For the past 86 years, American Legion Baseball has played the game using "Official Baseball Rules" as authorized by the commissioner's office of Major League Baseball, including a few safety modifications adopted by the Legion's National Americanism Commission. It, too, has been a longstanding policy that departments may adopt more restrictive recruiting rules, but they may not approve rules that are more liberal than those established by The American Legion or Official Baseball Rules.
However, over the years, some departments have adopted National Federation of High School Sports baseball playing rules that are in conflict with the Legion Baseball Rule Book and Official Baseball Rules.
To ensure all departments are on the same page, the National Americanism Commission passed Resolution 45 last week during Fall Meetings in Indianapolis. The resolution states that departments who do not adhere to Legion Baseball rules may be subject to suspension and possible removal from the program if violations are not corrected within a timely manner.
The intention of Resolution 45 is not to suspend or remove department programs, but to eliminate the potential risk and liability that the Legion faces if everyone does not comply with the established rules. For example, per Official Baseball Rule 4.17, a game shall be forfeited to the opposing team when a team is unable or refuses to place nine (9) players on the field. A department may NOT modify this rule in any manner.
Additionally, departments (or Leagues) may NOT allow additional players above the 18-man roster during the regular season. And a re-entry rule, as well as a courtesy runner rule, is considered to be in conflict with the existing rules of American Legion Baseball.
Meanwhile, departments will see the following changes to the 2012 Legion Baseball Rule Book, which will be released at a later date:
Rule 1 – A. Bat Rule: All non-wood bats must be BBCOR certified. If any bat fails to meet this requirement, said bat shall be removed from the game, the batter shall be declared out and the head coach or team manager shall be ejected from the game. This rule changes follows the 2012 NFHS rule, which mandates that the head coach or manager is responsible for all equipment in the dugout.
Rule 1 – K. Insurance: Every American Legion Baseball team (both junior and senior) must purchase both group liability and accident insurance from The American Legion’s agent of record (S.A. Van Dyk, Inc.). Coverage must be purchased no later than May 15. Newly formed teams that miss the established deadline shall have until June 1 to submit proof of insurance without penalty. Should a previously registered team miss the established deadline, then they shall have "grace" period until June 1 to purchase insurance, but the team will be assessed a late fee of $200 payable to the department. Missing the June 1 deadline will result in the disqualification from any further competition.
Rule 1 – P. 7 or 9 inning rules for regular season games and Ten (10) - Run Rule: Departments may adopt for the regular season the option of playing nine or seven inning games. The 10-run rule shall apply after seven innings for nine-inning games and five innings for seven-inning games. All district, department, regional and national tournament games will be nine innings.
Rule 4 – D. Transfer Rule: Senior players released from a team must obtain permission on National Transfer Form #76 from that team’s manger to play for the team that is closest to his parent’s domicile. Beginning with the 2012 season, transfers are valid for the current season only. All Senior transfers executed prior to the 2012 season shall remain final and binding through the remainder of the player’s eligibility (previously executed transfers shall be honored, therefore "grandfathering" those players). Junior players will be eligible to transfer in the 2012 for one year. It should be noted that any junior transfers executed prior to 2012 are not valid (illegal) according to previous rule; therefore any transfer executed in 2011 season for a junior player is null and void.
College players: Returning age eligible college players are permitted to return to the team they played for in 2011. These players must have appeared on the 2011 roster. Returning college players are not eligible for transfer. (A player who graduated in 2011 must return and play for their previous team; 2011 graduated players are not eligible to play for any other American Legion team).
Rule 6 – A. Player and Team Registration: American Legion Baseball teams must submit their roster and be approved by their department baseball committee and National Form #1 filed via the national baseball website: www.legion.org/baseball, no later than June 30. Departments have authorization to make roster deadline earlier, but may not extend the date. Violation of this rule will result in the disqualification from any further competition.