As we enter the 2021 Little League® season, Little League International is committed to providing local leagues, volunteers, and families with flexibility, so that as many children as possible can have an opportunity to return to the field when safe and appropriate.
This year, many communities may face additional challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and understand how to resume activities after the unprecedented scenarios we faced during the 2020 season. Leagues and families are encouraged to work with their District Administrator and appropriate Region Office on their specific circumstances. In addition to the new Significant Changes to the 2021 Little League Official Regulations and Playing Rules, the following approved rulings for the 2021 season will provide flexibility to welcome players and families your local Little League program.
Regular season uniform requirements (Rule 1.11)
- Uniform and patch requirements will not apply for the 2021 regular season
- Conventional uniforms, which do not match nor meet patch requirements, can be worn for the 2021 regular season.
- 2021 Tournament: The Official Patch will only be required for the Little League Baseball and Little League Softball (Majors) divisions of play for the 2021 Little League International Tournament.
Leagues will be permitted to accept players who otherwise would not be eligible to participate in their league, if the player’s home league has concluded or suspended all team activity for the 2021 season by adhering to the following process
- League must submit a list of out-of-boundary players through the approved process available on the Little League Data Center:
- Player information (Player’s name, league age, Parent/Legal Guardian contact information)
- Player’s Home league
- District Administrator to review list of out-of-boundary players
- Regional Office will review and provide final approval with supporting waiver documentation from home league
Little League® International-Approved Players through Charter Committee Waivers:
Players approved in 2019 by the Charter Committee for 2019 Regular Season Only and tournament eligible starting in 2020.
The player will retain the approved tournament eligibility that was to start in 2020, regardless of the player’s participation and league’s status in 2020. All conditions of the approved request will be in effect in 2021 and further seasons.
Players approved in 2020 by the Charter Committee for 2020 Regular Season Only and tournament eligible starting in 2021
The player will retain the approved tournament eligibility that was to start in 2021, regardless of the player’s participation and league’s status in 2020. All conditions of the approved request will be effect in 2021 and further seasons.
Player was approved previously by the Charter Committee to participate with a league that required no break in service from the league
A player missing the 2020 season either due to opting out or league not conducting/resuming a spring season will not be considered a break in service.
What should we do if our league has a new board and we do not have records from previous seasons about who was approved for a waiver to participate in our league?
Each United States Regional Office has record of approved player waivers and will be able to provide information about eligibility of specific players if necessary.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances presented by the coronavirus pandemic, we will be encouraging all leagues to provide access to players whose home league will no longer operate by providing those families a chance to register and participate. While players will still be required to meet the Residency/School Attendance Eligibility requirements, the following processes will be used to allow neighboring leagues to expand boundaries to allow for greater Little League coverage in communities across the United States.
COVID Boundary Expansion Process:
- District Administrator confirms that a local league will not be active in 2021. This is intended to be for the 2021 season, only.
- Contiguous league agrees to expand boundaries to cover the territory
- District Administrator forwards request and district recommendation to Regional Office.
- Boundary map is adjusted in the Little League mapping system
- Regional Office sends approval to local league
Regulation II(d) and IV(h) Waivers:
Perhaps the most traditional waivers to allow for out-of-boundary players to participate are to Regulation II(d) and Regulation IV(h). More information on these waivers can be found at LittleLeague.org/Waivers. With close to 80% of leagues not operating a traditional season in 2020, the following approvals will make it easy for players to continuing their Little League participation.
Any player who did not participate in 2020 but was a on a previously claimed regulation II(d) or IV(h) claim form with proper supporting documentation will not be considered a break in service and eligibility will be retained.
Eligibility is retained for any player who played with another Little League due to the home league not offering (or resuming) play for 2020.
Our league “brought up” younger, age-eligible players for this spring/summer to ensure there were enough players for the division and teams.
The league may allow players who are age-eligible to return to the “lower” division (i.e. Little League to Minor League) for the 2021 spring season.