On Monday, USA Ultimate filed a takedown notice against Pitt’s 2013 College Championships Highlight Reel. The reel featured footage and commentary from ESPN’s coverage of the tournament.
Yesterday, news broke that the Lancaster, PA-based team, the Heva Havas would be required by USA Ultimate to change their club name for the series (A Heva Hava, for the uninitiated, is a cattle farmer that aids in the reproduction of calves). Their jerseys, appropriately, feature a bull mounting a cow.
Earlier this year, Pits and Pendulums, a Mixed team from Charleston, South Carolina, was also forced to change its name, becoming “Pluff Mud Panic” (apparently USA Ultimate has a problem with thinly-veiled references to sexual intercourse).
In February, I wrote about ultimate losing its “Mojo” in the form it is represented in the MLU and AUDL. USA Ultimate, it appears, is not far behind. In socio-economics, the term race to the bottom refers to a mad dash towards deregulation and lower wages in free trade systems. In 2013, I think we can coin a new term: ultimate is now suffering from a race toward legitimacy. In the last few years, as the chance to market ultimate as a “legimate” product has loomed closer and closer, organizing bodies appear to be falling over themselves in a race to remove anything that could potentially damage the sport’s image — but at what cost? How long can these organizations clamp down on self-expression before the players and teams start to rebel — and is it worth it?
There are still teams out there that are pushing the lines as far as legitimacy goes, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see USA Ultimate continue to whitewash any rogue elements as the premise of national broadcast coverage from Frisco looms nearer. So stay frosty, club teams, because there are surely more crackdowns in the works.
And if I have to defend a silly logo of two bovines fornicating to make it stop, then so be it. I’m throwing down my gauntlet. Free Heva Havas.
Feature photo of the Heva Havas at the Chesapeake Open by Pete Guion