Structure of Little League Baseball & Softball

April 20, 2009
By FLD6-DA Greg Sinadinos

The First Level: The Local Little League
Each Little League program is organized with a community. The league establishes its own boundaries with certain restrictions (explained later in this section). It is only from within this territory that the league may register its players.

All league personnel, including the officers, managers, coaches, umpires, auxiliary, field workers, etc., should be volunteers interested in providing the benefits of a Little League program to the youth of their community. Each league is guided by a Board of Directors, usually five to 25 adult volunteers from the community. There are now more than 7,400 Little League programs in more than 100 countries around the globe.

Although Little League regulations do not prohibit payments to umpires or other personnel, such employment is strongly discouraged. Those who work with children at the local league level should be interested only in volunteering their time to make their community a better place. The local league Board of Directors, elected from and by the adult members of the league, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the league within the rules, regulations and policies of Little League. The local league is encouraged to become incorporated, but it is not required.

Local Little Leagues are also provided with a suggested formula for organization, elections, etc., known as the league's "Constitution." Each league's Constitution must be reviewed and approved at the Regional Headquarters level.

To accomplish its goals, the Little League organization protects the integrity of each player, each team, and each community. Little League programs operate within specific boundaries for each league's territory to permit participation by all eligible youngsters within the boundaries. Adults in communities where no chartered Little League programs/divisions exist can organize a program with help from Little League Headquarters.

Each local league in the Little League program establishes its own boundaries with the total population not to exceed 20,000 within the boundaries. There are some exceptions to this as determined by the Charter Committee in Williamsport. A league's boundaries must not overlap or encroach on another chartered Little League's boundaries.

Although leagues may assess a registration fee, used to purchase uniforms and equipment, maintain fields, etc., the fee cannot be a prerequisite for playing. The Little League philosophy does not permit any eligible candidate to be turned away. Emphasizing the spirit of Little League, rules require that every child plays in every game.

The Second Level: The District
For administrative and tournament purposes, roughly 10 to 20 leagues in a given area usually comprise a district. The District Administrator is an experienced volunteer elected by the constituent leagues to counsel, direct, and provide leadership in the policies and rules of the Little League program and to serve as liaison between the leagues and the Regional Director.

The District Administrator organizes the district tournament and attends the periodic International Congress where Little League rules and regulations are democratically reviewed and revised for the betterment of the program. There are more than 450 District Administrators worldwide, each with a staff of appointed and/or elected assistants to help more effectively serve his or her leagues. It is recommended, but not required, that the District become incorporated.

The Third Level: The Region
The District Administrators report to the Regional Director, of which there are five in the United States. As part of the staff of Little League Baseball, Incorporated, the Regional Directors work out of Regional Centers at St. Petersburg, Florida; San Bernardino, California; Indianapolis, Indiana, Bristol, Connecticut, and Waco, Texas. Representatives for the International regions of Little League maintain offices in Puerto Rico, Canada, Japan and Poland.

The Fourth Level: International Headquarters
Little League operations are led by Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball. Mr. Keener responds to the Little League Board of Directors, which includes eight field District Administrators elected to rotating terms by fellow District Administrators at the Congresses.

The full-time staff members of Little League Baseball, Incorporated, work with District Administrators, their assistants, and local league officials in developing new leagues, coordinating tournaments, and assisting in the overall operation of a local league program. Worldwide, there are about 110 full-time Little League employees (about one for every 40,000 children and adult volunteers).

Little League Headquarters, in agreement with its insurance carrier, offers various services including the processing and payment of accident claims under the programs offered by Little League Baseball. The service speeds up the necessary processing and provides a valuable service to affiliate leagues. The staff of Little League is available to provide a full range of services to more than 2.8 million participants registered in new and established leagues throughout the year.

The headquarters building is the focal point of the Little League complex of 66 acres in the Borough of South Williamsport, located south of the city of Williamsport on U.S. Route 15, a main north-south highway connecting Buffalo, New York and Washington, D.C. The plot contains five diamonds, including two regulation diamonds for Senior and Big League play, practice facilities, housing, dining and recreation areas, Howard J. Lamade Stadium (site of the annual World Series in August), a new World Series stadium, the John W. Lundy Conference Center, and the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

The headquarters building houses all administrative and business offices of Little League, as well as facilities for storage and mailing of large quantities of materials distributed annually to local leagues. Its operation is geared to five-day-a-week service throughout the year.

More than 300 games are played on Little League Headquarters diamonds from June to mid-August. Under scrutiny of headquarters personnel, these games offer opportunities for research in many areas of playing situations. As a result, new techniques in safety, training, equipment, etc., are constantly in view.


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