We hope the school year has started off with a bang and you are able to enjoy those cool autumnal winds (well, one can always dream about cooler days). On a more serious note, we need to bring to your attention to a significant rule change mandated by Little League International (“LLI”).
This is a big change and, therefore, we feel it requires a comprehensive explanation. Sorry for the VERY long article.
Also, note: this change only impacts players whose birthday falls on or between May 1 and August 31 AND the player was born in 2006 or later. For everyone else, there is NO impact (but feel free to continue reading).
DISCUSSION OF THE RULE CHANGE
The Board of LLI has changed the age determination date for Little League from April 30 to August 31. This means your child’s age as of August 31 of a Little League season determines his or her Little League player age for that season.
Last year, the LLI Board had voted to move the age determination date to December 31. Based upon a lot of uncertainty surrounding this change, the PVLL Board elected to take a “wait and see” approach towards this policy change as it pertained to the 2015 season.
Towards the end of 2014 and throughout 2015, the LLI Board received feedback from coaches, parents and administrators regarding this policy change and subsequently modified the age determination date to the following:
For all children born on or before August 31, 2005, the age determination date will remain at April 30 for the 2016 & 2017 season; however, the August 31 age determination date will be effective for the 2018 season.
For all children born on or after September 1, 2005, the age determination date will shift to August 31 for the 2016 season and thereafter.
The reason for this change is great in the long-term. It does two things that are important for LLI. First, it ensures that no 13 year-old players are playing the All-Star and Little World Series Tournaments. This is, and has always been, a twelve year-old and under program. LLI would like its marquee events to mimic that. Second, and most importantly for leagues like ours, it better aligns Little League’s and school age determination dates. In other words, there is a better chance that you will now play with your classmates.
WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?
The rule change has no impact on children born between January 1 and April 30, and September 1 and December 31. It does affect all those children born between May 1 and August 31. For those born between May 1 and August 31 of 2006+, the rule shifts a player’s age up by one year versus the legacy age determination date.
WHAT IS PVLL DOING?
While the logic to move the age determination date to August 31 has some merit (aligns the Little League age determination date closer to school registration dates and eliminates 13 year-olds from playing Little League), we believe the implementation plan is aggressive and punitive to those that have played in the Minors and Intermediate divisions. Therefore, the first order of business will be to participate with our fellow District 36 Little Leagues to draft a letter to LLI expressing our objection to the current implementation strategy.
As we endeavor to minimize the impact through appeal, we feel the best course of action to maximize our players’ Little League careers and experience is to implement now – for all affected players with birthdays from May 1, 2006 and younger.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER?
First of all, remember that this only impacts players born in 2006 or later (2007, 2008, etc.) with birthdays from May 1 to August 31. Nothing changes for anyone else.
For those that are affected, it means your player is one year older than you thought they were, and technically qualify for division based on that age.
Few may actually be developmentally ready for that big of a jump. Because of that, we will have more flexibility this year for division placement. We hope that as you register, you will carefully consider what is in the best interest of your son or daughter. For example, if your player has only played one year in the Minors division, the Intermediate division may be too big of a jump in level. The biggest cause of attrition for youth sports is players feeling overwhelmed. We are available to discuss this with you to help you make an intelligent decision for what is best for your player, and will work with the affected PVLL families to make sure that a child is not placed into a PVLL Division that is more advanced than his or her ability.
IS EVERYONE DOING THIS?
Now, you may hear rumors of other Little League’s in the area not adopting the new policy. This presents at least three risks: 1. a Little League could lose its charter by ignoring LLI’s rules; 2. a Little League’s insurance policy may become void due to noncompliance; and 3. If LLI does not change its current implementation schedule, a child may unexpectedly lose a year of eligibility.
Conversely, in PVLL’s case, if LLI announces at a later date the delay of the implementation of the new age determination date, the affected children will be the beneficiary of such news.
Please follow the attached link to read the announcement published by LLI http://www.littleleague.org/media/llnewsarchive/2015/September-December/llb-age-determination-date.htm.
If there is support for a Town Hall meeting on this subject prior to teams being formed, we will absolutely support our community and organize one. Otherwise, if you have questions, please submit them to our email address and will try to respond promptly. Thank you and we appreciate you reading through this rather lengthy article.