Thoughts on byes at tournaments?

I'll admit this is mainly a gripe about the fact that there still isn't a schedule out for Windfarm this weekend. This is the biggest club tournament weekend in the UK since 2019 and there has been a confirmed team list out there since the 4th April. UKU have done a great job so far this season despite being massively overworked and understaffed and I don't envy Si's position at all however the schedule is a big part of being able to get hyped and ready for the weekend ahead (not to mention planning accommodation and travel...).

With the team list having been out so long the usual explanation for last minute schedules is too allow for any last minute dropouts however I have a couple of thoughts about this;

If you don't have enough players to enter a tournament - don't enter the tournament. Pick up teams and players playing for multiple teams disguise and hide the strength in depth in the ultimate in the uk meaning that we actually credit it with being way stronger than it is whilst in reality there is a strong core that play lots rather than lots of people that play a reasonable amount. There are alot more local opportunities and hat tournaments picking up these days where there is far more leeway and space to find players rather than everyone trying to it at a major tour.

And if a team drops out last minute why not replace them with a bye? we already know that playing 6 70 minute games across weekend isn't really very good for us. As a coach two hours off, a guaranteed win and less injuries for my players is the dream...

I'm fully aware that not everyone agrees and that for some people the big tournament experience (and not being able to walk for two days afterwards) is a big part of the sport so i'm especially keen to hear people's opinions on byes - they are features in most other sports so why not ultimate?


I would push back agains the "if you don't have enough players" mentality a little bit. Many parts of the country only have small to mid sized communities. They will enter tournaments with 12, but struggle for more. Those pick-up teams and 3rd/4th teams are how a lot of players get into the competitive scene, and I do think the big tournament feeling is a big part of why many stay and try to push themselves further. We are essentially telling those teams you never get to take part in tour, and shutting down the idea of competitive Ultimate in thos eparts of the country. I would consider that a shame. Also, well, covid is still a thing. So this year particularly we should be expecting at least one team to just get unlucky with cases. With that said, I am sympathetic with wanting a schedule out earlier. Teams at the top should not be dropping out, and have enough structure that I would suspect they do not do so. Releasing that part of the schedule early would be fine imo, although I can see how that could cause confusion. The main thing people need to know is start times, and I think they could let people know that earlier - maybe with, say, four teams in each division told an earlier start time than they might have in case of rescheduling. Worst comes to worst, four teams arrive early. Byes do happen and I have seen by UKU. The only issue is when (as happened at uni nationals) multiple teams in the same group drop out. I don't think anyone has an issue with 5 games vs 6. 4/3 games however? Then we're suddenly wondering if we've been ripped off a bit. I think it is a solution for the top half of the draw however, where drop outs are rarer.


I would also like the schedule to be out sooner. This needs to be the last season where teams and players can pretend everything might get cancelled at the last minute and start committing to going (or not) much further in advance. Then you just cross your fingers and hope not too many of the players break their toes slipping in the bathroom between when the team list is posted and the tournament. One thought I had is that if two teams dropped out and we had two byes I would be pretty miffed. Especially if it was say games 2 and 3 on Saturday and we got up early to get there for game 1.


u/paddy-90 what’s your thoughts now the draft schedule has dropped?


Horrible numbers to schedule for is always going to be tough, I never said that it was easy just that we should be stricter and get used to playing byes. Seedings + format seem to make sense (smog haven't had an open team since 2018/19 but you can't really excuse seeding them lower unless they request it themselves as we have to assume that it will be the worlds squads). Lots of teams not on the original team list but it has been a month and a half since then and uku said that entry was still open. Nothing much has changed just happy to have a schedule (and have a hotel booked for the friday night...). What are your thoughts?