Ultimate Tennis

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First Season Player Rule

First season players are:

  • New league members
  • Returning members with an expired rating = (have not played in 2 or more years)
The skill levels for these members are "unverified" until they have completed one season of play in which their rating has settled. If a first season player ends the season with a "playoff eligibility" rating above the criteria shown below they are NOT eligible to compete in the playoffs. In "singles leagues only", if a player moves up a skill level in their second season and earns a +7.0 or greater they will continue to be ineligible for the playoffs. The Ultimate Tennis league coordinator always reserves the right to make the final determination of a player / teams eligibility.

Singles Playoff Eligibility

+7.0 rating or greater - not eligible for playoffs

Doubles Playoff Eligibility

+9.0 rating or greater - not eligible for playoffs



Additional Requirements for USTA members and Past Ultimate Tennis members

USTA members
If you are a new member with a USTA rating, you may not rate yourself at a level below your USTA level. You must select a level at or above your USTA level in your first season. Players found playing below their USTA level are subject to being removed anytime during the regular season or the playoffs. When found, the Ultimate Tennis office will review the case and make a ruling.

Past Ultimate Members - (2+ years)
If you are a returning member that has not played in 2 or more years you MUST come back at the SAME level or higher than your last skill level. Contact customer service for exceptions & extenuating circumstances. If customer service approves you to play at a lower level, the new level will NOT be more than 1 level lower from your last level played & you will be ineligible for playoffs regardless of your regular season results. This rule preserves the integrity of our skill levels and protects against "sandbagging".


Exceptions to the First Season rule

  • Does not apply to 5.0 level events and up in markets with 8 skill levels if this is the highest level that season.
  • Does not apply to 6.0 level events in markets with 13 skill levels.
  • Does not apply to players in the inaugural season of a new league city.
  • Does not apply to existing cities if it's the first season for a new event type (singles, doubles or mixed).


Why the First Season Player rule was established

This rule was established to protect existing players from new members entering the league whose initial skill level did not reflect their playing ability in the Ultimate Tennis rating system. The first season player rule is the single most important rule in the league to preserving fair and consistent competition. It is overwhelmingly supported by our membership.

We understand that 98% of ineligible players are not intentionally playing below their skill level. They have unknowingly entered the league at the wrong level which is easy to do given the wide variations in rating systems used by different leagues. Our goal is to get players quickly adjusted to the correct skill level for this league.

We go to great lengths to rate new members accurately before they enter the league, however no rating system can account for all the variables. For example, players who have had extensive tennis experience and then taken several years off are very difficult to rate. These players can start a season at one level and by the end of the season improve several skill levels. It would be unfair to allow these players to compete in the playoffs until their skill level has stabilized. Similarly past members who have not played in the league for more than two years are likely to have changed skill levels and need to be reverified.

As stated in our players agreement during registration, Ultimate Tennis is in no way responsible for players who are ineligible for the playoffs because they have entered the league at too low a level. Each new member is responsible for accurately self rating themselves. Our new member survey and rating system greatly helps skill level accuracy but cannot account for every variable. The league registration fee does not include the right to play in the playoffs. New members must earn the right to compete in the playoffs by completing one full season of play at the correct skill level. To find out more read our First Season Theory


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