The SLVLL Board of Directors Approved the following Rule Changes and policies to be enacted for Spring 2014.
1. 10 Year Olds and Majors: All ten year-olds will be eligible to be drafted into the Majors Division in Spring 2014, with a cap of 2 per Majors division team. The only exceptions will be the ten-year-old children of Minors division Managers. This replaces the policy of requiring parental consent to be drafted into Majors. Why the change? First, it gets SLVLL closer to Little League International's guidelines for divisions, which actually allows for nine-year-olds to play in the Majors division. Second, it helps make the decision about how many teams to field in Majors division (and thereby Minors,etc) much easier and flexible, with the ability to consider the best options for kids and the competitiveness of the divisions. Third, it helps with player replacement rules from Little League International, which require that replacement players(due to injury or attrition from Majors division) from Minors must have been eligible for the original draft. Why a cap of 2 per team? The board did not enact this policy with the idea of flooding Majors with ten-year-olds. The Board understands that this policy may affect 11-year-olds hoping to be drafted into majors, and wants to keep all players at the most appropriate level for their skill level and experience. A cap helps ensure that a 10-year-old being placed in majors has the best chance at having an experience that benefits him/her self and his/her team.
2. Player Movement (during season): If player movement is needed due to injury or attrition, it will be handled by the Player Agent. A player "called up" must be made available to the higher division. An exception is made for the children of managers in the Minors divisions and below. The league does not want its most vital volunteers losing their own son/daughter in the middle of their season. This gets SLVLL closer to Little League International rules of consent. Prior to this year, parents could refuse such a request, which is fundamentally against LL Inernational rules. This made it very difficult and placed young players between parent, coach, and two teams with a decision. FYI: the Majors division rosters must stay at a minimum of twelve to qualify for post-season Tournament of Champions participation. Most player movement stops at the Minors division, where there are not roster-size restrictions and where there is a continuous batting order. Minors managers, coaches, and players need to know before the season starts that player movement is a possibilty.
3. Consequences for failure to try-out or refusal to try-out: loss of post-season "all star" eligibility, placement in previous division. Again, this puts SLVLL closer in line with Little League International. Little League International guidelines require that players who are required to tryout and fail to do so can no longer be candidates for the league. Previously the SLVLL consequence for not trying out (ages 7 and up) were only that the player would be left in his/her previous division of play. SLVLL will have two tryout dates in January, and players 7 and up are only required to attend ONE of them. If a player isn't available for the scheduled tryouts (vacations, injury, illness, etc), parents can still contact the Player Agent for the league and schedule a private tryout, a private evaluation, or any other method of making their child available for the draft. SLVLL wants every player 7 and up to try out and to try his/her best.
4. Manager Selection Process: Interview; Board Discussion; Selection Committee. The manager selection process begins in November/December with interested parents submitting their name to be considered and submitting a 2014 Volunteer Form and a copy of his/her current, valid drivers license, if one is not already on file (other forms of picture ID are acceptable, if someone does not have a drivers license). A Manger Selection Committee (of 3-5 board members) will be appointed by the President. This commtte will interview potential managers, ask the board for feedback, and choose the mangers for each division. SLVLL thinks this process will cut down on conflicts of interest in voting members and streamline the process. A similar process will be used to choose each age-group's All Star managers.
5. Slash Hits with Fake Bunts Minors and Below: SLVLL and its umpires will call a batter out who first fakes a bunt and then takes a full swing on a pitch. This is a safety risk for corner infielders, who can race in to cover a bunt and then face a line drive. This rule only affects Minors, because there is no bunting or fake bunting allowed in AA division and below. SLVLL did not enact this rule for Majors division, where players have more experience and are taught to defend against such swings.
6. Tee Ball adults on the field: the rule will limit the number of adults on the field (fair or foul, offense and defense combined) to six. This reflects SLVLL's limited liability in its current insurance configuration. There are times of injury or a behavior problem when another adult is needed, but during game play the limit will be six.
7. Tee Ball and Buckshort: Tee Ball may have a "buckshort" or extra infielder, making six total infielders. This player is expected to play over second base.
8. The mechanics of the draft: an official procedure document on the process of the SLVLL draft has been approved. It will be posted and available to the public soon.