American Ultimate Disc League

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American Ultimate Disc League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019 AUDL season
American Ultimate Disc League Logo.gif
SportUltimate
Founded2010
Inaugural season2012
No. of teams21
CountryUnited States (18 teams)
Canada (3 teams)
Most recent
champion(s)
New York Empire
Most titlesSan Jose Spiders (2)
TV partner(s)Stadium
Eleven Sports Network
Official websitetheAUDL.com

The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) is a professional ultimate frisbee league in North America. The AUDL was founded by Josh Moore in 2010 and its inaugural season began in April 2012 with eight teams. Regular season games are played April through July. The playoffs consist of three rounds: divisional wild card round, division championships, and finally culminating in a final four style showcase known as AUDL Championship Weekend in August.[1] The winner of each division's championship game advances to Championship Weekend, with semifinals on Saturday and the championship game played on Sunday.

AUDL players do not receive a regular paycheck for playing in the league. Instead, players receive a portion of gate receipts and an ownership interest in the team.[2]

From 2013 to 2016 the AUDL shared the men's professional ultimate spotlight with Major League Ultimate. The women's Premier Ultimate League joined the professional ultimate scene in 2019.[3]

History[edit]

Inaugural season[edit]

The first AUDL game was won by the Connecticut Constitution on April 14, 2012 over the Rhode Island Rampage by a score of 29 to 23, and the first goal was scored by Brent Anderson of the Constitution.[4] The first championship was held on August 11, 2012 and was won by the Philadelphia Spinners by a score of 29 to 22 over the Indianapolis AlleyCats.

In the first season, the league consisted of eight teams broken into the Eastern and Western conferences. Jonathan 'Goose' Helton of the AlleyCats was named league MVP for the inaugural season. Helton, alongside Evan Boucher, Cameron Brock, Rob Dulabon, Dave Hochholter, John Korber, and Jake Rainwater were named to the first All-AUDL Team.[citation needed]

2012 lawsuit[edit]

In May 2012, the AUDL announced its plans for expansion for the following season, including franchises in New Jersey, New York, and Boston. Owners of the Connecticut Constitution and Rhode Island Rampage contended that the Boston and New York franchises impinged upon their Territory Licensing Agreements, which specified a non-compete radius of 100 miles. Separately, the league compensated the Philadelphia Spinners for the encroachment of the New Jersey and New York franchises. Negotiations between the Constitution, the Rampage, and the league reached an impasse in early June and the franchises' owners threatened legal action. The league preemptively sued the owners on June 17. As negotiations wore on, the league (at least twice) offered various settlements to the owners of the Constitution and the Rampage, but those offers were rejected. On July 5, the Constitution suspended team operations due to legal fees, missing two games. The league then fined the team the maximum fine of $10,000 per game, which Constitution owner Bryan Ricci called "severe and excessive" and refused to pay. Both the Constitution and Rampage had games cancelled near the end of the season.[5] The Constitution would have earned a playoff berth but were disqualified due to their unpaid fines and the Rampage advanced in their place, losing to the Philadelphia Spinners in the Division final.

In December 2012, the league and team owners reached a settlement. Details of the settlement are unknown due to a non-disclosure agreement.[6] Neither the Rampage nor the Connecticut Constitution returned to the AUDL in 2013.

2013–present[edit]

For the 2013 season, the Indianapolis AlleyCats and the Detroit Mechanix were the only teams from the 2012 season to remain in their cities, while the Bluegrass Revolution relocated from Lexington, KY to Cincinnati, OH and the Buffalo Hunters relocated and rebranded as the Rochester Dragons.[7] Even with only four teams left, the league still managed to expand to twelve teams overall.[8]

In 2014, the league expanded to 17 teams, including the introduction of the West Division.[9] The league also reached a multi-year broadcasting deal with ESPN3 that covered 14 regular season games, a playoff game, and the Championship Weekend.[10]

In 2015, the league expanded to 25 teams. The new expansion teams consisted of the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds, Ottawa Outlaws, Los Angeles Aviators, San Diego Growlers, Jacksonville Cannons, Nashville Nightwatch, Raleigh Flyers, Atlanta Hustle and Charlotte Express. In March 2015, the Salt Lake Lions announced that they would be suspending operations for the entire 2015 season; leaving the West Conference with only 6 teams. In October 2015, the AUDL announced that the Lions franchise had been bought back by the league, making that hiatus permanent. In the same announcement, the league welcomed the Austin Sol and Dallas Roughnecks to the South Division.[11] Shortly thereafter, the AUDL announced that the Rochester Dragons franchise was also being contracted and that the league was again hoping to start a franchise in the Boston area.[12]

Also in 2015, the Raleigh Flyers of the AUDL signed the first ever female professional ultimate player, Jessi Jones, to play in their game against the Nashville Nightwatch. Jones, who was a team USA U-23 player in 2013, was signed as part of "Women's Ultimate Day".[13][14]

In September 2016, the Cincinnati Revolution and the Charlotte Express announced they would be ceasing operations.[15]

In the 2017 season, Jesse Shofner was selected to the roster for the Nashville Nightwatch, which made her the first female player to make a full season AUDL roster.[14] Shofner subsequently scored two goals in the Nightwatch's first game of the 2017 season, making her the first woman to do so in any AUDL game.[16]

Before the 2018 Season, the Vancouver Riptide announced they would be leaving Vancouver, with the intent of relocating to Portland, Oregon.

