How To Run An Elite Event: Get It Sanctioned!

Posted on: on Mar 30, 2017 11:45:11 AM



Running an elite event is a great way for teams to raise money and gain notoriety in their region. We've got the tips to make your event awesome - and it all starts with getting your event sanctioned through USA Ultimate (USAU). 


There are a ton of perks to getting your event sanctioned. Here are a few we'll mention to start:

  1. Competitive teams need to play in 10 sanctioned tournaments to earn a bid to Regionals and Nationals, so they're looking for those events when planning out their season. Lure in that top talent!
  2. Enjoy free, no-hassle insurance from USAU for your event! One less thing, am I right?
  3. Get your event listed on USAU's website for anyone to find. Hello, free tourney promotion!

To meet the sanctioning logistic timelines, we recommend starting the process about two months out from your tournament. (Even better to start at the beginning of the season so you can promote it to other teams before they set their schedule!)


Here's the quick and dirty on how-to to get your event sanctioned:


1. become a certified tournament director

If USAU is going to endorse your event, they want to make sure you have an organizer who knows what they're doing to run a flawless event. Seems fair enough!


But don't worry - they don't expect you to do it all on your own. USAU has got a certification program to teach you everything that you need to know (and it's good for 2 years!). Here's what ya gotta do:

  1. Apply for an online clinic here. There is a $33 application fee.
  2. Read the Tournament Director's Manual that you can see when you log into USAU's website.
  3. Complete USAU's online exam that they'll email to you.


You can find more about the Tournament Director Certification Process here.


2. get the scoop on insurance

All USAU-sanctioned events are automatically insured for general liability (woohoo!), but you should also check if your field site or school has any special insurance requirements.


This page has the specifics about the USAU insurance.


3. submit your sanctioning application to usau

The most important step is to get your application in on time to USAU! (Pro tip: do steps 1 and 2 first or there will be a delay in processing your event.)


Another pro tip: Apply early! The sooner you apply, the less expensive it is ($100 6 weeks out, $200 3 weeks out, $300 2 weeks out)


Here's the application (also found on the How to Apply page along with other information like deadlines and payment links)!


4. follow usau's Regular season requirements

Report rosters and scores to USAU.
  • Team registration must close and be submitted to USAU by Monday 5PM before the event.
  • Your event schedule must be posted to USAU by Tuesday 8AM before the event. It's good practice to email the teams about the schedule too - teams will appreciate the heads up!
  • Final rosters for the teams competing must be completed by Wednesday 5PM before the event. If teams attending don't get it together by then, USAU won't allow them to participate in your event. Make sure captains know that they need to move players from their team personnel to the event roster.
  • Submit scores to USAU by Monday 8AM after the event.

Follow the rules of competition at the event.
  • Team size: At least 10 on each team.
  • Field size: At least 35 x 65 yards, with 20-yard endzones.
  • Field amenities: You'll need a water station, a bathroom, a scoreboard at tourney HQ, a designated medical area, and a game disc for every team. See here for more details.
  • Game length: Play to at least 11 points or at least 60 minutes. Past that, it's up to your discretion.
  • Current rules: We're on the 11th edition. Make sure you're up to date, and bring a few copies with you, just in case you need to settle any disputes. (You can also get the rules on the USAU mobile app!)


USAU has a lot of awesome resources to make sure you have all the tools you need to make your event a success. 

  • This page has a bunch of great checklists and manuals so you don't have to get anxious about forgetting something important.
  • Here's an FAQ page if you're not sure of anything.
  • And you can always email Leah at USAU for specific questions:

over to you!

Anything to add? See something that could be clarified better? Let us know in the comments below!