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Rule clarification - Hitting the Disc First
Forum Home »  Rules »  Rule clarification - Hitting the Disc First
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Michael Sigsworth
Team Admin
Revolution
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Posted: Sun Dec 8, 2013

Another game, another discussion on rules. Figured we may as well all be on the same page. Consider the following, and let me know your thoughts on how they should be interpreted and how they interact. For reference I have included the sections.

II.H Incidental contact: Contact between opposing players that does not affect continued play

XVI.C.2.b.1
If a player contacts an opponent while the disc is in the air and thereby interferes with that opponent's attempt to make a play on the disc , that player has committed a receiving foul. Some amount of incidental contact before, during, or immediately after the attempt often is unavoidable and is not a foul.

My Question - This would appear to be the basis for the "I got to the disc before making contact". If I am correct, when is the disc deemed to cease being "in the air"?

XVI.C.2.b.3
The Principle of Verticality: All players have the right to enter the air space immediately above their torso to make a play on a thrown disc. If non-incidental contact occurs in the airspace immediately above a player before the outcome of the play is determined (e.g., before possession is gained or an incomplete pass is effected), it is a foul on the player entering the vertical space of the other player

XVII - Positioning
A - Each player is entitled to occupy any position on the field not occupied by an opposing player, unless specifically overridden elsewhere, provided that no personal contact is caused in taking such a position.

B - A player who jumps is entitled to land at the take-off spot without hindrance by opponents. That player also is entitled to land at another spot, provided that the landing spot, and the direct path between the take-off and landing spots, were not already occupied at the time of take-off .

Look forward to everyone's thoughts.
Jamie M
Stupid Sexy Flanders
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Last Updated: Mon Dec 9, 2013

Regarding the question about "when is the disc deemed to cease being in the air" - the rule you quoted has some expandable fine print that clarifies:

Receiving Fouls:

***If a player contacts an opponent while the disc is in the air and thereby interferes with that opponent's attempt to make a play on the disc

(The opponent must at least begin an attempt to make a play on the disc. The opponent’s "attempt to make a play on the disc" includes any second efforts after a disc is tipped, if the disc has not become uncatchable.),

that player has committed a receiving foul. Some amount of incidental contact before, during, or immediately after the attempt often is unavoidable and is not a foul.***



The disc is "in the air" until it touches the ground or is caught, but remember - contact is only a foul if the receiver thinks it stopped them from having a play on the disc (and it was initiated by their opponent).

In the situation where a defender goes up, hits the disc away, and then has contact with the receiver - that alone isn't a foul, but we need to know where the disc goes and what happened to the receiver before we know if that contact affected the outcome of the play.

If the receiver thinks they could have caught the disc after it was tipped, but were prevented from doing so because of the contact initiated by the defender, then they should call a foul.


The other rules quoted about verticality and positioning fall under the same idea: the violation should only be called when it affects the outcome of the play (or if something about the play was really reckless and it could be deemed a dangerous play). So this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_V42CTgCJs should only be called if the guy being jumped over feels like he could have jumped up and grabbed the disc at the same height as the guy jumping over him.

Hopefully that helps.
Bill Boyer
175 Grams of Ecstacy
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Posted: Mon Dec 9, 2013

Here are two quotes from a member of the standing rules committee (taken from a similar discussion on another BBS):

"We also need to understand that there are two possible types of fouls here... a receiving foul, or a simple general foul.

With the general foul, if the stationary player was knocked over or off-balance such that they couldn't continue play as they would have without the contact, it's a completely valid general foul and the player is allowed to pick themselves up, brush off, and then get the disc checked back in. But this does not award that player the disc, or otherwise change the result of "the play". It just allows play to stop while the player recovers from the impact.

With the receiving foul, I see two things to consider - whether it was a dangerous play, or whether the fouled player would have had a second chance at the disc absent the foul.

If dangerous play, or a second chance, the fouled player would be awarded the disc. ... and of course, either of these could be contested and have the disc sent back.

If neither dangerous nor a second chance, and the disc is already batted away before the contact (i.e., the result of the play was already 100% known before the contact), then it's not a receiving foul, and the fouled player is not awarded the disc. ... but it would/could still be a general foul."

AND

"A foul, yes. A receiving foul, no.

The wording of the receiving foul is fairly clear, and if the contact did not impact the ability of the other to attempt to make a play, it's not a receiving foul. Since the disc was already out of "play attempt range", the contact will not impact the ability to make the play. That's exactly what the receiving foul rule says, and exactly what it means. The verticality rule has the same meaning, for the same reason.

