Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors, Honors College

First Advisor

Pablo Bose

Second Advisor

Peter vonDoepp

Third Advisor

Cheryl Morse


Race, Ultimate Frisbee, Sports, Sports Geography, Equity


Ultimate, sometimes known as Ultimate Frisbee, carries with it particularities that sets it apart from other sports. The players are heavily stereotyped as progressive, alternative, White athletes, the sport itself rejects the status quo by encouraging self-officiation of the game by athletes, and the idea of “Spirit” is written into the very rules that govern play. Ultimate requires minimal equipment, there is no substantial endowment put into the sport, and athletic success is not a way to produce income or gain an academic scholarship. These factors make it appear to be a perfect avenue for equitable access. Yet, while Ultimate was created in 1968, a few years after any legal racial segregation in the US ended, the population of the sport confirms its stereotype. In other words, the sport is very White and lacks diversity. Through mixed qualitative methodology including interviews and multimedia document analysis, this thesis examines the ways that the foundation of Ultimate has produced this homogenous landscape. Further, through practices common in the field of sports geography, this thesis looks to the ways that the constructed space of a sport reflects spheres of society. This research finds that issues of withheld knowledge, insidiously high financial barriers, inappropriately weighted identity of alternative members of society, and hidden networks for implicit biases plague the “progressive” sport of Ultimate.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.