July 23, 2015 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 9 comments
Apparel company SAVAGE Ultimate is starting a new organization, USA Flatball, designed to organize and foster the growth of mixed gender ultimate.
USA Flatball, launched this week, will begin with a focus on college-oriented mixed tournaments, including a College Mixed Championship this fall and a College Mixed Alumni Championship early next year.
The organization is wholly owned by SAVAGE and was created by Todd Curran, the owner and founder of the apparel company.
“With teams having different tryout and rostering schedules, I wanted to create a way for teams to participate without jeopardizing their USA Ultimate endeavors,” said Curran in a statement. “We’re not trying to compete against or replace anything already existing in the world of ultimate; rather, we’re simply looking to provide even more opportunities for people to play.”
The new organization offers optional membership for a $25 annual fee. Member perks include an Innova Pulsar ‘flatball,’ jersey, koozie, sticker, and membership card, said Curran.
“I’ve been working with the guys at Innova for a while and I love what they’re doing for ultimate,” he added. “I think their discs are really great quality and I enjoy using them when I play. With USA Flatball being brand new, I thought it was a great opportunity to give more players a chance to play with these discs.”
The inaugural event, the College Mixed Championships, will be held in late September in Axton, VA, and features $5000 in prizes for the top three placing teams and the spirit award winner.
“We are definitely trying to get combo high quality college teams to compete in the Championship, like UNC and Virginia and UNCW,” Curran told Ultiworld. “With the $5000 in cash prizes and other perks planned to be added, we expect a wide range of teams to place bids. As a championship event, we would like to see high level competition. However we encourage all teams to submit a bid.”
A combo team from Elon has already had its bid accepted. Curran has said online that they are working on solutions for determining player eligibility. Ensuring that the teams competing are comprised only of eligible college students could be a significant challenge, something that hindered an earlier college ultimate organization, Cultimate, during the 2000s.
Curran was insistent that the organization structure and membership option was about legitimacy, not competing with USA Ultimate or other groups within the sport. “USA Flatball is to be run as a support or feeder system to USA Ultimate and WFDF,” he said. “The goal is to grow the sport of ultimate/flatball and encourage more players to pick up the sport. We are using the 11th Edition Rules of Ultimate and will be promoting USA Ultimate to our members and participants.
“After seeing the divide between USAU, MLU and AUDL, I wanted to create something that was more inclusive. This was a driving force for why we created the optional membership and tournaments around the USAU seasons.”
USAF hopes to run six tournaments in 2016 — the College Alumni Championships (tentatively schedule for Myrtle Beach, SC, sometime in the spring), four regional qualifying college mixed tournaments, and the 2016 College Mixed Championships.