The only time contact after the play has been made, matters, is when it's a dangerous play."
Michael Sigsworth
Team Admin
Revolution
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Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013

If I could get further discussion specifically around:

XVII - Positioning
B - A player who jumps is entitled to land at the take-off spot without hindrance by opponents. That player also is entitled to land at another spot, provided that the landing spot, and the direct path between the take-off and landing spots, were not already occupied at the time of take-off.

My interpretation of this, which appears to have no limitations to when it is applied other than when a player leaves the ground, is that while you may get to the disc first (either taller, more hops, etc), if you were required to foul to land (general foul per Bill likely due to none vertical, but more horizontal jump), then the play cannot by itself stand as a d regardless of whether it is batted out of reach.

Now if my interpretation is correct, I have no idea where the disc would go to. I would assume the receiver who was fouled...but that's just a guess.
Bill Boyer
175 Grams of Ecstacy
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Last Updated: Tue Dec 10, 2013

"The wording of the receiving foul is fairly clear, and if the contact did not impact the ability of the other to attempt to make a play, it's not a receiving foul."
Rick St Jean
Drop the Hammer
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Last Updated: Wed Dec 11, 2013

It did hamper his ability to make a play on the disc initially because the defender was in an illegal position when he touched the disc first. He did not have the entitlement to the landing space.

It's exactly like a thrower calling foul, when the marker is closer than a disc space. The mark cannot(should not) contest because he is not in a legal marking position.
Jamie M
Stupid Sexy Flanders
Posts: 9

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Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2013

Rick St Jean wrote:

It's exactly like a thrower calling foul, when the marker is closer than a disc space. The mark cannot(should not) contest because he is not in a legal marking position.



I assume you mean when there is contact (if there was no contact between a marker and the thrower, then no foul can be called, even if the marker was hovering all up in the thrower's biznaz).

To the original question - A very similar issue just got raised on reddit and has a pretty active discussion going on: http://www.reddit.com/r/ultimate/comments/1smypc/but_i_got_the_disc_first/ (Is that you posting there Mike, creating some midwestern alias?)


Under USAU rules (our rules): no contact = no foul + no dangerous play. So if you step out of the way of the contact, there is no foul (The WFDF rules have changed this).

So lets assume that the d catches the disc while in the air, and then collides with the intended receiver. It's up to the the receiver to determine what level of contact/risk constitutes a dangerous play.


If the receiver doesn't feel like it's a dangerous play, then they should have moved closer to the disc to try and catch it, or if they didn't think they could catch it, they should move out of the way to avoid the contact. If they feel it was a dangerous play, then they can call it.

Obviously this leaves things a bit grey, even more so in mixed ultimate because body sizes have much more variety, and each player has different boundaries for what constituents a dangerous play.


In conclusion:
I see what you guys are saying - You can be standing there about to catch a disc when some guy comes flying through, makes an illegal play, causes a turnover, and collides with you. It certainly doesn't seem like the turnover should stand. But unless you're calling it a dangerous play, then my understanding of the rules is that the turnover does stand.
Michael Sigsworth
Team Admin
Revolution
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Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013

As much as I hate to say it, I have to go with Rick. It would seem the foul occurs at take-off, before any contact with the disc on either part occurs. And based on the positioning rule, I see no mention of disc contact as a determining factor. So any subsequent D is irrelevant and disc would go back to thrower (assuming contested).

Although, the subnote to that rule on the USA Ultimate site deals with blocking, and the interplay between positioning and blocking. So clearly there is more to a play than just any single action or event...so can be very grey as Jaime said, especially in a fast paced play with lots of moving parts.

Thanks for the discussion though guys. At least I think it allows for some clarity on the field, although not certainty.
Jamie M
Stupid Sexy Flanders
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Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013

There needs to be contact in order for a foul to occur, so the jumping on it's own is not a foul. It becomes an issue at the moment you land on someone who is stationary.

While the rules may not mention disc contact as a determining factor, what we're looking for here is "did the foul affect the outcome of the play?".

If Player A jumps, catches a disc, and then lands on Player B - by the time that contact occurs the outcome of the play has already been decided. A general foul could be called to allow Player B to regain his position, but Player A definitely maintains possession of the disc.

From the book (XVI- C3): "Contact that occurs after the outcome of the play is determined cannot affect the play. For example, if a defender catches a disc before bumping into the receiver and knocking him over, that contact did not affect the play and the turnover will stand."


