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Travel Teams and Little League


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#1 BBallGurl

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 01:51 PM

Would like your opinion on a topic that has many families frustrated in my local league. A few directors on the local league BoD manage travel teams (so in essence, the leadership in both organizations is the same).
The problem is the appearance of favoritism.
Good players are often overlooked during all-star selection (choosing the travel team players only).
Also, LL practices have been cancelled because the manager/coach is away at a travel team tournament.
Parents are not happy their children are not getting the same practice time.

Is this a common problem?
New problem?
How do you combat the angst parents have any time the travel team name is brought up?

#2 Lou Barbieri

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 02:07 PM

It's more common than you may think it is!

One solution is to get more parents involved and get them to run for the Board and vote the TB people off (doesn't help the problem this year).

You need to find out the method your league uses to select your Tournament Teams.
It should be described in your Local Rules.
The best method (in my opinion) is for the players to vote for the top 9 or 10 players and the the team manager/coaches select the rest of the team.

As for canceling LL practices that conflict with a TB Tournament, about all you can do is get all the parents together and present their complaints at a BOD Meeting.
Just present "facts", not "rumors".
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#3 Mike_Hirschman

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 09:28 PM

Here is your biggest issue... for each parent that complains, ask where their volunteer application is. I am 100% on board with removing a lot of these people (not all as there are some that do a great job of balancing both). 

 

However, when you look for replacements, in many locales, you won't even find warm bodies. The parents that complain are the same ones that pay their buyout for the concession stand or look at you funny when you ask if they will umpire the bases or pick up a rake after the game. 

 

If you are going to complain about any situation, you need to be prepared to be part of the solution... not just complain because you think your kid got slighted. 


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#4 B_Hanlon

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 12:03 AM

It does seem to be an increasing problem and as Mike explained, the solution is with the parents. If the majority of the parents are dissatisfied with how a league is being run they are the ones, and usually the only ones that have the power to make changes. But in order to do that they need to get involved and that is where the opportunity to change stalls out.


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#5 BBallGurl

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 12:11 AM

I agree with you and Mike. We recently added signs to the complex which say, "Before you complain, have you volunteered yet?"

I served on the local league BoD for three years and recently accepted an ADA Safety Officer position. I work full-time and have 5 kids. We all lead busy lives but only a few of us are willing to be stretched super thin lol

Thanks for all the responses!

#6 Guest_standard_*

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 05:06 PM

If I were in the shoes of the complainers I might see it similarly but after experiencing the remarkable lack of volunteers in the last few years willing to give up loads of their free time starting in September to make the whole season run I have to say I now have more respect for the difficult decisions that have to be made by those that who are willing to step up.
I can also say that travel ball players work on honing their skills ALL year long in a weekly organized setting. While the regular season is for everyone, all-stars is for only the best most reliable players that participated at least 60% in the regular season.
One frustration I had learned over the years about all-stars is the last few players selected do not necessarily have a fraction of a better BA then the next kid but more likely provide some sort of needed skill to win and will be very reliable wherever you need to substitute them in.
But wait for those travel ball parents to age out of Little League or better yet vote them out and then look and see if the asylum is run any fairer then it is now.

#7 B_Hanlon

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 07:28 PM

This problem will escalate as Little League looks to compete with travel ball.
In one sense I am all for it as Little Leagues have the infrastructure to offer a very price competitive venue to the select kids looking for more play time and better competition.
At the same time these leagues will have to find ways to prevent the travel programs from conflicting with the core program.
The well run leagues will find a way to do it while others will find a way to take advantage.

#8 DCBaseball

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Posted 07 April 2016 - 01:57 PM

The rules that are in place to prevent conflicts of interest, and administrative and financial support by leagues and their officers to travel teams are simply not being enforced. In the lead up to this years LLWS, I predict there will be more, not less, teams disqualified before, during and after the tournament for issues related directly to this issue. All across the country there are travel teams associated with local Little Leagues already playing together in travel leagues, some that began playing together within days of last years LLWS. They will continue into the LLWS unchanged in their rosters despite having to go through an approved selection process? 

 

Previous posters are correct, some leagues will use this as a way to provide additional, higher level playing opportunities for those that want it. Others, many others, will use it as a way to take advantage of the system to be better prepared for the LLWS. Still other leagues will simply not have the option either because of financial or administrative deficiencies in their organizations which are a reflection of the community they are forced to pull from based on LL structure. The kids in those communities will never get that benefit. 



#9 RB56

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 03:00 AM

How can a "few directors on the local league BoD manage travel teams" as asked in the original post?

 

The Operating Policies of the 2016 Rule Book states, "No officer or board member of a Little League and no District Administrator or other representative of a group of Little Leagues shall, at the same time, hold office or be a member of the Board of any other youth baseball/softball league or function as an official or representative of such a program" (Page 177).

