During their annual November meeting, the Little League® International Board of Directors approved new rule and regulation changes to go into effect for the 2018 season.
Highlighting some of the changes in 2018 are: the establishment of a waiver for Regulation I(d) and III(c) to provide leagues flexibility to structure their Little League Baseball® Major Division to allow teams to have more than eight league age 12-year-olds as well as accommodate more than 10 teams within the division; permission for leagues to stream/web-cast games through their league-owned website, official social media account, or other digital platforms granted they follow all Little League policies regarding commercialization and trademarks; and an update to the bat rule for all Baseball and Challenger divisions to comply with the USABat Standard.
To assist with understanding all of the newly approved changes, Little League has also created a full breakdown of all of the rule and regulation changes, including clarification on each. This page, found at LittleLeague.org/Rules, will be updated frequently with any new rule and regulation changes.
Below is a brief overview of some of the major changes coming in 2018. For information on all of the approved rule and regulation changes that will go in effect, visit LittleLeague.org/Rules.
Waiver for Regulation I(d) and III(c)
As Little League Baseball fully transitions to the new Age Determination Date of August 31, grandfathering the four months of children born between May 1 and August 31, 2005, for the 2018 season, leagues will have 16 months of league age 12-year-olds. To assist leagues in the placement of players league age 12 on Little League Baseball (Major) Division teams, the Little League International Charter Committee will waive both Regulation I(d) and Regulation III(c). This will provide leagues flexibility this season to structure their Little League (Major) Division to accommodate more than 10 teams; waiving Regulation I(d). Leagues that were previously required to operate in Divisional Format must maintain that format and will not have this regulation waived for the 2018 season. Leagues may also place more than eight league age 12-year-olds on a Little League (Major) Division team, waiving Regulation III(c). It is recommended that the local Little League set a maximum and/or minimum number of participants of a particular league age per team.
With the potential increase in the number of league age 12-year-olds, these waivers will give the flexibility to provide Little League (Major) League Division opportunities without changing the structure of their leagues. Leagues are encouraged to use these waivers to maintain or expand their Major Division offerings and continue to provide their current level or an increased level of opportunities for children to play in the Little League Baseball Major Division. Please note that these waivers are not intended for Little League Softball. Following the 2018 season, both Regulation I(d) and III(c) will be in full effect for the 2019 season.
Operating Policy – Communicating Through Online Media
With live-streaming becoming much easier to accomplish, local leagues may be interested in web-casting or live-streaming games through their own local league website, official social media account, or other digital platform. Leagues are permitted to stream/ web-cast games through these league-owned platforms granted they follow all Little League policies regarding commercialization and trademarks.
Little League International in South Williamsport, Pa., is the only body that can authorize or disallow the live streaming, webcasting, televising, or radio broadcasting of any game(s) for regular season or tournament play through any outlet that is not fully owned and/or operated by a local league. A contract (provided by Little League International) must originate with the local District Administrator, tournament director, or local Little League president.
USABat Standard Effective January 1, 2018
Beginning with the 2018 season, non-wood and laminated baseball bats used in the Little League Baseball (Majors) and below, Intermediate (50/70) Division, and Junior League Baseball divisions, as well as the Little League Challenger Divisions, shall bear the USA Baseball logo signifying that the bat meets the USABat - USA Baseball’s Youth Bat Performance Standard. All BPF – 1.15 bats will be prohibited beginning with the 2018 season. Additionally, starting in 2018, the bat diameter shall not exceed 2-5/8 inches for these divisions of play. Additional information is available at LittleLeague.org/BatInfo.