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 > Little League Online > League Officers > Tips For Running A Successful League > 2013-2014 > Spring: How should we select our Tournament Team?

Spring: How should we select our Tournament Team?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

This is the source of much contention in some leagues – usually where a small group of people have total authority in choosing the team.

If your local league conducts its Tournament Team Selection democratically, with the players themselves involved in the process, it will avoid many of these problems. (Tournament Rules and Guidelines.)

First, the criteria for selection must be limited to the following:

  • Eligibility
  • Availability
  • Ability

"Eligibility" refers to:

  • Age
  • Participation in 60 percent of the regular season (as of the date the Tournament Teams are announced) in that division
  • Residence, as defined in the Operating Manual and Rulebooks (or a letter from Regional Headquarters specifically noting the eligibility of that player for that division in that league and in that year)

"Availability" refers to whether the candidate will be able to practice and play with the team. Will the player be away on vacation during some or all practices/games? If so, the league may wish to disqualify the player from consideration.

"Ability" is solely in the opinion of those making the selections, and is not based solely on statistical information. While statistical information could form the basis for a voter's opinion, ultimately a voter can vote for any eligible player, for any reason(s).

A well-run Little League follows Little League's recommendation for selecting the Tournament Teams. In that recommendation, the groups involved in voting are:

  • Players in that division
  • Managers in that division
  • Coaches in that division
  • Volunteer umpires
  • Board of Directors

Every person in every group gets one vote, selecting up to the maximum number permitted on the Tournament Team. This method all but eliminates charges of favoritism by managers or the board.

The players with the most total votes comprise the Tournament Team.

The selection of the manager and coaches for the Tournament Team is up to the board of directors. A Tournament Team manager or coach must have been an eligible manager or coach in that division of the league during the regular season.

Those players who do not receive enough votes are placed into a pool, should there be a vacancy on the Tournament Team. If a vacancy arises, and the Board of Directors decides to fill it, the player who received the next-most votes is automatically placed on the team after verification of eligibility. However, these players MUST NOT travel with the team and are not covered by Little League Accident Insurance when traveling to and from games.

The announcement of the Tournament Team cannot be before the date specified in the Tournament Rules and Guidelines (June 15 for divisions above 9-10 Year Olds). If conducted, tryouts for the Tournament Team cannot begin before that date. Violation may result in revocation of Tournament privileges by the Tournament Committee in Williamsport. (Tournament Rules and Guidelines.)

Any advice on filling out the Tournament Affidavit?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

Like all forms, a well-run local Little League fills out the Tournament Affidavit completely. The president and player agent verify and are responsible for the residences and ages being correct on the form.

The District Administrator at a well-run district verifies and is responsible for the players' ages being correct and that, at a minimum, all players of the district championship team meet the residence requirement BEFORE the team is sent to the next level.

The maximum players allowed on the affidavit should be named to the roster. Keeping the number to less than the maximum serves only to deny this special experience to children of the community. (The minimum number of players allowed is nine for all divisions.)

If there is a vacancy, individuals may be added to the affidavit at any time during the Tournament, but must undergo the same verification process for age and residence as all other Tournament players.

Replacement of players begins with drawing a line through the replaced player's name or an "x" over that player's entry. That player can no longer re-join the team from that point. Then, complete a block for a replacement player. Note the corresponding player number.

What should be discussed at pre-Tournament meetings with the District Administrator?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

Pre-tournament meetings, which are critical to the success of the District Tournament. The meetings should include all managers, tournament site directors, and umpires.

The meetings should cover:

  • Field Certification
  • Tournament Rules and Guidelines (including the process for completing the affidavit).
  • Code of Conduct
  • Special situations that may arise in games

There is a PowerPoint presentation available regarding tournament issues at www.LittleLeague.org.

When can our Tournament (All-Star) team begin practicing?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

Practice (or tryouts) of the Tournament Team cannot begin before the date specified in the Tournament Rules and Guidelines. Also, the Tournament Team must not practice with or against players in another division and/or players in another chartered league. (Tournament Rules and Guidelines.)

