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2020 APPROVED RULES DUE TO COVID-19

 View the amended rules and regulations that provide more flexibility for the 2020 season. 

- Update July 10th 2020. 

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For all games, leagues are required to follow the regular season rules and regulations as outlined in the 2020 Little League Regulations, Official Rules, and Operating Policies and on the Rulebook App. However, there are a number of rules and regulations that have been amended to provide more flexibility for the 2020 season, based on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These Approved Rulings can also be found in the Rulebook App.

Regulations and Regular Season Rule Waivers

School Attendance Eligibility Requirements

  • Accepts alternative method of verification for Little League School Attendance form when access to school and administration unavailable.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, any school document is acceptable to meet School Attendance eligibility verification.

Regulations I(a)(1), IV(a), and IV(j)

  • Provides leagues additional flexibility options regarding age structure in select divisions.
  • I(a)(1) and IV(a) – Leagues may permit 8-year-olds to participate in the Little League (Major) Division.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, players who are league age 8 are permitted to participate in the Major division provided they have been assessed capable to participate in the division.
  • Softball Only – I(a) Junior/Senior and IV(a) – Leagues may permit 12-year-olds to participate in the Senior League Division.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, players who are league age 12 are permitted to participate in the Senior League Softball division provided they have been assessed capable to participate in in the division.
  • I(a) Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior, IV(a) & IV(j) – Leagues may permit 15-year-olds to participate in the Junior League Division.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, players who are league age 15 are permitted to participate in the Junior League division provided they have been assessed and their skill level is consistent with other players in the division.

Regulation I(b)

  • Permits the Player Agent to manage, coach, or umpires during the 2020 regular season.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, Player Agents will be permitted to manage or coach a regular season team or umpire in any division.

Regulation I(b)

  • Permits the local league Board of Directors ratio to exceed 50% manager/coach representation following the suspension if leagues need to fill Board of Director positions.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, manager/coach representation on the Board of Directors may exceed a minority.

Regulation I(c)(5)

Regulation II(a) and IV(j)

  • Removes the 2020 deadline for Regulation and Regular Season waivers.
    • 2020 A.R. – The June 1 Deadline to submit waiver requests of Regulations (including out-of-boundary players) and Regular Season rules is waived for the 2020 season only.

Regulation II(a)

  • Provides flexibility to leagues resuming play regarding registration of out-of-boundary players whose home league has suspended operations for the 2020 season.
    • 2020 A.R. – Players will be permitted to register and be eligible for selection to a team, in any other league in the District, if their home league has concluded all team activity for the 2020 season; however, players must return to their home league effective 1/1/2021.

      Due to the unprecedented circumstances presented by the coronavirus pandemic, Little League will waive the Residency/School Attendance Eligibility requirement for the 2020 Season only. Each local league will have the option to accept any player, whose home league has canceled the 2020 season, into their league for season only, regardless of whether the player lives or attends school within the approved geographic boundary. A league must provide a list of out of boundary players.

      Leagues opting to accept players that do not meet Residency or School Attendance Eligibility requirements, must adhere to the following conditions:

      • Leagues must provide a list of out of boundary players that were permitted to participate for 2020 through a process administered by their respective District Administrator.
      • Must communicate to parents that participation in the league is permitted for the 2020 season only.

Regulation II(d) and Regulation IV(h)

  • Players claimed under Regulation II(d) or IV(h), with supporting documentation and paperwork, who are unable to participate for the 2020 season, will be entitled to retain their eligibility for 2021 and subsequent seasons with their respective league.
    • 2020 A.R. – A player previously claimed under Regulation II(d) or IV(h) with proper supporting documentation and is unable to participate for the 2020 season, will not be considered to have a break in service. The regulation claim will be valid and reinstated for the 2021 and subsequent seasons.

Regulation III(a)

  • Revises the minimum and maximum number of players required per team. Additionally, removes the requirement for teams to carry the same number of players per team for the 2020 season.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, leagues will not be required carry a minimum or maximum number of players on teams or carry the same number of players per team within a division.

Regulation IV(a)

  • Permits local leagues to utilize the 2020 Age Chart for any regular season resumption play through December 31, 2020.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, leagues may utilize the 2020 Age Chart for all regular season play and Special Games through December 31, 2020.

Regulation IV(f)

  • Waives the requirement for players to attend tryouts and/or provide an excuse to the Board of Directors for approval.
    • 2020 A.R. – Tryout attendance will not be required for the 2020 season.

Regulation V(c)

  • Modifies Player Pool guidelines. A league is permitted to use age-eligible players from a younger division who have been accessed capable of participating in the older division as a pool player.
    • 2020 A.R. 1 – For the 2020 season, the alternate Method of Operation/Pool Player system may be expanded to include age-eligible players from younger divisions.
      • Examples:
        • Minor Division up to Major Division;
        • Major Division up to Intermediate (50-70) Baseball Division or Junior Division;
        • Intermediate (50-70) Baseball Division up to Junior Division or Senior Division
        • Junior Division up to Senior Division
    • 2020 A.R. 2 – For the 2020 season, the Player Agent may modify the Mandatory Play minimum as a result of implementing time limits on games.

