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4.23.2006

What I don't miss about College Ultimate 

Well, it's playoff time for college Ultimate again, so I took a look at what's going on in the New England region and saw the roster counts and bids in the region:

Metro Boston section: 16 teams, 6 bids to Regionals
West New England section: 13 teams, 5 bids to Regionals
South New England section: 17 teams, 4 bids to Regionals
East New England section: 12 teams, 1 bid to Regionals

Bids to Regionals are apportioned out to each section roughly in proportion to the number of teams who register on time. The reasoning the UPA gives for allowing teams to register late is that (1) they want more teams to play in Sectionals in order to grow the sport, and (2) they need the entry fees from the late teams to sustain their operations ($30 in dues from each player, plus an extra $200 or so per team or so for the Sectionals tournament fee, plus a $50 late registration fee).

Okay, so maybe somebody bombed a post office in Hanover, NH, causing most of the East New England rosters to be lost. But in the absence of other information, I'd guess that most of the teams in ENE didn't get their rosters in on time.

By now, there can be doubt that non-Regionals caliber teams have almost zero incentive to get their rosters in on time. If they turn in their roster late, they pay the $50 late fee (at most $7.15 for each participating player), but they have a few extra weeks to scrounge up enough players to play in Sectionals (this is often a big benefit for such teams). Since they don't see themselves playing in Regionals, it's not worth the hassle for them to get their rosters in on time. (Well, maybe it would, because if a lot of teams got their rosters in on time, they'd have a lot more bids. But you know how this sort of cooperative game always ends up.) Since the number of bids to Regionals is a function of the number of on-time rosters, the teams who turned in their rosters on time suffer because the tournament becomes harder with the addition of the late teams.

Granted, since there is usually a strong correlation between the strength of a team and its ability to get its roster on time, one could argue that the number of on-time rosters is a better measure of the relative strength of each section. Still, the fact remains that allowing teams to register late hurts the teams who register on time.

It's way past time for the UPA to put its foot down and say "Sectionals and Regionals need to be run as a professional production -- get your paperwork in on time or you don't play." If they really need extra cash, they should raise player dues and Regionals fees accordingly.

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