Before the 2019 Season, the Nashville Nightwatch and the San Francisco FlameThrowers announced they would be ceasing operations.

Rules[edit]

The AUDL features a number of rule changes from the traditional set of rules laid out and established by USA Ultimate and the WFDF.

The field area is expanded to ​53 13 yards wide and 80 yards long with 20-yard end zones (the same size as an American football field, but with the end zones taking up twice as much of the field as in American football). Games are timed with four-quarters of 12 minutes each, including a 15-minute halftime. If the score is tied, a five-minute overtime period is played. If the score remains tied after overtime, a second overtime is played in which the first team to score wins.

Notable changes from the USAU format include the use of referees, a drop in the stall count from 10 seconds to 7, a ten-yard penalty for travelling when catching the disc, no prohibition of double-teams, and a yardage penalty for travelling when throwing the disc.[17] There are also other infractions, such as too much physicality, that result in 5-, 10-, or 20-yard penalties depending on the severity of the infraction. While different from the USAU and WFDF rules, many of the changes for the AUDL could also be seen in the MLU.

Teams[edit]

As of the 2019 season, 21 active teams compete in four divisions: East, Midwest, West, and South. There are 18 teams from the continental United States and three from Canada.

Active teams[edit]

Team City/Area Stadium Founded First Season
East
DC Breeze Washington, DC Cardinal Stadium at Catholic Univ.[18] 2013 2013
Montreal Royal Montreal, QC Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard 2013 2014
New York Empire New York City, NY Joseph F. Fosina Field[19] 2013 2013
Ottawa Outlaws Ottawa, ON MNP Park 2014 2015
Philadelphia Phoenix Philadelphia, PA Garthwaite Stadium 2013 2013
Toronto Rush Toronto, ON Varsity Stadium 2013 2013
Midwest
Chicago Wildfire Chicago, IL Langhorst Field, Elmhurst College 2013 (as Windy City Wildfire) 2013
Detroit Mechanix Detroit, MI Bishop Foley Catholic High School 2010 2012
Indianapolis AlleyCats Indianapolis, IN Grand Park Events Center[20] 2012 2012
Madison Radicals Madison, WI Breese Stevens Field 2013 2013
Minnesota Wind Chill Saint Paul, MN Sea Foam Stadium 2013 2013
Pittsburgh Thunderbirds Pittsburgh, PA J.C. Stone Field 2014 2015
West
Los Angeles Aviators Los Angeles, CA Culver City High School 2014 2015
San Diego Growlers San Diego, CA Junipero Serra High School/Balboa Stadium 2014 2015
San Jose Spiders San Jose, CA Foothill College 2013 2014
Seattle Cascades Seattle, WA Seattle Memorial Stadium 2014 (as the Seattle Raptors) 2014
TBD Portland, OR TBD 2018 2020
South
Atlanta Hustle Atlanta, GA St. Pius X Catholic High School 2015 2015
Austin Sol Austin, TX House Park 2015 2016
Dallas Roughnecks Dallas, TX The Colony Five Star Complex 2015 2016
Raleigh Flyers Raleigh, NC WakeMed Soccer Park 2014 2015
Tampa Bay Cannons Tampa, FL Skyway Park 2014 2015

Former teams[edit]

Team City/Area Stadium Season(s) Notes
Cincinnati Revolution Cincinnati, OH Sheakley Athletic Center 2012 (as the Bluegrass Revolution), 20132016[21]
Rochester Dragons Rochester, NY Eunice Kennedy Shriver Stadium 2012 (as the Buffalo Hunters),20132015[12]
Charlotte Express Charlotte, NC Irwin Belk Complex 20152016[21]
Columbus Cranes Columbus, OH Warhawks Stadium 2012
Connecticut Constitution New Britain, CT Arute Field 2012
Nashville Nightwatch Nashville, TN Hunters Lane High School 2014-2018
New Jersey Hammerheads Trenton, NJ Mercer County Community College Stadium 2013[22]
Philadelphia Spinners Philadelphia, PA Franklin Field 2012 Left to join MLU[23]
Rhode Island Rampage Providence, RI Pierce Memorial Field 2012
Salt Lake Lions Salt Lake City, UT Taylorsville High School Stadium 2014
San Francisco FlameThrowers Oakland, CA Laney College Football Field[24] 2013-2018 Exploring switch to a women's team[25]
Vancouver Riptide Vancouver, BC Swangard Stadium 2014-2017 Move planned to Portland, Oregon for 2020 season

Championships[edit]

