BASEBALL - FLEX OPTION
IFPAA is committed to providing quality baseball opportunities for the players and parents in our community. An issue surfaced in the last couple of years concerning players who are not able to play with their school mates because baseball cutoff date does not coincide with the school cutoff date.
The FLEX option was developed in response to a number of inquiries from parents in our community, and relied upon the opinion and ingenuity of a diverse group of committee members on ALL sides of this issue. It is our hope that this provides the best opportunity for EVERY player.
- What is the FLEX Option?
WHAT IS THE FLEX OPTION?
- FLEX is an option that allows baseball players with birth dates in May through August to opt to play in a higher age group with their school peers.
- The option is left to the players and their parents, and there is no required skill evaluation as this is not a ‘talent-based’ play-up option.
- The use of the FLEX option should be considered carefully as it can have consequences for the player, team and league.
- To encourage careful consideration , we have established this as a ONE TIME selection.
- A player can opt to play with the higher group and stay with that group for as many years as they play with IFPAA. They can also opt at a later point to move back down to their standard ‘date-based’ age group. Once they move down, they cannot opt to move back up again.
- The option applies to Spring Season AND Tournament baseball. You can’t play spring as a 10 y/o and then try out for the 9 y/o tournament team.
Originally, the cutoff date of 7/31 was set based on the school start date in Williamsport, PA, where Little League baseball started. As youth baseball grew into National and International competition, USA Baseball, the governing body for amateur baseball in the United States, decided that moving the date to 4/30 would allow all kids to attain the ‘league age’ before the start of the season. Previously, those with summer birthdays did not turn 12 in their 12 y/o season until part-way in to the season. The change in dates increased the overall age and competitiveness of national and international teams, and allowed ‘summer birthday’ players to be the ‘oldest’ in their age group. This was an advantage from a competitive standpoint for these players, but separated most of them from their school peers.
The original move in 2006 did not have a dramatic impact, as players who were already assigned to age divisions were ‘grandfathered’ and allowed to stay in the age divisions that they were in. Those players have now reached age 15 and all players 12 and under are now impacted by the ruling. This means that up to 40% of players registered have birthdays in the age range where they may not be playing with school mates.
This created much more interest around this issue and many IFPAA families have raised concerns. These concerns were thoroughly evaluated and considered by the Executive Board. Parents, board members and coaches were consulted. A committee was formed and the result was the FLEX option. This was presented to the board in October and approved unanimously at the November Board Meeting.ELIGIBILITY:
- Any player with a birth date on or before 8/31/ 2006
- A birth date between May 1st and August 31st
- Provides a birth certificate no later than February 28 of the year of registration
is eligible to exercise their FLEX option to play with a higher age group. They can stay with that group for as many subsequent years as they like. They can also move back down if they find that the competitive level is better for them at the lower level. Once a player opts to move back down, they no longer have a FLEX option.
During registration, you will be given the opportunity to exercise your FLEX option. If you do so, you will be added to the FLEX list.
An e-mail will be sent to all FLEX registrants explaining the option they’ve selected and asking for confirmation, and a birth certificate.
At the end of normal registration (2/28) the final list will be compiled and official division changes will be made prior to drafting teams.
Will be developed based on YOUR questions.
Send any questions to Gary Fritsch at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tom Watson at email@example.com