Sunday December 21st, 2014
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Conference Questionnaire – Final Results

I would like to be clear on something.  This questionnaire is meant to bring the issues in the Conference to the forefront.  This is not meant to bash the USSSA, bat testing procedures, umpiring or anything else.  This is meant to see what teams are feeling and see if anything can be tweaked.  The next questionnaire will include softer questions that will show that almost unanimously teams love the conference, conference umpiring, bat testing etc…

The questionnaire was sent to managers and sponsors of the Conference teams that completed the season, so 2 votes per team.

2 Major teams, 10 'A' teams, and 5 'B' teams responded.  

So 17 out of the 22 teams that completed the full Conference season responded.

The following teams did not participate
Blitz/Watanabe

GAS IT
GTL
Linedrive
Resmondo

Discuss the results on the Message Board by clicking here

Here are the results:

EQUIPMENT

1) Did opposing Conference teams use shaved bats against your team this year?
   88% Yes
   12% No

2) Should softball go back to using one piece aluminum bats?
   25% Yes
   75% No

3) Should there be bat testing at every conference tournament?
   100% Yes
     0% No

4) When should bats be tested during a tournament weekend?
   29% First game of tournament, final 8 on Saturday, and again Sunday morning
   19% First game of tournament, 6 PM on Saturday night, and again Sunday morning
   52% First game of tournament, and Sunday morning

5) What ball should be used on non-baseball fields?
   25% 52/300 ball
   75% 40/325 Dudley ZN Conference Ball

6) Should an independent firm be responsible for bat testing?
   32% No
   68% Yes

7) Should bats that fail compression be examined further for alterations?
   64% Yes
   36% No

8) What should the punishment be for using an altered bat?
    6% – 3 tournaments
   22% – Remainder of season
   36% – One Calendar year
   19% – Remainder of season and following season
    6% – Two Calendar years
   11% – Lifetime ban

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TEAMS/PLAYERS

9) Should the number of Major players allowed per Major team be reduced?
   28% No, leave it like it is at unlimited.
   34% Yes, reduce it by 2 per year until it gets down to 5 starting in 2013
   13% Yes, reduce it to 3 in 2013
   25% Yes, reduce it to 5 in 2013

   So 72% feel that reducing the amount of Major players is what needs to be done

10) Should USSSA implement player ratings below the major level?
    56% Yes
    44% No

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TOURNAMENTS

11) Should the Western teams have more "double" tournament weekends
    47% Yes
    53% No

12) Should Conference tournaments be seeded on points?
    94% Yes, it rewards the teams that support the Conference
     6% No, random draw

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CONFERNECE CHAMPIONSHIPS

13) Should teams be required to go to the Conference Championships if they qualify?
    45% Yes
    55% No

14) Do you like the Conference Championships?
    48% Yes
    18% No
    33% Neither yes or no

15) Should the Conference Championship be moved to different locations around the country each year?
    53% Yes
    47% No

16) What format should be used for the Conference Championships?
    68% The 2011 format with the losers of the first two rounds falling into their own tournament
    10% Straight double elimination
     0% 3 game guarantee
    23% Pool play followed by single elimination

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'B' WORLD TOURNAMENT

17) How should the 'B' World tournament be seeded?
    68% By Conference points like it is now
    32% By USSSA points like it was in the past
   
    B Teams voted 100% – By Conference Points

18) Where is the best place in Florida for the 'B' World tournament?
    73% Fortune Road in Kissimmee, Florida
     9% ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida only using the softball fields
    18% ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida with the stadium as the main field
   
    B Teams voted 80% for Fortune Road

19) Where should the 'B' World tournament be played?
    22% Should be moved around the country every other year and Florida every other year
    41% Should be moved around the country every year
    38% Should remain in Florida every year

    B Teams voted 78% – Should remain in Florida every year

20) What is the best weekend for the 'B' World
     7% A) The weekend before Labor Day Weekend
    14% B) Labor Day Weekend in conjunction with the Conference Championships
    14% C) The weekend after Labor Day Weekend
    34% D) 2 weeks after Labor Day Weekend like it is now
    34% E) Weekend of the Major

