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 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. This Don’t Let This Happen features three scenarios all revolving around announcing International Tournament teams.

The names have been omitted in the following scenario, but the situations are real.

Situations

No. 1 – During its monthly meeting in early May, the local league Board of Directors votes to have the managers of their Little League Softball® Major Division teams nominate candidates to manage its Little League International Tournament team. One week later, the managers present their managerial and coaching candidates, and a vote is conducted by the Board via email. By late May, the league has compiled its list of Little Leaguers® committed to playing on the team; and the managers, division vice president, and players held a selection meeting. The next day, the league posts the roster on its website and social media pages, so that the team could secure a spot in a local Memorial Day Weekend tournament against other youth softball teams. The league paid the entry fee and allowed the players to wear their official tournament uniforms.

No. 2 – A local league intends to enter teams into the Little League International Tournament. To be ready for the start of tournament games on June 15, the managers and Player Agent met early in May, and selected the players for the Little League Major Division team. Even though the regular season was not over, the players who committed to playing on the tournament team started practicing on Sundays at a nearby park. The division’s vice president begins to gather the eligibility documentation, but does not present it for approval until two days before the start of the tournament. During this time, a player is injured and requires medical attention at the emergency room. The league attempts to file an accident claim, but it is denied because the AIG Group Accident Insurance program for their local league covering their Little League International Tournament Teams, is not in effect until June 1 per the tournament rules and policy provisions.

No. 3 – After a local league holds its tournament team selection meeting, a volunteer who was selected as one of the team coaches arrives home, and places a hand-written list of names on the kitchen counter. The coach’s daughter, who is one of the players chosen to play on the team, takes a picture of the list on her phone and shares it on her social media accounts. The post is shared with other players and parents associated with the team prior to June 1, and before the manager or league formally notifies any of the players.

Outcome

In all three situations, the local league’s Board of Directors were unaware of, or disregarded, the June 1 date to officially begin Tournament activities, including conducting tryouts and the release of participant names. Each of the three teams were disqualified from that year’s tournament, and placed on notice by the Tournament Committee that such activities in future season would yield additional penalties.

Solution

Per the Tournament Rules and Guidelines – Tournament Team Practice, Tryouts, practices, or Special Games may only take place against other Little League teams within the same or contiguous districts in the same division, providing such practice is done out of uniform. Tournament team practice with a non-Little League program, event, or game is subject to the specific provisions of Regulation I(g) and Regulation IX. Violation of this rule may be cause for revocation of Tournament privileges by the Little League International Tournament Committee in Williamsport, Pa.