The first item to remember when making appointments of managers, coaches, and umpires is ALL managerial, coaching, and umpiring positions are annual.
No manager, coach, or umpire has any tenure whatsoever, regardless of the years of service.
There are no qualifications required to be a manager, coach, and/or umpire within a local league. However, all board members, managers, coaches, and other volunteers or hired workers who provide regular service to the league and/or who have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams must annually complete the Little League® Volunteer Application and provide a government-issued photo ID. Additionally, the league is required to conduct a background check on each of these individuals that meets Little League standards.
The league may also have a separate application to become a manager, coach, or umpire. This can be common for managers as leagues want to make sure those individuals are willing and able to uphold the values of Little League and of the local league itself.
Little League requires a five-step process for selecting individuals to fill volunteer positions:
- Application- All local leagues are required to use the Little League Official Volunteer Application for all managers, coaches, members on the Board of Directors, and any other person, volunteer, and/or hired worker who provides regular service to the league and/or has access to minors. The Little League Official Volunteer Application is available through the JDP Quick App, for leagues that utilize Sports Connects or online at LittleLeague.org/BackgroundChecks. The applicant must also submit a government-issued photo identification card (e.g. driver’s license) for the league to verify that the information on his/her volunteer application is correct (e.g. spelling of the name, address, date of birth, etc.). The completed volunteer application enables the local Little League program to run and review a background check.
- Background Check- An annual background check, in compliance with Little League Regulation I(c) 8 and 9, is required to be conducted on every individual before the applicant assumes any of his/her duties for the current season. At a minimum, the local league must conduct a nationwide search that contains the applicable government sex offender registry data and criminal records, as well as a search of the SafeSport and Little League International Ineligible List. The criteria for exclusion are detailed below. Information regarding free background check services is available at LittleLeague.org/BackgroundChecks.
- Interview- The applicant must be interviewed by an approved board member, and if selected to participate, should be educated on the position regarding Little League’s Child Protection Program and their role in the protection of minors in the program. They should also be aware that as a volunteer, they are a mandatory reporter per the SafeSport Law.
- Reference Checks- A minimum of three reference checks must be completed by an approved board member before a new volunteer is allowed participation in a Little League program. All information from reference checks should be documented, dated, and signed by the leader conducting the reference check. Reviewing the reference check is important to determine if any information from the reference differs from what is represented on the volunteer application and/or during the review. It is not required to conduct reference checks on returning volunteers and/or hired workers.
- Exclusion of Certain Individuals- No local league shall permit any person to participate in any manner whose background check reveals a conviction for, guilty plea, no contest plea, or admission to any crime involving or against a minor. An individual is also prohibited from participating as a volunteer or hired worker if they appear on the S. Center for SafeSport’s Centralized Disciplinary Database and/or Little League International Ineligible List. A local league may prohibit any individual from participating as a volunteer or hired worker if the league deems the individual unfit or inappropriate to work or volunteer. If a potential volunteer appears on the National Sex Offender Registry, the league must contact the Security Manager at Little League International (570-326-1921) before appointing the volunteer to participate in any capacity in the league. The Security Manager will advise of the next steps and provide assistance to the decision-maker in the process.
- Additional State Mandatory Background Checks: Each local league must also be aware of its state laws, which may require other separate and additional background check processes be completed before individuals would be permitted to assume local league volunteer responsibilities. Several states also require (by law) additional background procedures be completed above those required by Little League International. At present, Alabama, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania have such background laws in place. Although mandatory, these laws DO NOT by themselves meet the Little League regulation. More information can be found at LittleLeague.org/StateLaws.
Managers, coaches, and umpires should not be appointed/approved and must not assume any duties until after a background check that meets Little League standards is completed, checked and passed. With a completed and passed background check, the League President may appoint managers, coaches, and umpires at his/her discretion. Exception: Coaches new to a particular team cannot be named until after the draft. The final step in the appointment process is for the Board of Directors to approve or disapprove each appointment.
No person can manage, coach or umpire without the League President appointing and the Board approving that appointment.
If an individual is not re-appointed or re-approved as a manager, coach, or umpire for the coming season, the League President and/or Board of Directors does not need to give a reason to a person. The same procedure applies for new, first-time applicants. After the appointment process is completed, the league should send individuals to each education and training event that is offered by the Region office or district staff. Each manager, coach, and umpire should also be expected to utilize LittleLeagueu.org for additional education.
These sixsteps help make Little League a welcoming environment for families, and an unwelcoming environment for those who seek to do harm to children. All of these annual approvals are also outlined in the Little League Child Protection Program, which is a diverse effort by Little League to help create a safe and healthy environment for its Little Leaguers®. It is paramount that the adults operating the program at the local and district levels strive to protect the opportunity for young people to grow up happy, healthy, and above all, safe. Whether they are our children or the children of others, each of us has a responsibility to protect them. If there is ever a question about the Little League Child Protection program or the new SafeSport Federal Law, please contact Little League Support.