    B Teams voted 22% each for A,C,D,E and 11% for B

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'A' WORLD TOURNAMENT

21) Should local host 'C' teams and lower be allowed into the 'A' Worlds
    52% Yes, when you get the host teams in, it makes the bracket so none of the big teams go home 0-2
    48% No, those teams didn't qualify and cause extra games in the heat

22) Where is the best place in Florida for the 'A' World tournament?
    55% Fortune Road in Kissimmee, Florida
    12% ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida only using the softball fields
    33% ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida with the stadium as the main field

23) Where should the 'A' World tournament be played?
    13% A) Should be moved around the country every other year and Florida every other year
    30% B) Should be moved around the country every year
    57% C) Should remain in Florida every year

    A Teams voted 53% for B, 35% for C, and 12% for D (very interesting)

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STATISTICS

24) Are teams cheating on their stats by counting FC's as hits or not including SAC's or HRO's?
    87% Yes
    13% No

25) Should stats be kept by both participating teams at all conference events on carbon copy triplicate scoresheets with one copy going to an official stat keeper for compiling and posting, one to USSSA for official record, and one to the team?
    79% Yes, stats will be 100% accurate if each game is available to see on the internet because you can see how many outs were made and how many innings played.
    11% No

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UMPIRING and RULES

26) Is the strike zone different for a Major team vs an 'A' or 'B' team?
    94% Yes
     6% No

27) Is the strike zone different for a Major player vs a Non-Major player?
    81% Yes
    19% No

28) Should the Conference Umpires be in a rotation behind the plate for all teams and all big games?
    97% Yes
     3% No

29) Should umpires strictly enforce the batter's box?
    50% Yes
    50% No

30) Should the Conference utilize the floating rubber pitching rule?
    24% Yes
    76% No

31) Should the Conference utilize a safety bag at first base?
    61% Yes
    39% No

32) Should all Conference games starting after 11 PM on Saturday night be reduced to 5 innings?
     9% Yes
    91% No

    This was one of my questions.  Obviously a stupid question…sorry

33) Should the number of trips to the mound be limited per game?
    52% No
    21% Yes, 3 per game
    27% Yes, 2 per game
     0% Yes, 1 per game

34) Should warmups between games be stopped once weather has caused start times to be delayed?
    73% Yes
    27% No

35) Should warmups between innings be stopped once weather has caused start times to be delayed?
    82% Yes
    18% No

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OTHER QUESTIONS

36) Do you wish another association had a competitive upper level tournament schedule to play?
    76% Yes
    24% No

37) Do you have any questions that you would like to have included in the questionnaire?
    There were 12 additional questions which will be sent out to the teams in the next couple of weeks.

38) Do you have any suggestions on how Conference USSSA can be improved?

  Answers
    Limit the roster size.. No more than 12 players on a roster.  If a coach/sponsor wants on the roster he counts.
   
    Force Major teams to play across the country, allowing them to opt out of 2 events, 1 west and 1 east.

    Create an MLS Umpiring rotation.

    The top 16 teams should qualify for the Conference championships regardless if you plan on going to the Major.

    In this order clean up the favoritism, bats, and rotate the umps.

    Limit the number of major players per team.

    The new bats.

    Create regional mini conferences with rankings applicable to the region and play regional conf championships so the upper level is developed.

    I don't like the idea of bat sponsors sponsoring teams like Easton, Worth, TPS other than providing equipment.  It is a disadvantage to the other teams when the big corporations can pay players either with equipment of "player contracts"

39) Do you have any suggestions on how softball can be improved?
  
   Answers
    Limit roster size
   
    Move all B teams to A, all C teams to B and so on.   Then standardize the rules using Conference rules for all levels.

    Reduce number of divisions to 2 or 3.
   
    Stop making the upper game all about catering to a few teams and players.  Ban the cheaters.
   
    Marketing and Promotions.
   
    Go to wood bats.

40) Do you think the cost to sponsor Conference teams is a reason the upper divisions are losing teams?
    85% Yes
    15% No

40A) If you answered yes to #40, do you think regionalizing the game in some manner would reduce costs?
     70% Yes
     30% No

40B) If you answered yes to #40, do you WANT strong limits on list players for Major the division?
     67% Yes
     33% No


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