Duration of Title
Each player acquired shall, for the duration of their Major Little League career, be the property of the team and league or division making the acquisition, unless subsequently traded or released. NOTE: When local league elects to utilize “Common Pool Draft Method” players shall remain property of the league or division making the acquisition. (Exception: If the league’s Board of Directors opts to use the Plan B or Plan C draft method for existing leagues, all returning Major Division players must be drafted first, but are not required to be placed on the same team on which they participated previously.)
Regulation II(d) allows the Board of Directors to continue as a player any child whose residence changes after becoming a member of the league. (See the restrictions in the regulation.) However, the best interests of the child should be taken into consideration by the Board in exercising this right.
(NOTE: THE LITTLE LEAGUE DEFINITION OF RESIDENCE IS LOCATED IN THE “LITTLE LEAGUE RESIDENCY AND SCHOOL ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS” SECTION OF THIS RULEBOOK.)
Following the draft, managers may, if they desire, trade players until 14 days after the first scheduled game. ALL TRADES SHALL BE MADE THROUGH AND WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE PLAYER AGENT. The following restrictions also apply:
- Minor League players may not be traded for Major Division players.
- All trades must be player for player only. (Example: Two players from Team A could not be traded for one player on Team B.)
- Trades involving a player for draft choices are not permitted. (Example: A manager cannot trade his/her right to pick the third player overall for an existing player on another team. However, once the draft is complete, a trade may be consummated, providing it meets all other criteria for trading.)
The player agent(s) must monitor any attempts by managers and parents to manipulate the system and thus create an imbalance in the league. ALL TRADES MUST BE FOR JUSTIFIABLE REASONS AND BE APPROVED BY THE LOCAL BOARD.
When a player is lost to a team during the playing season for any of the following reasons:
- He/she moves to another city or state too distant to commute for practice and play;
- He/she is injured and will not be able to return to play within a reasonable period of time (local league board decision);
- He/she has for personal reasons decided to terminate his/her association with the team;
- Any other justifiable reason, reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors; The manager of the team losing a player shall promptly advise the player agent.
The player agent shall advise the president and the board. If loss of player is approved, the president will send a letter of release to the player and the parents stating player is released from the Major League team and the league for a justifiable reason. This action creates a legal opening for a replacement on the team roster.
The manager shall review the available player list with the player agent and shall select a replacement. The replacement becomes a permanent member of the team.
NOTE: Failure by the manager to advise the player agent of a player’s continued absence should result in disciplinary action against the manager.
Option One: When a league expands by four teams or more teams in one season, it is highly desirable that all of the players be placed in the player pool and the selecting start from “scratch.” Many leagues have permitted the established teams to remain intact while giving the new team or teams an opportunity to fill their rosters from new players before the “old” teams select their replacements. When the “old” teams are permitted to retain a nucleus of experienced players, the new teams frequently lose a majority of games by lopsided scores and in too many cases go through a season without winning a single game. It often takes a new team two or three years to come up to league strength in this way, and thus creates an imbalance, an unhappy competitive situation and decreases possibilities for constructive experiences for the participants.
Option Two: If a league has a strong foundation, this expansion plan may seem adequate and less drastic. It may be better than starting from scratch.
When a league expands from four to five or more teams, it would be more beneficial to all concerned if each manager would give up, in a one team expansion, one 12-year-old, and one 11-year-old, and expanding into two teams to give up two 12, and two 11-year-olds. These players will then be placed in a common pool for selection by the new teams. This would give each new team a nucleus of older experienced players. Once this nucleus of eight players is established, the remainder of the teams would be filled through regular bidding or draft.
Option Three: This plan provides the most favorable competitive balance between existing teams at the Major League level over Options One and Two when a local league expands it’s Major League to provide additional opportunity for more candidates to participate at the Major League level. Plan Three incorporates many basic features of a plan used successfully in professional baseball. This plan simply has every existing team placing players in a player pool from which the new expansion teams will draft players in a preliminary draft.