The Tournament Team can, however, practice: 1. with or against players in the same charter and same division; 2. with or against players in the same (approved) interleague arrangement and same division.

Can our Tournament games be on local radio, TV, or the Internet?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

Any Tournament game to be televised, broadcast on radio, or webcast on the Internet, must have a fully-executed contact in place. Go to http://www.littleleague.org/media.htm for more information on how to access these contracts.

What is the process for protesting a Tournament game?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

The procedure for protests of International Tournament games is different than that used in regular season or Special Games.

In regular season or Special Games (which includes the post-season playoffs within a league to determine the regular season champion, as well as "Strong Team Tournaments," "Top Team Tournaments," etc.), are handled at the local level. In regular season games, a game can be protested by one or both managers, but the game could continue until the local league's Protest Committee decides on the validity of the protest. If the protest is upheld as valid by that local committee, the game is replayed from the point of the protest. That local Protest Committee is the final word in the matter.

But for the International Tournament (which concludes with a World Series in eight divisions of baseball and softball) as well as the 9-10 Tournament and the 10-11 Tournament (which conclude at the state level), the protests are handled differently.

The detailed procedure for protests during the International Tournament is located in the appropriate Official Regulations and Playing Rules for the division.

It is extremely important to remember that the manager of an International Tournament team who lodges the protest has an absolute right to have the protest referred up to the International Tournament Committee in Williamsport, Pa. The manager also has the absolute right to refuse to continue any play until the matter has either been resolved to his/her satisfaction, or the matter is heard by the International Tournament Committee. The only authority that can compel the manager to continue playing is the International Tournament Committee in Williamsport.

If the manager, for any reason, allows play to continue without having the matter heard by a higher level, up to and including the International Tournament Committee, he or she has absolutely relinquished his/her right to continue the protest.

All decisions by the International Tournament Committee are final and binding.

What does it cost to enter the International Tournament, and does Little League offer assistance to local Little Leagues that travel beyond District play?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

For each team entered in the Little League International Tournament, the local Little League pays a one-time fee of $100. No other fees are charged at any subsequent levels, up to and including the World Series. In fact, all of the travel, food and lodging expenses for the team are paid by Little League International.

Additionally, once a team advances beyond district play, the local Little League is reimbursed at a rate of $1 per mile for one round trip (U.S. leagues only). Reimbursement is in the form of a credit toward the next season's Charter and Insurance fees. The league may request, in writing, reimbursement by check. (Tournament Rules and Guidelines.)

This is just one of the many benefits of being a chartered member of Little League Baseball and Softball. Think about it…how many other youth sports programs reimburse the local league for part of the travel expenses?

Leagues with teams advancing beyond district play should contact the Tournament Director at the next level to see if there are special arrangements for housing, meals, etc., as these are sometimes offered. Ideally, parents of Tournament Team players should not be shouldered with the burden of supplying uniforms or paying for the players' travel (these should be the local league responsibilities).

Every effort must be made to provide travel, housing and meals for the team players at no cost to the players' parents. However, the league should not provide funds to assist parents for their travel, meals or lodging.

Can we give awards to players?

This question asked by: Many volunteers.

At a well-run Little League, no awards for individual athletic accomplishment are provided, such as having the highest batting average or most home runs. Instead, awards should be team-based.

Some examples of individual awards given at a well-run league are:

  • Good Sport of the Year
  • Best Attitude
  • Most Decals Sold, etc.

Awards also should be inexpensive. Expensive awards can jeopardize a child's amateur status. Trophies or plaques for individuals on league championship or tournament teams are acceptable if they are given to all members of the team without reference to individual accomplishments.

Participation pins, available from Little League International, are an excellent way to provide all players with a lasting memento of their time in various levels of Little League.

Information is available from the state high school athletic association on the limits allowed for awards. Simply call any local public high school and ask for the activities director or athletic director for information on the cutoff between amateur and professional status in your state.

A database of all of these Operations Tips can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/leagueofficers/Tips_Successful_League

Next Article: Any advice on filling out the Tournament Affidavit?