Rules of Ultimate

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USA Ultimate Observer Program

In 2005, the USA Ultimate Observer Program took on its current structure. A standardized training document was produced in the form of the USA Ultimate Observer Manual. A training clinic curriculum, based on the standards in the manual, was developed, implemented, and continues to be utilized at clinics around the country. Criteria for certification were developed, which included clinic attendance, testing, and performance evaluation. Regional Observer Coordinator positions were created to facilitate scheduling of training clinics and use of Observers at USA Ultimate events. In 2011 the position of Regional Observer Coordinator was eliminated with HQ assuming those responsibilities. A standing Observer Committee, headed by a committee chair, was tasked with overseeing the development of the program.

The USA Ultimate Observer Committee determines official USA Ultimate guidelines for observing, including current standards for USA Ultimate competition, and training materials and methods. The committee consists of seven active members (including a chairperson and a USA Ultimate staff liaison), plus the USA Ultimate’s national division directors. The active members of the committee are responsible for updating and maintaining the Observer Manual and other official Observer training materials. They also meet periodically to discuss potential changes to Observer roles and practices, and implement any such changes by revising and refining those materials. The Observer Committee oversees and assists in conducting Observer training clinics, including at least one "experimental rules" tournament each year, where proposed variations on Observer roles, protocol and interaction can be tested and evaluated by players and the committee.

To contact the Chair of the USA Ultimate Observer Committee, email

Read more about USA Ultimate's Policy on Observers and Referees.