The player pool is formed by the following procedure:
- The team with the fewest returning players will place one player into the pool and in doing so, will establish the key to the number of players all other teams can retain. For example, let’s assume a division expanding from five teams to six:
Major Team A has four returning players – contributes one player to expansion pool;
Major Team B has five players returning – contributes two players to expansion pool;
Major Team C has five returning players – contributes two players to expansion pool;
Major Team D has six players returning – contributes three players to expansion pool;
Major Team E has six returning players – contributes three players to expansion pool;
- In one-team expansion using this example, the expansion team manager chooses three players in a preliminary draft. All players remaining in the Major League expansion player pool then return to their original teams. (If the expansion is by two teams, each chooses three players, alternating picks.)
- The regular draft of Minor League players will then begin with the expansion team(s) drafting first in each round. The established teams then draft in reverse order of the finish in last year’s schedule.
- Any trading of players, which may be a necessity, will follow immediately after the draft has been completed. Trading of players can continue until the 14th day after the start of the playing season.
If the number of teams is to be reduced at the Major League level, the Board of Directors decides which team is to be deleted from the division. All current Major League players affected must be reassigned to a Major League team by one of these two methods:
A. Through a preliminary draft (reverse order of finish) prior to the regular player draft involving new candidates. Once the preliminary draft is complete, the regular player draft starts over in the reverse order of finish, without regard to the last team to pick; or,
B. Through a regular draft wherein, if a number of returning Major League players has not been drafted by the time that same number of draft picks remain, those returning players must be the only players eligible from that point forward in the draft. (Example: The number of teams is reduced, putting six Major League players back into the draft. At the draft, with three selections left to be made, there are three players from the six returnees who have not yet been drafted. Those three players become the only three eligible players, and must be drafted.)
When a league charters more than 10 teams in their Major League or when required by action of the Charter Committee, it is necessary to form two divisions (usually an American and National Division). This is accomplished by one of these four methods:
- Divide all candidates within the division by odd and even birthdates. For example, candidates with odd birthdates are assigned to the American Division and even birthdates to the National Division. This method could result in an imbalance of candidates and talent during a particular year, and could require members of the same family to participate in separate divisions.
- Use the first letter of the last name (surname or family name) to separate candidates between the two divisions. Under this method, the letters A-L would be assigned to one division and M-Z to the other. Like the first method, this could result in an imbalance of candidates and talent. However, it generally results in members of the same family remaining in the same division.
- Using a geographical alignment, the players in each division are separated by a boundary line within that of the league itself. Like the first three methods, this could result in an imbalance of candidates and talent.
- All teams in both divisions draft from all eligible candidates using the “Common Pool Draft Method.” Teams select players alternately between the divisions. This always results in a balance of candidates, and offers a better chance for equal talent distribution between the two divisions.
NOTE: Once a candidate is league age 9 years old or is enrolled for the first time after the candidate attains the league age of 9 and is assigned and/or drafted into a specific division (Example – American/National), the candidate cannot transfer to the opposite division(s) during their entire Little League career. This means that a candidate assigned and/or drafted to a Minor or Major League team in the American Division cannot transfer to a National Division team. If the player moves between divisions, they will be deemed ineligible for tournament play. If a league decides to redraft in any form or trade players, this note still applies.
Under any method, players already assigned to Major League teams can be retained by their teams, if the League decides to do so, by application of Regulation II(d) and/or IV(h). Forms for requesting waivers under either of these regulations must be filed annually.
Interleague Play can be requested. However, each division must field its own Tournament Team.
Forms for Divisional Play are available from the Regional Office. Whatever method is used must be approved annually in writing from the Charter Committee before implementation. When leagues receive Charter Committee approval to either operate in divisional format or to operate more than one league under a single management, there can be no transfer of Major Division players between divisions or leagues without written approval of the Charter Committee in Williamsport.