Season Date Champion Final score Runner-up Venue Location Ref
2012 August 11, 2012 Philadelphia Spinners 29–22 Indianapolis AlleyCats Pontiac Silverdome Pontiac, MI [26]
2013 August 4, 2013 Toronto Rush 16–14 Madison Radicals Lane Tech Stadium Chicago, IL [27][28]
2014 July 27, 2014 San Jose Spiders 28–18 Toronto Rush Varsity Stadium Toronto, ON [29]
2015 August 9, 2015 San Jose Spiders 17–15 Madison Radicals Avaya Stadium San Jose, CA [30]
2016 August 7, 2016 Dallas Roughnecks 33–27 Seattle Cascades Breese Stevens Field Madison, WI [31]
2017 August 27, 2017 San Francisco FlameThrowers 30-29 Toronto Rush Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard Montreal, QC [32]
2018 August 12, 2018 Madison Radicals 20-16 Dallas Roughnecks Breese Stevens Field Madison, WI [33]
2019 August 11, 2019 New York Empire 26-22 Dallas Roughnecks Foothill College San Jose, CA [34]

MVP[edit]

Season Name Team
2012 Jonathan "Goose" Helton Indianapolis AlleyCats
2013 Jonathan "Goose" Helton Windy City Wildfire
2014 Beau Kittredge San Jose Spiders
2015 Beau Kittredge San Jose Spiders
2016 Dylan Tunnell[35] Atlanta Hustle
2017 Jonathan Nethercutt Raleigh Flyers
2018 Matthew "Rowan" McDonnell DC Breeze
2019 Ben Jagt New York Empire

League Commissioners[edit]

  • Josh Moore, Commissioner from 2012-2013
  • Steve Gordon, Commissioner from 2013-2018
  • Steve Hall, Commissioner from 2018–present

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Full Schedule". theAUDL.com. Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Lowest Paid Athletes in All of Professional Sports", Men's Journal, Evan Grossman, November 25, 2014.
  3. ^ "Premier Ultimate League". Premier Ultimate League. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "Week 1 Results". American Ultimate Disc League. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  5. ^ "A Timeline of the AUDL Lawsuit: How Did We Get Here?". Ultiworld. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  6. ^ "AUDL Settles Lawsuit With Connnecticut and Rhode Island Franchises". Ultiworld. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "Philadelphia Spinners Leave AUDL". Skyd Magazine. October 5, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  8. ^ "AUDL Teams". American Ultimate Disc League. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  9. ^ "AUDL Announces 2014 Expansion To West Coast, Montreal". Ultiworld. October 25, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  10. ^ "AUDL Signs Multi-Year Broadcast Agreement with ESPN". American Ultimate Disc League. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "Austin, Dallas Joining AUDL's South Division in 2016". Ultiworld. October 8, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "AUDL Announces Contraction of Rochester Dragons Franchise". AUDL. October 29, 2015. Archived from the original on October 31, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "Raleigh Flyers Sign First-Ever Female Pro Ultimate Player | Livewire | Ultiworld". Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "In First For Female Player, Jesse Shofner Makes Nashville Nightwatch Roster". Ultiworld. March 24, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  15. ^ comments, Charlie Eisenhood in News with 2 (September 2, 2016). "AUDL's Cincinnati Revolution, Charlotte Express Cease Operations". Ultiworld. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "AUDL Throwaround: Shofner Makes History, Ugly Jersey Effect, Polk On SportsCenter". Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  17. ^ "AUDL 101". American Ultimate Disc League. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  18. ^ "Breeze Stadium". AUDL. March 12, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  19. ^ "New York Calls Joseph F. Fosina Field of New Rochelle (AKA Flower's Park) Home". New York Empire. nyempireaudl.com. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  20. ^ "Indianapolis AlleyCat". Indianapolis AlleyCat. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Cincinnati, Charlotte Franchises To Contract; New Atlanta Ownership". American Ultimate Disc League. September 4, 2016. Archived from the original on September 5, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  22. ^ "New Jersey AUDL Franchise Folds, DC Franchise Avoids Same Fate With New Investor". Ultiworld. December 3, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  23. ^ "AUDL President Talks About 2013 Season, Spinners, Major League Ultimate". Ultiworld. October 10, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  24. ^ "Venue". SF FlameThrowers. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  25. ^ "Major Changes for 2019". American Ultimate Disc League. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  26. ^ "Philadelphia Wins Inaugural AUDL Championship". Skyd Magazine. August 20, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  27. ^ "2013 AUDL Championship Final Highlights". Retrieved June 24, 2014 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "AUDL Championship Weekend Preview". Skyd Magazine. August 2, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  29. ^ "Instant Reaction: The AUDL Moves Championship Up to Toronto". Ultiworld. November 27, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  30. ^ "2015 AUDL Championship". AUDL. August 9, 2015. Archived from the original on August 13, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  31. ^ "Breese Stevens Field To Host 2016 AUDL Championship Weekend". AUDL. January 4, 2016. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  32. ^ "2017 AUDL Championship Weekend: Montreal". AUDL. Archived from the original on June 6, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  33. ^ "2018 AUDL Championship". AUDL. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  34. ^ "Final". AUDL. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  35. ^ "Dylan Tunnell Wins 2016 AUDL MVP | Livewire". Ultiworld. August 29, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2017.