Little League Baseball, Incorporated (“LLI”) aims to promote fair play for all participants through the uniform adherence to LLI’s Official Regulations and Playing Rules (the “Rules”) concerning performance and play. Accordingly, all local leagues chartered by LLI pledge to abide by the Rules, and all updates thereto.
LLI encourages participation of all children, and acknowledges that some of its participants may require a modification of the Rules due to the participant claiming rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). In such instances, LLI will afford participants with a disability as defined by the ADA the opportunity to request modifications of the Rules. LLI is a non-discriminatory organization, and in considering such requests, LLI will ensure compliance with the ADA.
The Charter and/or the Tournament Committee (the “Committee”) at LLI considers all waiver requests to the Rules. The Committee will consider requests for a waiver to or modification of its Rules for an individual with a disability, upon the written request of the individual, his or her team coach, or his or her legal representative utilizing the procedure for such request as outlined below. LLI and its participating local leagues shall adhere to the Rules until a waiver for the participant is submitted and approved in accordance with this procedure.
A. Length of Waiver Requested
The Committee will consider a waiver request submitted by the participant in the season in which the waiver was received by the Committee. Unless otherwise requested by the participant, the Committee will consider and grant a modification of the Rules for only the season in which the waiver was received. If a participant requests a waiver be approved for longer than a single season, the Committee, in its sole discretion, may extend the waiver request beyond the season in which the request was received, including for the duration of a participant’s LLI eligibility. If any waiver is approved by the Committee to extend beyond the season in which received, then the Committee shall identify the length and terms of such approval in the letter resolving the waiver request.
B. Materials Required for Committee’s Consideration
In order to initiate review by the Committee, the participant, his/her team coach, or his or her legal representative, must deliver a written request for a waiver to the League President of the local league. The participant’s waiver request shall include, at a minimum:
- The LLI rule in question.
- An identification of the participant’s disability as defined under the ADA and a narrative asserting how the proposed modification of the Rule relates to his or her disability and participation in LLI.
- Supporting evidence from a licensed physician regarding (a) the participant’s disability; (b) duration of the disability; (c) activities limited by disability; and (d) individualized symptoms related to the disability.
- An executed limited release of confidentiality and waiver of privacy signed by the participant’s parent or legal guardian, which will allow the Committee to communicate with the participant’s attending physician, health care profession, rehabilitation professional, or the licensed physician who provided the supporting statement outlined above. The release shall be restricted to authorize the Committee to (a) verify the participant’s disability in question, and not the participant’s broader health history or records; (b) identification of individualized symptoms and effects of the disability as it concerns the participant; and (c) medical professional’s opinion concerning the modification of the Rule requested (the “Release”). The Committee will not exercise its rights under the Release until it determines, in its sole discretion, that the additional information to be provided through the Release is necessary to complete the waiver request. Upon such a determination, the Committee or its designee shall notify the participant’s parent or legal guardian of its intent to communicate with the participant’s attending physician, health care profession, rehabilitation professional, or the licensed physician.
- If the participant is requesting the use or introduction of equipment into the field of play which is not otherwise permitted by the Rules, then the request shall specifically identify the make, model, and specifications of the equipment or apparatus seeking to be introduced into the field of play for the participant’s benefit. All of LLI’s specification standards referenced in a Rule are incorporated into the evaluation of the waiver request. Accordingly, equipment submitted by the disabled participant for the waiver request must meet LLI’s performance requirements. All equipment used in the field of play must comply with LLI’s Rules, until the participant seeking its introduction receives an approved waiver for use in the field of play. The Committee, in its discretion, may require testing of any equipment requested by the participant in the waiver, but not otherwise permitted by the Rules, to ensure compliance with performance standards. LLI will pay for the reasonable costs associated with testing of equipment required by the Committee to assess compliance with LLI’s performance standards, as directed by the Committee.
C. Approval Process
Once the waiver materials are assembled on behalf of the participant, the request will be evaluated as follows:
- The participant, or his or her representative, shall deliver the waiver materials to the President of the local league.
- The President may add additional facts concerning the request received to the record for consideration by the Committee. Thereafter, the President shall forward the assembled materials to the District Administrator.
- The District Administrator may add additional facts concerning the request received to the record for consideration by the Committee. Thereafter, the District Administrator shall forward the assembled materials to the Regional Director.
- The Regional Director will present the waiver materials to the Committee for action.
- The Committee will take action on the waiver request and inform the Regional Director of its decision. The Regional Director will thereafter inform the District Administrator, who in turn shall inform the President of the local league for dissemination to the participant.
D. Guidelines for Review
In order for the modification of a Rule to be approved, the Committee must first determine that the participant is disabled as defined under the ADA. Accordingly, the Committee is entitled to know that the participant has a covered disability for which a modification of the Rules is requested, and the information identified in Section B of procedure for inclusion with the waiver proposal is necessary to properly evaluate any such request.
The Committee will not grant a waiver when the requested accommodation is unreasonable under the circumstances, provides an unfair competitive advantage for the participant requesting the modification of the Rules, presents a threat to other participants or coaches, or alters the essential nature of the game. The Committee may consult with the participant, his or her representatives, coaches, and local league officials as part of considering the modification of the Rule.
E. Permitted Time for Committee’s Decision
Any participant seeking a waiver request under this ADA waiver procedure should submit the request within a reasonable time after registering for participation in his/her local league. In the event the participant becomes disabled and claims rights under the ADA during the season, then the participant shall submit a waiver request outlined in this procedure within a reasonable period of time.
A request shall not be considered fully submitted unless it contains all of the contents. The Committee will strive to render a decision on all waiver requests within a reasonable amount of time, and all such decisions should be rendered no later than three (3) weeks after the request is fully submitted and received by the Committee, unless testing of equipment is directed by the Committee. If the waiver request concerns equipment or apparatus and the Committee directs testing of the equipment, then a review of the waiver request will involve testing the equipment or apparatus to ensure compliance with LLI’s performance standards. Accordingly, the timeline for review of such an equipment waiver request will be dependent upon the requisite testing period. No equipment may be utilized by a participant unless the equipment complies with LLI’s Rules or until the Committee approves the requested waiver for use of equipment.