Photo by Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com
Mark Evangelisto (above) and a committee of coaches, players and officials are in the process of reviewing the 2015 MLU Rulebook and recommending any changes to the Executive Committee.
While it has been over 14 weeks since the MLU Championship, the work at Major League Ultimate HQ never ends. During the offseason, committees and departments at MLU work tirelessly to review the previous years of work and plan for the upcoming season. One of these committees is the Rules Committee, lead by Mark Evangelisto, MLU investor and former General Manager of the Philadelphia Spinners .
“The job of the Rules Committee is to propose to the Executive Committee clarifications, modifications and extensions to the current MLU rule set for adoption in the upcoming season.” said Evangelisto, “As the chair of the committee this year, I assembled a team of coaches, players and officials from both divisions to meet over the next couple of months and formulate proposals, discuss them amongst ourselves and decide on which ones warrant formalizing to present for consideration.”
Part of the MLU from inception, Evangelisto has been involved in every stage of the rule book’s development, which he acknowledges has always been an evolving document. Each year since the inaugural MLU season in 2013, rules have been added, removed and adjusted to best reflect the mission of the MLU.
“There are several factors we always consider when evaluating any proposed change to the rules. Specifically, we focus on player safety, place and quality of gameplay, fan experience, MLU brand and retaining integrity of the sport of ultimate.”
One of the more noticed rule change from last season was the half-field pull. In 2015, if a team called a timeout immediately after scoring a goal, the resulting pull would be from midfield instead of from their goal line. The goal of this rule was to allow teams to maintain momentum after a score by pinning their opponent deep in their own territory. Used primarily by teams looking to make a comeback (or to seal a win), the rule greatly increased the value of a timeout (each team has 2 timeouts per half) and led to several exciting moments in games.
The ability to pin the opposing team deep in their own territory led to 6 callahans in 2015, setting a new high mark for a MLU season.
For 2016, the Rules Committee is comprised of Evangelisto, New York Rumble Coach Anthony Nuñez, players Chris Rupp of the Seattle Rainmakers and Misha Sidorsky of the Boston Whitecaps and officials Jamie Rhodes (Boston), Bob Ransdell (Portland) and Mark Moran (Vancouver).
“I’m a pretty analytical guy by nature, so the challenge of defining a clear and consistent set of rules definitely has its appeal.” Evangelisto continued, “The rules by which we play this game are such a fundamental and important building block to our success. It’s a responsibility that I do not take lightly.”‘
Any changes to the MLU rulebook will be announced prior to the beginning of the 2016 season.