At Little League® International in Williamsport, Pa., and at our Regional Offices, calls and emails come in all year long about different situations that are happening at some of our 7,000 local leagues. Many of these calls and emails inform us of some very positive initiatives spearheaded by our millions of volunteers. However, there are also negative situations.

“Don’t Let This Happen to Your League” details a real-world scenario, how it has impacted a league, and how you might learn from it.

The names have been omitted in the following scenario, but the situation is real.

The Situation: Within a district, there are three neighboring leagues that have a total of 13 softball players who are interested in playing Junior Division softball. None of the three leagues currently charter Junior Softball, but the Board of Directors of one of the three leagues decides to charter a combined team, and pay for the insurance for the coming season. In doing so, the league that is chartering the team, communicates to the other two leagues that it will be providing an opportunity for these girls to play. The host league updates its charter information using the Combined Teams option available on the Little League® Data Center and a schedule of games is created. The team plays 16 regular-season games and does well enough that the leagues and parents of the players are interested in entering the team into tournament play. The host league enrolls the team for the Little League International Tournament without submitting a tournament combination request.

The Outcome: At their first tournament game, the District Administrator reviews the team’s tournament affidavit and declares the team ineligible to play, removing them from the tournament. Despite repeated notices from the District Administrator, the leagues did not appropriately complete their tournament combination request. Without the tournament combination request, the host league did not have enough players to field a team.

The Solution: When any combination of leagues decides to charter a combined team or teams, each league is responsible for chartering at least one team in the division in which the combined team will play even though the team(s) will be organized by a single league. The District Administrator must approve or reject the suggested combination by using the Little League Data Center. In order for any combined team to be considered for eligibility in the annual Little League International Tournament it must be approved by the district for the regular season. Combinations that are not approved for the regular season will not be considered for tournament. Contact your District Administrator with questions regarding the process for chartering combined teams.