 

Managing/coaching is, by definition, serving "as an official or representative of such a program" and is not permitted under this section.  The first paragraph under the Principles of Conduct (Page 176) is all about keeping separate and distinct activities apart:

 

  • "The vitality and growth of any major youth program is dependent upon its integrity and its individual entity.  To the extent that the time and energies of its members are diverted to other similar activities, the more limited will be its prospects for continuing success.  Failure to maintain an identifiable organization, responsibility for which remains separate and distinct from others, inevitably will result in a loss of public enthusiasm and, ultimately in a process of declining interest and support."

 

How can Board Members serving as managers/coaches of independent travel baseball teams comply with this regulation?  Isn't "time and energies of its members" being diverted to other similar activities (from core Little League to independent travel baseball)?


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#10 Plesh

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:37 AM

Many leagues are run by the same people who are on the BOD/ manage/ coach travel teams/ programs. That's just how it is. There aren't enough volunteers in most places and as we all know, it's usually the same people running things. Doesn't matter if it's travel or LL. There are a limited number of baseball/ softball people in each town and usually there is quite a bit of overlap.

 

I really don't think LL cares as long as the finances are kept separate.



#11 B_Hanlon

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:12 PM

It would be interesting to see what Little League's official position would be regarding a Board Member participating with a travel team. In that regards I mean could they take action or would they refer it back to the local league to take the necessary action.  

 

I can see a scenario where something like this happens and Little League's advise to the local league is that their recommendation is that the President/BOD's/membership takes action on this conflict of interest if they see this as a problem.



#12 B_Hanlon

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:26 PM

Elaborating on my  comment on the above post lets look at this possible scenario:

 

Elm City Little League owns their own complex and several of the BOD's kids play both LL and travel ball. Their fields do not get used after 3PM on Saturday and they do not schedule games on Sunday so they let the local travel team use the fields.

 

No harm no foul as the field is not being used and the Little League has to have the lawn cut anyway and what's a few bucks for the scoreboard and announcing booth, its for the kids, after all!

But what if the field has lights, and maybe a few bags of chalk, baseballs etc....

 

In my opinion this is up to the local leagues President/BOD's and ultimately parents to resolve. 



#13 coach andy

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:57 PM

in our league similarly several BOD members help to coach or run travel teams, and they use the fields on sundays (when we have no schedule games), and I think talking about giving them one or two weekend to host tourneys.  but we do require the travel teams to pay a fee, and it is sliding, with a higher fee for teams where ate least 75%  (could be wrong on the %) are not also registered in LL.  and of couerse would pay fees for tourney hosting to LL.  so regarding fields and finances, no conflicts.

 

conflict I see is more subtle, namely AS teams (TB players voted on over non TB players, even if non TB player is better, I had this happed to one of my players last year) and scheduling (game and practice scheduling for teams done around TB schedule).  for those who are not aware of what is going on with TB, might not even realize these things happen.

 

I do not think banning the TB people is answer, but maybe force them to abstain from AS voting and scheduling, to remove any conflicts there.  and to me anyone associated with TB should abstain, even parents (our two majors softball coaches this year both have girls playing TB, does anyone think the AS team will not be entire TB team?)



#14 Plesh

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 05:08 PM

Their official stance is exactly what they have written in the rule book, but it would be interesting to hear a ruling from LL about a specific case.

 

Most of the issues come down to All Stars. Trying to implement the most fair/ least biased way to pick teams is the key for any league.

 

Now usually the 8 or so best kids are the 8 best kids no matter who picks them. And nowadays they're probably all travel players too. The "issues" (depending on from what side you're standing) stem from those last few picks. There will always be disagreements no matter how you pick them and who you pick. That's just life on the bubble.



#15 Guest_DCDYNASTY_*

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 05:51 PM

Here is a case to track. Chevy Chase Baseball, was recently founded by board members of CapCity Little League in DC. Last Fall, they fielded one 12U travel team in NVTBL. It was made up of all the 11's from last years LLWS team that played in Bristol...plus other 11's from the 11U team that competed in the MD Tourney. This year they have added 3 more teams.

  • Board Members of CapCity LL are listed as the founders of Chevy Chase Baseball on the 501©3 records.
  • Board Members of CapCity LL are listed as the domain name holders and technical contacts for the website - chevychasebaseball.com
  • Board Members are listed as requesting and paying for field permits from DC Parks & Rec that are easily shown to be in use by CCB Travel teams for practice and games. They did this because the DPR permitting process gives preference to LL's over travel programs as LL is a partner program to the city. This allowed CCB as a first year program to get field space previously used by other DC travel programs. 

If this does not qualify as administrative and financial support by the league, then what does? This info has been provided to LL HQ and they have done nothing.

 

If the All-Star roster from that league is not 100% from this travel team, I will eat my hat. https://gc.com/t/sum...cd6dc001b4c827b

 


#16 coach andy

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:05 PM

crucial question is are the travel teams footing the bill for the field time they use, or is little league?  like I said, our LL controls our fields, and lets TB use on Sundays, but they pay a yearly fee for this, so I do not think it could be considered financial assistance letting them use the fields, actually provides financial asst to the LL (is there a LL rule against TB financially assisting the LL?)

