Over the past couple of years, there has been a lot of discussion about the Little League Baseball® Age Determination Date. This is an important topic to everyone involved in Little League, and Little League has sought input from volunteers, parents, and coaches that has helped guide District Administrators and the Little League International Board of Directors to ultimately change the Age Determination Date for all divisions of Little League Baseball and the Little League Challenger Division® to August 31.
At the fall 2015 meeting of the Little League International Board of Directors, it was approved to grandfather the four months of children born between May 1 and August 31, 2005, for the 2018 season, so that no child will lose their 12-year-old season of Little League Baseball.
Why the change? In 2011, Little League conducted very detailed participation research. As a result of that research, we learned that parents, players, and volunteers wanted to see Little League become, as a whole, a younger program, and give children an easier way to play Little League with their classmates. Since the research concluded, Little League revamped its Tee Ball program, established a Coach Pitch Program, and changed its residency requirements to allow children to play in the league where their school is located. Adjusting the Age Determination Date will help us achieve the goal of making Little League younger. And, making the date August 31, the same that many schools in many states use for student registration, allows Little Leaguers to play with their classmates.
This change will make the Little League Baseball Division, also known as the Major Division, truly a 12 and under program – ensuring that no child playing in the Little League/Major Division will turn 13 years old at any point during their final season in that division. The same will be true with the upper age limit at all teenage divisions of Little League Baseball.
What’s the difference? In 2014, Little League District Administrators initially voted to move the age determination date from April 30 to December 31, effective with the 2018 season. That was amended by District Administrators and the Little League International Board of Directors in August 2015, moving the date from December 31 to August 31. Effective November 2015, the implementation plan has been amended, grandfathering the four-months of children born between May 1 and August 31, 2005 as 12-year-olds for the 2018 season.
For players born on or before April 30, 2005: The new age determination date of August 31 will be effective starting with the 2018 Little League Baseball Season. For the 2016 and 2017 seasons, these players will use the April 30 age determination date.
For players born between May 1, 2005 and August 31, 2005: The new age determination date of August 31 will be effective starting with the 2019 Little League Baseball Season. For the 2016, 2017, 2018 season, these players will use the April 30 age determination date.
For players born on or after September 1, 2005: The August 31 age determination date will be effective immediately, starting with the 2016 season. This was the implementation used for the 2015 season, with players turning 4 to 9 years old during the 2015 calendar year to use the December 31 age determination date. That implementation remains in place, except instead of using December 31, you will use August 31.
“Having a meaningful Little League experience is an important milestone for millions of children around the world,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “As we continue to work with our volunteers and the International Board of Directors, we believe this solution allows us to accomplish our goal of making the Little League Baseball Division truly a 12 and under program, while ensuring that all children get the opportunity to fully enjoy their 12-year-old year in Little League.”