American Ultimate Disc League
Current season, competition or edition:|
2017 AUDL season
|No. of teams||23|
United States (20 teams) |
Canada (3 teams)
|San Francisco FlameThrowers (1st title)|
|Most titles||San Jose Spiders (2)|
The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) is a semi-professional ultimate frisbee league in North America. Between 2013 and 2016, it was one of two such leagues, the other being Major League Ultimate, which ceased operation on December 21, 2016. It was founded by Josh Moore in 2010 and its inaugural season began in April 2012 with eight teams. Regular season games are played during the months of April through July. The playoffs consist of division championships and culminate with a championship game in August.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. Neither the Rampage nor the Connecticut Constitution returned to the AUDL in 2013.
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. Even with only four teams left, the league still managed to expand to twelve teams overall.
In 2014, the league expanded to 17 teams, including the introduction of the West Division. The league also reached a multi-year broadcasting deal with ESPN3 that covered 14 regular season games, a playoff game, and the Championship Weekend.
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. 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.
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".
In September 2016, the Cincinnati Revolution and the Charlotte Express announced they would be ceasing operations.
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. 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.
The field area is expanded to 53 1⁄3 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. 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 to the USAU and WFDF rules, many of the changes for the AUDL could also be seen in the MLU.
As of the 2018 season, 23 active teams compete in four divisions: East, Midwest, West, and South. There are 20 teams from the continental United States and 3 from Canada.
|Cincinnati Revolution||Cincinnati, OH||Sheakley Athletic Center||2012 (as the Bluegrass Revolution),2013—2016||Folded|
|Rochester Dragons||Rochester, NY||Eunice Kennedy Shriver Stadium||2012 (as the Buffalo Hunters),2013—2015||Contracted|
|Charlotte Express||Charlotte, NC||Irwin Belk Complex||2015—2016||Contracted|
|Columbus Cranes||Westerville, Ohio||Warhawks Stadium||2012||Folded|
|Connecticut Constitution||New Britain, CT||Arute Field||2012||Folded|
|New Jersey Hammerheads||West Windsor Township, NJ||Mercer County Community College Stadium||2013||Folded|
|Philadelphia Spinners||Philadelphia, PA||Franklin Field||2012||Left to join MLU|
|Rhode Island Rampage||East Providence, RI||Pierce Memorial Field||2012||Folded|
|Salt Lake Lions||Salt Lake City, UT||2014||Dissolved|
|Vancouver Riptide||Vancouver, BC||Swangard Stadium||2014-2017||Team Move to Portland, Oregon for 2019 Season|
|2012||August 11, 2012||Philadelphia Spinners||29–22||Indianapolis AlleyCats||Pontiac Silverdome||Pontiac, MI|||
|2013||August 4, 2013||Toronto Rush||16–14||Madison Radicals||Lane Tech Stadium||Chicago, IL|||
|2014||July 27, 2014||San Jose Spiders||28–18||Toronto Rush||Varsity Stadium||Toronto, ON|||
|2015||August 9, 2015||San Jose Spiders||17–15||Madison Radicals||Avaya Stadium||San Jose, CA|||
|2016||August 7, 2016||Dallas Roughnecks||33–27||Seattle Cascades||Breese Stevens Field||Madison, WI|||
|2017||August 27, 2017||San Francisco FlameThrowers||30-29||Toronto Rush||Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard||Montreal, QC|||
|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||Atlanta Hustle|
|2017||Jonathan Nethercutt||Raleigh Flyers|
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