 

admin assistance is fairly vague in my mind, these are all volunteer orgs, all these people have regular real jobs, they are doing all LL/TB work on their own, how can little league decide that person's A work for TB is the LL providing assistance for TB?  Can't the volunteer decide how much time they will devote to each?

 

Again, I think LL is treading lightly, because they realize you have to make decisions in real world, not a vacuum.  If you toss out all the people involved in TB, might not be anyone left to run the LL.

 

AS remains the real tricky subject.  probably do need to have in the sand here, no one involved in TB (coach, asst, manager, parent, etc.) involved in AS selection process I think is what needs to happen, just to avoid conflict of interest.  of course who does the selecting is real issue then, as many coaches, etc. are involved in TB in some way.



#17 Plesh

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 06:27 PM

I believe LL cannot charge a TB team/ program to pay a fee (unless of course they consider it a "donation").

 

 

Here is a case to track. Chevy Chase Baseball, was recently founded by board members of CapCity Little League in DC. Last Fall, they fielded one 12U travel team in NVTBL. It was made up of all the 11's from last years LLWS team that played in Bristol...plus other 11's from the 11U team that competed in the MD Tourney. This year they have added 3 more teams.

  • Board Members of CapCity LL are listed as the founders of Chevy Chase Baseball on the 501©3 records.
  • Board Members of CapCity LL are listed as the domain name holders and technical contacts for the website - chevychasebaseball.com
  • Board Members are listed as requesting and paying for field permits from DC Parks & Rec that are easily shown to be in use by CCB Travel teams for practice and games. They did this because the DPR permitting process gives preference to LL's over travel programs as LL is a partner program to the city. This allowed CCB as a first year program to get field space previously used by other DC travel programs. 

If this does not qualify as administrative and financial support by the league, then what does? This info has been provided to LL HQ and they have done nothing.

 

If the All-Star roster from that league is not 100% from this travel team, I will eat my hat. https://gc.com/t/sum...cd6dc001b4c827b

 

These are violations, but your 3rd bullet point brings up another issue with insurance. If the field permit is under the LL name, but the players are TB kids and someone gets hurt, it could cause a lot of issues.

 

Honestly, LL can't stop this. They have to let it go (even though it's against their rules) otherwise there would be a lot less leagues out there.That's just how the youth baseball landscape is these days.

 

For reference here is Regulation I(g):

 
(g) A local Little League is not permitted to sponsor, administer, underwrite, or otherwise support, any team or teams, any individual or group, for the purpose of participating in a non-Little League Baseball program or event. Violation may result in revocation of charter and/or suspension of tournament privileges. While Little League does not recommend or endorse participation in more than one baseball program, this does not prohibit an individual who plays in a chartered Little League, or a group of such individuals, from participation in a non-Little League program, subject to the provisions of Regulation IV(a) Note 2, and the provisions of the Tournament Rules and Guidelines regarding "player participation in other programs."


#18 amutz

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:22 PM

I do not know if our league is typical but I see advantages to having the travel ball and little league boards 'aligned'.  Many stronger/more baseball-focused kids WILL play on travel teams.   Our board doesn't run a 'related' travel team.

 

If the travel organizations are 100% outside LL, we have seen some schedule tournaments conflicting with Spring LL games and pulling kids away from LL.  Travel orgs which are run by the same parents who are involved with little league don't appear as likely to do this.    Travel orgs outside of LL are not as likely to coordinate tracking pitch counts either - potentially leading to more arm injuries. Food for thought.



#19 Plesh

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 11:41 PM

I agree. The closer the alignment, the better (in most cases) for just the points you brought up. Our travel teams are all independent of our LL (and independent of each other), but it's many of the same people, so it's much easier to keep track of pitch counts, overuse, etc.

 

Plus it's a huge advantage for the kids if the programs can run parallel to each other.



#20 RB56

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 12:22 AM

Clarity from Williamsport would certainly be appreciated.  LLI's published rules and regulations are very limiting in terms of any overlap between the local Little League and travel baseball.  The regulation that a local Little League is "not permitted to sponsor, administer, underwrite or otherwise support" is far reaching as written.

 

LLI's published rules and regulations, with much bravado, require total independence of travel baseball from the core Little League.  By LLI turning a "blind eye" toward violations, it runs counter to its own Operating Policies -- "It is very important to remember that a league must not take any action contrary to Little League rules and regulations until receiving expressed, written permission through the Charter Committee waiver system" (Page 164 of Rule Book).

 

The local league that swept last year's District Tournament at the 10/11/12 year old divisions runs a well established affiliated travel program (posted right on website).  The District Administrator, Central Region and Williamsport are all aware of this affiliated travel program.  Selectively enforcing some rules and regulations just encourages local Little Leagues to selectively follow other rules and regulations.

 

Believe Plesh's comment above may be correct -- "I really don't think LL cares as long as the finances are kept separate."  If that is correct, LLI's published rules and regulations really should state that, or LLI should enforce what is currently published.  Right now, it's all bark and no bite.


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