Monday February 6th, 2023

Answers to OldScout message board questions about non-conference and military slowpitch


Non-Conference Slowpitch Questions asked by oldscout posters have been answered by USSSA Executive VP of Slow Pitch Operations Kevin Naegele: 


E/D World – State champions shouldn't play til 8:00 am Friday and National champions shouldn't play til 8:00 am Saturday. 

Having over 200 teams makes scheduling very difficult. We only provide byes to the top point team from each division. This has been discussed but every state is different. Some States have more than 1 state tournament. The biggest issue we have is a team who hasn't played in our program all year and comes in and wins a state tournament and gets a later game time than teams who play 10 or more events all year. 


USSSA, can you make a rule that constitutionally bumped players cannot be reclassified down until they are 40 years old unless they have a medical issue that hampers their softball playing ability? 

Great question but we are not in the business of checking medical records. We allow our directors to use the eye test. Putting a number as far as age is concerned on how we classify a player also creates some liability issues. Everyone is not built the same. 


I would ask what steps is the national office taking to ensure the quality and level of play is consistent from state to state. 
What steps is the national office taking to ensure PLAYERS are being classified consistently from state to state? 

This is a question that has been asked for the last 47 years (when USSSA was founded). In dealing with all 50 states I can tell you that State Directors are like snowflakes; no 2 are the same. I have had in my experience bordering State Directors who debate team classifications constantly. Some have varying opinions about what is a D team or and E team. I will be the first to admit that some of our Directors classify teams based on how they compete in their State Program and some classify based on how they would compete in World. Usually the Directors who base classifications on how they compete in their State usually have a good program. We continue however to find ways to balance classifications by having an independent committee look at problem teams when brought forward and the committee has moved up teams despite the opinion of the State Director. 


I would also ask what plans are in place to balance out divisions so the # of teams in each division is more consistent. 

The country is divided into 8 divisions. This is done geographically and not based on populations or team registrations. This is done to help minimize travel for teams playing in their National Tournaments. It is difficult to balance the number of teams in each class from Men’s E to Major because of playing abilities however we have a move-up system in place to move teams up based on World Tournament performance and many state also move up teams based on points or state tournament performances. 


I would then ask if all classes are going to be monitored better to ensure that teams are classified correctly through the season. This can be done with quarterly checks and stuff. 

Yes. If anyone sees a problem with a team classification please report it to your state director. If the team is from within your state then report it to your Division VP. 


I would ask if D teams or E teams with .700% winning percentages against in class teams and .500% winning % against higher class will be issued mid-season bumps by the national office, or will it be up to the individual state directors. 

Classifications are strictly left up to the State Director unless the team is an automatic bump base on the World Tournament. 


Can a single ball be voted for all levels of play except when playing in Stadiums? 

No. We have licensing agreements with several manufacturers. As far as the type of ball used is left up to the tournament host or state director because of varying issues such as weather, altitude, humidity, etc .. we leave that decision to each host as long as the ball meets our specifications. 


Can a rule be implemented that If a team is caught cheating (ie Illegal Roster) and is kicked out of a tournament, any player on that roster is NOT allowed to play the following year in any World tournament. 

That rule is there. Anyone who knowingly plays with an ineligible player can be suspended. This has been enforced on many occasions. I've done it a ton of times over the years. The hard part is that the manager most likely always knows but it's hard to prove that the players on the roster knew. 


Implement a rule that ALL USSSA directors are required to have a Bat Tester at each event and random bat checks are required. Say, 2 bats per game are required to be tested from each team. 

Many of our directors have bat testers. They are not required to have them but many do to protect the integrity of their events. We encourage all of them to get one and each time USSSA gets new inventory they are gone within days. 


Implement rule that ALL State tournaments, if not ALL USSSA sanctioned tournaments for C/D/E Class must follow World Tournament rules in regards to HRs, courtesy runners, No extra foul, pitching screens, Roster limitations, etc. 

We recognize that several areas have experiments with variations of our rules such as home runs and courtesy runners. NITs must strictly use the printed rule unless there is permission given for an exception. We have many parks with fences less than 300 feet so variations with home runs is acceptable if approved. We have encouraged experimentation with courtesy runner rules because we will adopt an acceptable rule in the near future. Pitching screens are used in a few events but mostly in senior events. Some parks require them around the country. 


All sanctioned tournaments use the same HR rules for worlds, ie E and D have Zero hrs , C has 4. 

This may be a repeat of the previous question but we have just adopted 2 homeruns for Men's D. No other home run rules were changed. We have sanctioned events in a variety of parks around the country. We realize there are states that experiment with a variety of home run rules however we hope to become more uniform on parks that are 300 ft or more. 



Military Questions answered by Ike Rivers:

Military Softball – Clarify the military rules to simply have DoD issued ID card for all players,including dependents and retirees and contractors allowing no restrictions on numbers of these ID card players per team. Dd214 players with combat wounded reason eligible to play,not any player with a dd 214 . 

The Military Program consist of players that are in the following status: Active Duty, Retired from Active Duty, Reservist, Guards, Government Civilians, Government Contractors, and DD214 Members (DD214 shows that a member has honorably served his/her country and got out the military with a “HONORABLE DISCHARGE). Because of many years of deployment the program has allowed more than just Active Duty Members to participate in the Military Program. Military Softball Program has 6 Division and each Divisions has limitation on each status, however there is no limitation on how many Active Duty Members a team can have. What makes each Status eligible/legit to compete in the Military Program is a “Current/Active Department of Defense ID card which has the correct markings, expiration date and DoD Shield on it. Each ID cardholder will be verified for eligibility purposes by the USSSA Military National Softball Director. 

Bump up the top 10 percent of Military B to Military A. Varsity B – composed of teams from one state,two bases Max. 

The rule to Bump up the top 10 percent of finishers from the 2014 Military Worlds Varsity B Divisions is still in place and will “definitely” be enforced. Also Military Varsity B Division are still defined as a team that is made up from 1 state (players must be from that state). If 2 bases want to combine from the same state they must get approval from the USSSA Military National Softball Director.

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