As mentioned, this all changes if it's deemed a "dangerous play" or the disc is tipped and the individual who was fouled believes they could have made a second bid on the disc.
Michael Sigsworth
Team Admin
Sultans of Swing
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Last Updated: Fri Dec 13, 2013

Where are you reading the contact portion? (Sorry don't have the book, just using the USA Ultimate website)

For an infraction, which is what I assume the positioning call is, it need only be determined by the player calling the infraction that "the outcome of the specific play (from the time of the infraction until play stops) may have been meaningfully different absent the infraction." (XVI-C3 as you posted) So if they left the ground unable to land without landing on a player, an infraction per XVII.B (positioning rule is considered an infraction, correct?), then anything that happens after that such as d'ing the disc would result in a meaningfully different outcome.

So are we debating different points here now, the difference between foul and infraction? Is there a meaningful difference between foul and infraction? Doesn't appear to be, other than an infraction can be called by anybody on the field but a foul has to be called by the individual being fouled. But a little unclear on that.
Jamie M
Stupid Sexy Flanders
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Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013

The contact bit is in the definitions:

Foul: Non-Incidental contact: contact between opposing players. In general, the player initiating the contact has committed the foul.

Remember that XVII B is not there for the benefit of a person standing still, it's there for the benefit of the person in the air. It's so that if I jump up and catch a disc, a defender can't quickly plant himself in front of me and call a foul (I am entitled to land at a spot that was open when I took off).

For the purpose of someone standing still waiting to catch a disc, it doesn't really matter if their opponent jumps, hits the disc, and then collides with them, or just hits the disc and then runs into them. The whole airborn thing is really irrelevant.

So while the rule is written to let the jumper land safely (you can't step into a spot where somebody is about to land), we can't just assume the inverse (that if somebody is already standing where a jumper is about to land, then the jump itself is illegal).

I feel like this is begging to be turned into an LSAT question.

Anyways - Jumping into somebody is no different than running into them. It's a foul, but if the outcome of the play has already been decided by the time contact occurs, then it's really a moo point (like a cow's opinion - it doesn't matter).

Michael Sigsworth
Team Admin
Sultans of Swing
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Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013

Why is XVII B for the benefit of the person in the air? I would agree that the first sentence seems clearly for the jumper. But the second sentence appears to be for the planted.
Jamie M
Stupid Sexy Flanders
Posts: 9

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Posted: Fri Dec 13, 2013

I am going to have to find a hobby to give up if this keeps going.


It's worded a little weird, but the subject of the second sentence is still "landing spots the jumper is entitled to". It makes the exception that if someone happens to be between a jumper's take-off and landing spots when the jump occurs, then the jumper has no automatic entitlement to the landing spot. It's not putting fault on the jumper, it's just saying that if you jump into an occupied space, you can't expect people to move just because you're airborne.

In fact, you could have that exact situation occur and the proper outcome still be a foul on the non-jumper.

Say I am running for a disc on offense, with a defender a few feet ahead of me. As the disc is about to come down, I jump to try and grab the disc. The defender notices that I've jumped (and am therefore no longer capable of running around him), and so he plants, changes directions and runs back directly into me - ignoring the disc.

We just had a collision that fits into the XVI B exception (I jumped, and at the time I jumped there was a person between me and my landing spot - though I was anticipating they would keep moving). I (the jumper) can still call a foul on the defender because they moved solely to stop me from getting to the disc, which is the only actual foul taking place.


If it was just about "the planted/non-jumper", the rule wouldn't be bringing up anything that isn't already covered by a regular foul (aka, don't crash into someone on the other team).



Perhaps another example cause I am feeling creative.

Imagine Jonas Valanciunas gets fed up with the Raptors and takes up ultimate in Durham instead.

You're playing against him and a disc goes up, and you and him are both running for it from opposite sides of the disc (directly towards each other). As you near the disc, you both recognize that contact is going to occur. He's so freakishly tall that he doesn't even have to jump to make a bid, he just keeps running, while you have to jump to try and get it.

You collide, and neither of you wants to call a foul because you were both moving towards each other and were equally responsible for the collision.

You two seem cool, but as play goes to carry on, Jonas' teammate chimes in and says that when you jumped, Jonas (who was mid-sprint) was located between your take-off spot and where your landing would have been had you not collided. He claims that therefore your jump was illegal. According to your interpretation of XVI B, even though you two moved into each other at the exact same rate of speed, from opposite directions, perfectly centered under the disc - the fact that you had to jump to make a play means you broke the rules, while the 6'11, 245lb man who sprinted into you did nothing wrong.




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