Kissimmee, FL National Pro Fastpitch Affiliate Team Owner’s exited the annual ownership meetings Sunday after ushering in many significant changes for the upcoming 2013 season. The annual meeting was held over the past weekend in Kissimmee, FL at USSSA Headquarters.
“Our annual meetings are a time for the NPF as an organization to come together and discuss not only the past season, but particularly, the future - 2013 and beyond,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “We continue to look to the future of professional softball with optimism and I think that was reflected in the attitude and cooperation on the part of each one of our current owners.”
The League’s hallmark event Championship Series was an agenda item with much focus following the 2012 Series which did not name a champion due to a rainout of its final day. Commissioner Kempf cited at the time of the decision, in the absence of proper policies, she did not choose to name a champion “through an administrative act.”
Based on that outcome and the subsequent decision by the Commissioner, a five person committee was convened shortly after the championship to examine the current policies and procedures in place specifically for the Championship Series. Made up of neutral parties, the committee took nearly two months to examine and review the current manual. Prior to the owner’s meetings, the committee submitted a thorough revision of the Series Manual with recommendations for adjustments, additions, and changes. The owner’s reviewed each committee recommendation and discussed the permanent changes which will be finalized by year’s end, according to NPF.
“Our ultimate goal was to define in our Championship Policies the manner in which a champion would be declared," commented Akron Racer’s President and GM, Joey Arrietta. "The independent committee provided us with the insight needed to objectively evaluate the event. The owners were unanimous in their conclusion to move forward and begin preparing for the 2013 series.”
Additionally, regarding the Championship Series, owners voted on re-formatting Series brackets, the determination of “home” and “visiting” teams within Series competition, and site locations for 2014 and beyond. These details are all expected to be released with Championship Series manual revisions by years.
Other agenda items, additions, and changes to NPF policies are listed below.
•Voted in favor of eliminating the international tie breaker in regular season play. (The tie breaker does not currently exist for Championship play either, so this move will essentially remove the tie breaker usage from NPF competition completely.)
•Voted in favor of limiting bus transportation on a single day to match the regulations of the Department of Transportation, which currently is a maximum of 10 hours.
•More clearly defined the Franchise Player Tag, making it permanent for the year it is designated. Once FPT is assigned to a player, it is exhausted for that particular year and cannot be changed or transferred. In the case of a trade, the FPT remains exhausted and cannot be reassigned to any other player(s).
•Voted in favor of naming an exclusive supplier in two separate categories of headwear: hats/visors and head bands. (Supplier announcement is forthcoming)
•Voted in favor of changing the Draft order beginning in the 2014 Draft: Draft order will remain based on regular season finish of the previous year, but will alternate every other round from last place to first place in the opening round to first place to last place in the second round, and so on.
•Voted in favor of defining the penalty for passing a draft pick. The penalty for “passing” beginning in the 2013 Draft, will be loss of the offending team’s first draft selection in the subsequent year.
•Voted to increase Team rights to drafted players. Rights to players will extend from the current policy to an additional year. Formerly, a Team held the rights to a drafted player until September 1 following the Draft. The new policy gives the team the right to a drafted player until a year from September 1 following the draft in which the player was chosen. Additionally, following that period, any team that picks up the drafted player, must compensate the drafting team an amount of $3,000.
•Voted to allow $5,000 towards the purchase of rings for the regular season champions. (The league currently allows the same amount towards rings for the Championship Series Champions, but this will also provide the sum for the purchase of rings for the regular season champions)
•The College Draft dates are not yet confirmed for 2013 but are expected to be significantly later, giving teams a better opportunity to evaluate college seniors who are eligible for the draft.
•Opening Day for the 2013 season is set for June 6.
About National Pro Fastpitch:
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.