2018 AGE MATRIX

Baseball Age Change By National Body

  • Cal Ripken – No Change (Still April 30)
  • Pony – Yes, to August 31st like Little League*
  • Little League – Yes, to August 31st*
  • Babe Ruth – No
  • USSSA – No

*Do note that the 12U group for 2018 will be able be grandfathered to the old age (April 30th) for the 2018 season. The rule change will effect the all age groups (including 12U) on January 1, 2019. It will effect all the age groups but 12U starting January 1, 2018.

2018 Baseball Age Changes Sources

A number of serious publications have covered the age change rules and implications for Little League. Little League’s second announcement on the age change rule is the most authoritative. They are, after all, the group creating all the hubbub. Among other dominant publications, ESPN put together an announcement on the matter, too.  This makes sense considering their Little League World Series is a flagship presentation on ESPN’s late summer broadcast.


2018 Baseball Age Change Rules

The rule change is simple enough. Age birthday cutoffs for a given year will change from May 1st to August 31st. This rule goes into effect beginning 2018. In the first year it will not apply to 12U, or said differently, those born May 1st to August 31st 2005 can play 12U baseball. Otherwise, expect summer birthday boys to become the youngest on Little League team, rather than the oldest.

In short, this makes it so no one playing in the Little League World Series, or other major baseball tournaments sponsored by Little League, are 13 years old in a 12U tournament.

The claim Little League makes is that the age birthday change puts them more in line with international age birthday cutoffs. Although wreaking havoc in some circles, the idea does make some sense.


Baseball Age Change Fallout

If Little League International was the only governing body on the planet, this shift would be rather simple. Summer birthday kids could simply expect to find or create a new team for 2018 and beyond. At a maximum this would be irritating and inconvenient.

But the problem extends beyond this because Little League is not the only governing body on the planet for youth baseball. Indeed, USSSA, PONY, Babe Ruth and a host of other competitive baseball groups, including Triple Crown and Perfect Game, use the May 1st birthday cutoff. When teams are created at a neighborhood level, it is not uncommon for teams to play across multiple associations as they are not tied to a governing body. As such, it will now be possible to put together a team that is ineligible in some leagues.

On a somewhat humorous note, there was a petition on change.org gaining signatures against the age change. Apparently this was even handed to the Senior Vice President Of Operations of Little League International.

On the whole, we are not opposed to the change even if we think it is much ado about nothing. But the numerous organizations that follow their own set of rules, and the fact many players cross over leagues often, makes keeping track of it and planning for the coming years difficult.


Unaffiliated Travel Ball Teams

Many unaffiliated travel ball leagues are struggling to find a solution, especially as major non-Little League organizations have been rather quiet on the matter. Considering we no less than 10 months out, and many teams formed now are also based on next year’s run, you can expect some anxious coaches and parents.


Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth will NOT be changing their age cut off dates. They made that public on their social media as well as on their age chart.


Cal Ripken

Cal Ripken‘s webiste (here) are a place we look often. You can also find them on twitter for updates too. The fact they have made no official announcement makes us think they are simply not changing.


PONY Age Changes

We have been told that PONY baseball is also changing their age changes to August 1st for the 2018 season. They have yet to put any information on their site, but through the grape vine we were told they announced it at a meeting during president’s day.


USSSA Age Change

We sent two emails to different people up the chain of command in the USSSA administration. The first, our local Rocky Mountain office, said there has been no official announcement. The second, a national administrator for USSSA baseball based in Phoenix said, “USSSA will not be changing our current age cut off for baseball.

However, they also have nothing on their website.

If the National Administrator is right, and we suspect she is, then it is probably a good idea they starting telling the people that work in the organization, so they can get the word out to those organizing teams today. And if USSSA’s response is indicative of other groups’ responses to Little League age changes (as in no change and no response), we offer the same advice to PONY, Cal Ripken, Babe Ruth, etc.—let your people know so they can let coaches and players know how best to prepare for coming seasons of baseball.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 24, 2017

USSSA Baseball Changes its Age Restrictions

USSSA Baseball will be adjusting its age requirements for all ages by adding a school grade exception. USSSA Baseball is constantly evaluating its program. Our goal is to stay in touch with the needs of the teams and changing our policies as needed. We strive to always make it easier to participate and in keeping with our motto, “More Kids, Playing More Baseball”. We will still have the same cutoff date for all ages, but will allow for grade exceptions. These grade exceptions will have restrictions also. This will be effective immediately.

NOTE: Birth Certificates and required for all players, at all times. If a player is participating using the grade exception, they will also be required to have a current report card on site at all games.

Here are the new age restrictions that will be updated in the rule book:
3.01.C Scholastic Divisions:

4U Division
Players who turn 5 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in Pre-Kindergarten-4. Also, any player turning 6 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 4u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade.

5U Division
Players who turn 6 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in Pre-Kindergarten-5. Also, any player turning 7 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 5u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade.

6U Division
Players who turn 7 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in Kindergarten. Also, any player turning 8 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 6u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade.

7U Division
Players who turn 8 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 1st grade. Also, any player turning 9 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 7u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade.

8U Division
Players who turn 9 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 2nd grade. Also, any player turning 10 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 8u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade.

9U Division
Players who turn 10 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 3rd grade. Also, any player turning 11 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 9u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade

10U Division
Players who turn 11 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 4th grade. Also, any player turning 12 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 10u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade

11U Division
Players who turn 12 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 5th grade. Also, any player turning 13 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 11u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade

12U Division
Players who turn 13 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 6th grade. Also, any player turning 14 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 12u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade

13U Division
Players who turn 14 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 7th grade. Also, any player turning 15 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 13u are eligible for this division regardless of their grade.

14U Division
Players who turn 15 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are in the 8th grade. Also, any player turning 16 prior to May 1 will not be eligible. Players who are 14u eligible are eligible for this division regardless of grade.

15U Division
Players who turn 16 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are a freshman in High School. Also, any player turning 17 prior to May 1 will not be eligible.

16U Division
Players who turn 17 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are a sophomore in High School. Also, any player turning 18 prior to May 1 will not be eligible.

17U Division
Players who turn 18 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are a junior in High School. Also, any player turning 19 prior to May 1 will not be eligible.

18U Division
Players who turn 19 prior to May 1 of the current season are not eligible unless they are a senior in High School. Also, any player turning 20 prior to May 1 will not be eligible.

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