS invite tourneys.

I'd also like to point out that this plan is not due to some dissatisfaction with the people running the UPA. Sandie, Will, Melanie, Meredith, and the board are all top-notch. This is a systematic thing. It is an "addition by subtraction" type of thing. In the long run I believe my plan to be a win/win/win for Seattle Youth Ultimate, DiscNW, and the UPA.

Thanks - Mike


Nick said...

If this localization works, and improves the ultimate community here in Seattle, I don't see why it shouldn't be done, except for one point.

Mike, you say we (Seattle area) will still participate in YCC, and send YCC teams. Will we still participate in Westerns? Also, in the future, it would be very exciting for top Seattle area teams to get a chance to play some top teams from the east coast. It seems to me that the UPA is in the best position to create this sort of oppurtunity.

This large plan which has been submitted: Is this something that is or will be avaliable to the public? What's the time-frame for this plan?

Nick Gillingham
Roosevelt HS

Anonymous said...

Mike, your plan would change the entire face of high school ultimate. out of the 14 teams that were able to attend westerns,7 would no longer come due to this plan of disregarding the UPA. This would probably cause Minneapolis teams, and maybe denver due to UPA ruling to Apply to Easterns, making it almost a true HS nationals.... why do all participants in the league have to pay the UPA, why cant only players on the westerns roster pay, and a cheap rate... its not extremely expensive... and everyone in Seattle goes to private school.

Asa Gotlieb
Hopkins Hurt # 50

DFREE said...

Mike, while I cannot speak for Churchill, I can say that South Eugene is completely in favor of this move. For us, the money and the traveling are the biggest concerns. It seems to be evident that new players do not want to have to pay UPA membership fees or spend $600 to fly across the country to play 4 games in a tornado.

How much would South be able to compete in your tournaments or round robins? Would this new plan mean no Westerns? What would be the changes in terms of scheduling?

While I will be gone next year, I believe this would be the best way to expand the sport and decrease the cost in Oregon as well.

Jacob Janin
South Ultimate

Lukester said...

From the conversations I've had with Mike, this is something that is very interesting.

I feel that I want to see the long-term goals of this kind of program and obviously how it will help the growth of Oregon and other areas that are too small to do everything on their own at least right now.

I also don't want to just jump on the bandwagon that I think exists after such a poor Westerns experience. The concept of a westerns type experience that would be drivable is something that would have both allowed there to be a Churchill Open team as well as helped create a much stronger Churchill Ladies program as we would have been able to take 1-3 more players as well as been able to keep Christine Wilson all the way through the tournament...

Geebs said...

I got into a discussion in the fall with a coach from Canada about their participation in UPA tournaments and he mentioned that they do their own league that isnt run through the UPA. He then ran through the reasoning (I dont remember all the points). Since that discussion, this has been something I have personally contemplated for a while and personally wish the Minnesota league would also look into.

Without going into too much elaboration on this, here are quick points that I see as a benefit:
1) player's spend less money to participate in Ultimate
2) coach's spend less time gathering forms/money from players. I know our school has a seperate med form the kids need to fill out besides the UPA form and it becomes quite a bit when it all adds up.
3) students can try Ultimate for a while without fronting money and going through all of the forms (ie they can play in a league game without being a UPA member).
4) my belief is that state hs leagues would be more willing to add Ultimate as a sport if they didnt have to do it through the UPA. They would still follow their rules and guidelines, but not have to be members and organize legues and tournaments through them.

I agree with Mike's comments that this is nothing against the UPA because they do a great job. It just feels that in order to continue the growth of Ultimate at the HS level, each state/region needs to take over their program. This way each state can alter their program to adhere to what their state requires to make it become a sport at that level.

I would be interested in hearing more comments and discussion on this.

Ben Fisher
CDH Open Coach

MRB said...

I kind of suspect that this type of activity will spread to adult leagues as well, and perhaps to college down the line.

Frankly, the cost associated with partipating in UPA events is way too high when a vast majority of players are participating in one, maybe two UPA tournaments a year. As other ultimate organizations get as organized and successful as DiscNW, they'll start to see that they can run a program that rivals or exceeds that UPA's offering without the need for membership dues or need to go through the UPA's process

The Pulse said...

I also want to discuss this in depth but College Nationals has made me pretty busy in the past few days and will have me all tied up this weekend too.

I plan to come back with a bunch of questions come Monday or Tuesday.

Mike Mullen said...

Hey all,

Didn't see most of these comments until just recently. I'll try to briefly answer some of the questions.

Nick - Great questions. If this plan goes through we would not be participating in UPA westerns. However, it is worth looking into whether or not we could do something that was similar to Westerns. The basic question comes down to this: How do we have a regional type championship that is drivable for all the NW teams that is also open to our friends in MN? I'm guessing that it might end up being that MN doesn't come to our regionals nor would we attend theirs but that we would try to work out some sort of every other year exchange to each other's HS invites. I'm thinking out load on this part a little right now. E-mail me and I'll send you a copy of the original plan though some of it is a bit dated since it is a month old. Maybe I could update it this weekend.

Asa - I can't speak for Minnesota but I think there is some universal organizing truths in what I wrote. Ben Fisher adds some great points above as well. Also, there has never been a true UPA HS national championship because there has never been a time when all the top teams could show up. As mentioned above, I would like to keep the relationship with MN teams and Seattle if at all possible. And no, not all Seattle HS programs are private. Less than half of the 46 teams (Not 46 schools) listed on the DiscNW schedule are private. There has always been a strong partnership between the public and private schools who play ultimate. And there is discussion to add a Seattle Public only HS fall league this coming fall and I bet you will see some more very strong programs develop. Right now Nathan Hale is the dominant HS program.

Jacob - Glad to hear that South Eugene would be in. I would want the regional tourney whether it be Cascadia/West Coast Championship (maybe Alameda could attend)/or some form of Westerns to be drivable for all teams in Washington/Oregon. Also would still want state championships but the format and timing would be up to each state. I would also want to have the regional championship tournament on the weekend after memorial day if no one graduates then. Otherwise maybe shoot for memorial day weekend.

Luke - Yep, more details need to come out. This was out there before Westerns, so it isn't a reaction to that on my part, but some of the systematic issues I mentioned popped up there. And I agree that the teams that travel on planes often have to leave kids behind who would help at the tourney, not to mention that some teams can't travel at all.

Ben - Thanks for the additional comments. Obviously I agree with you. I bet girls ultimate gets state approval somewhere before boys ultimate does. Washington will not get approval anytime in the next 10 years.

Got to get some sleep. I'll post some other aspects of the plan this weekend if I have time.