Regulation VII(d) and Rule 4.12 – Baseball Minor and Major Divisions Only

  • Provides scheduling flexibility for Minor and Major Baseball teams. Leagues will be permitted to schedule and play two (2) doubleheaders per team per week for the Major Baseball division and one (1) doubleheader per team per week for the Minor Division.
    • Major Baseball – 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 Major Baseball season, teams will be permitted to schedule and play up to two (2) doubleheaders per week.
    • Minor Baseball – 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 Minor Baseball season, teams will be permitted to schedule and play one (1) doubleheader per week.

Regulation VII(a) and (g)

  • Removes regular season scheduling and participation requirements.
    • VII(a) – 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, leagues do not need to provide a 12-game (Senior League: 10-game) schedule per team. Teams do not need to play a minimum number of regular season games.
    • VII(g) – 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, regular season play may continue after September 1.

Regulation VII(h) and X(c)

  • Gives local leagues flexibility to implement time limits on games.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, a local league may establish time limits in order to complete their regular season.

Regulation IX(c)

  • Removes Special Games scheduling restrictions.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, Special Games may be conducted after September 1.

Rule 1.11(a)(1) and (2), and 1.11(b)

  • Removes the Regular season uniform and patch requirements for the 2020 season.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, conventional uniforms that do not match nor meet patch requirements may be worn.

Rule 9.04(a)

  • Provides flexibility regarding the position of the plate umpire.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, plate umpires may be positioned behind the catcher or behind the pitcher.

Operating Policies: Duration of Title – Local League Draft Flexibility

  • Permits leagues to conduct a second draft, if there is an unbalance due to player return.
    • 2020 A.R. – For the 2020 season, leagues may conduct a second draft to help rebalance teams following 2020 season suspension.

Approved Rule Changes Effective 2020

At its annual fall meeting in November 2019, the Little League® International Board of Directors approved new updates to the Little League Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies that will take effect starting in the 2020 season.

Little League® Significant Rule and Regulation Updates for 2020

Below, outlined in red, are the significant rule and regulation updates to the 2020 Little League® Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Operating Policies. These significant updates, as well as all other updates to the 2020 rulebook can also be found in the new Little League Rulebook App, available for download on both the Apple and Google Play App stores. More information, including how to download the app, can be found at LittleLeague.org/RulebookApp.

 

Playing Rules

Rule 9.01 (d) NOTE [Baseball, Softball]; Rule 9.01 (e) NOTE [Challenger]

Synopsis: Provides guidance to umpires on how to administer and rule regarding the stealing and relaying of signs.

Rule: Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager, or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field. If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play.

NOTE: The local league has the option to adopt this rule application. The stealing and relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection and/or location is unsportsmanlike behavior. If, in the judgment of the umpire this behavior is occurring, the team manager and those responsible including any player(s) and/or coach(es) shall be warned after the first offense. Those responsible including any player(s), coach(es), and/or manager shall be ejected from the game for a team’s subsequent offense.

 

Tournament Rules and Guidelines

Managers and Coaches [Baseball]

Synopsis: Permits regular season Intermediate (50-70) Division coaches and managers to be selected to coach/manage the Little League Major (Major) Division Tournament team.

Little League: The manager and coach(es) shall be regular season team managers and/or coaches from the Little League Baseball (Major) Division or Intermediate (50-70) Division.

 

Player Eligibility [Baseball]

Synopsis: Permits age appropriate, regular season Intermediate (50-70) Division players to be eligible for selection to a 9- to 11-Year-Old Division Tournament team.

9- to 11-Year-Old Division: Any player League Age 9, 10, or 11, with amateur status, who has participated as required by Mandatory Play as an eligible player in 60 percent (60%) of the regular season games by the start of Tournament Play in their respective District, with the exception of the school baseball season, on a:

  1. Minor League Baseball team, or;
  2. Little League Baseball (Major) Division team, or;
  3. Intermediate (50-70) Division Baseball team.

 

Player Eligibility Condition 2 [Baseball, Softball]

Synopsis: Players who want to receive a school exception, participation adjustment must register with the league prior to regular season games within that division.

CONDITION: A player who is not able to participate in a number of local league regular season games because of participation in a school baseball program will receive an adjustment on the minimum participation in games required under this rule. In order to receive the adjustment, players must register with the league prior to the start of regular season games within that division.

 

Tournament Rule 3(e) [Baseball]; Tournament Rule 3 (f) [Softball]

Synopsis: Provides guidance to umpires on how to administer and rule regarding the stealing and relaying of signs.

Rule: Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager, or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field. If an umpire disqualifies a player while a play is in progress, the disqualification shall not take effect until no further action is possible in that play. The stealing and relaying of signs to alert the batter of pitch selection and/or location is unsportsmanlike behavior. If, in the judgment of the umpire this behavior is occurring, the team manager and those responsible including any player(s) and/or coach(es) shall be warned after the first offense. Those responsible including any player(s), coach(es), and/or manager shall be ejected from the game for a team’s subsequent offense.

 

NOTE: In addition to the updates listed above, the following significant updates were also made to all three Little League rulebooks:

  • Appendix F – Updates to the Little League Privacy Policy
  • Little League Child Protection Program – Updates and Revisions regarding reporting procedures
  • Websites, Little League Trademarks, and Fundraising – Updates and revisions regarding local league and District websites, Little League Trademarks, and fundraising.

For all of the rule and regulation updates, and to keep track of any additional rule and regulation updates that are made moving forward, download the Little League Rulebook App by visiting LittleLeague.org/RulebookApp.


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